Nov 122014
 

Question From Earl Griffin:

Can you transfer money to Ghana? If so, how much and what is the transfer fee?

Answer:

You have not mentioned where you want to send money from; I am assuming it is the USA. Unless you have a family back there that you want to support, or there is a clear purpose, I suggest you not to send money to Ghana. In general, the West African region is where scams and fraud are very common. Many people in different parts of the world have received emails, SMSs or phone calls from scammers in this regard.

In case you have a purpose and you decide to send money to Ghana, you can read further. There are a lot of ways to send money to Ghana. The most effective and fast way is through Western Union, world’s leading money transfer operator, having operations in almost every country in the world. They allow $3000 to be sent anywhere from the US and the fee starts at $4.99.

Ghana Money TransferFor amounts over $3000, their foreign exchange solution may have to be used, which allows senders to send up to $10000. It has to do more with currency trading in case of the latter.

According to a report published by The World Bank, Ria Money Transfer offers you the least total cost, compared to MoneyGram and Western Union. They charge $5 per transfer if the sender pays using bank account; otherwise it is over $10. Ria allows transfers up to $2999.

Even MoneyGram allows transfers of up to $2999, but divert the sender to an exchange house – USFOREX, in case they need to send over $2999. Some operators may charge lower fees, but the exchange rate margin would cover the cost entirely. All of these services can either be accessed online on their websites and by visiting a branch.

If you want to use a bank’s framework and do not want to use a money transfer operator, you could make a Bank Wire Transfer. I hope you have got the best options to select from.

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.

Mar 132014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Scams and money laundering are common in a country like Nigeria. Operating money transfer services to such countries is quite difficult. Amidst all difficulties, few companies offer their services to Nigeria after verifying the identity of the sender and measures required to prevent illegal activities.

WebLink International, a UK based money transfer company specializes in transferring money from the UK to Nigeria. They offer services to Nigerian nationals living and working in the United Kingdom. They can send money to bank accounts in Nigeria or send it for collections from any of the WebLink agents. Money can also be sent to WebLink-proprietary ATM cards for the recipients to withdraw it as they like.

WebLink InternationalIn order to send money, the sender has to visit a WebLink agent location and fill up the send and then hand it over to the agent along with the money intended for the transfer, the applicable fee and a verification document. Money is paid out either in US dollars or Nigerian naira, as instructed by the sender. Recipients can collect the money from one of over 1000 bank branches across Nigeria, which include Skye Bank, Fidelity Bank, First City Monument Bank and Keystone Bank. Cash can be collected just minutes after the completion of the transaction and after the sender has communicated the unique reference number with the recipient.

Money can be transferred to a regular bank account at any Nigerian bank; such credit generally happens the next business day. Transfers can also be made to WebLink-proprietary ATM cards, which can complete even the same business day. To obtain an ATM card, the recipient has to walk in to any of the Skye Bank branches and request a Webfast or Webkonnect Xplorer card.

WebLink has also launched person-to-person transfer service from transfers from UK to Nigeria, which is convenient, simple and affordable. As an introductory offer, the first transaction is free of charge for a transfer not exceeding £100.

No detail of the fees for their services is given on their website. A section does have exchange rate details; however, they ask the customers to call them for more details on current exchange rates. Overall, it is a good service which is quick, secure and reliable.

Mar 112014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Africa has given the world few money transfer services which have operations in most major countries. Among those companies in Bakaal, a Somali money transfer company headquartered in the UAE. Most of the shareholders in the company are Somali nationals living in Somalia and abroad.

Bakaal has operations in 30 countries across the world. So senders can send money to these countries to be received in local currency or in US dollars or directly into bank accounts in some countries or even delivered to the recipient’s home or business. The primary customers of the company are the Somali diaspora around the world and the migrants from the Horn of Africa living abroad. It is estimated that more than 2.5 million Somalis have migrated to other parts of Africa, Europe, the Americas and Australasia, which suggests the potential in Somalia. The company also facilitates the trade payments the Somali businesses exchange with overseas companies.

