You may need to send money to Belarus for various reasons, like paying your freelancer, supporting family, and covering essential expenses like medical bills, education fees, or daily living costs. Generally, sending money from outside your country of residence can be hard because of the processes it takes, but it doesn't have to be. There are simple and efficient methods to do this, which often make the experience very easy.
Sending money to Belarus has become more challenging due to the numerous sanctions. These are restrictions imposed on Belarus because of its involvement in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The sanctions include export controls and financial restrictions. These measures can affect international financial transactions and have led to disruptions and increased uncertainty.
If you're sending money to Belarus, it's crucial to stay updated about these sanctions and ways they could be manoeuvre, which is the aim of this article. We will break down the process into easy steps, ensuring that anyone, anywhere, can easily try it, and if followed carefully, it will work. So, say goodbye to complex procedures as we guide you through the simplicity of transferring money to Belarus.
Understanding the Currency Exchange Rates
Before sending money to Belarus, know your country's currency exchange rate with the Belarusian ruble. An exchange rate is a trade deal between two currencies, indicating the value of your currency in Belarusian rubles. Economic changes, country stability, and currency demand influence exchange rates. For instance, a strong economy strengthens a currency. Monitor these rates when sending money to Belarus.
Tools To Find the Exchange Rates Between Your Country and Belarus
You can find the exchange rates between two countries in many ways. The easiest way is to ask Google. For example, if you reside in the US, you can just google “USD/BYN,” with USD representing the US dollar and BYN representing the Belarusian ruble. Do this, and the latest rate will be revealed.
Also, you can use online tools like XE or OANDA to check exchange rates instantly. Enter your country and Belarus to see the current rates. For more relevant information on the rate and the reasons for the current rate, you can use your banking apps or visit the bank’s website.
How to Read Exchange Rates
Each rate has a pair, such as USD/EUR, where USD is the "base" and EUR is the "quote." If the rate is 1.20, it means 1 USD equals 1.20 euros. For example, exchanging 100 USD at this rate gives you 120 euros. The rate's value reflects how much you get in the quote currency. A higher rate means more value. Reading exchange rates helps you understand your money's worth in another country's terms. So, monitor trends and consider sending money when rates are favorable.
Comparing Transfer Fees and Currency Conversion Fees
When sending money to Belarus, it is important to compare transfer and currency conversion fees to ensure you get the best value. Transfer fees are the charges financial institutions or networks impose for transferring money from one currency to another. In comparison, currency conversion fees are the charges for converting a transaction from one currency to another. Here are some key points to consider when comparing transfer fees and currency conversion fees:
- Foreign transaction fees. Foreign transaction fees may apply when using a credit or debit card in another country. The credit card issuer charges these fees for making a purchase from a foreign merchant and can range from 2% to 3%.
- Currency conversion fees. A credit or debit card payment processor, ATM network, or overseas merchant can charge currency conversion fees. These fees can be rolled into foreign transaction fees or included in the purchase price. This can make them difficult to identify.
- Dynamic currency conversion (DCC). DCC is a process where an overseas merchant offers to convert a transaction into dollars or the cardholder's home currency. This can result in additional fees and unfavorable exchange rates.
- Comparing fees. To ensure you get the best value for your money, comparing transfer fees and exchange rates across different providers is important. Some providers, such as Wise, offer low, transparent fees and use the real exchange rate for conversion.
By understanding transfer fees and currency conversion fees, you can make the best possible decisions when sending money to Belarus and avoid unnecessary charges.
Available Transfer Methods to Belarus
There are several available transfer methods to send money to Belarus, including:
Bank transfers are a method to move money between bank accounts. The transfer duration can vary, taking 1 to 5 business days. The exact time depends on the banks involved. Fees for bank transfers differ. Some banks charge a flat fee, like $15, or equivalent in any other currency, while others opt for a percentage, typically around 1-3% of the transferred amount.
- Bank transfers are secure and direct.
- It's a dependable method for moving money.
- Costs can add up, especially with flat or percentage-based fees.
- Banks may not offer the best rates, affecting the recipient's amount.
Steps to Use
- Log in to your online banking.
- Select "transfer" or a similar option.
- Specify it's an international transfer and select Belarus.
- Input recipient details and the amount.
- Confirm the transaction.
If the above steps do not work, your bank does not offer it through the app, or you personally want to do it the traditional way, you can walk into your bank premises and follow the steps that will be directed.
International Wire Transfers
International wire transfers enable you to send money from your bank to a foreign account. This method involves moving funds electronically across borders. The time for international wire transfers varies but can range from 1 to 5 business days, depending on the banks involved. Fees for international wire transfers differ. Banks may charge a flat fee, like $20 to $50, or a percentage, typically around 1-3% of the transferred amount. It all depends on your bank.
