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 or to any of their main offices in the UK and Switzerland, by post.

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Aug 062014

By Mohammed Waseem

Exchange houses and other companies dealing with money start money transfer services as a part of their expansion plans and in order to reach different markets and different segments. And this is expected to be the next step because it is easy for them to start such a service. But how about a retail chain starting a money transfer service?

US retail giant, Walmart has a money transfer service powered by MoneyGram, which allows senders to transfer money around the globe for being collected in just 10 minutes. Walmart has a dedicated page on MoneyGram’s website, from which, senders can directly send money without leaving the website. Senders can also visit a Walmart store in the US or Puerto Rico to transfer money from there. When I checked the fee charged by Walmart and MoneyGram, I was surprised to find that for most transfers were cheaper from Walmart, than MoneyGram, though the provider is the latter.

Walmart to Walmart Money TransferTo quote an example, I checked the transfer fees for transferring USD 2000 to the UK. The fee charged by Walmart is $96.90, while MoneyGram charges $100. The exchange rate is the same. However, when I checked the same amount of transfer to India, I saw a difference of $4 due to the exchange rate, though the fee displayed was $1 lesser than what MoneyGram charged. So, for transfers to a few countries, they deduct fees from the amount of transfer, thus charging it to the recipient. Senders can pay in cash or by debit card, credit card or Walmart MoneyCard.

Walmart also has a store to store money transfer service called ‘Walmart-to-Walmart Money Transfer’, which is powered by Ria. The service allows senders to transfer money from one city in the US or Puerto Rico to another; all stores in the US and Puerto Rico provide this service and it can’t be accessed online. Fees start at $4.5 and senders can choose to pay in cash, with a debit card or Walmart MoneyCard. Even this service makes the money available within 10 minutes. This service, they claim, saves the senders up to 50% on transfer fees.

I won’t be surprised to see a money transfer service owned by Walmart after a few years. They have stores in many countries across the globe; they could use this network to act as a money transfer operator.

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Aug 032014

By Mohammed Waseem

With decades of experience dealing with money, UAE Exchange has grown big and expanded to many countries. They are present in all the continents of the world and operate in over 30 countries. In addition, they have partnered with other companies to expand their reach. They can take the sender’s money anywhere in the world.

They are rapidly growing in the UK and are promoting their business. Last year, they offered gold bars to the winners in monthly draws. They completed 10 years of operation in the UK in 2013. They have been the remitter of choice for many expatriates in the UK and elsewhere, which has made them remain in business for so long and has gained them good experience. They are continuing to explore ways to optimize their operations in all areas of money transfer.

A UAEXCHANGE branch in the UK

A UAEXCHANGE branch in the UK

The flagship product offered by UAE Exchange is bank transfer. It enables senders to transfer money to almost any part of the work, directly into the recipient’s bank account. They have access to places, in which, many other leading money transfer services are unheard of. They have partnered with over 150 banks for this to work; both individual transfers, as well as corporate transfers are supported in this. Senders need to visit one of the UAE Exchange branches to make the transfer.

They offer online money transfer through Money2Anywhere, which is a highly secure way of transferring money online. Apart from this, instant money transfer is also offered in partnership with MoneyGram, XpressMoney and through Associate Bank Transfer (ABT). With the first two, over 250000 agents can be reached in the world, for recipients to collect cash payouts.

ABT allows senders to transfer money instantly to select countries, with option for the recipient to collect cash from any UAE Exchange branch or their associates. Apart from money transfer, UAE Exchange also deals with money exchange and gold loans.

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Jul 302014

By Mohammed Waseem

For sending money internationally, Money2Anywhere is a very good option. The service is currently available in 10 countries and money can be sent globally, from any device. It is a service from UAE Exchange, which is well known and frequently used exchange house in the Arabian Gulf and many other countries.

Money2Anywhere offers bank level security to ensure safe, fast and secure movement of funds. For sending money, senders have to follow a simple four step process. The first step is sign up, after which, the beneficiary or the recipient has to be added. Once done, mode of payment has to be selected, which is in cash or bank transfer. The final step is approving the transfer.

Money2AnywhereFor cash pickup, Money2Anywhere has over 100000 agent locations and for bank transfer, they have partnered with over 150 banks in more than 30 countries. Websites for each supported country are different. Rates can be confirmed by selecting the country from the bottom left on this page. Transfers to many countries are free of cost and for others, a nominal fee is applicable.

