Send Money to Colombia - All You Need to Know

Sending money to Colombia can be daunting if you don't know where to start. In this epic guide, we will answer all your questions and provide valuable tips on getting the best exchange rates and avoiding common scams. So whether you're looking to send money to family members in Colombia or are planning on doing business with Colombian companies, you have plenty of options. From traditional methods like wire transfers to newer ones like peer-to-peer payments, you can find a solution that fits your needs. Read on for everything you need to know!

Before sending money to Colombia from the United States

The process of sending money from the United States to Colombia has a few more steps than usual due mainly to US regulations on money transfers. In general, though, you'll need to:
  • Choose a method of sending money. Wire transfer is the most common method, but there are plenty of others, including peer-to-peer payments and online money transfers.
  • Choose a provider. Your bank may offer wire transfer services, but many specialized providers can give you better rates and faster service.
  • Gather the necessary information. This includes things like the recipient's name, address, phone number, and bank account information.
  • Make the transfer. This usually involves logging into your account with your chosen provider and following their instructions.
  • Wait for the money to arrive. It typically takes one to two business days for wire transfers to go through, but other methods may be faster or slower.
As long as you have all the necessary information, sending money to Colombia from the US is relatively straightforward. Read on for more details on each step of the process!

Know about your recipient's preference

One of the first things you need to do before sending money to Colombia is to determine your recipient's preference for how they would like to receive the funds. The most common methods are wire transfer, cash pickup, and peer-to-peer payments, but other options are also available. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to choose one that will work best for your recipient.

Wire transfers are typically the most expensive option, but they're also the most secure and can be processed relatively quickly. Cash pickups are usually cheaper than wire transfers, but they're not always available in all areas and can take longer to process. Peer-to-peer payments are a newer option that is becoming increasingly popular and tend to be very fast and conven

Know about the details of the transfer

The next thing you need to do is gather all the necessary information for the transfer. This includes things like the recipient's name, address, phone number, and bank account information. You'll also need to know the amount of money you're sending and how urgently it needs to arrive.

A wire transfer may be your best option if you're sending a large amount of money or if the funds are needed urgently. However, if you're sending a smaller amount or if there's no time constraint, you may be able to save money by using an international money transfer service like XE or Wise.

Read our honest and unbiased review of XE and Wise before making your decision!

Know how you'll be paying for the transfer

Next up is deciding how you'll be paying for the transfer. Again, there are a few options to consider. The most common methods are bank account transfers, debit or credit card payments, and cash payments. Each option has its benefits and drawbacks.

Bank account transfers are usually the safest option, but they can take up to a few days to process, and the handling fees between international banks can be high. On the other hand, transfers with debit or credit through a cross-border money transfer service are generally very quick and can take anywhere between a few minutes and a couple of hours.

Once you've decided how you'll be paying for the transfer, you can start looking into specific providers and comparing their rates and fees.

Know which level of security you want the transfer to undergo

Different security options are available depending on the amount of money being transferred and how quickly you need it to arrive.

International money transfer services are usually sufficiently secure for up to $20,000. Moreover, these services are convenient because they can be accessed through smartphone apps, often do not require users to open an account, and have better rates than regular banks, as most do not charge exchange rate markups on the transfers.

On the other hand, wire transfers are a more secure option for large sums of money that need to be transferred quickly. But on the flip side, they can get costlier than online money transfer services like Wise and XE.

Which documents/information do you need to send money to Colombia?

To send money to Colombia, you will need the following documents:

  • A valid government-issued ID
  • Name, address, and valid government-issued ID of your recipient in Colombia
  • Your recipient's bank details
  • Your recipient's address and state name
  • Your recipient's phone number for transfer verification

If you are using an online money transfer service, you may also be asked for:

  • A photo or scan of your ID
  • A selfie with your ID

These measures are in place to comply with anti-money laundering regulations. Money transfer companies like Wise take security very seriously, so you can rest assured that your money is in good hands.

Knowing which documents are required will help the process go more smoothly and avoid any potential delays in receiving your funds.

While some people may view sending money as a complicated process, it doesn't have to be! By following these simple tips, you can rest assured that your money will arrive safely and on time.

The 4 most popular methods to send money to Colombia

When thinking about sending money to Colombia, we identified four popularly accepted ways we have used and tested ourselves, which we will discuss in detail below.

Traditional bank transfer

The most popular and common method to send money internationally is still through a bank. You can go into any bank in your home country and set up an international wire transfer to Colombia. All you need is the Colombian person or company's banking information, including the SWIFT code, account number, and routing number.

