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How to Send Money to Ecuador with WorldRemit

Need to send money to Ecuador quickly and cheaply? WorldRemit may be the best provider for you. I've had to transfer cash into Ecuador for numerous reasons and WorldRemit has been my go-to for the majority of these situations. 

Once you've read this article you'll be armed with a step-by-step guide on how to send money to Ecuador with WorldRemit. And, how to get your first transfer for free!

But first, I suggest you check out this article on sending money to Ecuador which covers other options (ATMs etc). This article is specifically how to transfer cash online using WorldRemit and we don't cover other online options such as Western Union or Xoom. 

Why use WorldRemit to send money to Ecuador?

I continue to choose WorldRemit because of the low rates (incl fees), ease of use and transfer speed.

My needs have mostly been for an online service that would allow me to transfer from my US account to my Ecuadorian account. There's numerous options that fulfil this general requirement, but I like WorldRemit because:

Low fees

WorldRemit has a sliding fee structure based on the amount sent. This is always very transparent so there are no nasty surprises. 

Amount Sent

WorldRemit Fee

$500

$9.99

$1,000

$11.99

$1,500 - $5,000

$14.99

You can see the fee basically has an upper limit for $14.99 (sidenote - why not just call it $15? This type of pricing annoys me...) 

This $15 fee is the same if you're sending $1,500 or $5,000. So, it's more cost effective to send larger amounts, less often. 

$5,000 will last most expats 2-3 months. So, you should be able to get away with one fee of $15 to cover your money transfer needs for 2-3 months. 

You can then use your local debit card (I use JEP) to get cash out or pay directly with the debit card wherever it's accepted - ie supermarkets etc, but not local markets. 

Up to $5,000

$5,000 is the maximum that WorldRemit let's me send in one transaction. I've tried to send more, but it would not let me and I needed to send several smaller transactions with separate fees. 

I'm not clear if this limit changes based on personal circumstances. I'm not guaranteeing $5,000 will be available to you - maybe your limit is less. I don't know. 

You can check your limit once you've hooked up your US (or Canada, Australia etc) bank account to WorldRemit and start a transfer to Ecuador. This only takes a few minutes and you don't need to finish the transfer to find your limit.

Transfer speed 

Money is generally in the account the next business day. On several occasions it's been transferred on the same day!

I can tell how long it takes because I receive one email from WorldRemit telling me the transfer is being processed and another saying it's processed. 

Money has been transferred by the next business day. Every. Time. 

It's great to know this speed is consistent as there have been numerous occasions where unforeseen circumstances have arose and I needed funds quickly. Having the cash quickly has saved me considerable heartache. 

Easy to use - 2 minute transfers

The WorldRemit transfer process is easy to use, especially for repeat transactions. It takes me less than 2 mins to complete repeat transactions. 

The main time hurdle is adding new accounts, because you obviously need to enter in the account information for the recipient (ie your account in Ecuador). 

The website UX is clean and it's always clear what your next step is. For example, the very first screen is a simple prompt asking which country you would like to transfer to. This clear process means that it's difficult to get lost at any point. 

Sending money with WorldRemit: Step-by-step

I took some screenshots of a recent transaction to show you how to do the transfer to a local Ecuador bank. The most difficult part was finding the recipient's bank account details in the monster drop down list.

I actually had to email WorldRemit's support team to clarify the recipient bank name. Their support came back to me within an hour to provide my answer. I was happy with this support. 

Step 1: Visit WorldRemit website

Send Money to Ecuador WorldRemit - Step 1

Self explanatory step, but we need to start somewhere!

Head on over to the WorldRemit site.

Step 2: Create account

Ecuador WorldRemit - Step 2 - Create Account

Basic details here like name, email address password etc. Shouldn't take more than 2 minutes to complete. 

Step 3: Recipient country (Ecuador!)

Ecuador WorldRemit - Step 3 - Recipient Country

Of course, you can also use WorldRemit to transfer to many other countries. For us expats in Ecuador, we'll obviously want to choose Ecuador as our recipient country. 

Step 4: Bank transfer

Ecuador WorldRemit - Step 4 - Bank Transfer

We are focusing on transfers to a local Ecuadorian bank account (yours or a friend's). So, leave it as the default "Bank Transfer" option and hit continue.

But, you can also elect for a cash pickup at several bank branches if you prefer cash. Please be careful if you're walking around with large sums of money. 

Step 5: Recipient bank

Ecuador WorldRemit - Step 5 - Recipient Bank

There's three options for choosing which bank you want to deposit into:

  1. Banco Guayaquil
  2. Banco Bolivariano
  3. All other Ecuador Banks

This 3rd option is very extensive and covers many, many Ecuadorian banks and cooperativas. This is what I use for JEP. 

