Sending money to Sri Lanka doesn’t have to take long.
Sending money abroad to Sri Lanka is a simple and straightforward process. After you've chosen an international money transfer provider to process your transfer, simply sign up for an account, deposit your funds into the account and then initiate the transfer.
You will need the following details from your recipient: SWIFT or IBAN number, BSB and account number. Try to collect as much information about the recipient as you can so there aren't any issues with the transfer.
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Banks vs money transfer services - what is cheaper?
The first port of call for many people looking to transfer funds to Sri Lanka is their bank. Many major Australian banks will allow you to send funds to Sri Lanka, offering a convenient option for some people. However, banks typically offer poor exchange rates and charge high fees, meaning it often makes much better financial sense to shop around for a better deal from a specialist money transfer company.
Arjuna Sends Money to Sri Lanka
Arjuna is living and working in Australia but wants to send $2,000 of his hard-earned money to his grandparents back home in Sri Lanka. He knows his big four bank offers international money transfers, but he wants to hunt around for a better deal from a dedicated money transfer company. The results of his comparison can be found in the table below.
|Bank||Money Transfer Company|
|Exchange rate||1 AUD = 95.59LKR||1 AUD = 100.89 LKR|
|Transfer time||2-5 days||1-2 days for bank transfer, less for cash pickup|
|Transfer options||Bank transfer||Bank transfer, cash pickup|
|Amount received for $2,000 (in Sri Lankan Rupees)||191,180||201,780|
As this example demonstrates, not only will Arjuna enjoy a lower fee when using a specialist money transfer company, he’ll also send an extra 10,000-plus Sri Lankan Rupees home to his family. That’s a fair bit of money in anyone’s language.
How do I compare companies when transferring money to Sri Lanka?
It’s vital that you compare the features and benefits of a range of companies before deciding on the best money transfer provider for you. Make sure to consider the following factors:
- Exchange rates. Look at how rates differ between competing providers. Higher rates obviously offer a better deal, but keep in mind that companies with higher rates may also charge higher fees.
- Transfer fee. Compare how much each company will charge you for an international money transfer remembering that some will actually waive their fees if you send more than a certain amount.
- Transfer methods. Can transfers be lodged online, over the phone or by visiting a branch?
- Transfer options. What options does each provider offer to help you save money and enjoy greater convenience? Examples of such options include forward contracts, limit orders and the ability to schedule regular transfers.
- Transfer time. Compare how long it will take your funds to reach the recipient, a factor which is especially important when you need to lodge an emergency transfer.
- Pickup methods. Can funds be picked up from a branch in Sri Lanka or is the entire transaction handled electronically?
- Minimum amounts. Keep an eye out for the fact that some providers will have minimum transfer limits in place. These can cause great inconvenience if you only want to send a small amount of money.
- Customer service options. It’s reassuring to know that customer assistance will be offered whenever you need it. Look for phone support, email assistance and live online chat.
Ways to send money to Sri Lanka from Australia
There are a number of options available when you need to send funds to Sri Lanka, including:
- Bank to bank. Many major Australian banks will allow you to transfer funds directly from your bank account to a Sri Lankan bank account.
- Money transfer services. Companies like WorldRemit and Fast Remit offer quick online money transfers to Sri Lanka.
- Pick up. Western Union and MoneyGram allow you to send money from your credit card or deposit cash and your funds can then be picked up from agent locations across Sri Lanka within minutes.
- International money order. Although it may be time-consuming, you can obtain an international guaranteed cheque from your bank and then send it overseas.
Emergency cash transfers in Sri Lanka
Sometimes situations arise where you need to send funds to Sri Lanka as quickly as possible. For example, your family in Sri Lanka may fall on difficult financial times or you may have a friend travelling through the region who has their wallet stolen.
Whatever the case may be, remember to take the time to read all the fine print associated with your transaction. Familiarise yourself with the applicable exchange rate, transfer fee and the processing time offered. A little extra care now can save you a nasty surprise in the long run and will ensure that you end up with an affordable deal.
Cash pickup locations in Sri Lanka
If you want to access fast transfers to Sri Lanka, WorldRemit, Western Union and MoneyGram can help. You’ll see the details of some popular cash pickup locations across Sri Lanka below, but make sure you take identification (passport, driver’s licence etc) with you when picking up funds. You may also need to make prior arrangements with an agent if you are picking up a large sum of cash.
Bank of Ceylon
Central Bus Stand
Bank of Ceylon
City Office 41 Bristol Street, Colombo
Bank of Ceylon
115A D.Senanayayka St
Bank of Ceylon
Armour Street Pawn Shop 58
Armour St Colombo, Western
Open seven days 9 am to 6pm
Niketh Money Exchanger
325, Third Floor, Majestic City
Open Monday to Saturday 10am to 7:30pm, open Sunday 10am to 5pm
Amana Bank Limited
No 105 Kotugodella Veediya
Open 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday
Lakderana Investments Ltd
159 Katugastota Road
Open Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm, open Saturday 9am to 1pm
Sampath Bank - Maradana
657 Kularathna MW
Maradana Rd Colombo 10 Maradana, 0
Open 8am to 5pm seven days a week
No 1119 Maradana Rd
Open 8:30am to 5:30pm Monday to Friday, open 8:30am to 1pm Saturday
Sampath Bank Kandy
NO 19 Dalada Veediya
Open 7am to 10pm seven days a week
National Savings Bank
88 Kotugodalla Street
Open 8am to 5pm Monday to Saturday
Tips for picking up cash in Sri Lanka
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade recommends that Australian travellers in Sri Lanka should ‘exercise a high degree of caution’. Taking this advice on board, it’s important that you are very careful when picking up a cash transfer. Take a friend with you for added safety and make sure to keep your cash hidden. Avoid any areas where muggings are prevalent and head straight to a bank to deposit all of your funds. For more safety information and travel tips, visit the government’s Smartraveller website and peruse online forums and blogs.Back to top
Documentation you'll need for your money transfer
From bank transfers to the services offered by specialist money transfer companies, you have no shortage of options to choose from when you want to send money to Sri Lanka. While the exact transfer process differs depending on the method you choose, you’ll most likely have to set up an account before you can lodge a transfer.
Doing this will require you to provide things like your name, contact details and proof of identity. Once you’ve lodged a transaction, keep a hold of your receipt or tracking number so you can monitor the process of your funds. And if you compare your options before deciding on a money transfer provider, you’ll end up finding a fast and affordable way to send money to Sri Lanka.
Although our two countries have enjoyed many tense battles in the cricketing arena, Australia and Sri Lanka still share a strong international relationship. In fact, there are more than 100,000 Australians of Sri Lankan origin, with more than 40,000 of them residing in Victoria. Our large Sri Lankan population means that many Australians need to send money from Australia to Sri Lanka for one reason or another.