Australia and Ecuador might be separated by a vast amount of water, but relationships between the countries is popular. Ecuador has seen a steady economic growth of 3% above average over the past seven years, despite slight slumps in the last quarters of 2015. It's still classified as a developing country and according to the Australian Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, "the Australian Embassy in Santiago manages a Direct Aid Program (DAP), which provides financial support to a broad range of projects in Ecuador, including community development projects and those designed to address challenges in vulnerable communities."
Transactions between the two countries increase on a year-by-year basis, especially in merchandise and animal feeds. Merchandise is growing consistently and the total imports and exports principal destination relationship between the two is ranked at just above 50th.
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Australia annually imports over A$18 million from Ecuador and exports over A$33 million in return in the form of services. There are growing reports of potential to invest in telecommunication services and information technology but that it will require increased privatisation processes.
Can you afford to use your bank for sending and receiving money to Ecuador from Australia?
Although the unemployment rate has seen significant increases in the past couple of years, Kevin, a local from Quito in Ecuador, has travelled to Australia to learn from international level companies. He has been employed by an IT business in Brisbane, Australia, and he would like to send some money over to his parents in repayment of his study loans from the local bank in their hometown, Quito.
He would also like to send money to Ecuador for when he returns to start his own IT company. His dream is to employ some of the locals to export available infrastructure services for companies in Australia that want to do business in Quito. In Kevin's eyes, Ecuador shows great potential as a developing country.
He made a couple of calculations using A$1000 and drew a general comparison table (see below) to see what it would cost him to send money to Ecuador if he used a bank compared to a money transfer company.
Money transfer company
1A$ = 0.701 USD
1A$ = 0.675 USD
A$22 to 30 (dependent on online or branch transaction and may include charges from receiving parties)
Amount USD received in Ecuador for 1000 Australian Dollar
2 working days
2-5 working days
Transfer Options (Pickup etc.)
Difference in USD
$46 more is received
$46 less is received
The key variables you should use to compare money transfer companies
It's vital for Kevin to send as much as possible money over to Ecuador without losing on costs and delaying his study loan repayments. He uses the following key factors to compare the money transfer companies and has made the data available to you:
Exchange rates and fees - Fortunately, the Australian and US dollar have a history of trading at a consistent exchange rate. Generally speaking, the money transfer companies offer a more attractive fee compared to banks that will send money to Ecuador.
Pick up methods - You'll have to choose between a combination of convenience, risk, and customer experience that will form your choice of where you want to pick up your money. In Ecuador, most money transfer companies will offer an online or agent pick-up location, with banks like Commonwealth only doing account-based transfers.
Fees - Most money transfer companies operate around the A$12 fee for transferring the money, but with banks it easily shoots up to A$30 depending on whether you branch or online services. Keep in mind that there is always the risk of other fees depending on where you receive the money.
Bank to bank benefits - Citibank has branches in Ecuador but it will require a branch visit to determine the benefits. Commonwealth only deals in sending money to Ecuador.
Turnaround time - This can mean the difference between peace and catastrophe. Turnaround times can vary between tenminutes and five working days.
Transfer methods - Online banking, mobile money transfers, bank account transfers and cash are all available options for Kevin to consider when sending money.
Transfer options - Most services offer mobile money transfers, regular payments, and standard international transfers and traveller’s cheques.
Minimum transfer amounts - As with the transfer time, there is a lot of variation that depends on the service you choose, it can range from $0 to $5,000 AUD.
Customer service - Service delivery plays a huge role in our experiences when travelling. Sometimes it is worth risking a higher fee for the sake of sure and secure handling of your money.
Which options does Kevin have to send money to Ecuador?
Banks - You can send money transfers by using Citibank that will allow you to send bank to bank transfers. Visit a local branch to establish fees and exchange rates. Commonwealth bank will allow you to do an international money transfer to Ecuador but doesn’t have bank infrastructure support on that side.
Money transfer services - Most money transfer companies will support transfers to online or bank accounts to Ecuador because of the USD currency. When it comes to cash pick up, take note of any extra fees on the receiving end. Services like Exchange4Free will require an account but can send money to any bank and will also do wire transfers.
