A number of students from West African countries, including Ghana, arrived in Australia during the mid-1960s owing to the Special Commonwealth African Assistance Plan. Records show that around 70% of them stayed back because of military coups in their countries. While the Ghanaian community in Australia is small, it has grown steadily since the mid-1970s.
As per the 2011 Australian Census, 3,866 Ghana-born people live in Australia. A significant percentage of Ghanaian community in Australia is skilled and educated. More than 70% aged 15 years and over possess higher non-school qualifications.
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There is considerable trade between these two nations. Total merchandise trade between Australia and Ghana in 2014 stood at $191 million. Total trade in services during the same period was around $34 million.
While sending money to Ghana from Australia can be easy, choosing a service provider as per your needs is important. This guide helps you select one that suits you best.
Banks vs money transfer companies
Samuel Addo arrived in Australia as a student. He got a job almost as soon as he completed his college education, which allowed him to remain in the country. While his father has a stable job back home in Ghana, he wishes to start sending his parents some money so they can lead a more comfortable lifestyle. To begin with, he plans to send around $1,000 every month.
His bank does not let his transfer funds to Ghana because the Ghanaian cedi is an exotic currency. He can turn to other Australian banks, but he decides to compare money transfer companies instead. This is what he finds when he compares his options using the Internet.
Money transfer service 1
Money transfer service 2
$1 = GHS2.6999
$1 = GHS2.73007
Amount received for $1,000
While the second money transfer company takes longer to complete the transfer, Samuel opts to use its services. This is because he wishes to transfer the funds directly into his father’s Ghanaian bank account. Besides, his father stands to receive extra money as well.
How do I compare transfer companies when transferring and receiving money via Ghana?
When you’re sending money to Ghana from Australia, several aspects require your attention.
Exchange rate and fees. A seemingly great exchange rate might be of no good it you have to pay an exorbitant fee. The reverse can hold true as well, where a money transfer company may provide a fee-free service but offer an unfavourable exchange rate. To get the best deal, money wise, simply compare how much money the recipient stands to receive.
Ways to send money. Australian banks that allow money transfers to Ghana can let you go through the process in person, over the phone or online. Some money transfer companies operate out of physical locations, letting you send money in person. Several transfer companies limit the operations to the online world. Some let you complete the process over the phone.
Ways to receive money. The recipient can receive the transferred money directly into a Ghanaian bank account. Another option is to collect the money by visiting a cash pickup centre.
Transfer options. A one-time transfer gives you an easy way to send money. However, if you wish to send money regularly, you may want to look for a business that lets you make regular scheduled payments. Some money transfer companies let you make the most of the foreign exchange market through market orders and forward contracts.
Using the same bank. Using a bank can be advantageous if you and the recipient have accounts with the same institution. In this case you can benefit through lower fees and quicker turnaround times.
Processing time. If you wish to send money to Ghana in a hurry, using a money transfer company that has cash pickup centres in Ghana is your best bet, given that transfers to these centres tend to take place almost immediately. If you’re sending money to a bank account, the turnaround time can vary noticeably depending on the service provider you choose, from one to 10 days, or even more.
Minimum limit. This can be a concern if you’re not sending much money because some service providers have minimum transfer limits in place, which can be $500 or $1,000.
You get multiple options if you wish to send money to Ghana from Australia.
Banks. You can find Australian banks that let you send money directly to Ghanaian bank accounts, in which case you’ll need the recipient’s bank account details. You can also think about sending a bank-issued cheque, money order or draft via mail.
Non-banks. Money transfer companies such as Western Union and MoneyGram have several cash pickup centres in Ghana, so you can consider using their services. Some money transfer companies such as WorldRemit let you transfer money to Ghanaian bank accounts. PayPal also allows transfer to Ghana from Australia. To use its services, both you and the recipient should have PayPal accounts.
When receiving money from Ghana in Australia, you get different options.
