Little Know Ways to Send Money to Sierra Leone Better

Information verified correct on October 28th, 2016

Sierra-LeoneWhen sending money to Sierra Leone, what does it takes to pick the right money transfer service provider?

After the end of the civil war in Sierra Leone, the nation went on to become a prime example of peacekeeping success. The country is a hotbed of natural resources that include diamonds, gold, titanium and rutile. However, more than 70% of the country’s population lives below the poverty line.

The number of Sierra Leoneans in Australia is small. As per the 2001 Australian census, 363 Sierra Leone born residents lived in Australia. From 2002 to 2006, 1979 Sierra Leoneans gained entry to Australia. A majority of these arrived under Australia’s Humanitarian Programme.

In 2014, the total trade between these two nations, including export and imports, stood at $7,029,000.

From time to time, there are instances of people wanting to send money to Sierra Leone from Australia. This guide gives you the ability to pick a method that suits your needs.

Case study: Banks vs money transfer companies

Emmanuel Conteh managed to get a job shortly after his arrival in Australia. While we was getting his life in order, his family that included his mother, wife and daughter, remained in Sierra Leone. This required that he send them money periodically. He felt he could send them around $1,000 per month comfortably. Since he was dealing with an exotic currency, he could not use his bank’s services to send money home.

Before sending money through a transfer company he felt it might be worth his while to compare his options. He did, and this is what he found.

Money transfer service 1Money transfer service 2
Exchange rate$1 = SLL3,864.03289$1 = SLL2,816.87
Transfer fee$13.99$0
Amount received for $1,000SLL3,809,975SLL2,816,870
Transfer time1 day1 day
Transfer optionsCash pickupBank account
Difference ofSLL9,93,105

Emmanuel noticed that while the second service provider did not charge a fee, the first service provider offered a highly competitive exchange rate. By using the first service provider his family ended up receiving considerably more money, even though he had to pay a fee. Picking up cash was not a problem for his wife, since she lived near a cash pickup location.

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How do I compare transfer companies when transferring and receiving money via Sierra Leone?

Pay attention to different aspects when you’re comparing money transfer companies to send money to Sierra Leone.

  • Exchange rate and fees. Don’t rely on just one of these to make your decision. This is because an unfavourable exchange rate can accompany an offer that does not include fees, as you can see in the case study. The reverse can hold true as well. When comparing your options, look at how much money the recipient stands to receive instead.
  • Transfer methods. Banks that transfer money to Sierra Leone can let you initiate the process online, over the phone or in-person. You can find money transfer companies that let you send money to Sierra Leone online. Some have stores and kiosks that you can visit. Some also let you send money over the phone.
  • Pickup methods. The recipient can collect transferred money by visiting a cash pickup location. You can also transfer money directly into the recipient’s bank account.
  • Transfer options. If you wish to send money periodically, you can look for a money transfer company that lets you schedule regular transfers. If you wish to make the most of the foreign exchange market, you can work with companies that offer forward contracts and market orders.
  • Turnaround time. This can vary greatly depending on the service provider you choose. For instance, transfers that involve cash pickups can take place almost immediately. On the other hand, a transfer to a bank account can take one to 10 days, or more.
  • Minimum amounts. This can be a concern if you’re not sending much money because some service providers don’t allow transfers below $500 or $1,000.
  • Customer service. Good money transfer companies offer customer support in different ways, which include over the phone, via chat and via email.
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How do I send money to Sierra Leone from Australia?

When sending money to Sierra Leone from Australia, you get to choose from different options.

  • Banks. Find out if you can send money to Sierra Leone using your bank’s services. If you can, you may be able to do so by visiting a branch, over the phone or online. You can also consider sending a cheque, draft or a money order via mail.
  • Non-banks. Money transfer companies such as Western Union and WorldRemit let you send money to Sierra Leone from Australia. You can use their services to transfer funds to a bank account or send money to a cash pickup centre. You can also transfer funds via PayPal, provided both you and the recipient have PayPal accounts. It takes little time to open a new PayPal account and you can open one for free.

