The Kyrgyz Republic, also commonly known as Kyrgyzstan, is a landlocked central Asian country boasting spectacular natural beauty. It’s also a country to which, from time to time, Australians need to transfer money.
Perhaps they have a friend or relative travelling through Kyrgyzstan who is in urgent need of money, or maybe they’re an expat living in Australia who wants to send some cash to their family back home. Whatever the case may be, people looking to transfer funds from Australia to Kyrgyzstan have more options at their fingertips than ever before.
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In many cases, when you want to send money overseas your first port of call is your bank. However, banks typically offer poor exchange rates and charge high fees for international money transfers, making this an expensive option. In addition, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an Australian bank that offers transfers to Kyrgyzstan, as the Kyrgyzstani Som is quite a rare currency on the global market.
In order to conduct your transfer, you may need to utilise the services of a dedicated money transfer company, such as Small World, Send Money 24 or Foreign Exchange. These companies specialise in international money transfers, allowing you to take advantage of more attractive exchange rates and lower fees when you send money to Kyrgyzstan. However, it’s important that you compare the services offered by competing money transfer companies to find the best deal.
Kate Sends Money to Kyrgyzstan
Simon is backpacking around central Asia by himself and is enjoying seeing the sights of Kyrgyzstan until his wallet is stolen. With only a few dollars to his name and needing cash quickly, Simon phones his sister Kate back home in Australia and she agrees to send him some money.
Before she does so, Kate decides to compare the features offered by two different money transfer companies to determine how much the transaction will cost her and how quickly it will be processed.
Money Transfer Company 1
Money Transfer Company 2
1 AUD = 46.94 KGS
1 AUD = 48.72 KGS
Within minutes for cash pickup, up to 2 days for funds to arrive in bank account
Cash pickup on next working day
Online or in person to bank account or to cash pickup from local merchant
Online for cash pickup
Amount received for $1,000 AUD (in Kyrgyzstani Soms)
As you can see, Kate managed to send a total of 1,777.03 KGS by using the second money transfer company. This meant Kate enjoyed a big saving and Simon got enough money to take care of his financial needs.
Things to consider when comparing money transfer options to Kyrgyzstan
Not all money transfer service is created equal, they have differences in fees, exchange rates and other things that can end up with you losing more money that you were trying to transfer, make sure to look into the below before settling on one service.
Exchange rates. A higher exchange rate will result in your recipient getting more of the money you send. However, remember to consider exchange rates in conjunction with the transfer fees attached.
Transfer fees. Compare how much you will be charged for your international money transfer. In addition, keep an eye out for companies that waive their fees when you transfer more than a certain minimum amount - this can help you save money.
Pickup methods. Can the recipient pick up the funds in person from an agent location, or are the funds only accessible via their bank account?
Transfer time. Compare how long it will take each provider to transfer your funds. Will they be ready to be picked up within minutes, or will you have to wait days until your funds can be accessed?
Transfer methods. Look at the options each company provides when it comes to lodging your transfer, including online, over the phone or by visiting a branch.
Minimum amounts. Some companies will have a set minimum transfer limit, which can be quite annoying for customers only looking to send small amounts.
Customer service. Does your chosen company have a good reputation for providing prompt customer service? Look for help services that are offered via phone, online or in the form of a live chat option.
The Kyrgyzstani Som is quite a rare and exotic currency, so the vast majority of Australian banks will not allow you to transfer funds to Kyrgyzstan. However, you do still have a number of other options at your disposal, including:
Western Union. Western Union has a wealth of cash pickup locations across Kyrgyzstan.
MoneyGram. MoneyGram also allows your recipient to pick up cash from its agent locations across the world.
Small World. This online company specialises in offering money transfers to Kyrgyzstan.
Send Money 24. This is another online provider that allows you to transfer funds to Kyrgyzstan.
PayPal. PayPal allows you to send money to someone in Kyrgyzstan if both you and your recipient have a PayPal account.
International money order. You can also get an international guaranteed cheque from your bank which can then be posted overseas.
When you find yourself in a situation where you need to make an emergency cash transfer, remember to pay careful attention to the exchange rate and fees that apply to your transaction. Even though you’re in a rush, it’s essential that you pay close attention to the details of your transfer to ensure you get the best deal possible.
When picking up the cash, remember to exercise caution and stay out of trouble. If your cash or wallet is stolen, report it to the local police as soon as possible.
Western Union and MoneyGram branches in Kyrgyzstan
Look below for a selection of popular Western Union and MoneyGram cash pickup locations across Kyrgyzstan. When you go to pick up your cash, you’ll need to provide proof of your identity, a transaction reference number and details of the money transfer. In the case of large transfers, it may be worthwhile phoning an agent ahead of time to check if they will have enough cash available to hand over to you.
Kozhevennaya Ul 1 Rynok Dordoy Kont 19109
Bishkek, 720024 +996-312-917190 Open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 3:30pm, Saturday 8:30am to 2pm
Chuy Ul 46 Tts Madina 7 Blok
+996-312-531071 Open Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm, Saturday 9am to 3pm
Osh AIYL Bank
Kurmanzhan Datka Ul 211b
Open 9am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 2pm Saturday
Navoi Ul B N
Open 8:30am to 4pm Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 3:30pm on Saturday
Bank of Asia
Jibek-Jolu Ulitsa GM
Open 8:30am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday, open 8:30am to 2:3opm on Saturday
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, travellers to Kyrgyzstan should ‘exercise a high degree of caution’ at all times. Taking note of this, when going to pick up cash in Kyrgyzstan, take a friend with you if possible and stay away from any dodgy parts of town.
Keep your cash hidden as well as possible - don’t flash it around in front of strangers - and head straight to a bank to deposit it into your account. To find out more tips on travel safety and avoiding theft in Kyrgyzstan, hit up online travel blogs and forums to get information from fellow tourists.
As you can see in the list above, there are a number of options available when you need to send money to Kyrgyzstan. While the exact transfer process differs between providers, you’ll typically need to create an account before you can complete a transaction. In order to do this, you’ll need to supply your name, contact details and proof of identification.
You’ll typically be given a receipt and a transaction number to help you monitor the progress of your money transfer until it has been completed.
Thanks to the assistance of dedicated money transfer providers, you can transfer funds to Kyrgyzstan quickly and easily. Just make sure to compare the services and features of different companies to ensure that you use a trusted and reputable provider.
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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