Bakaal WorldwideThey have agents and offices across the 30 countries that facilitate the transactions. They don’t have online money transfer service, so if anyone wants to use their service they will have to walk in to any of their offices or agent locations.

In order to send money, a sender has to locate a Bakaal agent or office and walk in to it along with a personal identification document. After this, a simple ‘send’ form has to be filled and hand over the form, the money intended for transfer and the transfer fee to the agent. Once the transaction has been processed, a reference number is generated, which has to be communicated with the recipient. Recipients can collect the money after 10 minutes from the completion of the transaction. Sender can also choose to have the money deposited into the recipient’s bank account or delivered to their home or business.

Bakaal is a start-up money transfer service which has a long way to go in order to develop. Their website has very less information about the service, countries of operation and most importantly information about the company. Their website is poorly maintained and lacks important information which would make the customers look for alternatives because customers seek transparency and as much information as possible.

Feb 082014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Africa has many money transfer companies which are doing quite well, though they do not match the services provided by the industry leaders. I spoke about Mukuru in one of my previous articles. In this article, I will discuss about Dahabshiil, the largest African money transfer service.

The company has 24000 agent locations in more than 144 countries. It is one of the oldest money transfer companies launches in 1970. They have been providing services to individuals as well as organizations including Save the Children, Oxfam and Care International. According to the UK Micro Finance club, UN describes Dahabshiil’s services as the only safe and efficient option to transfer funds to projects. Since then, this became their strategy for positioning in the market where competition is high.

Dahabshiil Money TransferThe service was launched for African migrants from the Horn of Africa region to send money back home. With the years, they expanded to other parts of Africa, Europe and the Middle East. In fact, the company’s headquarters were later transferred to Dubai, UAE. The company has diversified into banking and mobile banking in the recent past and broadband services through acquisitions.

Money can be sent through one of the agent locations by paying in cash or online by paying with debit or credit cards. The fee charged is quite high compared to the fees charged by many other money transfer companies. I compared their fees with that of Western Union and found that in most cases, it exceeds the fee charged by Western Union and it is comparatively lesser in only a few cases. Daily limitations apply for a few countries such as Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The complete list of the countries and the limits in USD can be accessed here. The money is usually available for collection in 15 minutes from sending and the recipient is informed through phone or SMS.

Dahabshiil was in the news on different occasions for reasons such as manipulation of internet search results, allegedly suppressing press coverage and the alleged money laundering for terrorist groups, but then cleared of suspicion by the 9-11 commission. Barclays bank had decided to stop Dahabshiil’s service due to the risk of money laundering and funding terrorism but a London High Court prohibited them from cutting Dahabshiil’s bank account. The service is used through Barclays by over 100,000 Somalis living in the UK.

They are trying to regain trust by emphasizing on the trust placed in them by many international organizations, they emphasize that they have been a trusted service since 1970.

Jan 112014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

There have been numerous money transfer services in the world, but all of them with usual practice of sending money through an agent and then the recipient going to an agent to collect the money. Now they have also added the online route. A UK-based money transfer service called Remitix has a mobile app for money transfer and also cards.

Remitix, also known as Mukuru.com was launched in the UK for Zimbabweans to send money back home. With time, the service expanded to other African countries, Europe, Asia Pacific the Americas. They operate in over 60 countries today.

MukuruAll the sender has to do is create an account with Mukuru.com using online banking and telephone banking, add funds to the account and start sending money. Other than cash payouts through the payout partners, they offer additional payout options in few African countries. In Kenya, they have tied up with mobile money platforms to transfer money directly to mobile wallets. In Zimbabwe, they allow transfers to a prepaid card known as Mukuru Textacash. In South Africa, orders can be completed from a mobile phone by sending a service message on *120*7363# and following the instructions. And they are working on more services of such nature.

Remitix launched a mobile app last year and now, users can send money from mobile phones and even chat with their friends on this app, suggestively like WhatsApp or WeChat, with live support from Mukuru customer care. This app is available for smartphones as well as other feature phones.

