Oct 022017

Are you looking for an easy and inexpensive way to send money to a family member or friend in Russia? I have a good tip for you, one based on personal experience. I’ll share it at the end of this article.

First let me tell you what doesn’t work, so I can save you the time of going through what I did.

Among other things, I write novels. I recently completed a novel and hired a young woman in Russia, an illustrator, to design the cover. She lives in St. Petersburg. She gave me an extremely reasonable rate of $175. Her name is Dari.

When the cover was complete, Dari gave me her bank account information so I could send the money by wire transfer. I would have preferred to send it by Paypal, but Paypal does not operate in Russia.

First I tried sending the transfer online, through my online banking website. It failed. I was told that the transfer was rejected for security reasons. So then I went to the actual bank branch. The transfer officer was an old acquaintance. He put the transfer through without charging me a fee, and gave me a receipt. I told Dari to let me know when she received the money.

Three days later, to my embarrassment, the money was refunded to my bank account, minus a $35 handling fee. I was given no reason, except that the transfer could not be completed.

Okay. In the past I might have tried iKobo, but they went out of business a few years back. I had a thought to try Xoom, which I’ve used in the past to send money to Panama. When I went to the website, lo and behold Russia is not one of the 65 countries they send to.

Xoom logo

Xoom Corporation

At this point I was beginning to suspect that, due to the limited economic sanctions in place against Russia by the U.S.A., I was going to have trouble sending this money to Russia.

Next: Sending Money to Russia, Part 2 – What WORKS

May 142014


Diana Forman wrote:

I sent some money via Western Union to someone in Chicopee. He picked up the money yes but how can I confirm the identity of the person who picked up the money? Would the Western Union be able to confirm to me the name of the person who pick up the cash. I need the information to make a claim for reimbursement.


Western Union storefront.

Western Union.

Diana, Western Union requires the person who picks up the transfer to present the money transfer control number and a piece of identification – typically a driver’s license. Whether they retain this information in their system, and whether they can provide you with any sort of proof – like a photocopy of the person’s license – I don’t know.

I suggest you call the Western Union customer service number and ask them directly. Their number in the United States is:  1 (800) 325-6000 

I’d be interested in hearing how this turns out for you. Come back and leave a comment on this post after you work it out. Good luck.

– Wael

Jul 132013

By W.H.A.| SpeedyPay.info

Dib Eladly wrote:

Dear MoneyGram,

I live in Montenegro republic in Europe. If you have any contact information to your office kindly send it to me.


Podgorica, Montenegro.

Montenegro is a beautiful place to go for holiday – but has no MoneyGram locations. This is the capital, Podgorica.

Dib, I’m not a MoneyGram agent. This is a blog and I write reviews and news about money transfer services, including MoneyGram.

I searched MoneyGram’s online international location finder, but no results came up for Montenegro. With something like 200,000 locations in 200 countries I found that surprising, so I called MoneyGram’s customer service line, and indeed they have no agent locations in Montenegro. Weird, huh?

It occurred to me that since Montenegro only became independent in 2006, maybe the MoneyGram systems still classified it as part of Serbia. So I searched locations in Serbia, but I could not find anything in Podgorica, the capital city of Montenegro.

You could try Western Union – they do appear to have agents in Montenegro. See the Western Union location finder results for Podgorica, Montenegro.

Jul 112013

By W.H.A.| SpeedyPay.info

Anthony wrote:

please i want to know if you guys, transfer money with western union from nigeria to europe. thanks.


Anthony, SpeedyPay.info is not a money transfer service. We are a blog that provides reviews and information about money transfer services.

Nigeria economic activity map.

Nigeria economic activity map. There are legal restrictions on money transfers out of Nigeria.

There are legal restrictions on outgoing money transfers in Nigeria. Western Union has more than 2,700 agents in Nigeria. However, the company does not allow customers in Nigeria to transfer money abroad, so wire transfers can only be sent in country.

In addition, sending more than $10,000, or the equivalent amount in Naira (the Nigerian currency) will be reported to the Central Bank of Nigeria.