Your local bank will likely charge you a fee for this service and an unfavorable exchange rate. The good news is that if your Colombian recipient also has a bank account enabled for international transfers, they can usually pick up the funds within one to three business days.

While this may be the most familiar way to send money, it isn't always the cheapest or most efficient option — especially if you need to send money regularly.

Additionally, about 50% of the population in Colombia still does not have access to formal banking services — meaning they would need to go through an additional step to collect their funds, which could further delay the process.

Cross-border money transfer services

In recent years, many companies have cropped up that specialize in international money transfers, also known as cross-border payments. These companies use the latest technology to send money quickly and securely — often at a lower cost than banks.

One such company is Wise (formerly TransferWise). Wise uses the real mid-market exchange rate to help you transfer money — the same one you find on Google — so you always know how much your recipient will get, down to the last peso. And because they never add hidden fees to the exchange rate, you'll always get a fair deal.

What's more, with Wise and other companies like them, you can hold and manage your money in multiple currencies all at once. This means that you can keep your money in the Wise multi-currency account until you need to make a payment. Then, when it comes time to pay someone in pesos, the account will automatically convert your funds to the real exchange rate — with no exchange rate markup.

Best of all, transfers with Wise, XE, or Remitly usually only take a few days. And if you need to send money regularly (say, to cover rent or support family back home), you can set up automatic payments, so you don't have to go through the process each time.

If this is starting to sound too good to be true, there's one catch: Not all cross-border payment companies operate in Colombia just yet. So before you choose a provider, make sure they can send money to Colombia — and that they have good reviews from other users.

Cross-border money transfer options

Wise: Wise is available in Colombia and has processed over $120 million in transfers to the country. Sending with Wise is up to eight times cheaper than using a bank, so if you need to send Colombian pesos regularly, it's worth checking out!

XE: XE is another popular cross-border payment provider that allows money transfers up to $500,000 to Colombia. Their service is efficient and straightforward to use, and you can expect your money to get to your recipient within 1 and 4 business days.

Remitly: Remitly is available in Colombia and offers low-cost transfer options starting at $0 for transfers above $500 if paid with your bank account or as little as $3.99 if paid with your debit card.

E-wallet/Air top-up

Another popular way to send money, especially smaller amounts, is to use an e-wallet or airtime top-up service. These companies allow you to send money online (usually via their app) and have the funds deposited into your recipient's mobile phone account — which they can use to make purchases, pay bills, or withdraw cash from an ATM.

Some of the most popular e-wallets in Colombia include Tigo Money, DaviPlata, and Mercado Pago. And while these services are convenient and typically quite fast (often instant), there are a few things to remember before using them.

First, not everyone in Colombia has access to a smartphone or the internet — so if your recipient doesn't, they won't be able to use this service. Additionally, e-wallets typically charge a small fee for each transaction — so if you're sending a large amount of money, it might not be the most cost-effective option.

That said if you need to send a smaller amount of money quickly and your recipient has a smartphone, using an e-wallet could be a good option for you.

Cryptocurrency

The last — and perhaps most innovative — way to send money to Colombia is via cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography to secure transactions and control the creation of new units. Bitcoin, the first and most well-known cryptocurrency, was created in 2009.

While sending cryptocurrency might sound complicated, it's in reality quite simple — and can be a quick and cheap way to send money. You only need a cryptocurrency wallet (like Coinbase or Xapo) and some bitcoins (or other cryptocurrencies). Then, you can use a service like BitPay or Coinapult to send money anywhere in the world — including Colombia.

One thing to keep in mind with this option is that cryptocurrency is volatile — meaning the value of your coins can go up or down quite quickly. So if you're considering using cryptocurrency to send money to Colombia, make sure you understand the risks involved.

What is the cheapest way to send money to Colombia?

The cheapest way to send money to Colombia is through a cross-border payment provider like Wise. With Wise, you can send Colombian pesos at the real exchange rate — with no markup — and pay a low, transparent fee for each transfer.

If you need to send money regularly (e.g., to cover rent or support family back home), you can set up automatic payments so you don't have to go through the process each time.

What is the fastest way to send money to Colombia?

If you need to send money to Colombia quickly, your best bet is to use a cross-border payment provider like Wise or XE. With both of these services, you can typically expect your money to arrive within one to four business days.

Another option for quickly sending smaller amounts of money is to use an e-wallet or airtime top-up service. These companies allow you to send money online (usually via their app) and have the funds deposited into your recipient's mobile phone account — which they can use to make purchases, pay bills, or withdraw cash from an ATM.

Wrapping up

Sending money to Colombia doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. With a bit of research, you can find a service that meets your needs and budget. Don't get intimidated by all the options — just take your time, compare your options, and choose the best one.

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