Sep 232014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Payroll cards provider Brightwell Payments has a product line called OceanPay, which is a service to cater to payroll needs of businesses. It involves products offered in partnership with Visa and MasterCard for the users to benefit from various services available. This includes cash withdrawal, online account access, etc.

One of the services available is the facility to send money back home. As it is called, it is a service that enables users to send money home in minutes, without leaving the ship. The ways available to send money include wire and draft.

OceanPayAll the users have to do is login and select the Global Currencies option. The web address for logging in is mentioned on the back of every card. Once logged in, the above mentioned option has to be selected for making money transfer. A beneficiary has to be added then, from the Manage tab by selecting the Manage Beneficiary option from the drop-down menu.

The currency has to be selected then, having filled the form and before selecting Create New Beneficiary. The information required for adding a beneficiary is their mailing address, the receiving bank’s name, bank code, IBAN and the SWIFT Code, and the receiving bank’s address.

After the beneficiary has been added, payment details have to be entered in screen after selecting Order Wire/Draft from the Quote & Order menu. After adding the payment, ‘Send Wire/Draft’ has to be chosen to initiate the payment. The acknowledgement can then be printed for reference. The fees applicable maybe between $7 and $15.

Western Union transfers are available through OceanPay, as well. Users can alternatively choose this to send money to any corner of the world and avoid complicated procedures. The wire transfer is safe, but it is complicated compared to the simple processes many competitors have been offering and to the demands of modern customers.

This service is only available to OceanPay card holders; and the cards are provided by their employers. So it is not available for everyone.

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Sep 232014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Foreign currency transfers is a natural expansion option for foreign exchange houses and companies that work with them. Many companies have come up with this kind of service and are successfully running money transfer services from one part of the world to another. The benefit they focus on is better rates than a bank.

While this is common for almost all companies in this league, they have distinct USP that helps them attract new customers and that also retains old customers. However, as it is difficult to differentiate between various services offered and the factors involved in each of the services, having a distinct USP is very difficult. For this reason, they provide a guarantee or challenge other service providers.

World FirstThe guarantee may be in the form of better service, fast transfers, lower fees or better rates. This eventually serves as their USP. To quote an example, UK based foreign exchange company, World First offers a great service that guarantees unbeatable exchange rates, exceptional levels of service, fastest available international payments and free transfers for UK based customers making personal transfers.

Having said this, it is questionable as to how fast the transfers can be. They take anywhere between a day and four days to complete a transfer. They cannot compete with leading money transfer operators in claiming that their transfers are the fastest. If they intend to compare themselves with banks and other exchange houses, it is a different point, but I believe it does not make sense.

When we talk about transferring money, we do not ask whether it is an exchange house or a different company. All we want is better rates, lower fees and fast transfers; whether it is World First of Western Union or any other service. It is however possible that they provide a much better service and better rates, but speed can’t be their USP.

World First allows customers to send money to other parts of the world through correspondent banks, such that money is deposited directly into the recipient’s account. The transfers happen through SWIFT as the company is a member of the SWIFT network. Transfers can also be scheduled for a later date with the help of a future contract. This link takes you to the sign up page. If interested, the users can try their service and see how different they are.

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Sep 172014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Sending money internationally attracts many things including foreign exchange rates, exchange houses, fees, etc. It is important that there is control over these factors, in order to ensure that a transfer in smooth and costs low. The options that companies have are managing all these on their own or partnering with third parties to provide excellent service.

Money Move IT is a company that is registered in New Zealand and has relationships with several of the world’s leading online FX services to ensure excellent rates, lower fees and more value in foreign currency, unlike many other companies.

Money Move ITMoney Move IT guarantees lower fees, better rates, faster transactions, safety and security along with the ability to send money at any time. The service is used not only by individuals, but also organizations, merchants and developers. For individuals, fees start at $4.99 and they can send small and large amounts with ease. No receiving fees apply in most receiving countries.

Organizations can use the service to pay suppliers and receive from other parties. Small businesses, government departments, NGOs, all companies can sign up to use Money Move IT. Agents can refer customers and earn commission from the transactions referred, thus increasing their profits. Merchants and developers can accept payments on their websites with Money Move IT.

Savings per transaction may range between $40 and $60 and payments can be sent directly to bank accounts. Additional security is ensured through the usage of SWIFT network. Apart from these, great exchange rates are on offer.

