Send Money to El Salvador Cheaply

Information verified correct on October 26th, 2016

Enjoy better exchange rates and save money on fees when you need to send money to El Salvador.

For some Australians, transferring money overseas is something they will need to do at one or more stages in their life, and one of the countries they may need to send money to is El Salvador. For example, a Salvadoran could be in Australia on a temporary work visa and need to send money home to their family, or perhaps someone has moved from El Salvador to Australia permanently but still has a need to send money home.

According to the 2011 census, Australia is home to some 9,651 people who are Salvadorans by birth, plus nearly 7,500 people who are Salvadorans by ancestry. The largest concentration of Salvadoran expats is in Melbourne, which plays host to 32% of the Salvadoran Australian population, although plenty of former Salvadorans call Sydney and Brisbane home.

While sending money to El Salvador from Australia might seem like a daunting and costly procedure, it’s actually quite a simple and affordable process. Compare some of the companies who offer this below.

Compare companies that offer transfers to El Salvador

Rates last updated October 26th, 2016
Description Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Services Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received
Western Union International Money Transfers
Western Union International Money Transfers
Send money online to friends and family around the world with Western Union. AUD 1 Same day Online, Phone, Agent, Bank Account to Bank Account, Cash Transfer, International Money Order Go to site More
WorldRemit international money transfers
WorldRemit international money transfers
An online money transfer service with cash pickup, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available. AUD 0 Within an hour Online, Bank Account to Bank Account, Cash Transfer Go to site More

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Banks vs money transfer companies

When many people want to send money overseas they simply decide to go through their bank. While this might seem like the easiest option at your disposal, it’s actually not the fastest or even the most cost-effective method for transferring your funds.

Recent years have seen the increase in popularity of dedicated online money transfer companies which specialise in international funds transfers. These providers typically offer much better exchange rates and lower fees than banks, plus they also often ensure that funds arrive to your recipient quicker.

In the case of sending money to El Salvador, many Australian banks will not allow you to transfer funds to the central American nation. Although some banks do offer this service, you may need to use a specialist money transfer provider instead.

Case study: Joel transfers funds to El Salvador

Joel is an Australian citizen of Salvadoran ancestry. His grandparents still live in El Salvador and have recently fallen on hard times financially, so Joel wants to send them $2,500 to help them make ends meet. Joel has found it very difficult to find a bank to transfer the funds for him, so he decides to compare the cost of doing the transfer with two competing money transfer providers. As you can see in the comparison table below, he discovers that it makes sense to compare your options to find the best deal.

Money Transfer Service 1Money Transfer Service 2
Exchange rate1 AUD = 0.80 USD1 AUD = 0.82 USD
Tranfer Fee$115$25
Transfer Time24 hours24 hours
Transfer OptionsCash pick-up & bank account transferBank account transfer
Amount Received (in USD)$2,008$2,029.50

In the end, Joel saved $21.50 using Money Transfer Service 2.

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How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to El Salvador

If you would like to follow Joel’s example and save money when transferring funds to El Salvador, shop around for the best money transfer company by comparing the following features.

    • Exchange rates. Look for the best exchange rate available to ensure you are getting a good deal. However, remember to take fees into account when looking at exchange rates, as some companies will offer a higher exchange rate in exchange for not charging any fees, while others will offer a better rate but may charge higher transfer fees.
    • Pick-up methods available. Examine how your recipient can access the funds you send and which method would best suit them. Can they be picked up in person? Is everything done electronically? How soon can the funds be accessed?
    • Fees. Compare the transfer fees offered by different providers, plus keep an eye out for any other hidden fees that may apply to your transaction. It’s also worth pointing out that some providers will waive their fees when you transfer more than a certain amount, so keep an eye out for this feature.
    • Turnaround time. Compare how long it takes for your funds to be processed and be made available to your recipient. When you need to send cash quickly, finding a company that offers prompt processing (within 24 hours as opposed to up to five days) can make all the difference.
    • Transfer methods. Check whether you can transfer your funds online, over the phone or by visiting a branch. Find a provider that offers transfer options to suit you.
    • Minimum transfer amounts. Keep in mind that some companies have minimum transfer amounts. These can be quite restricting if you’re only looking to send a small amount of money.
    • Customer service. Look for a company that has a good reputation for providing prompt and friendly customer service. Is there a help line available? During which hours is it available? Is live online support provided?
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How to send money to El Salvador from Australia

