How to send money abroad: Supporting your family in Africa

Tips By Anaëlle Gautier January 10, 2020

This article was created in partnership with Western Union.

If you’re living in France but need to send money to your family in their native country, you’re likely wondering how to send money abroad in a way that is both easy and efficient.

You’re far from the only one in this position: As Insee reports, 6.5 million migrants currently live in France, which is almost 10% of the population. And, notably, nearly half of those migrants were born in Africa. If you’re one of them, you know that financially supporting your family in Africa from France can be a challenge.

Before deciding how to send money abroad, make sure you do your research and take the following into consideration.

Creating a budget

First, you need to assess where your disposable income goes. You’ll want to track every penny to be as accurate as possible. Once you’ve analyzed your spending habits and found potential ways to cut back, you can set up your budget. Set a maximum amount for each item, and try to stay within it during the month. Based on those amounts, you can decide on a logical amount to send to your family every month.

Consider saving money as mandatory, non-negotiable spending. That way, it will become automatic and you won’t even notice it. If you want to go further, here are five categories where you can save money on a regular basis.

Identifying maximum amounts

Once your expenses plan is set, you might then be wondering how much money you can send to Africa. Depending on the country you’re sending money to, the maximum amount for one transaction will vary.

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    The European Commission reports that the personal remittances outflow from France in 2017 amounted to more than €11.9 billion, with €7.9 billion sent outside the European Union — mainly to African locations, including Morocco, Tunisia, the Ivory Coast, Senegal, Cameroon and Madagascar.

    There are many offers on the market for money transfers, and it can be hard to know which one is the best. Before using any website to transfer money, research it for legitimacy and seek reviews from other people.

    The bank may seem like the right solution here, but keep in mind that transferring money abroad with your bank can be expensive. When you send money from your bank in France to your native country in Africa, you’ll be charged with various fees, such as a currency exchange fee and a percentage fee (a percentage of the amount sent for the bank’s services), and even an administration fee in some countries.

    There are no set limits for international transfers outside the EU on the fee amount, so each bank can make its own rules. If you’re on a budget and want to know the precise cost ahead of the transfer, then this may not be the best solution for you.

    Sending money quickly from France to Africa

    You might know of Western Union as a physical point of money transfer. What you may not know is that Western Union also offers a full digital experience, including the Western Union® app.

    Some days, you may have cash in hand that you want to transfer to your home country. That is not a problem: You can initiate the transfer online with the app and go see a local agent to complete it. And this comes with full transparency about fees, before the transaction takes place.

    When you need to support your family back home, you'll want to do so quickly and within your budget — so you can feel confident about the assistance you're providing.