How To Send Money To Cuba

Whether you have family out in Cuba, you have friends visiting, or you just want to support the Cuban people financially, there are very few options you can actually use to transfer money to Cuba. 

Throughout this article, we will go through a few of the options that are available and you can pick which is the most effective method for you.

How To Send Money To Cuba

There are a few different factors with their own sets of advantages and disadvantages, so it’ll come down to personal preference as to which will suit you best. 

The quickest and easiest way to transfer money to Cuba was through Western Union, however, you’ll be disappointed to know that this service ended in November of 2020.

Although, since April 2021, sending money to Cuba has once again become possible, through Sendvalu.

This sends the money in Pesos straight to the recipient and the money usually turns up within 3-5 business days. You can easily make credit card payments with Sandvalu. 

Another great agency that offered remittances to Cuba was a company called Small World Money Trasnfer.

This provider was based in the United Kingdom and sent monet straight into Cuban accounts.

The trasnfer itself was free with just an 8 euro blanket-fee regardless of the transfer amount.

This provider was even contactable over the telephone which made life a lot more east. Very sadly, though, this service has since been discontinued. 

Bank Transfers To Cuba

For the most part, you can make a bank transfer to someone in Cuba.

The only issue that you’ll find is that not all banks will allow this service, and the ones that do tend to charge hefty fees for the privilege.

These fees seem to be more expensive the smaller the amount of money you send too. 

To successfully do a bank transfer, the person you’re sending the money over too will need to have a Cuban bank account.

There are a few different types of Cuban accounts. You can have accounts in foreign currencies, named MLC, for example the US dollar, or the Euro. 

Remember that there are 3 different types of American International Service cards: 

  • AIS Card – This blue card uses Cuban pesos and allows cash withdrawals.
  • AIS No-Cash Card – This card also uses Cuban pesos. It can be used on card machines to pay but you cannot withdraw money.
  • AIS USD Cards – This card is green and uses USD. It allows payments at the MLC stores network and is the best option for those transferring money from the USA. 

Truthfully, if you’re going to send money from America, you want to make sure the recipient has the AIS USD green card.

Because there is such a discrepancy from the official and real exchange rate of pesos you can end up losing quite a lot of money. 

If you do want to make a transfer to a Cuban family member or friend, you just need to enter a 16-digit cuban account number.

Then you be asked for the BIC/SWIFT code from the recipients bank as well as the indication of the branch. This is because every bank has its own designated number. 

You’ll be happy to know that it doesn’t take long for the money to hit their account.

Most money lands in 3-5 business days, and sometimes it can be even quicker than this. 

But if you’re transferring money from Europe, these transfers often come with an additional fee that can be anywhere from 15-30 euros.

These charges tend to be worse the smaller the amount that you send so are really more suitable for those wanting to transfer larger sums of money. 

What Other Options Are There

What Other Options Are There

I wouldn’t really recommend sending money by mail, you’re just likely to lose the money along the way and it’s going to take a long time to be delivered.

You can, however, always try to send money to the island via a tourist visiting the island. 

You can find social networking sites that relove around Cuba and visiting Cuba, so if you find someone close to the area the recipient lives, and you trust them, you can always send it this way.

Of course, here you are essentially giving your money to a stranger so it can be a risky move. 

A solution that’s more long-term is a partner card or second credit card which is issued in the name of the Cuban recipient.

Therefore the card can be used to make purchases in Cuba, although you must get the card to the island first, but maybe you could use this to justify a quick trip abroad? 

Sending Money From The US To Cuba

The political climate between USA and Cuba is a fair bit frositer than it is with Europe and this has a massive impact on how you can send money to the country. 

Bank transfers from America to Cuba are basically impossible at the moment. That doesn’t mean there are no ways to send money if you need to though.

Although transfers to Cuban state-run banks is a bit of a no go at the moment, you can still make a deposit to an AIS card. 

So what do you need to know to do these deposits? There’s two main stipulations. 

  1. The recipient is required to have an American Internation Service card 
  2. The US resident needs to own an internation card (MasterCard, Visa, UnionPay)

There are two main websites that you ccan use to do this:

As of Late November, 2021 Aisremesascuba was undergoing some site maintenance so you may need to use the latter choice, if you struggle with the first. 

By using Tocopay you can transfer money to any of the 3 AIS cards that we mentioned earlier but it will cost you a fee.

This is usually around 15% of the overall total that you send. It can then take anywhere between 3-7 business days for this money to hit the account. 

Any American’s living in Florida might also be away of Cubamax. This is great for those with friends and family that may be struggling in Cuba.

Through this you can ship packages, money, food, and any other necessities they may be in need of.

Through Cubamaz you can also transfer money directly to an MLC card or have money hand-delivered to your Cuban recipient. 

Of course, none of this comes without its fees. For home deliveries you’ll be looking at around $20 for transfer amounts of $100 or less.

If it’s over $100 then they’ll take 20% in commission. If you choose to go with topping up an MLC card, not only is it much quicker, but there is only a $12 charge if the transfer amount is $90 or under.

For anything over that, it’ll cost you 15% commission of the amount that you send. 

Final Thoughts

Sending money to Cuba certainly isn’t as simple and easy as it is to shoot some money over to another american friend using cashapps such as venmo.

Not only do you need to make sure you have all the correct accounts and cards to even start to process, but you’re also going to get charged a fairly large amount just for the privelage.

And this can make sending money over to friends and family a fairly expensive hassle. 

If you are often sending money over to someone else in Cuba, I would advise where possible to try and send large quantities of money less regularly, opposed to sending $10 here and $20 there as due to the fees, this is really going to rack up a hefty charge for yourself. 

If you live in Europe, opposed to America, it is certainly easier to send money over to Cuba, but it doesn’t particularly solve the expense problem as regardless of your residency you are likely to be stung by the high administration costs and fees. 

Unfortunately though, other than hoping money in an envelope will magically survive the journey or giving your money to someone already planning to enter Cuba, there really isn’t any other option.

So if you’re in an emergency or just really need to send some money to Cuba, you’ll just have to bite the bullet and accept the fees.

If you enjoyed this article, you might enjoy our post on ‘Ten Fun Facts Reasons Why Vinales Is Worth A Visit‘.

Jim Stanton
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