Banks. If you provide the sender with your bank account details, you can receive money directly in your account. This can happen through a Ghanaian bank or a money transfer company. Receiving a bank-issued money order, draft or cheque by mail is also an option.
Non-banks. If you wish to collect cash in person, you can turn to a business such as Western Union or MoneyGram. Both have a significant presence across Australia. Another option is to use the services of PayPal, in which case you and the recipient should have PayPal accounts. You don’t have to pay any fees to open a PayPal account. Once the money gets to your PayPal account, withdrawing it to your local bank account is easy.
If you’re in Ghana and end up losing your wallet, don’t waste any time in reporting your credit and debit cards as lost or stolen. Next, you can think about getting emergency money in these ways.
Cash pickup. An easy way to get emergency money in a hurry is to ask a friend or family member to send some using the services of a money transfer company. If this is possible, identify a desired cash pickup location first.
Credit card cash advance. If you have an existing Visa, Mastercard or American express credit card you can think about getting an emergency cash advance. To get money this way you’ll have to visit a local participating financial institution.
Travel insurance. The right kind of travel insurance can help in more ways than one. It can gives you access to emergency money to deal with unexpected medical expenses, flight delays and cancellations as well as lost and misplaced luggage.
Western Union and MoneyGram have cash pickup centres in various cities and towns across Ghana. If you wish to collect cash from any of these centres make sure you take an acceptable form of identification document such as your passport or driver’s license with you. If the transfer involves a large sum of money, call before going to confirm availability of funds. Here are some cash pickup locations in Ghana.
Abeka Branch Opsem House Motorway Ext Accra, Greater Accra +233-302-231781 Open 8:30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 2pm, Saturday, closed on Sunday
Abeka Lapaz Hno. B 49/30 Abeka Lapaz Accra +233-50-1004216 Open 8:30am to 8pm, Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm, Saturday, closed on Sunday
Access Bank Ghana Adum Business Office Prempeh Ii Street, Kumasi +233-202022307 Open 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, 8am to 2pm, Saturday, closed on Sunday
Access Bank Ghana Pacific S and L Head Office 10 14 Adum Kumasi Head Office Kumasi +233-202022307 Open 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, 8am to 2pm, Saturday, closed on Sunday
UT Bank - Kisseman Agency UT Life Building Achimota-Gimpa Road Accra +233-243700291 Open 8am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
First National Savings & Loans Ground Floor Barima Total Filling Station Po Box Gp-17187 Accra +233-501411335 Open 8am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
ARB - Asokore Rural Bank Near Ocansey Cinema Hall P.O. Box 30, Kumasi +233-32248664 Open 8am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
ARB - Amansie West Rural Bank Opposite The College Of Education P.O. Box 348, Kumasi +233-277599442 Open 8am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
While most visits to Ghana by foreign nationals remain trouble free, there are reports of petty and violent crime. Be vigilant when you collect money from a cash pickup centre and when you withdraw money from ATMs. Avoid carrying large sums of money with you.
Women travelling alone can become target of opportunistic crimes such as bag snatching, pickpocketing and muggings. Instances of armed robberies, street crime and home invasions exist. There has been an increase in these kinds of crimes owing to the region’s tough economic conditions.
Thefts by people posing as airport staff are not uncommon. There are reports of fraudulent police officers demanding money from foreigners as well.
The steps you have to follow when sending money to Ghana from Australia depend on the method you choose.
To a bank account. If you’re sending money through the bank you deal with you may have to provide no more than the recipient’s name and account details. If you’re using a bank other than your own or a money transfer company, you’ll have to provide your bank account, debit card or credit card details. If you’re using the service of a business for the first time, you might have to register as a user first.
To a cash pickup centre. You’ll have to provide the name of the recipient along with a desired cash pickup centre. To pay for the transfer, you’ll have to provide details of your bank account, debit card or credit card. After initiating the transfer you get a reference number, which the recipient needs to collect the cash.
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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