To use the service, senders have to register and login, then initiate transfer to any bank account in over 40 countries. Money has to be paid into the company’s local account; they don’t accept cash payments and they don’t directly debit the sender’s account. Senders need to manually transfer the money, which can also be done through internet banking.

Individuals will be able to send up to $200 until they confirm their identity. Receivers in Tonga and Samoa can collect the funds from local agents as well. On the registration page, users can see whether their country is supported to send and receive money.

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Sep 112014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

I wrote about instant money transfer offered by Bank of India in the last post. This service requires the senders to be customers of BOI while the recipient can be just anyone. The unbanked are still away from instant money transfer, considering that the withdrawal should be done from a BOI ATM only.

Like Kenya innovated to create a product like M-Pesa, India is working on a product called OxiCash. Over 60% of the unbanked population will now be able to instantly send and receive money across India through this service. OxiCash was launched earlier this year by Oxigen Services. The service works via a mobile wallet, comparable with M-Pesa.

OxiCashIn addition, senders are able to send money from a bank account to the wallet. All transfers are instant and on real time basis. The project is a partnership between NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India) and Oxigen. The real time transfer is done using IMPS (Immediate Payment Service).

55 banks have joined in to support transfers from bank account to OxiCash wallets. It is available for use online at www.oxicash.in and on mobile using a mobile application on Android smartphones. In addition, the service can be accessed with SMS as well, to support non-smartphone users.

The service is available all over India and can be created over simple SMS. The wallet can be initially funded at over 100000 touch points or through IMPS.

Oxigen also has wallets to use for reloading mobile phones, DTH and other services, apart from money transfer. Money transfer from the wallet can be done in three ways, which are wallet to wallet, wallet to bank account using MMID (Mobile Money Identifier) and wallet to bank account using the account number.

The ability to transfer to any bank account is amazing. It uses the IFSC (Indian Financial System Code) to make this possible.

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Sep 102014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Indians are used to receiving money using Western Union and MoneyGram, when they talk about instant money transfer. A system exists to send and receive money between bank accounts within the country, known as NEFT (National Electronic Fund Transfer), but this requires at least 12 hours for the approval of a beneficiary and requires a day for the funds to be deposited to the beneficiary account.

Once the money has been deposited, the recipient is free to do whatever they want with it, as it is in their bank account. Banks have been less innovative, until recently, when Bank of India (BOI) announced the introduction of instant money transfer to anyone in India. When I say anyone, it includes those who don’t have an account with the bank as well.

Bank of IndiaThe service is available throughout the year and can be accessed at any time of the day, by both the sender and the recipient. Senders should, however be customers of the bank; they should have an account at BOI.

The service is ideal in cases where the bank details of the recipient are not know or the recipient doesn’t have a bank account, or even when the recipient prefers cash or needs the money instantly. Cash, here, refers to withdrawal from BOI ATMs, without using a BOI card; and in fact, without using any card at all.

The card-less cash withdrawal works with a mobile number. The sender has to provide the recipient’s mobile number, on which, partial transfer details will be sent. Rest of the details have to be communicated by the sender, personally. This ensures extra security and zero fraud risk. The sender provides the sender code to the recipient while the latter receives a PIN via SMS. Both of these have to be provided along with their mobile number at a BOI ATM to withdraw cash.

As per regulations, withdrawal limits of INR 25000 per month and INR 10000 per transaction apply per recipient. Once initiated by the sender, the recipient has 14 days to withdraw the cash, after which, it is cancelled and the amount is credited to the sender.

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Sep 052014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Ireland based CurrencyFair lets users send money to approximately 100 countries. They promise best exchange rate and low fees compared to a typical bank transfer. They allow transfers into bank accounts, but confirm the identity of the sender and the purpose of transfer before approving it. Around 16 currencies are available for exchange. Senders can deposit money in these supported currencies and select the recipient’s preferred currency as well. Apart fro Ireland, they have offices in Australia and the UK.

The process of sending money is simple. All the sender has to do is deposit money into CurrencyFair’s account, exchange it between the supported currencies and then transfer the money. The exchange happens in two ways; senders either instruct the best rate to be chosen from the marketplace or choose the rate themselves at the right time. This way, they have more control over the transfer.