Due to liquidity crunch, Remitix has temporarily stopped services to Malawi, and in Zambia and Zimbabwe, Remitix is not allowed to receive cash collections anymore. Claims are expected to be settled via online banking or by credit/debit cards. In Zimbabwe, the recipient is directed to the nearest CABS Bank branch for collection, where, they are given a free Textacash card and a personal bank account at CABS Bank. The money received is loaded on to the Textacash card which can be used at all major retail locations or withdraw cash from ATMs.

Mukuru uses the expert technologies from EasyFX of London. This ensures best exchange rate for the transfers, as EasyFX does up-to-date monitoring of currency markets, in order to get the best rate for striking deals at the right time.

Remitix is working on further innovations in their service, to ease transfers from Diaspora to their homes.

Dec 232013
 

By Mohammed Waseem

PlaNet Finance, a multinational organization operating in 80 countries aims at supporting those in poverty, who are excluded from the traditional banking systems by giving them independence to develop their activities which would generate their income. They partner with local organizations in the countries they operate in, when they see an opportunity. They also help micro-entrepreneurs raise funds for their businesses.

PlaNet Finane-UPU

This article is about their partnership with UPU (Universal Postal Union) to help in development of African countries by facilitating money transfers by migrants to Europe and other parts of Africa back to their home countries. According to the press release published by PlaNet Finance, remittances of migrants from Europe to Africa and intra-Africa are on one hand relatively expensive, encouraging the remitters to turn to informal/illegal ways to transfer money and secondly, do not contribute enough to social and economic development of countries of origin of migrants. However, remittances from migrants are an important source of funding for the economies of developing countries. So, along with making the money available, this project, funded by the EU, would help the African countries to develop in many areas including provision of financial education to the common people.

$5 to $10 billion is what remains after the residents use the remitted amounts. This amount is unused and most of the time, informal channels are used for remitting this money, which means the governments get no benefit from it. Bringing this money through formal channels would make a dramatic impact as it would increase economic activity.

PlaNet Finance is piggybacking on UPU’s existing network and the pan-African remittance system – International Electronic Money Order (IEMO) developed by UPU, for money transfer from Europe to Africa and intra-Africa. The service will be initially available in Cameroon, which has 232 post offices and later expanded to Burkina Faso which has 96 post offices, Ivory Coast which has 196 post offices and Mali which has 107 post offices.

Generally, money transferred through IEMO is delivered on the same day or within two days.

With this project, the recipients of the money, as well as the governments can be benefited from the remittances as the governments get an opportunity for development, while the recipients get the money quickly, safely and at a low cost.

Dec 192013
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Kenya in an African nation which has this innovative money transfer service done through mobile phones and is used by approximately 15 million users.

The primary mobile phone operator of Kenya, Safaricom reports that 80% of its customers use M-Pesa. Safaricom controls over 75% of mobile phone market in Kenya. Most of the Kenyans had no bank accounts which urged the innovators to come up with a service that requires no bank accounts for money transfer.

M-Pesa in Kenya

This service is called M-Pesa, which literally means “mobile money” (Swahili). This service was launched to cater to Kenyans having no access to banks and to address their need to send money to other parts of the country, which previously happened by the person traveling to hand over the money or by sending it through a trusted bus driver.

I will talk about the local money transfer elsewhere; in this article, I will focus on international money transfer services using M-Pesa network.

Like any other pioneer in the world, even M-Pesa was chosen to act as a mediator by many money transfer services such as Western Union, MoneyGram and World Remit for transferring money from around 40 countries to Kenya. Of course, they charge a transfer fee like any other international money transfer, but the difference is that this money is sent directly to a mobile phone on Safaricom’s network (Mobile Wallet). The recipient can use this money to make purchases, pay bills and almost everything one does with hard cash, across Kenya.

The subscriber just receives an SMS – which takes normal SMS delivery time – that, funds have been received and are ready for use. If the recipient is not connected to M-Pesa but is on Safaricom’s network, they receive an invitation to connect on M-Pesa within 21 days, after which, money can be used. If they choose not to, or if 21 days elapse, then they would have to visit a Western Union agent and follow normal procedure to collect the money. If one is on a network other than Safaricom, money can be collected from an M-Pesa agent within 7 days.