Step 6: Amount (& fees)

Ecuador WorldRemit - Step 6 - Amount

They've made it easy to understand how much you're sending and what the recipient will receive. If you're transferring from the US, then this won't change because Ecuador also uses USD.

If you're transferring from another country such as Canada or Australia, then this will change and you can see how much the recipient will receive. 

This is also where you can see the fees charged by WorldRemit. If you change the amount to send, the fees will also update. 

I've set it as $5,000 because this is the most cost-effective option when allowing for the $15 fee charged by WorldRemit. 

Step 7: Recipient Details

Ecuador WorldRemit - Step 7 - Recipient

Here you'll choose whether your sending another transfer to an existing recipient or adding a new recipient.

Adding new recipients is the most time consuming part of the process. The good news is that once a new recipient is added, their details are saved making it super easy to make additional transfers. 

The ability to save recipients will come in very handy if you're sending regular payments to yourself in Ecuador. 

Step 8: Recipient's Bank

Ecuador WorldRemit - Step 8 - Recipient Bank

Choosing the recipient's bank was the most difficult part for me. 

Why? Because I did not realize that Ecuador had so many banks and cooperativas.

And this may sound silly, but I didn't know the name of my bank. Well, the official name anyway.

The bank I was looking for was JEP and that's the name you see on their ATMs, at branches etc. I did a quick search on their website and found the following official name:

Cooperativa de Ahorro y Crédito “Juventud Ecuatoriana Progresista” Ltda

So, I had a good lead and tried to find this exact name in the list. But, I couldn't find the exact name amongst the many different cooperativas. As I wasn't prepared to take a gamble, I decided to email support to ask them. One hour later I got the confirmation I was after:

JEP is included in WorldRemit as "COOP. AHORRO Y CREDITO JUVENTUD".

I've included this here as  JEP is popular bank amongst Cuenca based expats. 

If you're having similar issues trying to find your bank amongst the list in WorldRemit, I suggest you also contact their support for confirmation. This is likely to be much easier and quicker than trying to get a refund. 

Step 9: Payment

Ecuador WorldRemit - Step 9 - Payment

You'll need a debit or credit card to make the payment. 

It would be nice if they integrated directly with my US bank, and maybe they will in time. For now, you'll need to use a debit or credit card. 

Debit cards

Make sure you've set your card limit to cover the amount (incl fees) that you're transferring. You should be able to do this in your internet banking. 

Credit cards

Paying with credit cards is likely to attract a hefty cash advance fee from your bank. Definitely check your bank's cash advance policy before doing this!

Step 10: Success (& track)

Ecuador WorldRemit - Step 10 - Success

The final step in the process is the confirmation. 

Congratulations. You've now setup the transfer and it should arrive within 48 hours. 

You can also track the transfer by downloading the App or logging into your WorldRemit account (via their website). They will also send you email updates when they've:

  • Started the transfer
  • Completed the transfer

I hope you found this guide helpful. Let me know in the comments below 🙂

You can get your first transfer free with WorldRemit by using my link (I'll also get a free transfer). 

Should I Buy or Rent Property in Ecuador?

A question that many expats ask themselves on the start of their journey is whether they should buy property in Ecuador or rent first. 

The decision can be made even more difficult when the excitement hits as you learn the price of property is a lot cheaper than in your home country. But, does this mean that buying is better than renting?  

We've put together a simple, but hopefully thought-provoking quiz to answer this question. We think it's particularly useful for those considering taking the plunge and buying property in Ecuador.

Feel free to leave any constructive comments below!

This is certainly not meant to be financial advice. 

How to Transfer Money into Ecuador

One of the first questions new Ecuadorian expats ask is ‘how do I send money to Ecuador and is it expensive?’

The answer is, well, it depends. Like many latin american countries, transferring money in and out of Ecuador has traditionally been problematic, expensive and time consuming.

These difficulties arise through the combination of weak governmental oversight, tough anti-money laundering measures and lack of innovation from the banking industry. This can result in a not so great experience for the end consumer.

Hopefully this guide will provide you with the best options on how to transfer money into Ecuador.

Money Transfer Options

$500 or less

You have several options for transferring amounts of $500 or less into Ecuador.

ATMs

If you’re only here for a short period of time as a tourist, or don’t have an Ecuadorian bank account, then ATMs are going to be your best bet.

Pros:

  • Easy and accessible across the entire country (incl Galapagos).
  • Withdrawing small amounts is secure as you don’t need to have large amounts of cash on you.

