The money transfer market was once dominated by offline, fragmented, cash-to-cash operators whose services were often expensive, inconvenient and risky for both senders and receivers.
Over the past few years, the remittance industry has evolved to an online model, with computers and mobile devices leading the way. The fact is, when you remove cash from the sending side of the remittance process, you minimize the risk of loss or mishandling of cash on its way to your loved ones.
Simply put, the online approach delivers a more convenient, faster, safer and cost-effective way to send money home. Thus, we encourage you to stick with money transfer companies that employ the most up to date technology available to keep your transactions safe and secure.
Also, make sure your prospective money transfer company offers you the flexibility to pay for remittances by either withdrawing funds directly from your U.S. bank account or via a major credit card. Recipients in your home country should have the option to pick up the money in cash, have the money deposited into their bank account, or if the service is available in that country, have the money delivered to their door.
When Is Money Withdrawn from Your Account?
You might not have thought to ask this question, but it is a key consideration. It actually depends on how you decide to pay, whether it’s account-to-account, by credit card or cash pickup.
Often times, it can be a near-instant service (depending if you qualify); other times it might be a few hours. Depending on the country and type of payment, find a money transfer company that ensures the money you have sent actually reaches your recipient before withdrawing any money from your bank account.
Trusted Bank & Retail Partners
Be sure to find out what banks and retail partners work with a particular money transfer company, especially in the recipient’s country. When you are certain that the money transfer company is conducting business with a trusted partner on the other end, you will have more confidence in your ability to send money securely and that the pickup locations are safe and convenient for your family and friends at home.
People who send money back home come from every income bracket, education level and industry. Some of these “remittance” senders are working lower-paying jobs and struggling to earn enough money to both survive in their adopted country and still have some left over to send to their family. Some are enjoying more prosperous careers away from home while others with an entrepreneurial spirit have started their own businesses.
Regardless of circumstance, all have one thing in common. They are working hard to ensure the best for their families and the last thing they should have to worry about is whether or not their money transfer company is charging fees that are fair. There are a number of variables that can affect fees, including rules and regulations in effect in the recipient’s country, the disbursement currency, speed of service, the type of funding source (bank account, credit or debit card) and the amount sent.
To ensure that you aren’t paying too much in up-front fees, we suggest that you find a money transfer company that offers a low flat rate or fixed fees for how and when you send. Be sure to check their website for rates to your home country – and know what that rate gets you.
As an example of one common scenario, let’s say you are sending $2,500 to Mexico or the Philippines directly from your checking account and your mother is picking up the money in local currency. Try to find a provider that charges a flat fee in the neighborhood of $5 for each transaction. Keep in mind that money sent from debit or credit cards and pickups in anything other than the local currency (such as U.S. dollars) usually results in higher fees, so you need to keep those factors in mind.
Also be sure that any prospective money transfer company can provide perfect clarity on the receiving amount, so there are no surprises after you have sent your money back home. All money transfer companies charge a set fee for a set sending amount, no matter where you live. Be sure to understand what those fees are and how guaranteed exchange rates work.
If you are sending money to a country in Latin America, one report worth checking out for a comparison of average fees charged by well-known money transfer companies in the region is available from the Inter-American Dialogue, pages 11-12.
When people transfer money abroad, those funds are used in a variety of ways, as families have a variety of responsibilities and obligations. But when it comes to people who send money to the Philippines, odds are that it will go toward paying for food and groceries.
According to a recent report from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, approximately 97 percent of the remittances sent by overseas foreign workers were used for food between July and September of this year.
That's not the only way in which the money was used. Of the nearly 500 households surveyed, 75 percent also set some of the money aside for education-related expenses. In addition roughly two-thirds devoted it to medical payments and half toward debts and bills.
Saving was less common among Filipinos in the third quarter, as the report showed that about three in every 10 families saved some of the money so that they could use it on another purchase at a later date. That's down from the previous quarter, when nearly five in every 10 Filipinos saved.
At the same time, though, many Filipinos were interested in making their earning potential grow. About 5 percent of people in the survey said that they invested what they got from an online money transfer, which was about where the level stood when contrasted with the previous three-month period.
