Relocated from Brazil but need to send money back to loved ones at home? The good news is there are multiple ways to do exactly that.
Before pressing ahead with sending money to Brazil, it’s worth taking a little time to consider your options, and our team here at Remitly created this guide to help with your decision-making.
Different international money transfer methods can come with different fees and exchange rates, which means that some will offer you better value for money than others. If you want to ensure that your recipient gets as much in Brazilian reais with each transfer as possible, this guide will come in handy.
We’ll look at the various factors in play when you convert pounds, dollars, euros, or any other currency to the real, so you can get the best rates when sending money to the people you care about.
Currency exchange explained
When sending money to Brazil, the actual amount that ends up with your loved one depends on how the Brazilian real, which the Central Bank of Brazil issues, compares to the currency you’re currently using in terms of value. This is known as the exchange rate.
Let’s say you’re a Brazilian living in the US, wanting to send money to your loved one back in São Paulo. You need to convert the U.S. dollar to Brazilian real to do so.
Looking up the exchange rate online on a currency converter website, you see 1 USD = 4.73 BRL. This hypothetical currency pair shows that one dollar will buy you R$4.73 at this particular moment.
When you’re planning to convert USD to BRL or another of the world’s currencies to BRL, it’s important to remember that rates fluctuate from hour to hour and day to day. As a result, one US dollar may convert to a different amount in reais the next time you send money to Brazil.
What’s behind these fluctuations? Several possible factors, including:
- Inflation, the term for when prices rise
- Interest rates
- Government debt
- Political stability
- Economic stability
- Brazil’s imports vs. exports
- Market forces on the international currency market
In other words, if there’s a political upheaval back home in Brazil, a crisis that affects the markets, or simply a change in the economic policies of the current president’s government, there could be an impact on the exchange rate. While such factors are beyond your control, you can still make sure you land the most cost-effective money transfer by picking the most competitive remittance company you can find and using a currency calculator to double-check the current dollar-Brazilian real rate.
Sending money to Brazil: converting to BRL
When it comes to converting USD to BRL, GBP to BRP, EUR to BRL, or any other currency to BRL, you have two main options.
Brazilians abroad may automatically consider sending money back home through their account at a financial institution.
Working with banks is a tempting option, as you won’t have to set up an account with another company. In fact, all you have to do is instruct your financial institution to make the international transfer.
Unfortunately, this option may not be the most cost-effective way to provide funds to your loved ones because the amount that financial institutions charge to initiate transfers may be more than what you’d pay to change US dollars to BRL elsewhere.
Money transfer services
You may find that sending money to Brazil through a dedicated remittance company gives you more value. This can particularly be the case with remittance companies that are based entirely online. Since they don’t have to pay the high overheads to run land-based outlets, they can often pass on savings to customers through competitive rates.
While you will have to register for a new account, transfer services typically make this simple, and the time you spend may pay off in savings.
Using Remitly to send money to Brazil
One prominent example of a remittance company based purely online is Remitly, which currently caters to over five million customers worldwide. Remitly has partnerships in place with a series of banks based in Brazil, including Caixa and Banco do Brasil, empowering us to provide a swift, seamless, and secure money transfer service.
To get started, it’s just a matter of creating your own Remitly account through the website or app. Some basic personal details will be required, including information relating to your payment method. Then, you simply add details for your recipient, and you can go ahead with the transfer.
Bear in mind that Remitly may ask for additional documentation depending on the amount you’re sending or if we cannot verify your identity.
Curious to know what the Remitly exchange rates are right now? Click here for more information.
Sending money from Brazil: converting BRL to USD or another currency
What about converting Brazilian reais to pounds, Brazilian reais to dollars, Brazilian reais to euros, or Brazilian reais to any other currency for that matter?
The same rule of thumb applies. Doing some research can help you get the most for your money. Anyone looking to send money out of the country should check with their financial institution to compare the rate and any fees to what’s offered by dedicated remittance companies in Brazil.
Further reading: Safely Send Money to Brazil in 5 Easy Steps
What about exchanging BRL outside Brazil?
Brazilians outside their home country have a number of ways to purchase local currency using the real. Popular options include:
- Converting cash at a high street currency service
- Purchasing local currency at a bank
- Withdrawing local currency using ATM machines
- Purchasing goods and services using your Brazilian debit card
Many people visiting other countries may naturally gravitate to currency exchange desks and banks when securing local currency. Both options are convenient, especially if you are in a large town or city where they are likely to be easy to find. On the other hand, you may find that their fees and/or exchange rates aren’t the most competitive.
Similarly, while you may simply be able to withdraw cash with your ATM card or pay your way with your Brazilian debit or credit card, the banking fees may swiftly add up. Any Brazilians spending an extended amount of time in a new country may want to consider setting up a local bank account, which can provide a cheaper way to live and work there.
Finding the best Brazilian real exchange rate
Whether you decide to use a financial institution or remittance company when sending money to Brazil, it’s useful to have a working knowledge of how conversion works. The calculation itself is simple to understand and looks like this:
Send Currency x Exchange Rate = Receive Amount
Let’s consider how this plays out in three example scenarios.
How to find dollar-to-real rates
For our first example, let’s say you’re currently based in the US and looking to send 100 USD to your loved one back home. Checking the USD to BRL exchange rate, you can see it is currently 1 USD = 4.73 BRL. The conversion for your transfer looks like this:
100 USD x 4.73 BRL = 473 BRL
So does your recipient actually receive 473 BRL? Not necessarily. There are often fees to deduct from the amount converted.
Let’s imagine your hypothetical remittance company charges 8 USD per transfer. This equates to 37.84 BRL. So, what your friend or family member in Brazil actually receives can be worked out like this:
473 BRL – 37.84 BRL = 435.16 BRL
By contrast, as of this writing, sending through Remitly’s Economy remittance option costs 1.99 USD per transfer. This would mean your recipient receives significantly more in real compared to the hypothetical scenario above.
How to find euro-to-real rates
What if you’re based in France and sending 100 EUR to Brazil? Going by the hypothetical exchange rate of 1 EUR = 5.23 BRL, the conversion would look like this:
100 EUR x 5.23 BRL = 523 BRL
At this point, you’ll simply have to subtract any fees to see how much will actually end up with your loved one in Brazil.
How to find pound-to-real rates
Finally, let’s say you’re currently based in the United Kingdom and sending money to Brazil. If the amount is 100 GBP and the hypothetical exchange rate is 1 GBP = 6.09 BRL, you would work the conversion out as follows:
100 GBP x 6.09 BRL = 609 BRL
Once again, the fee should be deducted to see what the conversion actually amounts to for your recipient.
Getting the best deal
Brazilians living in countries across the world have a choice of ways to send money back home, whether they’re looking to transfer funds as occasional gifts or provide vital, ongoing financial support for loved ones. Hopefully, this guide has demonstrated the importance of doing some research to ensure your transfer translates to the maximum possible amount in your recipient’s account (and pocket).
Remitly is on a mission to make international money transfers faster, easier, more transparent, and more affordable. Since 2011, millions of people have used Remitly to send money with peace of mind.