How do I receive money from Sierra Leone in Australia?

If you have to receive money from Sierra Leone, it can get to you in different ways.

  • Banks. If you provide the sender with your bank account details, you can get the money directly into your account. The sender can do this using the services of a bank or a money transfer company. You can also receive a bank-issued cheque, money order or draft via mail.
  • Non-banks. Non-banking businesses such as Western Union have numerous cash pickup centres in Australia. You can collect transferred money at any of these centres. Using PayPal to receive money is also an option. Once the money gets to your PayPal account, withdrawing it into your bank account is easy.
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Emergency cash transfers in Sierra Leone

If you find yourself in Sierra Leone without your wallet, the first thing you should do is report your credit and debit cards as lost or stolen. Report the matter to the police as well. Next, you can think about getting some emergency money.

  • Cash pickup. An easy way to get some emergency money is to ask a friend or a family member to send you some through a money transfer company. Locate an easily accessible cash pickup centre and pass the details to the sender.
  • Cash advance on credit card. If you have an existing Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit card, you can get some emergency money in the form of a cash advance by visiting a local participating bank.
  • Travel insurance. Getting the right kind of travel insurance can work in your favour. This is because you can then get emergency money to deal with situations such as medical contingencies, lost or misplaced baggage as well as flight delays and cancellations.
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Cash pickup locations in Sierra Leone

Money transfer companies such as Western Union and WorldRemit have several cash pickup locations in Sierra Leone. To collect money from any of these centres you’ll have to provide a valid reference number along with an acceptable form of ID such as your passport or driver’s license. If you plan to collect a large amount, call ahead of time to ensure availability of funds. Here are some cash pickup locations in Sierra Leone.

Western Union


  • Ecobank Sierra Leone
    7 Lightfoot Boston Street
    Open 8:30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, 10am to 3pm, Saturday, closed on Sunday
  • FIB
    7 Main Motor Road Brookfields
    Open 8:30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday, 10am to 2pm, Saturday, closed on Sunday


  • UTB
    89 Sewa Road
    Open 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, 10am to 3pm, Saturday, closed on Sunday
  • UTB
    7 Bojon Street
    Open 8:30am to 3:30pm, Monday to Friday, closed on Saturday and Sunday



  • Afro
    54 Peninsular Road, Above Paddy Enterprise
    Open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
  • Afro
    27 Kissy Road, 1st Floor, Near Eastern Policy
    Open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday


  • Afro
    2B Old Gerihun Road
    Open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
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Tips for picking up cash in Sierra Leone

When you’re picking money from a cash pickup centre in Sierra Leone it is in your best interest to exercise due vigilance. Sierra Leone has high levels of crime. Bag snatching and pickpocketing are common, as are instances of armed theft and violent assault.

Security risks increase noticeably after dark, so avoid walking alone at night. When driving, make sure you keep the doors and windows locked, especially when in slow moving traffic. Plan travel arrangements in advance and avoid using public transport as far as possible. This is because there have been instances of robberies carried out by associates of drivers as well as other passengers.

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What are the steps to send money to Sierra Leone?

The steps involved in sending money to Sierra Leone depend on the method you choose.

  1. Transfer to bank account. You’ll have to provide the recipient’s name as well as account number, bank’s name and bank’s SWIFT code. If you’re sending money through a transfer company, or through a bank other than your own, you’ll have to provide your bank account, debit card or credit card details. Once you initiate the transfer you get a reference number, which you can use to track the transfer’s progress.
  2. Cash pickup. Sending money to a cash pickup centre requires that you provide the recipient’s name as well as a desired pickup location. If you’re sending money online or over the phone you’ll have to provide your bank account, debit card or credit card details. The service provider gives you a reference number once you send the money. The recipient needs this number to collect the money.
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