- Most banks offer international wire transfer services.
- It's a secure method for sending money globally.
- Costs can be higher compared to other methods.
- Some banks may offer less favorable rates.
Steps to Use
- Visit your bank or use online banking.
- Provide recipient details and specify it's an international transfer. Select Belarus as the country you are sending the money to.
- Input the amount and verify all details.
- Confirm and monitor the transfer status.
Note that some countries can not make bank transfers to Belarus due to the sanctions. For example, people in the US and Canada can not make direct bank transfers because of sanctions. In Russia, even though there are no direct sanctions stopping people in Russia from sending money through transfers to Belarus, some international payment systems like VISA and MasterCard have left the country. So, sending money is impossible through bank transfers. Other methods work, though.
Other Methods to Send Money to Belarus From Russia
To send money from Russia to Belarus, you have several options to choose from.
1. Sberbank Online
When sending money from Russia to Belarus, consider using Sberbank Online. Access the "Transfers" option in the mobile app, select "Abroad," and input the recipient's details. The transaction incurs a 1% commission, ranging from a minimum of 30 rubles to a maximum of 1500 rubles. Swift and efficient, this method lets you make instant transfers of up to 150,000 rubles. It provides a convenient option for those looking for an easy and quick process.
2. Alfa Bank
For a versatile option to transfer funds from Russia to Belarus, Alfa Bank offers card-to-card transfers through its website. Unlike some platforms, this service is not restricted to Alfa Bank cards, accepting cards from other credit institutions as long as they are part of the Belarusian Belkart system. Simply specify the amount and card details, with no limitation on the recipient's bank. This flexibility makes Alfa Bank a convenient choice for those looking for a broader range of options in cross-border money transfers.
3. SWIFT Transfers
Certain Russian banks, including Raiffeisenbank, Tinkoff Bank, Rosbank, Gazprombank, and UniCredit, continue to use the SWIFT system for international transfers to Belarus. While each bank independently sets the commission, ranging from 2% to 3%, SWIFT provides a reliable and widely accepted method for cross-border transactions. Despite geopolitical challenges, these banks offer a channel to send money securely, especially for people and businesses requiring the global reach of SWIFT.
4. Russian Post
Another viable option for sending money to Belarus from Russia is through the Russian Post. At any branch, you can initiate a postal money order with a maximum transfer amount of 90,000 rubles. The commission structure varies based on the amount transferred, ranging from a minimum of 40 rubles plus 5% for transfers under 1000 rubles to 260 rubles plus 1.5% for amounts exceeding 20,000 rubles. While the commission might be slightly higher, this method provides accessibility and a physical option for those preferring traditional postal services.
Since November 2023, PosTransfer has introduced instant money transfers between Russia and Belarus. Accessible at 30,000 Russian Post branches and connected Belposhta branches in Belarus, it ensures swift transactions. The minimal 1.8% commission and instant processing make PosTransfer a viable option for residents of both countries. This enhances the speed and efficiency of cross-border transactions.
Online Money Transfer Providers
Online money transfer providers offer a digital way to send money globally. They operate through websites or apps, making it convenient to transfer funds without visiting a physical location.
- Online providers often offer quick transfers from minutes to a few days.
- Many provide better exchange rates than traditional banks.
- Easy-to-use platforms accessible from anywhere with an Internet connection.
- While some providers have low fees, they can vary, impacting the overall cost.
- Not all providers operate in every country, limiting options.
Some of the Best Online Money Transfer Providers
For a reliable money transfer option, consider Contact. It provides a convenient channel for sending funds and operates both in cash at physical points and online through non-cash transactions from the sender's card. Recipients can withdraw the money in cash in Belarusian rubles.
This service extends its reach to over 30 countries, including Belarus within the CIS, the USA, and Gulf countries. With a flat commission of 1% on the transfer amount, irrespective of the currency sent, it offers a cost-effective solution for international money transfers with a longstanding presence in the market.
2. Golden Crown
Through its Zolotaya Korona system, Golden Crown facilitates seamless transfers to and from Belarus. This service offers the flexibility of both cash and bank transfers. Non-cash transactions can be conveniently initiated on the website or mobile app. The process involves selecting the country, specifying the amount and currency, providing payer and recipient details, and entering the bank card information.
After clicking "Pay" and verifying the transaction, a unique code is generated for tracking. The commission for transfers to Belarus is 0.99% plus 99 Belarusian rubles (minimum 149 rubles). Opting for recipient status notifications incurs an additional 99 rubles in commission.
Unistream provides a versatile money transfer service, allowing both cash and non-cash transactions. Like other systems, the process involves selecting the sending method, with recipients collecting cash at Unistream branches with a passport and a unique transfer number.
