Here, we review the latest options to send money home using international currency transfers (also called remittances) and smartphone applications. If you are living away from your home country or have migrated for work reasons, read on - these suggestions may help to save you time and bank charges if you wish to send money home.
Mobile money remittance services are a genuine game-changer for those who are abroad (such as expatriates or Diaspora or migrants and refugees) and are looking for a quick, convenient and simple
service to send money home, especially to or from African and Arabic countries. Historically, banks have charged high fees but more recently, innovative and enterprising currency transfer companies
have made migration easier with a reasonably priced service. In the arabic world, a similar system exists between trusted people, this system is called Hawala system, but the Hawala system needs to
be allowed by authorities.
The worldwide market for currency transfer services is estimated at around $500 billion US Dollars per year, with the African proportion continuing to increase. Experts see this as linked to the growth of mobile phone usage. A peer-to-peer payment via a currency specialist can be made in cash, via bank accounts, using credit and debit cards (including prepaid debit cards) or via mobile transfer. Mobile-to-mobile payments use a smartphone app (without the need for a tablet or computer) and are becoming increasingly popular with economic migrants and foreign workers throughout Africa and the Arabic countries.
If you are an overseas worker or expat property owner, you may have noticed that there are a number of money transfer websites, advertising easy transactions with a transparent process and charging structure. However, which site is best? A remittance service that may be the best choice for a business owner may not necessarily prove to be the most economic one for a student studying abroad at a foreign university, for instance.
Whether you wish to do a monthly money transfer or just occasional mobile-to-mobile remittances to send money abroad, the concept of a mobile money wallet that can be used to send money overseas is very much worth considering, not least because the fees are lower than a conventional international money transfer through a typical bank.
Some currency transaction service providers such as Western Union and Moneygram are long established. The newer start-up companies such as M-Pesa and Bitcoin have introduced mobile-to-mobile international remittances as well as other services, with applications available in the Android App Store or as a download from the website. There are other recent start-ups, many of which are based in London and which offer mobile payments to send money abroad such as WorldRemit, Azimo, TransferWise, CurrencyFair, Xendpay and World First. These may also be worth considering as they offer foreign currency transfers to and from many countries, although some are not as suitable as others. If you would like to check out WorldRemit or Azimo, please click for further details: www.azimo.com, www.currencyfair.com/ and www.worldremit.com
Conversely, mobile applications that are not suitable for international remittances to African countries include Dwolla, Google Wallet, Pay Pal, Square Cash, Venmo, ABRA and Xoom.
Finally, growing regional providers for Africa and Middle East include Ooredoo, Sendwave and Simbapay.
A superior money transfer app allows you to send cash globally from your bank account and entails just a couple of swipes, taps or computing clicks. These international money transfer apps are a popular selection and cut out all the hassles involved with international remittances. You won't need to exchange banking or routing details with colleagues, friends or contacts when utilising a good money transfer app. Additional benefits include:
eliminates the necessity to port cash around
truly global coverage, with no regard to the proximity of the transfer in miles/km
cuts out delays due to bank transfer limitations
But: trust and money on mobile: Can we trust this new development? Can we trust the apps? Can we trust the providers? Can we trust their procedures to secure safe transfers?
Using a smart money transfer via your smartphone is simple and increasingly popular with younger travellers, whether studying overseas, expats (ex patriate visitors), workers in global locations
and people holding dual nationality. There's no need to constantly confirm banking/routing details for payments using these services so they are really convenient.
Security issues can be a major headache in our modern Internet era. Once you grant any service access to your bank account, you open the Aladdin's cave access to identity theft, currency theft, fraudulent transactions or worse. No matter the reasons you have for transferring cash/capital between accounts, it's vital your chosen recipient receives the money. Casual expat workers in some farflung corners of the globe appreciate the necessity of reliable money on mobile transfer apps when they need to send money home, as do gap year students, cheap labor / seasonal workers and regular travellers. Small to medium size enterprises (SMEs) and migrants/asylum seekers have a very real need for the security of smartphone remittances as it can mean the difference between life or death.
