Honestly, this is probably one of the hardest articles to write. Why? Because it seems that everyone we talk with has a different trick and it works differently if you set up a system before leaving the states, verses figuring out a system while in Rwanda. Also, if you have a VPN or not. Some apps work for people and others don’t.
So there is not any ONE way to get money, but there are some common ways.
On a personal note, if you are VISITING Rwanda in preparation to move, during your visit…open up a bank account so you can start sending transfers to your Rwanda account while you are still in your home country. Having the access to large amount of money in your Rwandan account is beneficial during your move.
Below we talk about ways to get your money from the US, while in Rwanda.
Withdrawal from ATM
You can use your debit card to easily pull money from your US accounts. By going to any atm, you can grab the Rwandan equivalent of what you are looking for. Up to 200,000 rw ($200), that is the maximum amount you can withdraw. Based upon your US card, you can repeat that transaction until you have the amount you need. (My limit is 400,000 on my Bank of America account)
You will get hit with an international withdrawal fee from your US account, and you have to know that you are getting hit with a currency exchange rate as well, as that 200,000 rw is about $206. However, it is a quick way to grab cash and be able to get things done.
Please research this as much as possible to understand your options. Each US bank has their own set of rules and regulations when it comes to wire transfers. For instance, Bank of America has a $45 charge for wire transfers to Rwanda into an account. As well, in order for me to access the ability to confirm charges, I have to input a code which can only be texted to a US number. Then, no matter what I do…that transfer will take between 3 to 5 business days. Based upon the bank I transfer to here in Rwanda, it is hit with a receiving charge (in my case $30).
Also, when dealing with international wire transfers, know your SWIFT codes to be able to ensure that it is moving to the correct accounts. While bank transfers are good options for large amounts of money, make sure you have your bank account on the ground and you know the rules and regulations to make your best decisions.
Wise International Transfers
This is a fairly new option that I absolutely love and recommend, BUT you have to have patience. Wise is an international system that gives the absolutely lowest transfer rates where you can move money from one account to another with ease. Check out the video for more information.
The thing is, this is a great option if you are not rushing for money. The transfers can take between 4 to 8 days to hit your Rwandan accounts. Yet, during my transfers…I paid a total of $6 to complete. You have to make sure that your account in Rwanda is in USD to receive the money. Once it is there you can do a basic in bank transfer if you need it in francs. Use this code to get started…you will get a free transfer to figure it out!!
Western Union or Money Gram
You are able to link your US account to Money Gram or Western Union and send money to yourself to be picked up at a currency exchange location for local cash amount. This transaction is fast and able to be completed with ease.
There are other ways as well and we will keep updating this page and site, however know you really need to think it through and make a plan on the best way you would like to receive your money and calculate the fees as well.