Utilizing the website incurs a commission starting from 50 rubles, enabling transfers ranging from 50 to 450,000 BYN, the commission included. The mobile application offers a commission-free option for added convenience. With a user-friendly approach and various options, Unistream ensures accessible and efficient money transfers. This makes it suitable for people seeking reliable financial transactions to Belarus.
Understanding the Impact of Sanctions on Transfers
When sending money to Belarus, it's crucial to be aware of and comply with financial sanctions imposed by various countries. These measures aim to ensure the security of financial transactions and prevent unauthorized or illegal transfers. Some key points to consider:
- Research sanctions lists. Familiarize yourself with sanctions lists provided by regulatory authorities like the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Banka Slovenije, the European Union, etc. These lists are regularly updated, so it is important to be up to date and know if your country has financial sanctions on Belarus.
- Verify recipient details. Ensure you have accurate and up-to-date information about the recipient. This includes their full name, address, and any required identification documents. Also, check if their bank is on the list of those sanctioned. For example, the EU has had a SWIFT ban on five Belarusian banks. Ensure their bank is not included
- Choose compliant transfer services. Opt for reputable money transfer services that adhere to international regulations. Examples are the ones listed earlier. Many services have strong compliance systems in place to screen transactions against sanctions lists.
- Transaction monitoring. Be aware that transactions are subject to monitoring for compliance. Unusual or suspicious activity may trigger further scrutiny, so ensure your transactions align with legal guidelines.
- Understand sanctions types. Financial sanctions include asset freezes, travel bans, and restrictions on certain transactions. Be informed about the specific sanctions relevant to Belarus, like this one by BIS, and adhere to them.
- Keep documentation. Maintain a record of your transactions, including receipts and any communication with the money transfer service. This documentation can serve as proof of compliance if needed.
Understanding Tax Implications
Understanding the tax implications of sending money to Belarus is essential to ensure compliance with relevant regulations. Here's a summary of the tax-related information:
- Tax guidance for large transfers. Large transfers to Belarus may have tax implications. You must use a large transfer specialist who can provide tax guidance to ensure compliance with relevant tax regulations.
- Individual income tax changes. Belarus has introduced individual income tax changes, including an increased individual income tax rate of 26% on illegal income, such as cash wages paid without tax withholding and remittance, and income from carrying out entrepreneurial activities without the required state registration.
- Other taxes in Belarus. Belarus imposes various taxes, including social security contributions, excise taxes, and capital duty. Employers must withhold income tax and social security premiums for their employees.
- Tax declaration for freelancers. Freelancers in Belarus are required to declare any income received and carry out tax accounting. This includes obtaining a tax ID number and complying with tax obligations.
- Tax residence. Individuals who are physically present in Belarus for a certain period are considered tax residents, and their worldwide income is subject to Belarusian income tax. Non-residents are subject to tax on income derived from sources in Belarus.
Tips for Sending Money to Belarus
To successfully send money to Belarus, consider the following:
- Compare specialist money transfer services. Consider comparing specialist money transfer services instead of heading straight to your local bank. These providers often offer better exchange rates and lower fees, resulting in the recipient receiving more Belarusian rubles for the same amount of US dollars or anywhere else.
- Consider online money transfer providers. Online money transfer providers typically offer better rates and cheaper fees than local banks. They can provide a cost-effective and efficient way to send money to Belarus.
- Evaluate speed and cost. When sending money to Belarus, consider the speed of the transaction and the associated costs. Some providers, such as Remitly, offer fast transfers with competitive exchange rates and low fees. This allows money to reach the recipient within minutes.
- Avoid banks for international transfers. While banks may offer low or zero fees, they often apply poor exchange rates. This results in less favorable outcomes for the sender and the recipient. Consider specialized money transfer companies for better rates and cost-effectiveness.
- Ensure compliance and security. Before making a payment, it is essential to understand all the processing fees in place and ensure compliance with relevant regulations. Additionally, prioritize security and reliability when selecting a money transfer provider.
- Consider delivery methods. Evaluate the available delivery methods, such as cash pickup, bank account transfers, or direct delivery to Visa or Mastercard cards, to determine the most suitable option for the recipient in Belarus.
Ensure Sustainable and Ethical Money Transfer Practices
Promote sustainable and ethical money transfer practices by choosing services that prioritize transparency, fair fees, and adhere to international regulations. Opt for providers with robust security measures, ensuring the ethical handling of your financial transactions. Prioritize options that align with your values and contribute to positive social and environmental impacts. By selecting convenient and secure transfer services, you safeguard your financial interests and support sustainable and ethical practices within the global money transfer industry. Choose wisely for a secure, ethical, and hassle-free experience.