There are multiple options at your disposal when you wish to send money to El Salvador. As the currency in El Salvador is the US Dollar and this currency is widely traded on global markets. However, not all banks and money transfer services will offer transfers to the central American nation. Your options include:

    • Banks. Very few banks will allow you to transfer funds to El Salvador. But there are some that do, for example; Commonwealth Bank offers this service.
    • Emergency transfers. Companies like Western Union allow you to quickly and easily send funds to El Salvador. Cash pick-up is available in addition to online access to funds.
    • PayPal. PayPal provides a simple online method for transferring funds, although both the sender and the recipient will need a PayPal account.
    • Specialist money transfer providers. Companies such as Xoom and Ria offer the fast and reliable online transfer of funds to El Salvador.
    • International money order. You can take money to your bank and hand it over in return for an international guaranteed cheque. However, this method is quite costly and time consuming.
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Emergency cash transfers in El Salvador

In some circumstances you will find that you need to transfer funds to El Salvador urgently. Although time is of the essence in such situations, don’t forget to take all the necessary precautions to guarantee you get the best possible deal. For example, double check the exchange rate that will be offered for your transaction, while at the same time remembering to make sure you’re aware of any fees attached to the transaction.

If the cash will be picked up in person, as is usually the case with emergency transfers, make sure you or the recipient keep their wits about them and doesn’t flash the money around. If your cash or your wallet is stolen, call the local police immediately.

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Locations in El Salvador for cash pick-up

After the transfer has been completed picking up the depends on how the funds were sent and through which service. WorldRemit, for instance, allows you to pick-up cash from any branch of Banco Agrícola, Credomatic El Salvador, Banco Azteca El Salvador, Fedecredito, Fedecaces, and Davivienda El Salvador.

Listed below are some popular locations where cash can be picked up when it has been sent via Western Union or MoneyGram. You’ll need take some identification and a transfer reference number with you in order to access the funds, while big transfers may require you to phone ahead to your chosen pick-up location to ensure that they have enough cash on hand for you.

Western Union

  • San Salvador


    Apartado Postal (01) 55

    San Salvador, San Salvador


    Opening hours not listed

  • Banco Hipotecario

    Esquina Sur Pte A La

    Intercepcion 25 Av Nte 27 Calle

    San Salvador, San Salvador


    Open Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm, Saturday 9am to 12pm

  • Santa Ana

    Banco Hipetecario

    Parque Comercial Los Heroes

    Lote 7b Plg 1 Canton Loma Alta

    Santa Ana, Santa Ana


    Open Monday to Friday 8am to 4:30pm, Saturday 8am to 12pm

  • Coop 1 De R L

    10 Av Sur # 9 3era Y 5ta Cl

    Santa Ana, Santa Ana


    Open 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm Saturday and 8am to 12pm Sunday


  • Empresarial

    Alameda Roosevelt #2002

    San Salvador


    Open 8am to 5pm Monday to Saturday

  • Banco Salvadoreno

    Avenida Olimpica #3550

    San Salvador


    No opening hours listed

  • Banco Cuscatlan

    Avenida Final 6 Sur

    Santa Ana


    Open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm, weekends 8am to 5pm

  • Banco Promerica-Agencia Metapan

    Barrio San Pedro

    2 Calle Final Poniente

    Santa Ana


    Open seven days 7am to 9pm

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Tips for picking up cash in El Salvador

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade recommends that Australian travellers exercise a high degree of caution when travelling to El Salvador. With this in mind, it’s important that you take extreme care when picking up your cash. Travel with a friend at all times, avoid dodgy areas of town and try not to carry large amounts of cash on your person. Deposit any funds you pick up in a bank straight away.

For more tips on how to stay safe on the streets of El Salvador, read online blogs and travel forums for advice from fellow travellers.

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What’s needed to send money to El Salvador

You can send money to El Salvador via a wire transfer service, online money transfer provider, through your bank or even via PayPal. In order to conduct an international transfer you will generally need to set up an account first. To do this, you’ll need to supply details such as your name, address, contact number, date of birth and proof of identification.

Once you’ve lodged a transaction, most companies will provide you with a receipt number which you can then use to track the progress of your international money transfer.

There are multiple options to choose from when you need to send money to El Salvador, but it’s important that you do your research and shop around to save money. The best place to start comparing your international money transfer options is at

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