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How to send remittances to Guatemala from the United States


Need help sending money to loved ones in Guatemala? Sending money from the U.S. to Guatemala is fast and easy, thanks to the different methods that are available today. However, with so many options, it may be difficult to decide which is the best choice for your needs.

The SABEResPODER team has you covered! Learn how to send money from the U.S. with confidence and the different remittance options available to you with this helpful guide.

Necessary Documents to Send Remittances from the U.S. To Guatemala

Before starting your transfer, make sure you have the necessary documents handy. For the most part, these are the documents you’ll need to send remittances to Guatemala:

  • Government-issued picture ID
  • Your beneficiary’s full name
  • Your beneficiary’s physical address
  • Your beneficiary’s phone number

If you want to process an electronic transfer or send the remittance via Internet, you may also need:

  • Your beneficiary’s bank account number
  • A credit or debit card, such as your PODERcard, to make the payment 

Remittance Options

When sending money to Guatemala, you’ll need to consider all the options that are available. This will help you choose the most convenient method for yourself and your beneficiary. The alternatives include: financial institutions, traditional companies, and mobile apps. While all of these options offer transfer services, they vary in cost, speed, and processing.

The following are the most popular methods to send money to Guatemala with confidence and safety.

Financial institutions

Bank transfers are a convenient way to send money to Guatemala. This service is known as a wire transfer and it offers the following advantages:

  • The money is deposited directly into your beneficiary’s bank account.
  • It’s a safe process.
  • Many banks also have apps that allow you to process the transfer from your phone, tablet, or computer.

However, it’s important to also understand the disadvantages of wire transfers to Guatemala. These include:

  • High costs that can be anywhere from $25 to $40
  • Long processing times (Up to five days)

If you plan to send remittances frequently, the following bank transfer options are fast and economical solutions to send money to Guatemala:

Bantrab

By creating a remittance account on the Bantrab app, you can send money from the United States to your family in Guatemala. If your beneficiary is a client at this bank, this service allows you to deposit money directly into their bank account. It also offers the option to send money to one of Bantrab’s affiliated Business Centers, where your beneficiary can withdraw cash.

Wells Fargo

With ExpressSend, you can transfer money from your Wells Fargo account to your beneficiary’s account at Banrural, Banco Industrial, or G&T Continental in Guatemala. To use this service, you must subscribe and process your first transfer in person at your local Wells Fargo branch. Once you’ve set up ExpressSend, you’ll be able to send money from the Wells Fargo website, from the app on your phone, or in person.

Traditional remittance companies

For many years, traditional remittance companies were the best way to send cash from the United States to Guatemala. Household names include Western Union and MoneyGram, since they’ve been around for so long. These companies are a good option for remittances if you prefer to:

  • Send money in cash
  • Process your transfers in person at a branch
  • Make sure your money arrives almost immediately

Nowadays, these traditional companies also offer online remittance services. Whether it’s through their mobile apps or their websites, they allow you to process transfers from the comfort of your home. With this method, you can send money directly to your beneficiary’s bank account, a digital wallet, or any of their physical branches.

Other app options

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Thanks to technology, sending remittances has become easier and more efficient. There are many transfer apps in the market that offer low rates, fast service, and increased convenience. The following are some of the most popular apps to send remittances from the United States to Guatemala:

MayaPlus

MayaPlus (website only available in Spanish) is a Guatemalan company that offers remittance services. With the app, you can send money to a branch or directly to a bank account. MayaPlus also offers a messenger service to deliver cash to your beneficiary’s home address. Aside from remittances, MayaPlus also allows you to send gifts or reload prepaid cell phones in Guatemala. 

Remitly

With low rates and competitive exchange rates, Remitly is a remittance service with more than 7,000 payment locations for you to choose from. It also offers direct deposits to Guatemalan bank accounts.

Xoom

Xoom is PayPal’s remittance service. With this app, you can send money to Guatemala for in-person pickup or direct deposit to your beneficiary’s bank account. Xoom’s affiliated banks are Banrural, Banco Industrial, and G&T Continental. With Xoom, you can also pay electric, landline phone, cell phone, and Internet bills for your family members in Guatemala.

Ria

Ria is another well-known app for remittances to Guatemala. Just like with other services, Ria allows you to send money to your beneficiaries in a matter of minutes. You can do so from their app or in-person at one of their many locations at participating 7-Eleven stores. The Ria app is easy to use and lets you add recurring beneficiaries, track your transfers, and find payment locations near you.

What are the costs or taxes to pay when sending remittances from the United States to Guatemala?

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Transfer fees vary, depending on the amount, method, and company that you choose. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a transfer rule fact sheet that breaks down the possible costs of sending money from the United States. Below, we have included a summary of the most common costs associated with this type of money transfer.

Per transaction

Some financial institutions and remittance companies charge a fixed fee per transaction, up to a certain dollar amount. This is usually the case when you transfer money from your bank account in the United States to your beneficiary’s account in Guatemala. As mentioned above, these fees can range from $25 to $40, depending on your bank and the amount that you wish to send.

It’s important to point out that your beneficiary’s bank may also charge them a fee for receiving the money. For this reason, we recommend that you look into all costs associated with your transfer before initiating the process.

A percentage applied to the exchange rate

When you send dollars from the United States, your family members in Guatemala receive the remittance in Quetzales. Some financial institutions and companies charge their fee based on a percentage of the remittance, applied to the exchange rate. Generally, this amount is calculated and charged to you before you send the money.

In some cases, there are other fees on top of the cost of service. For this reason, it’s best to make sure that the company or bank doesn't have any “hidden fees.” These fees could lower the amount that your family member receives or make the transfer more expensive for you.

Before sending any money, remember to speak with your beneficiary in Guatemala. Let them know the exact amount they can expect to receive to make sure that the money arrives correctly.

The Fastest Way to Send Money from the U.S. to Guatemala

Mobile apps are the quickest and most efficient way to send money from the United States to Guatemala. Depending on the app you choose to use, your beneficiary can receive the money in a matter of minutes. Some apps offer direct deposit to bank accounts or cash withdrawals at their locations.

How Long Does a Transfer from the U.S. to Guatemala Take?

The speed of your transfer to Guatemala depends on the service that you choose. Bank wire transfers can take up to five business days. With traditional remittance companies and apps, the money can be available to your beneficiary in just a few minutes.

How Much Money Can You Send to Guatemala via Remittance?

Each remittance service has its own rules about how much money you can send every day and per month. The amount of money that you send will also determine how quickly it becomes available to your beneficiary. 

When sending large amounts, you should also keep the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act in mind. This act contains legislation that requires U.S. persons to report any transfer over $10,000.


At SABEResPODER, we understand the importance of sending money to your loved ones in Guatemala. We also know that it’s crucial for that money to arrive quickly and safely. With your PODERcard and the convenience of modern remittance services, you can send money quickly when your family members need it most.