MoneyGram has offices in Nigeria but they are even more restrictive than Western Union. MoneyGram customers in Nigeria cannot send money at all – whether overseas or locally – but can only receive money. MoneyGram partners in Nigeria include the Equatorial Trust Bank (ETB), UBA, First Bank of Nigeria, Bank PHB, Union Bank of Nigeria PLC, Fidelity Bank, Spring Bank PLC and Afribank of Nigeria PLC.

Other services:

Nevertheless, there are services that claim to be able to transfer money internationally from Nigeria. The normal fee is $20 to $35 for the first $100, then $10 for every $100 after that.

Another money transfer service that operates in Nigeria is SAPNET Solutions. Their website is http://www.sapnetsolutions.co.uk/ but it’s apparently “undergoing maintenance” right now, which does not inspire confidence. Afro Trade Group also claims to provide money transfer services out of Nigeria. If you try one of these services please let me know the result.

May 092013

By W.H.A.| SpeedyPay.info

1. othel ward wrote:
I sent money to Jessica Hottenstine and would like to know in what city she
picked it up. She said she was out of gas in Fort Wayne after a doctor
appointment but lives in Crawfordsville. Like to see if she lied to me or
not.tracking number is ********. I sent it from Frankfort In. 46041. I sent
20.00 dollars money gram transfer

Answer: Jessica, call the MoneyGram customer service line at 1-800-328-5678 or 1-800-MoneyGram, and ask them what city the money was picked up in. I don’t know if that will tell you if Jessica lied or not, though. If she’s a good friend of yours then maybe you should trust her. If not, then don’t send her any more money.

2. ma.lyka nate wrote:
can i know if this MoneyGram reference number is ready to pick up by reciever
ref:# ********

Answer: malyka, call MoneyGram customer service at 1-800-328-5678 or 1-800-MoneyGram, and ask them if the money was picked up.

3. Patricia Bassett wrote:
I have fraud charges on my debt card through pay pal account I would appreciate
some help on this matter. Thank you

Answer: First, contact Paypal customer support and notify them. Second, contact your bank and ask them to reverse the charges.

Best of luck to all of you. Always protect yourself when it comes to money transfers. Make sure your receiver is who they say they are. Check customer reviews of that seller. If you have any doubt, don’t send the money.

Apr 242013

By W.H.A.| SpeedyPay.info

A reader named Sarath asks: “How do I become a MoneyGram agent? And please send your contact numbers in Australia?”

Answer: Sarath, thanks for your question. First let’s be clear that this website is not an official MoneyGram website nor are we a money transfer service. Speedy Pay is a blog that focuses on money transfer services and answers questions from people like yourself.

MoneyGram sign

MoneyGram has agents in 200 countries around the world.

It’s interesting you ask this, because I’ve been thinking myself about leasing a small office and getting into the money transfer business myself. It seems like an industry with a low barrier to entry, and a good profit margin. Fill out the paperwork, pay for the license, lease a small space and buy the equipment (which is minimal), and you’re in business.

Most money transfer offices here in the USA also offer advance paycheck loans and other financial services, though I’m not interested in that personally. Other agent locations sell office supplies and gifts, rent mailboxes, ship packages through FedEx or UPS, and provide passport photos or fingerprinting services. If you happen to offer those other services, acting as a MoneyGram agent is a value-added service that may bring more customers into your store.

MoneyGram is the second largest remittance company worldwide, with over 300,000 agent locations in 200 countries. They provide new agents with training, equipment and software, and of course they carry out global marketing to bring in customers.

If you want to apply to become a MoneyGram agent, fill out this form on the MoneyGram website:

MoneyGram agent interest form

A MoneyGram representative will contact you to discuss your eligibility. If they find you to be a good candidate, they will make an appointment to visit you in person and discuss your application in detail. They will also send you an application form to fill out before they visit you, so you should have that ready for the MoneyGram representative when you meet.

They MoneyGram rep will also request that you prepare some documentation for your meeting. The precise documents requested will depend on your location (what country you are in), but typically you’d be asked to provide your business license, your company accounts (income and expenses) and records of any debt that you owe. MoneyGram will also run a credit check on your business.

If all that seems like a lot, perhaps it is, but the money transfer business is under a high level of scrutiny in this age of fraud, scams and terrorism. MoneyGram wants to be sure they are dealing with a reputable, licensed and profitable business that is not going to abuse their service or give them a bad name.

