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May 6, 2010 6:14 AM   Subscribe

Sending cash to Cuba from Canada, with limitations-- help!

I am in Canada. On behalf of an American extended family member, I am trying to send about $300 CAD to a recipient in Cuba who is NOT related to the sender.* I have tried to initiate a wire transfer via BMO, a MoneyGram via Canada Post, and a transfer via Western Union-- and none of them will send money to Cuba (Western Union technically will, but A) it has to be to an immediate family member-- and we don't want to lie on the form, and B) the particular location in my town can only send via the Cuban military, and the recipient isn't military and would not be able to receive it).

Using a credit card is out because it would be considered a cash advance and I do not want to pay the daily transacted rate (I confirmed with RBC, with whom I have my VISA, that any payment made towards the total balance on my card will NOT automatically be applied to the cash advance portion, and that they don't recommend doing it unless I am carrying a zero balance-- which isn't an option at the moment).

I am in a remote location, and in my town there is only BMO, CIBC, Western Union, and Canada Post (MoneyGram). I have had conversations with these organizations both in person and with their call centres.

Of course I am trying to incur the lowest possible transaction fees so that the recipient can get the most money on his end.

I am particularly frustrated because this family member came to visit me in Canada two years ago and sent money to this same recipient via Western Union without an issue. I still can't figure out why it was different then, and nobody I've spoken to has been able to tell me.

Has anyone had any success with any other methods that I haven't tried yet, taking into consideration the limitations I mention above? If the solution is with a company that does not have a location in my town, or that is an online solution, the transaction MUST be cash-based (Interac Email Transfer or Money Order).

* They are very old friends, and my family member sends the recipient money on occasion just to help out.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sign up for a new credit card from a different bank you can keep a zero balance on, make the other person an authorized user on a second card and send them that one?
posted by reptile at 6:40 AM on May 6, 2010

Or sign up a new checking account that can be accessed via ATMs in Cuba (I have no idea how easy this is), add that person as an authorized user, and send them an ATM card for that account.
posted by reptile at 6:42 AM on May 6, 2010

You can also check with any humanitarian groups that may be willing to hand-carry cash to the individual. I have done that on occasion.
posted by JJ86 at 7:19 AM on May 6, 2010

This forum might help.

A BMO Prepaid Credit Card might be your best option.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:14 AM on May 6, 2010

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