Feb 182014
 

By Mohammed Waseem

Just like the European Union consists of a number of member countries sharing common interests, there is a union in Europe for money transfers consisting of postal organizations. The company is called Eurogiro, which was founded in 1993 by 14 European postal organizations with an aim to develop worldwide business relating to cross-border payments of both retail and wholesale financial services, for the benefit of its members.

Today, they have members in few other continents apart from Europe; they have members in Africa and Middle East, the Americas and Asia Pacific. They have presence is in over 50 countries now, with over 60 members including postal organizations, post banks, commercial banks and other payment service providers. They operate with an aim to increase the business of its members. They have partnered with Western Union for urgent cash transfers, with Deutsche Postbank for EUR Settlement Services (ESSP) and with SWIFT for transactions on SWIFTNet. They have recently partnered with Ericsson for mobile technology for payments.

Eurogiro cross-border paymentsThey enable people to reach the unbanked via over 500,000 post offices and bank branches which offer Eurogiro’s services to their customers. Post offices joining the Eurogiro community aim at modernizing their services, automating cross-border payments, bringing new businesses. Banks join the community to exchange payments to all the regions through the members and to offer high quality and flexible payments services.

Eurogiro is a trusted partner for cross-border payments at a global level with over 30 million transactions processed every year. Payment services they offer include cash transfers, account transfers and settlement solutions.

Cash transfers use the post office network around the world through members for cross-border transfers. They have services ranging from semi-urgent transfers (maximum 2 working days), money order and urgent transfers. The fees and limits depend on the country and the organization. Account transfers are credits into bank accounts, which use the bank branch network across the globe. This service enables customers to transfer amounts in bulk as well, with flexible speeds. Banks offer services such as credit transfers (maximum 4 days), urgent transfers and transfers into non-member bank accounts.

The settlement solution Eurogiro offers is the ESSP service, which is a huge benefit for payment settlements, a customer need not keep a EUR account with every single member. Settlement usually takes 2-3 days. This service helps the members to optimize their liquidity management.

Eurogiro is working on further developments in order to strengthen the network further and reach every corner of the globe with world-class services.

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.

Feb 132012
 
Banjul, capital of the Gambia

Banjul, capital of the Gambia

By W.H.A.| SpeedyPay.info

I received the following inquiry from a reader:

sainabou badjie wrote:

I would like to know which bank to contact here in the USA to start a money transfer business in the Gambia with customers who receive their money in the Islamic bank locations.

Answer:

The sole Islamic bank operating in Gambia is the Arab Gambian Islamic Bank, with five branches in Gambia. However, I don’t think it makes much of a difference whether customers receive their money in an Islamic bank or not. I know that Gambia is majority Muslim and that Islamic law prohibits interest. But money transfer services do not normally involve any payment of interest.

Here are the money transfer services operating in Gambia. I’d suggest that you look into these services and see how they work, and who their USA partners are. Many of them are independent money transfer agencies and all you would have to do is register with them as an agent and meet their financial requirements and training requirements.

A money transfer service is a good business to start in the third world, as the barriers to entry are fairly low. One can start such a business with a minimal investment.

Gambia Money Transfer Companies

Western Union Money Transfer
The largest international network of all the money transfer companies with many agent bank collection points with online wire transfer services available to West Africa.

Moneygram
Send money to Gambia from 180 countries around the world. Moneygram have agents in Banjul & Kairaba Avenue.

Ria Financial Services
Send money transfers from the Americas, UK, Spain, France, Italy & Australia to The Gambia through the Arab Gambian Islamic Bank [AGIB].

Bakadies International
Money remittance services from Peckham (Hill St.), South East London and the Agora Shopping Centre, Rye Lane, to the West African countries of The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana & Guinea.

Coinstar
It has a large international branch and agent network in over 120 countries in 65,000 service outlets from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Their agent in Banjul & Serrekunda is the International Commercial Bank.