CurrencyFairThe fee applicable is almost 10% of typical bank transfers. In addition, they guarantee a lower exchange rate margin, thus saving the sender a lot of money. The exchange fee could be anywhere between 0.15% and 0.5% of the amount exchanged, depending on the situation. On an average, the fee is 0.35% of the amount exchanged plus a fixed fee of €3. This is compared with more than ten times the fee charged by the banks.

For making the transfer, or for adding the recipient’s account for most countries, CurrencyFair requires IBAN or SWIFT codes. For the US, they require ABA number, New Zealand and Australia a BSB number, Hong Kong and Singapore a clearing code and the UK a sort code.

The transfer times depend on the currency pair and the country where the particular account (or a foreign currency account) is held. For example, the AED account is held in London, so it would require a SWIFT code for transfer and would require 2-4 business days for deposit and a similar time for transfer. If the sender wants to deposit or exchange Polish Zloty, the time taken is not more than 1 business day, or 2 in rare cases.

It is really simple to create an account and use it. So if senders are interested they can begin exchanging and sending money, now.

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Aug 282014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Bangladesh is a country in the Indian Sub-Continent, which has a lot of people working in the foreign countries. This necessarily means that the Bangladeshi expatriates are a good target market for sending money back home, from any country. The Middle East itself has over 5 million Bangladeshi expatriates working in different fields.

These expatriates periodically send money to their families and friends in Bangladesh. One of the services they use is bKash. It is a joint venture between US based company, Money in Motion and Bangladesh based BRAC Bank. It functions as a subsidiary of BRAC Bank.

bKash BangladeshbKash was introduced to address the need to make financial services available to everyone in Bangladesh regardless of the remoteness of their location. 70% of the Bangladeshi population lives in rural areas and only 15% have a formal connection with a banking system. It is also reported that over 68% of Bangladeshis have mobile phones. To make these mobile phones more than just devices to talk on, this service was introduced.

bKash utilizes the existing mobile telecom network to extend financial services to Bangladeshis in a secure environment. It is very convenient, fast, secure and affordable. In fact, it is quite well adopted by Bangladeshis around the world. They are operated and promoted by agents who have small business establishments.

bKash has also partnered with exchange houses in many countries including the UAE, Oman, Bahrain and the UK. To send money, Bangladeshi expatriates should visit a participating exchange house, a branch or an agent and fill an applicable form. They need to mention the recipient’s bKash account number, which is their mobile number without the international dialing code. Currently, the operators supported include Robi, Grameenphone, Banglalink and Airtel.

To receive money, the recipient should have a bKash account, which can be opened by visiting any bKash agent. There is no charge for receiving money, except for withdrawing money from a BRAC Bank ATM or from an agent. International remittance limit is BDT 50 to BDT 150000 per transaction. The higher limit is maximum allowed limit per day and per month. At any point, a bKash wallet holder can keep not more than BDT 150000. So the limits may differ based on this as well.

bKash is quite trusted and widely used by Bangladeshis, especially in the Middle East. Small hourly internet operators and other such vendors act as agents and facilitate money transfer.

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Aug 222014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

With advancement of technology and the introduction of new products and services in the developed world, the developing nations also start services that help them in keeping up with the pace. Pakistani telecom company, Telenor is among the leading telecom providers in Pakistan, with operations in Malaysia, Thailand and Bangladesh as well.

Telenor Pakistan partnered with a Pakistani bank, Tameer Micro Finance Bank to introduce branchless banking in Pakistan. This service is called Easypaisa and is available for all Pakistanis to use. Banking transactions are carried out using a mobile phone, whether the user is a Telenor subscriber or not. The service is innovative and has a wide reach.

EasypaisaWith Easypaisa, Telenor reaches thousands of unbanked customers, who reside in Pakistan. The service is only available in Pakistan for customers to take advantage of banking services without visiting any of the bank’s branches.

Easypaisa offers a money transfer service for sending money to and from Pakistani cities. It can be accessed at any Easypaisa shop, Telenor Franchise, Telenor Sales & Service Center or a Tameer Microfinance Bank branch. The service also allows the customers to send money from one Pakistani city to another. The concept also includes mobile money, which enables Pakistanis to take their cash wherever they go, without carrying physical cash or even the plastic money.

