What's the best way to send money or transfer funds to Ecuador?
July 21, 2016 8:16 AM   Subscribe

I need to send some funds from the US to Ecuador in a timely manner. My recipients have provided me a name, a phone number and a bank name. I'm not sure my recipients have a bank account.

The funds will be used to support a cultural enrichment program organized by and intended for indigenous peoples. The program starts Monday and the funds to buy supplies are still in a U.S. bank account.

What is the minimum amount of info I need to safely and successfully transfer funds to Ecuador from the U.S.?

What is the best form to send the funds? Wire transfer? FedEx cash? (Probably not.) Are there Western Union equivalents in Ecuador? Does Facebook have a way to transfer funds?

I'm a bit stuck and not sure where to turn, so I turn to the hivemind.
posted by rw to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You can use Western Union to send money to Ecuador. I don't know if this is the best way.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:27 AM on July 21, 2016

I have used xoom.com (PayPal company) to send money to myself in Mexico. Their website says they serve Ecuador as well. In Mexico you have a wide choice of pickup points (with varying maximum amounts), ranging from Walmart to specific banks. Larger amounts usually require a bank pickup, and my experience was that the first larger transfer took about five business days, with subsequent transfers being much faster.
posted by bricoleur at 8:55 AM on July 21, 2016

And xoom is much cheaper than a wire transfer from a bank.
posted by bricoleur at 8:58 AM on July 21, 2016

Best answer: Western Union would work but it is expensive. Xoom is probably about the same (I guess you can check their fees on their website.

For any of those you would need the national ID number of the recipient.

A wire transfer is going to be the least expensive option, but you need more information. They probably do have an account in that bank they mentioned, but they need to give you the full account number, with a code banks have for international transfers (it tells your bank where exactly to send the money to, I can't remember the name of that code now, but it's like 3 or 4 digits), and the name and national ID number of the account holder. You probably will also need to know what type of account it is.
posted by Promethea at 9:03 AM on July 21, 2016

it's a swift code
posted by andrewcooke at 9:30 AM on July 21, 2016

I use Western Union to transfer money to Cote d'Ivoire because it is BY FAR the easiest and most reliable. The people I am transferring money to don't have bank accounts, internet access, or smart phones that would enable them to download apps. In a pinch, I'd suggest that. You will need the full name of the person to whom you are sending the money, and you will need to send them the transfer code that they can then give on the other end (you'll get this at the end of the transaction and can sms them the number).

The one MAJOR hurdle I've had with Western Union is that if I'm filling out the form in English, I write the recipient's full name as First Name, Middle Name, Last Name. Except on the other end, his ID lists his name as Last name, Middle Name, First Name. This has led to long and involved and really frustrating conversations with the very stubborn Western Union man on the other end. So make sure that you have their full name and write it out exactly as it's listed on their government identification.
posted by ChuraChura at 9:35 AM on July 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Recently transferred money to Argentina. Xoom was way cheaper than Western Union.

IIRC, we had some name confusion problems like ChuraChura describes.
posted by JimN2TAW at 10:19 AM on July 21, 2016

Response by poster: Thanks for all the answers! I eventually used MoneyGram. I found that recipients can pick up from any location, which is convenient for them.

The biggest hurdle was finding a credit card with a big enough cash advance. I used my Chase card only after the nice lady I checked with said that cash advances have crazy interest rate rules. She indicated that the best way to avoid this (if the weirdly high rates that accrue daily didn't scare me off altogether) is to pay the card off in full.

I've done that now two months in a row, first a few days after the amount cleared and again after a normal month.

I paid some sort of fee just to make the payment ($15 for $600). $30.75 for a transaction fee. And $1.69 in cash advance interest charges. That should be the end of it, but in another month, I'll know for sure.

Also, I had to have a phone interview about the nature of my relationship with the recipients and whether I knew them personally.

Hassles and cost: A couple hours and $40.42 on fees on a $600 transaction.

Grateful friends: priceless
posted by rw at 5:56 PM on September 2, 2016

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