This post is for those people looking to send money to Cuba from Australia. And there are 4 main methods to send money to Cuba from Australia outside of official channels.
How to send money to Cuba from Australia
Send Money To Cuba From Australia
Outside of Government controlled channels which have a terrible exchange rate that is less than half and sometimes as bad as one fifth the real exchange rate, there are 4 main ways to send money to Cuba from Australia.
Sending Money to Cuba from Australia via an Informal Banking Network
Informal banking networks have many different names depending on the part of the globe in which you find yourself. In the Middle East they are called ‘Hawala’ or ‘Hundi’ networks. But no matter their name or region of the world, they all function the same.
At their core they have individuals in the country where the cash is to be delivered and individuals where the cash is to come from. And these individuals for reasons of supply and demand need foreign currency and don’t want to be subject to poor exchange rates from banks and governments.
The individuals in the destination country generally have cash intensive businesses like kiosks, shops, cafes, restaurants and bars. The individuals in the originating country often have businesses that purchase products from the destination country.
Using an Informal Banking Network to send money from Australia to Cuba
The trick to using an informal network to send money to Cuba from Australia is to find someone in Cuba with either an external bank account or a need for products that are shipped from outside Cuba.
The easiest option is to find a local or foreigner with Australian bank accounts and a cash heavy business in Cuba. These individuals would be otherwise changing their cash on the black-market with or without your business.
By electronically transferring foreign currency to their accounts outside of Cuba you’re saving them time and effort. And you are removing the need for them to hold foreign currency cash in Cuba. In essence, changing money in a foreign transfer benefits them and the person sending the money to Cuba.
If you need a contact like this, you can get in touch with me via this blog.
Send Money to Cuba From Australia using mobile Recharge
You can use sites like Recargas Cuba to recharge a Cuban mobile phone number using your foreign credit or debit card. Cuba has an informal payment system using mobile credit transfer. One Cuban can pay another by transferring them mobile credit using the following code:
Transfer balance to another person: *234*1*(phone number of the other person)*1234*(amount in CUP)#
Using the code above, a Cuban can transfer mobile credit in CUP as an exchange for products, services or cash. They can effectively sell the mobile credit you send them. There are also methods to transfer mobile credit to their dollar store accounts.
Sending Money to Cuba from Australia Using Spanish and Canadian Rechargeable Bank Cards
Quite a few Spanish and Canadian bank cards work in Cuba. Spanish cards denominated in Euro are the preferred option. And they can be used through eftpos systems and in ATMs without trouble.
If you know someone who is traveling to Cuba you can send a bank card with them. Get hold of a prepaid Spanish debit card and send it with a friend to Cuba. Then you can recharge it in Euro online whenever you like and your friend or relative in Cuba can use it at the prevailing euro to CUP exchange rate.
If your friend or relative is smart, they will use the card at euro denominated government stores like the those covered below. They will then sell the goods on somewhere like Revolico and get the current real CUP value.
Sending Money to Cuba from Australia Via Saleable Items
Have a look on Revolico for the prices new items are selling. And then check the prices denominated in euro on sites like Almacen. Or ask your Cuban friend or relative to find a shop near them that accepts foreign payments.
Most shops and hotels that have products denominated in USD or euro have online payment processors based in places like Germany. Have your friend or relative tell you what they can easily resell on Revolico and where they can get it for a good price. Then just pay that shop direct online and have them pick up the goods and resell them on Revolico.
Beer is easy to resell. And sites like micerveza.com allow you to send cartons of beer to anyone on the island delivered at prices comparable to Australia. And because beer is always having shortages and goes up inline with inflation, it would be my go to product for small transfers.
Cuba doesn’t just survive on the kindness of strangers, it prays on the kindness of others. Unless the person who wants you to send them money is a direct family member, I’d probably just tell the person making the request no. And they’ll then move on and try to fleece someone else for cash.
In the event it is a family member who you’re looking to support from abroad, informal banking networks are your best option. These transfer networks operate on bank accounts outside of Cuba (and likely in Australia). And this gives you the power to dictate terms. Because you can report them and have their bank accounts shut down if they don’t meet the agreed terms.
With that said, 3-5% commission (or a fixed fee) for the person doing the exchange for you is considered a good mark. But it depends on how much you’re transferring with them. If it’s not worth their time checking the cash, counting it and delivering it at risk to themselves, then they will say no.
If your transferring $100 you can expect to lose a much larger percent and have less favourable terms than if you were transferring $1000 or more each time. And before trying to set terms you should check the current black market exchange rate via the WhatsApp groups. Or you can get an idea of where the current exchange rate is via Revolico or on https://eltoque.com.
Where Can I Get More Information About Cuba?
I’ve made my Complete Guide To Traveling Cuba available on this website. And I recommend you read it before traveling to Cuba. It will help you navigate Cuba and Cuban society.
My Complete Guide To Cuba will save you a lot of time and a significant amount of money on your trip to Cuba. Cuba is not the sort of destination in which you can just arrive unprepared.
Read the most Complete Guide To Traveling Cuba here.