Following the Arab Spring in 2011, the first Presidential Election in Tunisia took place in November 2014. Australia provided early support for the economic and political transition process through assistance packages and technical support, focussing on aspects such as electoral reforms as well as enhancing food security and agricultural productivity.
As per the Office of Tunisians Abroad, in 2012 around 350 Tunisians lived in Australia. The total merchandise trade between these two nations from 2014 to 2015 stood at over $32 million, which included exports and imports. Export and import of services accounted for an additional $3 million.
While Australia does not have a consulate or embassy in Tunisia, the Canadian Embassy in Tunis provides consular assistance to Australians. You can also seek assistance from the Australian High Commission located in Malta. Tunisia has an embassy in Canberra.
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There are instances when people wish to send money to Tunisia from Australia. While you can do this in different ways, picking the right method can save you time as well as money.
Banks vs money transfer companies
Work got KarimElhamdi to Australia. However, his wife and son continue living in Tunisia. Since the money his wife earns is not enough to keep their existing lifestyle going, he needs to send them some money periodically. He figures he can afford sending around $1,500 every month.
The Australian bank Karim has an account with does not transfer funds to Tunisia, given that the Tunisian dinar is an exotic currency. While he can turn to other banks, he decides to compare money transfer companies instead. After his online research, this is what he finds.
Money transfer service 1
Money transfer service 2
$1 = TND1.4308
$1 = TND1.37396
Amount received for $1,500
Karim’s wife has an account with a bank in Tunisia, so he decides to use the services for the first company. While his wife will have to wait a little longer to receive the money, neither of them is in a hurry for the transfer to go through. The fact that she stands to receive considerably more money through the first service provider is what clinches the deal.
How do I compare transfer companies when transferring and receiving money via Tunisia?
There are a number of money transfer companies that let you send money to Tunisia from Australia, so comparing a few is important. Pay attention to these aspects to arrive at a decision.
Exchange rate and fees. Both can be misleading. While high fees might accompany a seemingly competitive exchange rate, you may end up getting an unfavourable rate through a service provider that does not charge fees. An easy way to decide is by comparing how much money the recipient stands to receive.
How you can send money. Banks that offer money transfer services to Tunisia can let you do so online, over the phone or in person. You can send money in person by visiting a money transfer company’s store or kiosk. Several money transfer companies limit their operations to the online world. Some let you initiate the process over the phone as well.
How the recipient can receive money. If the recipient wishes to receive money directly in a Tunisian bank account you’ll need relevant bank account details. Receiving money by visiting a cash pickup centre is also an option.
Using the same bank. If you and the recipient have accounts with the same bank, you can think about using its services to send money to Tunisia. This is because you may be able to save in fees and benefit through a quicker turnaround time.
Processing time. If you’re sending money that the recipient will collect from a cash pickup location, the transfer can take place almost immediately. With transfers to bank accounts, while money transfer companies tend to take one to three days, banks tend to take longer.
Transfer options. If you plan to send money to Tunisia on a regular basis, you should consider working with a company that lets you schedule payments. This way you don’t have to go through the entire process before each transfer. Some money transfer companies let you purchase forward contracts and market orders.
You get to choose from different options when sending money to Tunisia from Australia.
Banks. If your bank allows fund transfers to Tunisian accounts, you may be able to initiate the process by visiting a branch, over the Internet or over the phone. Remember that banks tend to charge fees for international money transfers. You can also consider sending a bank-issued check, draft or money order to Tunisia by mail.
Non-banks. Money transfer companies such as Western Union and MoneyGram let you send money to Tunisia from Australia, to banks accounts and to cash pickup centres. You can also use PayPal, provided you and the recipient have accounts with this service provider. You don’t have to pay any fees to open a PayPal account.
How do I receive money from Tunisia in Australia?
There are different ways to choose from when receiving money from Tunisia in Australia.
Banks. Getting the money directly into your bank account is an option. For this to happen, you’ll have to pass your bank account details to the sender. The sender can initiate the transfer through a bank or a money transfer company. You can also consider receiving a money order, cheque or draft via mail.
Non-banks. You can visit a cash pickup centre of a service provider such as Western Union or MoneyGram to collect the transferred money in person. If you and the recipient have PayPal accounts, you can use its services for the transfer as well. Once the online transfer is through, you can withdraw the money in your local bank account easily.
If you’re in Tunisia and end up losing your wallet, you should report your credit and debit cards as lost or stolen immediately. You can then think about getting some emergency money in different ways.
Cash pickup. Getting a friend or a family member to send you some money using a money transfer company is one way.If this is possible, locate a nearby cash pickup centre and pass the details to the sender.
Credit card cash advance. If you have an existing Mastercard, Visa or American Express credit card, you can get an emergency cash advance by visiting a local participating financial institution.
Travel insurance. Getting the right kind of travel insurance before going to Tunisia can hold you in good stead. This is because you can then get emergency money to deal with lost and misplaced luggage, flight delays and cancellations as well as unexpected medical expenses.
Western Union and MoneyGram have a noticeable presence throughout Tunisia. If you wish to collect money from any of their cash pickup centres, you’ll need a valid reference number as well as an acceptable form of photo ID such as your passport or driver’s license. If the transfer involves a large sum, call in advance to confirm availability of funds. Here are some cash pickup centres in Tunisia.
Agence 61 Comptoir Des Particuliers3 Rue De Hollande TunisTunis+216-71131114Open 8am to 7pm, Monday to Sunday
Agence Alain Savary Angle Rue M. Sfar Et A. SavaryTunis+216-71164850Open 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, closed on Saturday and Sunday
Agence Sfax Bab Bhar Angle Avenue Habib Bourguiba Et Marche CSfax+216-71164720Open 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, closed on Saturday and Sunday
Agence Sfax Boulila Sfax Immeuble Lafrane CenterSfax+216-71164321Open 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, closed on Saturday and Sunday
BTK Avenue Mohamed V 10 BisBp 49Tunis+216-71340000Open 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, closed on Saturday and Sunday
BNA Avenue De Londres 16Tunis RpTunis+216-71253751Open 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday, closed on Saturday and Sunday
BNA Port De PecheSfax+216-4227465Open 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday, closed on Saturday and Sunday
BNA Avenue Taieb Mhiri 19Sfax+216-4226012Open 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday, closed on Saturday and Sunday
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises Australians to reconsider their need of travelling to Tunisia, with higher levels applicable to some parts of the country. This is because of violent confrontations between protesters and security forces across a number of cities and towns in Tunisia.
There has reportedly been an increase in instances of petty crimes such as bag snatching, pickpocketing, theft and scams. As a result, when you collect money from a cash pickup location, remain vigilant. Theft of valuable items from hotel rooms and vehicles is not uncommon.
You should exchange foreign currency only through banks or authorised dealers. Keep receipts for all the dinars you obtain. Before you leave Tunisia you can convert a maximum of 3,000 Tunisian dinars to foreign currency. You cannot take Tunisian dinars out of the country.
The steps involved in sending money to Tunisia depend on the method you choose.
Transfer to bank account. When sending money through your bank, you’ll have to provide the recipient’s name, account number, bank’s name and bank’s SWIFT code. If you’re using a service provider other than your bank, you’ll have to provide details of your bank account, debit card or credit card. You can use the reference number you get to track the transfer’s progress at any stage.
Cash pickup. If you’re sending money in person, you’ll have to provide the recipient’s name and a desired cash pickup location. When sending money online or over the phone, prepare to provide your bank account, debit card or credit card details as well. After you initiate the transfer you get a reference number. Pass this onto the recipient.
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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