Gmex
With offices in Serrekunda, London & Birmingham. Claims it offers the better rates, with an easy way to transfer funds to Banjul. The recipient can apparently collect within 10 minutes.

Julakunda Express Gambia LLC
Julakunda is a registered, bonded, and licensed money transfer service for Gambians in the United States to their families and loved ones back home. They aim to provide a safe, reliable, and trusted service with a guaranteed next day delivery. Just call their main office Washington or one of their service agents.

Fundex
International money transfer services from the US States of Maryland & Virginia to Gambia. Fundex also makes it possible to send money from The Gambia to the US.

Gamdirect Money Services LLC
A US based service with branches in Seattle, Kentucky & Banjul.

JFin Money Transfer
Send money remittances to Gambia from the UK or Scandinavia. JFin also operates a forex bureau dealing in all the major currencies worldwide.

Jarnor
Situated in Birmingham with the local collection point at Serrekunda.

Leigh Direct, LLC
Leigh Direct is licensed money service business operating in the state of Washington and Maryland. Their main activity is remittances between USA and The Gambia. They have agents’ offices in Seattle, Silver Spring (Maryland), Kanifing, Brikama, Basse, Farafenni, Soma, Bansang and Jareng.

Malam Money Transfers
Money remittances from London [UK] to The Gambia or Senegal.

Money Express Ltd.
Established by the Senegalese Group CHAKA and works in Banjul through the Arab Gambian Islamic Bank. Some countries covered includes Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana or other West African countries.

Jul 222011
 

By W.H.A.| SpeedyPay.info

A new U.S. consumer agency called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been formed to put a spotlight on the wire transfers, or remittances, that companies such as Western Union and MoneyGram offer as a way for consumers to get cash to relatives in the Caribbean, Latin America and other foreign countries.

Public interest groups have expressed concern that the money transfer market has been insufficiently monitored, and as a result immigrants and others who use these services have been forced to pay excessive fees in many cases.

Worldwide money transfers

A new government bureau has been formed to study money transfer services

The new consumer bureau will examine the remittances market and implement ules that require companies to disclose information about fees and the exchange rate before the consumer pays for the wire transfer. Also, the disclosures will now be required to be in English and in each of the foreign languages the remittance transfer provider uses to market its services.

“International money transfers can be a vital link to family members and friends abroad,” said White House adviser Elizabeth Warren in a statement Wednesday. “Information about exchange rates has the potential to help remittance senders make smarter choices about which services best meet their needs.”

The World Bank estimates that the total volume of remittance transfers to developing countries reached $325 billion last year and that the U.S. is the largest remittance-sending country in the world. The majority of remittances from the U.S. are sent to the Caribbean and Latin America, according to the Federal Reserve.

Residents of the United States are the largest senders of international money remittances per year. The majority of remittances from the U.S. are sent to the Caribbean and Latin America.

Jun 032011
 
Western Union prepaid credit card

Western Union prepaid MasterCard

By W.H.A.| SpeedyPay.info

Remittances to the Philippines from overseas Filipinos are one of the primary income sources in that nation.

(By the way, I always thought it was odd that the country is called the Philippines with a “Ph” and two p’s in the middle, while the people are Filipinos with an “F” and only one p. Isn’t life confusing enough already?)

So anyway, money transfer services are always looking for new ways to capitalize on large markets like that. Western Union has announced that they will begin offering a couple of new services in the Philippines.

Patricia Z. Riingen, a senior vice president at Western Union, said in an interview that the financial service firm was looking at opportunities in new channels like prepaid cards and bank account-based money transfers (ABMT).

“Prepaid represents a significant opportunity in the Philippines, offering added convenience to receive and spend money to the ‘unbanked’ population, including seafarers,” Riingen said.

This prepaid card will allow the recipient to withdraw money from ATMs, or to use the card like a credit card. The sender can “load” the card with additional credit remotely, through any Western Union agent.

I think this is an interesting concept. It might work well for those who have relatives in the Philippines who do not own bank accounts or credit cards. It depends on how versatile the Western Union prepaid cards is.