If everything meets MoneyGram’s approval, you will negotiate terms with them, sign their paperwork, and voila! You are a MoneyGram agent. At that point you will complete their agent training program and begin offering MoneyGram transfers to your customers. MoneyGram will also provide you with promotional material to display in your place of business.

Good luck and may your MoneyGram venture bring you success and prosperity.

Apr 112013

By W.H.A.| SpeedyPay.info

I received the following question from Mehrshad Koleini.

Question: Dear Sir/ Madam. Hi. I would like to post few handicrafts nearly cost 1 to 1.5 thousand dollars every month to different shops in the US. However, I do not know how to get my money (Iran). Would you mind giving me some options, please?


Iranian handcrafts

Iranian handcrafts cannot be legally imported or sold in the USA.

Mehrshad, I’m afraid that direct trade between the United States and Iran (in either direction) is a violation of U.S. sanctions.

Furthermore, sending U.S. currency to Iran would be a violation of sanctions. Only non-commercial family transfers are allowed, and even those must go through an intermediary third-country bank.

Bitta Mostofi, an Iranian-American activist and lawyer, says that current sanctions law bans the import of any goods of Iranian origin. That, she explains, includes “things as benign as rugs or artisan goods created in Iran, even things your family gives you.”

So there is no way you can legally send Iranian handcrafts to the USA for sale, or send U.S. currency to Iran.

Jan 172013

By W.H.A.| SpeedyPay.info

I read today that Xoom, which is an international consumer-to-consumer money transfer service, is going public. The company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering that’s expected to raise $50 million. The company will trade on the NASDAQ under the symbol XOOM.

Xoom logo

Xoom Corporation

The company has not yet disclosed what price they might offer at. I might buy a few shares when the IPO breaks, if the price is reasonable. I’ve used Xoom’s service several times in the past and have been happy with it.

I think there is tremendous potential for growth in the money-transfer market, which for years has been dominated by Western Union and MoneyGram, two companies that may be reliable but are expensive and slow.

Xoom allows users to send money to 30 different countries through their website (Xoom.com), Walmart’s website, or through mobile devices. The sender can fund the transfer with a debit card, credit card or bank account.

Xoom was founded in 2001 and is based in San Francisco, California. The company’s revenues have been growing quickly. Their annual sales in 2012 were $73 million.

See my previous review of Xoom’s money transfer service here:

Sending Money with Xoom

Jan 152013

Money transfer services have become an important part of modern society. Because of the number of online businesses growing and thriving, as well as individuals using the internet to shop from places around the world opposed to visiting brick and mortar stores, it has become essential to have a means of transferring money from one party to another.

Although an essential financial service, there is one big challenge in that not all companies are honest.

Worldwide money transfers

Money transfer

Companies that conduct fraudulent acts and people who scam hit virtually every market imaginable but obviously, anything that involves money becomes a primary target.

To avoid getting caught up in the madness, consumers have both the right and responsibility to research every aspect of money transfer services to find those deemed safe.

Top Global Transfer Companies

While most companies offer much the same services there are unique aspects of each. For that reason, a person would first need to determine what features are considered most important from a transfer company.

One thing in particular a person should learn is the countries for which services are offered. Because this is one of the many important features, we felt it would be beneficial to provide an overview of a few of the top-ranking money transfer services.

Personal FX

  • Specific to Moneysupermarket.com, which allows transfers of £5,000 and up for entry in prize drawings.
  • Monthly payments of at least £250.
  • No limit for the amount of bank transfer payments but a limit of £20,000 for debit cards.
  • If transferring £5,000 or less, fees could apply.
  • 24×7 access to real time exchange rates.
  • Services are authorized and regulated by FSA


  • Maintains a 5 out of 5 rating for service among the top five money websites specific to money transfer services.
  • £100,000 limit on transfers completed online with the amount higher for phone transfers.
  • Services are 100% transparent with mid-market rates being offered minus only a minimal service fee.
  • Services are authorized and regulated by the FSA.
  • 24×7 customer support via phone


  • Specific to Moneysupermarket.com, which allows transfers of £5,000 and up for entry in prize drawings.
  • Minimum amount of transfers is £250.
  • Online transfers available below and above £20,000 with phone transfers can be completed for even higher amounts.
  • Real time exchange rates and no hidden fees o Money transfer services of £3,000 or less are charged a fee of £9.
  • Services are authorized and regulated by the FSA


  • Specific to Moneysupermarket.com with money transfers of £10,000 and higher being used as entry into monthly prize drawings.
  • Only bank transfers are allowed, eliminating the need to deal with cash o Real time exchange rates and professional customer support.
  • Services are authorized and regulated by the FSA.