There's no shortage of usages for remittances, as evidenced by the purposes Filipinos prioritized this past summer.
People whoto Australia, India or South Africa may not be able to help feeling homesick every now and then. Missing one's family is usually the reason for this, but it may also be because some of the things that remind them of home may be hard to find in the United States.
One of these things is cricket, for even though the American pastime of baseball has its roots in the game, it's nowhere near as popular in the U.S. as it is back home.
For a limited time, however, Xoom users can reconnect with their favorite sport by watching the England International Summer cricket tournament online at Willow.tv. Viewers will no doubt enjoy the Australia Tour of England, the South Africa Tour of England and the New Zealand Tour of India. Both Australia and South Africa have had memorable matchups in years past and this year should prove to be no exception, as the rivalries are quite heated. New Zealand should face a challenge as well, for the last time New Zealand faced India was in 2010, an effort they would ultimately lose.
The program is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is sign up and send your first money transfer of $150 or more to your family, friends or loved ones. The sending process is simple, as the system will guide you through each step so no mistakes are made.
Once the transaction has been completed, a message will be sent to your email account. It will contain all the information you need to redeem the offer so you can watch the games for free live through Willow.tv.
But don't delay, as this special offer ends September 12. For more information and details on how you can get started, visit Xoom.com today.
In the wake of Hurricane Isaac, many immigrants' ability to send money to their families may have been affected temporarily due to an inability to gain access to the internet or because they were forced to leave their homes, thereby preventing them from the traditional means by which they wire money. Hopefully, conditions have improved so that this is no longer an issue.
However, because the storm impacted certain parts of Louisiana and Mississippi more directly than others, some people may require more time to recover than others. And because of this, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has made temporary relief measures available to those who are in need of it.
1. Extension of nonimmigrant status. Some of these benefits include immigrants' ability to change or extend their nonimmigrant status in the U.S., even if the request was filed after the authorized period of admission. Something else that may be extended are those who were granted parole by the USCIS when they initially came to the country.
2. Employment authorization. Another area foreign workers may be able to take advantage of as a result of the storm relates to employment authorization. Individuals who were looking for permission to work off-campus may be able to get an answer relatively quickly, so long as they can prove that they have encountered trying economic circumstances.
3. Residency. Something else that may be processed fairly quickly are papers from immigrants who are applying for residency on behalf of their family members. USCIS notes that expedited processing may be available for affected U.S. citizens whose immediate relatives are looking to gain residency. Employment authorization applications may be decided and sent back to applicants fast as well.
4. Assistance to those who may have been stranded. Though travel conditions have mostly returned to normal, Hurricane Isaac may have delayed or stranded lawful permanent residents who may have been visiting their families overseas when the storm hit. USCIS indicates that it and the State Department will provide assistance as needed, especially if it pertains to the loss of travel documents or green cards.
Though Hurricane Isaac may not have carried the same kind of force that Katrina did in 2005, many people were still affected by the storm. In some portions of Louisiana, for example, nearly 18 inches of rain fell, prompting rescuers to launch boats and other high-water vehicles in order to come to the aid of hundreds of people.
"I've never seen so much water in my life," Cisco Gonzales, a heating and air conditioning business owner, told The Associated Press. He added that he was able to come to the aid of at least 12 people who were stranded by the high-water levels.
Though Louisiana doesn't boast an immigrant population level that's on par with Texas or Arizona, the number of people who have relocated there overseas or from a different state has increased in recent years. According to the Migration Policy Institute, the foreign-born population of Louisiana increased significantly between 2000 and 2010. Two years ago, the immigrant population of Louisiana was just under 4 percent, up from 2.6 percent in 2000, meaning that more people from throughout the world are moving to Louisiana to take advantage of the cultural and employment opportunities.
Traditionally, when people send money overseas, it's used in a way that most directly impacts families, such as by paying rent bills, grocery items or gasoline. According to a Filipino finance official, remittances may be exactly what countries need to fund improved job growth.
Speaking at the Philippine Services Sector Conference at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas deputy governor Diwa Guinigundo indicated that remittances could help stimulate the country's services sector, which is a key component of the Filipino economy.