The volatility of the situation in the Middle East and Africa has impacted upon global citizens for some while. The growth of the African trading nations makes it even more critical for reliable
and secure money transfer apps as there is nothing worse than conducting online money transfers with disreputable providers. When you send money online you need to be assured it's a reliable, quick,
easy and secure service that gives your recipient assurances cash will be received.
It used to be the case that capital was transferred between bank accounts, when consumers had sufficient capital to pick up exchange rate charges, etc. Alternatively, in the Arabic world the unofficial Hawala system of money transfer or trading was preferential.
Mobile apps for online money transfers need to address all of the trust issues that modern users experience. Issues include:
- Reputability of the provider company
- Trust in the safety of personal data transmitted (including bank details and other personal identifiers)
- Reliability of the transfer process
The two popular methods of currency transfers to date have been bank transfers between accounts and the Hawala system.
Bank transfers rely upon big banking institutions conducting currency transactions between client accounts in a manner that provides transparency and can be trusted by clients. Instant online money transfer has not tended to be the province of smaller businesses or expat workers, who have needed to rely upon currency transfer agents who can levy large charges. In addition to banks, currency transfer agents such as Western Union in the UK have been utilised for international money transfer deals of this nature. The collapse of some renowned banking houses, the constant problems experienced in world trading and money markets, and increased vulnerability of all Internet users have led to many consumers questioning traditional methods of payment.
The Hawala system of international money transfer is based upon standards and networks established in history, such as within the Muslim Empires, and relies upon credibility of the extant businesses. In actuality currency does not leave the origin country as agents have informal links with opposite number agents and brokers globally. Hawala has relied very much upon trust and trading relations established over hundreds of years, unfortunately, Internet security casts doubt upon whether this system can now offer integrity and value for all its clients.
The largest money transfer providers (like Azimo and WorldRemit) are located in London and regulated by British laws, just like banks. E.g. Azimo is one provider that's regulated by the UK’s
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as an Authorised Payment Institute and also with the UK's tax authority (HMRC). Just some of the security features offered include SSL protection, data encryption,
security policies, two factor authentication, notifications for password changes and to corroborate actions.
Consumers can opt to transfer money on mobile to and from Africa using global providers such as Azimo or WorldRemit. Or regional providers like Simbapay or Sendwave for the Horn of Africa. The Middle East is served by the peer-to-peer market place of CurrencyFair. The Azimo apps are simple to use and available in a variety of global languages, while WorldRemit works in partnership with MTN to give customers options to transfer money direct to bank accounts or straight to local agents for cash pickups. Home deliveries are only available in the Philippines at present. Payments can be made using Visa, Mastercard or Maestro debit cards or credit cards.
The Azimo website (www.azimo.com) can be accessed globally, however, clients need to conduct transactions in the English language and is regulated by financial laws in England and Wales. The site utilizes the FX format that's highly popular in the UK and elsewhere alongside its international online remittances schemes. Customers should be aware that cash could be lost in the event of malicious hijacking by hackers or others, however use of the cloud and VPN technologies should enable security for cash transfers.
WorldRemit (www.worldremit.com) is based upon the peer-to-peer lending structure, which is gaining popularity globally. The CurrencyFair services are aimed at business users and high value buyers/sellers. So, if you always fancied building a motorway in Ghana, opening a shisha lounge in Kenya, with chicken and fries sideline in South Africa, or building a race track in a green and pleasant land why not find out more?
Like all financial transactions, consumers need to research services offered thoroughly prior to committing finances. Weigh up whether the speed and convenience of mobile phone money transfer apps
will give greater benefits, whether you are a Migrant, an Expat or small and medium sized enterprise looking to expand or service existing business locations.
All available security features should be enabled when these money on mobile apps are in use. Customers should monitor transactions and keep notifications on at all times. It's advisable to reduce the number of devices connected to accounts. Customers should ensure continued vigilance and control. Ultimately, financial decisions of any nature are the responsibility of customers and consumers, so don't forget to check all terms and conditions of any mobile money app prior to signing up.
As stated above, it’s all about trust!