Lloyds TSB

  • Must be a current Lloyds account holder.
  • No limit on money transfers when completed at a local branch but a £5,000 limit on transfers completed via phone.
  • Fee of £17.50 for money transfers of £5,000 and over and £10 for transfers of less than £5,000 although any intermediary or receiving bank could tack on additional fees.
  • Currencies of all types are available.


  • Currently 23 unique currencies are available.
  • No minimum on transfer amounts.
  • Sending money involves a 3.9% transfer fee when using a balance maintained with PayPal or a bank account, as well as a currency conversion fee, and possible other fees charged by intermediary or receiving banks.
  • Exchange rate would only be confirmed at the time of money being transferred

Key Considerations

No matter the reason for sending/receiving money to or from another country, it is important to learn everything possible about the company offering money transfer services. A good understanding of what different companies offer for money transfer services could have a significant impact on your user experience.

After all, the amount of fees charged, amount of time for a transaction to complete, and the level of support received could vary dramatically. Spending time looking at the companies mentioned as well as others considered safe would be a worthwhile investment long-term.

Dec 202012

In recent years, the number of scams and frauds specific to money transfer services has increased. Advances in technology have made it possible to transfer money using a variety of devices, which is tremendously handy for many people. In addition, new money transfer services have cropped up around the world.

In both cases, opportunity for dishonesty has risen. However, regulators of transfer services have also begun to look at the practices and associated fees of these companies based on increasing complaints.

Regulation Changes

Western Union storefront.

Western Union.

Transfer services will never go away because they are too valuable to both individuals and businesses. As a result, regulators have recognized that some of the existing rules needed to be modified and new rules implemented. Although some changes have already been executed, additional changes are expected to occur sometime in the near future.

One of the biggest changes is that rather than money transfer companies being regulated on a state level, the federal government will be taking over in certain areas. Then in February 2012, another change was enacted whereby customers must be given 30 minutes after the completion of a transaction to request a full refund.

Every day, millions of people depend on transfer services for sending but also receiving money for one reason or another. While the goal of reputable companies is to provide a much-needed service accompanied by affordable rates, dishonest companies have an entirely different agenda. We felt it important to provide information on some of the new regulations now being enforced, as well as other regulatory issues being addressed.

The Real Problem

The biggest issue with money transfer services is the lack of regulation for pricing structure. Without any control, the cost of services is something established by each company according to what they feel is right or the level of profit they want to make. To stay competitive, most companies maintain a similar price structure but there are also differences in the amount of fees charged. Because of this, a person might pay $10 to send money through one transfer services company and $5 through another.

Keep in mind that pricing has no cap, whether for actual fees or exchange rates. The variance in pricing has created serious concerns among consumer advocates who in turn have raised alarms to regulators.

Not surprisingly, some companies are fighting back, attempting to defend their fee structures by pointing out that they provide invaluable services to customers. But perhaps the real reason for pushing back against new regulations has more to do with the potential for losing high profits.

The Future of Transfer Services

According to experts, the business of money transfers will reach approximately $437 billion by the end of 2012. Compared to year end numbers of $387 billion recorded in 2009, it becomes clear this is a growing market that needs to be carefully scrutinized.

The primary goal of state and federal regulators is to make these companies more transparent. With this, known facts would be revealed, making it easier for consumers to choose a company with the best terms and lowest fees.

In addition, officials strongly believe transparency will encourage a higher level of competition but also allow people with low income the opportunity to find companies that offer the lowest rates.

Remember, it takes a significant amount of input from consumers, organizations, and even regulators, as well as time, for policy reform and the implementation of new regulations to take place. The good news is that things appear to be moving in the right direction specific to money transfer services.

Until all regulatory changes have been decided and executed, anyone interested in using services of this type should spend adequate time researching different companies and options. Although the fees will still be higher than what regulators want them to be at some point in the future, making comparisons would at least yield the lowest price available at that time.