“The BSP will continue to ensure that [overseas Filipino workers] gain better access to financial products and services by conducting various learning campaigns for a wider number of beneficiaries such as their families," said Guinigundo, according to BusinessWorld Online.
He added that investing may seem like something that's complicated and too detail-oriented to delve into, but BSP will help Filipinos who work in another country provide for their families so that they can understand what financial instruments are out there and whether they should invest. They may even want to invest in a small business.
Sittie Hannisah Butocan, economic research deputy director, noted at the conference that devoting remittances to investment makes sense, as it can yield higher returns, rather than none at all when it's put toward consumables.
Investments are more sustainable than non-tradable goods, and they will also have a multiplier effect on the services sector," Butocan told the news source.
Survey: Four in 10 Filipinos putting remittance earnings toward savings
It appears as though Filipinos may already be thinking about making more investments with remittance money. BusinessWorld Online notes that based on the most recent consumer expectations survey that was conducted by BSP, nearly 40 percent of respondents devoted at least a portion of remittance funds toward savings in the second quarter. That's up from just under 34 percent.
Guinigundo indicated that nothing is new about Filipinos putting remittances toward savings and investments. However, the potential of boosting the country's economy may be limitless if more consumers invest and make smart decisions in the process.
"[Overseas Filipino Worker] remittances are a major source of foreign exchange, they have helped spur private investments and consumption," he said during the conference, according to BusinessWorld Online. "But their full economic impact depends on Filipino households’ propensity to invest, and invest better."
As you're likely already aware, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is in effect, affording many younger undocumented immigrants with the opportunity to stay within the country without having to fear being deported. But what you may not fully appreciate is just how many people within the U.S. have family at home that they are providing for, which is why immigrants came to the U.S. to begin with.
In an opinion piece for the National Journal, Andrew Wainer, senior immigration policy analyst at the Bread for the World Institute, recently wrote about these immigrants, how their work ethic and drive has improved the lives of their loved ones and the potential for their remittances to do more good than they have already.
While many parts of the world receive remittances, nowhere are people more reliant on them than in Mexico and Central America, Wainer states. In countries like Guatemala and Honduras, remittances have a major impact. The money sent home is put to use so families can send their children to school, eat nutritious meals, pay for medical visits and rent bills. Citing the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Wainer said remittances enable people to get back on their feet by lifting them out of trying economic conditions.
As much as remittances are already helping families better support themselves, Wainer says more can be done. For instance, in addition to providing for the material goods of families, an international money transfer could also be invested so that more jobs can be created. This would provide other workers the opportunity to work in their home country if they wanted to, rather than feeling compelled to come to the U.S. in order to improve their job-seeking prospects.
He added that remittance recipients could also benefit from a few educational courses on how to invest in sustainable enterprises, which would help make families' earnings go that much further.
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – otherwise known as the American Dream – is an aspiration of all people, Wainer noted. Better integration and implementation of remittance policies can get everyone closer to achieving the American ideal.
Even in economically strong countries like the United States, an estimated one in every seven people are on food stamps. Brazil is another country that fares well in the economic realm, yet money problems can be issues for families. According to the World Bank, up to 21 percent of the population has struggled financially in recent years.
However, thanks to the love and generosity of family members who send money home from abroad, financial hardships have diminished in a few short years. Even better, the rate of poverty continues to slide.
Bank deposits are ideal for a whole host of reasons, but they’re particularly beneficial because of convenience, security and peace of mind. This is especially true if the amount being sent is significant, as the recipient does not have to worry about picking up a large sum of cash in person.
This problem is solved with bank deposits. Immigrants who live and work in the U.S. can send money to any bank in Brazil, including Itau, Banco do Brasil, Banco Bradesco and Caixa. There are literally dozens of others to choose from, though, if the money receiver’s account is owned by another bank.
While bank deposits are completed relatively quickly, how fast they’re done largely depends on where it’s being sent to. For example, if an online money transfer is being sent to Sao Paulo – Brazil’s largest city and the second largest in the southern hemisphere – the funds should be wired into the appropriate account within the same business day if it’s sent early enough using Xoom. It may be the next day, though, if the money is sent using Xoom after 2 p.m. local time. Even then, next day delivery is extremely convenient.