Senegal is amongst the most stable democracies in Africa. It is a founding member of the West African Economic Community (ECOWAS). The Senegalese population in Australia is small, but has witnessed consistent growth over the years. As per the 2006 Australian census, 198 Senegalese-born people lived in Australia, with the number increasing to 337 in the 2011 Census.
Trade of merchandise between these two nations in 2014-2015 stood at over $16 million. Trade in services during the same period accounted for $3 million. The High Commission in Ghana represents Australia in Senegal, and the Senegalese Embassy in Tokyo finds accreditation to Australia.
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While there aren’t too many instances of people sending money to Senegal from Australia, you still get a number of options to choose from. Go through this guide to pick one that works best for you.
Banks vs money transfer companies
AmadouDiome moved to Australia because of work, while his parents and younger brother continue living in Senegal. Since they depend on him financially, he’ll have to send them money from time to time. Given his income, he feels he can afford sending around $1,000 every month.
He first turned to his bank to go through with the transfer, only to learn that since the West African CFA franc is an exotic currency his bank does not carry out fund transfers to Senegal. Instead of turning to other banks, he chose to compare money transfer companies using the Internet. This is what he found.
Money transfer service 1
Money transfer service 2
$1 = XOF413.1809
$1 = XOF413.75
Amount received for $1,000
The fact that Amadou chose the second money transfer company over the first comes as no surprise. Not only did it get the money directly into his father’s bank account, his father also stood to receive more money. The longer turnaround time did not bother him, since there was no urgency involved.
How do I compare transfer companies when transferring and receiving money via Senegal?
When you decide to send money to Senegal you get various options to choose from. Picking one requires that you pay attention to different aspects.
Exchange rate and fees. Don’t get tempted by a fee-free service provider or a highly competitive exchange rate. This is because while an unfavourable rate might accompany a fee-free service, the possibility of paying an exorbitant fee to get a competitive exchange rate also exists. Comparing how much money the recipient stands to receive should give you a clear indication of the better deal, money wise.
How you can send money. Banks that carry out fund transfers to Senegal can offer multiple ways to initiate the process, which include online, over the phone and in person. Some money transfer companies let you send money in person, by visiting a store or kiosk. Some let you send money over the phone. However, you get the most number of options in the online world.
How someone can receive money. If you have the recipient’s Senegalese bank account details, you can consider transferring funds directly into the account. The recipient can also collect the money you send by visiting a cash pickup centre.
Transfer options. Some money transfer companies let you schedule regular payments as per your need, which takes away the need to go through the process repeatedly. If you’re looking at taking advantage of fluctuations in the foreign currency exchange market, you can look for companies that offer market orders and forward contracts.
Processing time. When transferring money to a Senegalese bank account, the process can take between one to 10 business days, depending on the service provider you choose. In some instances it can take even longer. If you’re sending money to a cash pickup centre, the transfer should go through almost immediately.
Minimum transfer amounts. Some money transfer companies have minimum limits in place, which can be $500 or $1,000.
Customer service. Ideally, look for a business that provides support over the phone, via chat and via email.
You get various options when sending money to Senegal from Australia.
Banks. Find out if your bank lets you send money to Senegal. If it does, there’s a good chance you’ll have to pay a fee to use its services. You can also think about sending a bank issued cheque, money order or draft via mail.
Non-banks. Non-banking institutions such as Western Union and MoneyGram let you send money to cash pickup centres in Senegal. You can also find international money transfer companies that let you send money directly into Senegalese bank accounts. PayPal allows transfers to Senegal from Australia, so you can use its services as well. In this case, both you and the recipient should have PayPal accounts.
How do I receive money from Senegal in Australia?
Receiving money from Senegal in Australia gives you multiple options.
Banks. Find out if the sender if comfortable transferring money directly into your Australian bank account, through a local bank or a money transfer company. You can also consider receiving a money order, cheque or draft via mail.
Non-banks. Money transfer companies such as Western Union and MoneyGram let you receive money from Senegal in person, by visiting their cash pickup centres. Both these businesses have a considerable presence across Australia. You can also use the services of PayPal, provided you and the sender have PayPal accounts. It takes little time to open a new PayPal account, and you don’t have to pay any fees to join.
If you find yourself without your wallet when in Senegal, report your credit and debit cards as lost or stolen as soon as you can. Think about reporting the matter to the local police as well. Then, you can consider getting some emergency money in different ways.
Cash pickup. Can you get a family member or friend to send you some money through a transfer company? If so, locate a nearby cash pickup centre and pass the details to the sender.
Cash advance using credit card. If you have an existing American Express, Visa or Mastercard credit card, you can think about getting an emergency cash advance. For this to happen, you’ll have to visit a local participating financial institution.
Travel insurance. There is no telling when you may encounter unexpected medical expenses or instances such as flight delays and cancellations or lost and misplaced baggage. In such scenarios, having the right kind of travel insurance can give you access to emergency money.
Western Union / MoneyGram branches in Senegal
Western Union and MoneyGram have a number of cash pickup centres in Senegal. Collecting money from any of these centres requires that you present an acceptable form of ID such as your passport or driver’s license. If you plan to collect a large sum, consider calling in advance to check for availability of funds. Here are some cash pickup centres in Senegal.
Acep Bakel Dakar +221-33-8599851 Open 8am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
Acep Marche Boumack Dakar +221-99-41044 Open 8am to 6pm, Monday to Sunday
Adama Dia Touba Guedepres De La Corniche Touba +221-77-4832383 Open 8am to 7pm, Monday to Sunday
Babacar Toure Touba Tally Ndiouga Kebe Touba +221-77-6140505 Open 8am to 8pm, Monday to Sunday
Ibrahima Toure Guediawaye Quartier Golf Sud Pres Du Marche Dakar +221-77-3151864 Open 8am to 11pm, Monday to Sunday
Carrefour Des Stars 112 Golf Sud Hamo 1 Villa N Dakar +221-77-6556059 Open 8am to 11pm, Monday to Sunday
UBA - Cash Point UBA Touba Darou Miname Touba +221-33-8595100 Open 8am to 9pm, Monday to Saturday, 8am to 7pm, Sunday
UBA - Cash Point UBA Touba Dianatou Avant La Police Nationale Touba +221-33-8595100 Open 8am to 9pm, Monday to Saturday, 8am to 7pm, Sunday
Instances of crimes such as bag snatching, pickpocketing and scams are common, especially in large crowds. There are reports of robberies and muggings in the restaurant district of Dakar, the restaurant area of St Louis, Leopold Senghor International Airport and Corniche d’Ouest. Foreigners can become victims of criminals, with the risk increasing after dark.
It is important that you exercise due caution about personal safety. Avoid walking along dark streets or isolated areas at night.
Public demonstrations are common in this country. Avoid political rallies and large gatherings because they can turn violent. Refrain from travelling to Senegal’s border with Guinea because of conflict and military activity.
The steps you have to follow along with the information you have to provide depend on the method you choose.
To a bank account. You’ll have to provide the recipient’s name and bank account details, which include the account number, the name of the bank and the bank’s SWIFT code. If you’re not using the services of a bank you have a relationship with, you’ll have to provide details of your bank account, debit card or credit card. The service provider should give you a reference number, which you can use to track the transfer’s progress at any stage.
To a cash pickup centre. In this case, you’ll have to provide the recipient’s name and a desired cash pickup centre. To pay for the transfer, you’ll have to provide your bank account, debit card or credit card details. Once you send the money, you should get a reference number. Pass this to the recipient as it is required to collect the transferred money.
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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