Not only this, M-Pesa also supports money transfer abroad, from Kenya. For this, they have tied up with Bitcoin which charges them a nominal fee or no fee at all for the transfer. The service is called Kipochi, which means “purse” in Swahili. This service requires internet access and can’t be accessed on a non-web-enabled phone at present. Smartphones using operating systems such as Android, iOS, etc. have an application which can be downloaded to the phones and used.

Many companies in different parts of the world are beginning to adopt the idea of M-Pesa. Let’s see when the entire world will be in a position to transfer funds using their cell phones to any corner of the world.

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.

Answer:

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 152012
 

By W.H.A.| SpeedyPay.info

If you’re a foreigner living and working in the USA or some other Western country, and looking for ways to send money to your family back home, you’re in luck. Most Western nations have active and extensive money services markets. So there are plenty of options for sending money overseas. Another benefit of an active money services market is that healthy competition means lower rates for you.

Here are six super tips for finding a money transfer service for overseas remittances. These tips are based loosely on an article by Investopedia, with my own thoughts added in.

1. Banks Are the Best Option

Citibank

Citibank is a good example of an international bank with branches in many foreign nations. This can be a convenient and cheap way to transfer money to family members overseas.

The best and most cost effective choice for sending money to a family member or friend overseas is an international bank with branches in both countries. You could have an account in the USA and grant access to the account to your family member overseas. Or your family member could set up an account, and you could simply deposit money in it. Either way, it will cost nothing at all, and the funds will typically be available the next business day.

Before opening an account, talk to the bank and verify that the branch in your home country and the branch overseas are connected; in other words, that the same account can be accessed from both countries.

2. Paypal is Quick and Affordable

If a bank account with an international bank is not an option, Paypal is not a bad second choice.  Paypal’s money transfers are instant, and quite affordable (in fact, when sending money from one account in the U.S. to another, they are free).

3. Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute

Start comparison shopping well in advance of when you need to send the money. Talk to the banks about their rates for international wire transfers. Look at affordable options like Paypal and Xoom. Check out specialized remittance agencies that serve the part of the world to which you want to send your money. Find a service that is affordable and reliable.

The problem comes when people don’t do their research, and all of a sudden they have to send money right away. Then they go to one of the ubiquitous and well known money transfer agencies like Western Union or MoneyGram. Don’t get me wrong, these services are extremely reliable, and have agents in every country of the world. But they are not cheap! For example, a $500 Western Union transfer to Mexico will cost $14 if you visit an agent in person. If you send transfers every month, those fees add up.

For last minute transfers, Paypal would again be the cheapest option if it is available in both countries.

4. Send More Money, Less Often (Rather than Less Money, More Often)

It’s often cheaper to send larger amounts of money than smaller amounts (cheaper in terms of the percentage of your transfer amount that you pay in fees – not in total dollars).

For example, if you wanted to use Western Union to send $100 (American dollars) from Los Angeles, California, to Indonesia, it would cost you $15 in fees. If you wanted your recipient to pocket $100, you’d have to pay $115. Let’s say you walked into a Western Union shop every week for nine weeks, and every week you sent $100. You’d end up paying $135 in fees.

On the other hand, if you sent the $900 all at one go by Western Union, the fee would be only $68.

So it’s much cheaper to send large amounts. It pays therefore to plan ahead, save the money you need to send, and send it in a large lump sum.

5. Shop Around

It’s easy and affordable to send remittances to very popular destinations, like Mexico (from the US), or India or Pakistan (from the UK). But if you’re sending money to a more remote or less popular destination, you’ll have to do your homework to find an affordable, safe money transfer service. Shop around and compare rates.

6. Know Your Exchange Rates

Some remittance services earn a profit by converting currencies. They might charge a low transfer fee, but ding you on the exchange rate. Before making a money transfer, look up the current exchange rate. Many websites can give you this information. I personally like Yahoo Finance’s currency converter.

Once you’ve checked the current exchange rate, make sure the rate being charged by the money transfer agency, remittance service or bank is close to that.

Be smart with your money, do your homework, and find a service that works for you.