Cons:

  • Fees can add up. You’ll generally pay about $5-6 to the Ecuadorian bank on top of whatever your home bank charges.
  • ATM issues do happen in Ecuador and the banks don’t have a great track record of helping customers regain their money. I personally had to wait 6 weeks when a Bank of Pichincha ATM failed to dispose of my $600, but still charged my account. However, my bank in the US (Bank of America) was great and immediately credited the account whilst they investigated.
Pro Tip: Sign up for a bank account in your home country that reimburses ATM fees such as Charles Schwab or Fidelity. But, be aware of any fair use policy and I would not suggest telling them you're just about to move overseas...

Online Money Transfer

There’s several services you can use to transfer from your home bank direct to your Ecuadorian bank or for a cash pickup.

This is my preferred method for payments up to $3000. But, I’ve still used it for smaller amounts as it is quick (24 hours generally) and I can transfer straight into my Ecuadorian account, so I don’t need to worry about walking around with a wad of cash after visiting an ATM.

My preferred method is WorldRemit because it offers the cheapest fees and I find it user friendly. Western Union is also quite popular, but is generally a bit more expensive.

Pros:

  • Quick (one business day)
  • Transfer straight into account or cash pickup

Cons

  • Fees for smaller amounts (ie $500) are approx $10. More cost effective for larger transfers (ie up to $3000).
  • Won’t help you out if you need instant cash
Pro Tip: Use my WorldRemit refer-a-friend link and you'll get $20 credit to make your first transfers.

$500 to $3000

Online Money Transfer

This is where the online money transferring services shine. They are quick, safe and cost effective.

I was a long-time devotee to an online transfer service called Transferwise, but they do not operate in Ecuador. Whilst annoying, this did lead me to comparing all of the various online services that would allow me to easily send money into Ecuador.

My recommendation is WorldRemit because they are the cheapest and I’ve found their support to be helpful the one time I needed it.

I actually needed to contact them because I couldn’t find JEP in their long list of Ecuadorian banks and cooperativas they transfer money into.

Hint – WorldRemit calls JEP “COOP. AHORRA Y CREDITO JUVENTUD” as shown below:

JEP WorldRemit Ecuador

The fees will increase depending on how much you are sending. But, for reference, a $2000 transfer will cost $15 with WorldRemit. This compares well to other services such as Western Union where fees are $20+.

Pros:

  • Transfer into most Ecuadorian banks
  • Setup bank details once and send follow up transfers within seconds
  • Cost effective

Cons:

  • They have a limit of around $3K for bank transfers. So, not a great option for larger one off purchases such as property or cars.

$3000+

For larger transfers you’ll be limited to bank transfers and checks.

Bank Transfers

Each Ecuadorian bank has a different policy and will charge different amounts for wire transfers. Your best bets are the larger banks such as:

Expect to pay at least $50 to your Ecuadorian bank for a wire transfer + the fee from your home bank. If you’re transferring from the US, then you won’t have to consider exchange rates, but if your home bank is an another country, then you will.

Note, transferring amounts $10K or greater will trigger the bank to ask you a bunch of questions around where you got the money from. They are required by law to ensure that the funds were legally obtained (ie not through drugs, money laundering or a scam). This is not normally a major burden, but just adds another step to the process.

Pros:

  • May be your only option for amounts of $3,000+

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Need to open an account at the bank

Checks

Again, you definitely want to check with your Ecuadorian bank on their policy for accepting checks. Pay particular attention to the limits and expected processing time as it can take 3-4 weeks for checks to clear.

Pros:

  • Straightforward process
  • Many banks do accept checks

Cons:

  • Long processing time

Sending Money to Ecuador FAQs

Can I use PayPal to withdraw money in Ecuador?

Not directly, no. Whilst it would be convenient to be able to withdraw cash straight from Paypal into a local account or ATM, that isn’t possible.

You still have a few options to get your cash into Ecuador which are similar to the above, but with the added step of transferring from Paypal first:

  1. ATM
    Transfer from your Paypal account into your US (or other home country) account. Use your foreign debit card in Ecuador to withdraw from an ATM.
  2. Online transfer or cash pickup in Ecuador
    Send from Paypal to an online transfer service such as World Remit, Western Union or Paypal’s own service, Xoom. Then you can choose to transfer to a Ecuadorian bank account or arrange for a cash pickup at a bank in Ecuador.

Is there an ‘import tax’ on cash entering Ecuador?

No, there is not. Moving small amounts of money into the country is relatively easy.

What is Ecuador’s cash exit tax?

Sending cash out of Ecuador triggers an exit tax of 5% if transferring over $1,200. The $1,200 threshold is calculated from 3x monthly minimum wage ($400 in 2020).

Have I covered your favorite method here? Feel free to let me know in the comments if I’ve left anything out so I can update to include.

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