Money2Anywhere claims to offer exchange rates better than banks and exchange houses.   In addition, they have promotional offers round the year and have multiple payment options. Any mobile device can also be used by accessing

Users can also send mobile top up internationally. This service is presently available in Bahrain only, but maybe introduced in other countries in the near future, in partnership with mobile operators. They boast of personalized customer service and competitive rates. Each customer is provided dedicated support by a Money2Anywhere representative.

They are offering an excellent service, which is safe and secure, with bank level security in place; and are also reliable for the fact that they are affiliated with a company that has over 30 years in experience, dealing with currency exchange, that is UAE Exchange.

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Jul 212014

By Mohammed Waseem

Amidst the arguments on whether Bitcoin will replace the paper currency or not and amidst the fluctuations in value of a Bitcoin, small companies and coffee shops had begun accepting Bitcoin. Now, larger organizations have started to accept the virtual currency, probably seeing the potential it has. It has seen a high of over $1000 and a low below $200. At this moment, it is fluctuating between $621 and $622.

Multinationals including Dell, have started accepting Bitcoin for their products. With this, Dell has become the world’s largest ecommerce acceptor of Bitcoin. In addition, New York has proposed Bitcoin trading, called BitLicence, according to which, companies would require license to trade in Bitcoin. This is how they intend to regulate the virtual currency, which is otherwise unregulated.

Rebit.PhIt is not surprising to know that money transfer companies have begun offering Bitcoin transfers, in fact, few companies have begun offering “Bitcoin transfers only”. Rebit is one such company which allows people from around the world to transfer money to the Philippines through their Bitcoin wallets.

To send money, senders have to logon to Rebit.Ph, define the amount to be sent in ? (Philippine Pesos) and select the delivery option. After this, recipient’s details have to be provided along with the details of the sender. Delivery options available are in-person pickup (charged between ?5 and ?8), bank account transfer (free of cost), home delivery (between ?59 and ?120) or pickup at Rebit.Ph headquarters (free of cost). These are the third party fees charged.

Rebit charges 1% of the transfer amount as the fee. So, if one wants to send money to the recipient’s bank account, they are only charged 1% of the amount, but if they want it delivered to their home, they are charged 1% of the amount, plus a charge between ?59 and ?120. The maximum amount senders can send in ?50000 and minimum they can send is ?1000.

Once the sender completes the transaction, the recipient receives a text message about the transfer. The next day, they can collect the money or has it deposited into the bank account.

Although Bitcoin is gaining popularity and adaptability, it is not yet stable. Fluctuations and crises are common in the Bitcoin market; even experts make losses and wrong assumptions. This is mostly true due to the fat that the virtual currency is not regulated. New York has taken a step to regulate it, let us see who joins them and how far the virtual currency goes.

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Jul 132014

By Mohammed Waseem

Ecobank, the Pan African bank that serves the residents of Africa, was founded in 1985 and has over 1300 branches across Africa. They have over 2400 ATMs and 13800 POS machines serving over 10 million customers. They were also the largest employer in Middle Africa with over 19500 employees, as in March 2014.

Ecobank has an excellent money transfer service which enables residents of 36 countries in East, West and Central Africa to transfer money. It is called Rapidtransfer. The service is available in all the countries where Ecobank operates. The service is fast, convenient, reliable and accessible. It is available to both account holders and non-account holders.

RapidtransferIn order to send money, the sender has to visit an Ecobank branch and fill the send form and submit a valid means of identification. After that, the amount has to be handed over to the clerk along with the applicable fee. A reference number is then generated for the sender to communicate with the receiver.

The receiver can collect the amount by visiting any of the Ecobank branches and present the reference number along with a form of identification. After verification, the amount is handed over to the receiver, without any charge.

This works like Western Union or any other international money transfer service. For money transfer to any country that is not supported by Rapidtransfer, Ecobank has partnered with Western Union to offer the service. Senders can use both the online money transfer service, as well as in-person service and even at Ecobank ATMs.

The online transfer happens through Ecobank Internet Banking and is available to Ecobank customers only. If the receiver holds an account at Ecobank, they can access the funds by logging into the website and transferring the funds to their account.

It is good to have a service similar to the leading players in money transfer industry, though it is meant for only 36 countries within Africa. Ecobank’s partnership with Western Union fills the gap that exists between Rapidtransfer and other countries where the senders might want to send money to.

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