PayPal - You can send and receive money between your PayPal accounts and then transfer it to a bank account (if you have a bank account in Ecuador that supports PayPal).
How will Kevin be able to receive money from Ecuador in Australia?
Banks - You can send money transfers by using Citibank that will allow you to send bank to bank transfers. Visit a local Australian branch to establish fees and exchange rates.
Money transfer companies - Although most companies support the USD that Ecuador trades in, it might be difficult to find one that supports sending money from Ecuador itself when it comes to online transfer services. In cases like these it can be a wise option to go with something that has the surety of Moneygram and Western Union.
PayPal - You can send and receive money between your PayPal accounts and then transfer it to a bank account (if you have a bank account in Australia that supports PayPal).
Emergency transfers for receiving money in ten minutes
As mentioned, Moneygram and Western Union are sure options when transferring money. They are also some of the best options when it comes to receiving money in emergency situations. Despite the high cost, it is still a service that has through time showed its worth. Below are some locations for when you need the cash asap, and tomorrow isn’t soon enough.
Cash pick-up locations in Ecuador when using Moneygram and Western Union
Almacenes TiaCalle Lizardo Ruiz Of-4907 E Alfareros YEntre Alfareros Y25 De Mayo, Quito, Pichincha+593-2-2598245Open Monday to Saturday 9am to 7pm, Sundays closed
Cac Huaicana TandaCalle Principal Y Acueducto Pa, Quito, Pichincha593+1800-937-837Open Monday to Saturday 9am to 6pm, Sunday 9am to 7pm
Transfer union Red Active Sucre 0840 E 10 De Agosto Y Ro, Loja, Loja+593-7-2560108Open Monday to Saturday 9am to 6pm, Sundays closed
AG Easypagos Coop Luz Del Valle Calle principal detras iglesia de tolontan tolontan, Quito,022860773Open Monday to Saturday 8am to 7:30pm, Sundays 8am to 6pm
Ecuagiros - #056 - banco bolivariano qui CC. El recreo 39-41 local, Quito7132785436Open Monday to Friday 10am to 7pm, Saturday 10am to 6pm, Sundays 24 hours
Artefacta - easypagos - loja - loj 2 Y Bolivar, Riofrio 14-24, Loja72565519Open Monday to Friday 9am to 7:30pm, Saturday 10am to 7pm, Sunday 9am to 4pm
Good-to-know tips when picking up money in Ecuador
Tip number one is to have extra dollars on you for when things go south. Bureaux de changes aren’t around as they used to be in Ecuador. It will be a tricky situation to be in when you need the pay unforeseen fees in picking up money but you’re strapped for cash.
There are more than enough pick-up locations in urban areas so don’t test the pressure of going into unsafe areas because you’re afraid you won’t get your money in time. Always have the necessary proof that you’re picking up your own money and you’ll be good to go!
When sending money from Australia using a service like Western Union, you will need the following:
You’ll need your receiver’s full name (as it appears on their ID) and address, and a Visa® or Mastercard® credit, debit or prepaid card issued by an Australian bank. You also must be over 18.
When you first register with Western Union, they will need certain information so they can confirm your identity and create an online profile for you. You’ll need an Australian driver’s license, Medicare card or passport for this.
In some cases, you may also be required to call the call center if they need additional information, of which they will let you know.
When sending money from Australia using a service like MoneyGram, you will need the following:
You will need to visit a Moneygram branch and provide Photo Identification.
A completed sending form with the money and fees that you want to send.
You may have to provide proof of address and any or more of the following; driving license, passport, national ID card, or Government issued identification.
For the receiver to pick up the money you will have to send them the reference number you get after the transaction is completed.
Shirley Liu is Finder's global program manager. She was previously the publisher for banking and investments and has also written comparisons for energy, money transfers, Uber Eats and many other topics. Shirley has a Master of Commerce and a Bachelor of Media, Journalism and Communications from the University of New South Wales. She is passionate about helping people find the best deal for their needs.
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