Anyone with a Computerized National Identity Card (Nadra CNIC) can use this service to send and receive money across Pakistan. They can use it to send money to family and friends from any Easypaisa shop. It is ideal for people who work in cities and have families in rural villages. The best part of the service is that anyone, including non-Telenor users can use it and no registration is necessary. Inter-Bank fund transfers can also be done using a mobile phone.

To send money, senders need to present their identity card and hand over the money and the fee at the Easypaisa shop, after which, they are provided with a 5-digit money transfer control code which has to be communicated to the recipient. The recipient has to collect the money by visiting an Easypaisa shop and presenting their identity card and the code. A demo can be accessed here for sending from a mobile phone.

The fees for transferring money to a mobile account start at Rs. 30 (inclusive of the 16% Federal Excise Duty) and goes up to Rs. 480. The minimum amount that can be sent is Rs. 1 and the maximum amount is Rs. 15000. The fees for transferring money to a mobile account start at Rs. 15 (inclusive of the Federal Excise Duty) and goes up to Rs. 280. Even here, the minimum amount that can be sent is Rs. 1 and the maximum amount is Rs. 15000.

Recipients in Pakistan can receive money from 80 countries through sending partners of Easypaisa. These partners include Xpress Money, Al Ansari Exchange, MoneyGram, Word Remit and Placid Express.

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Aug 212014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

There are quite a few money transfer operators in the world, but companies that support these money transfer operators are not many. Remit Anywhere is a company that aims to support financial companies in compliance with regulations, processing higher transaction volumes and enhancement of efficiency and controls.

The primary product they offer is a money transfer software system for money transfer businesses. The software is designed to enable businesses to create a powerful system for their enterprise, for company-wide, multi-currency and multi-country money transfer business. They offer three plans for companies, which are: Free, Lite and Pro.

Remit AnywhereThe services they offer include consulting, IT services, IT policies and control, audits and disaster recovery. They believe that their software system is so powerful that it can transform an entire money transfer operations. With this, they guarantee lower operational costs, increased revenues and better customer loyalty through satisfaction.

The Free version is a hosted money transfer system that is ideal for small money transfer companies, to enable them to perform the most basic functions of money transfer. This version also allows the company to manage branches and agents, manage senders, manage receivers and manage transactions among many other features.

The Lite version is available to companies at competitive prices, to small and medium sized companies and it enables them to take advantage of an enterprise class system, helping themselves expand their business. Unlike the Free version, this version has technical support, centralized management and processing, built-in accounts payable and receivable, currency exchange management and so on.

The Pro version is a premium version and supports many features, not available in the Free and Lite versions. It is ideal for larger businesses, though smaller companies can also use it very well; and has round the clock technical support. This version has many extra features, including enhanced reporting, audit trail, dual authorization, etc.

Companies can either choose to use the Free version or consider using the Lite and Pro versions for 30 days as trial. To get the trial and to enquire about prices, the ‘contact us link can be followed.

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Aug 142014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

London based money transfer service provider, Speed Fast operates in the UK and Switzerland and allows users to send money to over 80 countries at great rates. They have partnered with banks and agents in each of these countries for smooth processing and timely delivery of money. In addition, they have partnered with Western Union and Ria for sending money to all countries supported by them.

Senders can pay in order to send money, by visiting one of Speed Fast shops – in other words, branches – or they can visit their agents or pay using phone or internet. They strive to provide good customer service in the language that the customer prefers, including English, German, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian. They also claim to offer rates better than other companies.

Speed FastOther than money transfer, Speed Fast also deals in money exchange without charging any commission and offering better rates than others in the market. They buy and sell USD, EUR, BRL and CHF. In addition, they also provide check cashing services. Launched in 2002, they have been striving to build trust among customers and provide better services.

Speed Fast guarantees delivery of payment within 2 business days. Payment has to be made by transferring the money to Speed Fast’s bank account or by paying in cash. The current exchange rates can be confirmed from here. Based on the country (UK or Switzerland), users can select the country from the bottom.

This link can be used to make transfers online by remitting money into Speed Fast’s bank account. But before doing this, they have to register for the service. I found the registration process to be old fashioned, downloading PDF forms, printing them, filling them manually and sending them by email to register@speedfast.eu or to any of their main offices in the UK and Switzerland, by post.

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