These Are The Top Money Transfer Service Providers For OFWs

These Are The Top Money Transfer Service Providers For OFWs

Cash remittance by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) surged to an all-time high by the end of 2017 and pushed the overall growth of remittances for the whole of 2017 above the government’s projection. It cannot be denied that cash remittance has kept the Philippines economy afloat, which is also a reflection of how much in demand they are to Filipinos overseas.

If you’re a Filipino working abroad, every dollar (or any foreign currency you’re earning) counts. By choosing the remittance service that will give you more value for your dollar, the money you’ve worked hard will at least equal to the value that you expect them to be. This is where remittance services can vary.  

Before you choose a company to transact with your hard-earned money, check out this list to find out which ones will make it a more cost-efficient feat for you!

Traditional remittance service providers

There are a number of remittance service providers in the Philippines, most of them catering only to local money transfers. Sending money within the country can be easily done with the vast availability of these remittance centers, this isn’t the case when sending money from overseas.

Primarily, there are only two service providers overseas that could remit money to the Philippines.

Western Union

This remittance center pioneered cash remittance in minutes in the Philippines. Western Union is widely available overseas and it’s the go-to remittance service provider for most Filipinos all over the world. . It is one of the most popular options to send money overseas, being the world’s largest remittance service provider with over half a million locations in over 200 countries.

Patrons can send money for cash-pick up or bank transfer to the Philippines, and their fees are fair enough.

Information

Primary services

  • Cash pick-up
  • Direct to bank[/block

Payment method accepted

  • Cash
  • Credit and debit card (some countries, also offered in-store)
  • Checking account or ACH (some countries)


Other features

  • Track a Transfer: Enables Western Union customers to check the status of their remittance online.
  • Mobile Money Transfer Service: Allows sending money to a PayMaya mobile wallet at any branch.
  • My WU Membership Program: Earn 10 rewards points for every remittance sent or received and 30 points for every remittance sent abroad. Accumulated points can be used to get a 10%, 25%, or 50% discount on the next money transfer fee.

Fees

The standard fees for Western Union vary according to the amount of money sent and the country of origin.

For transfers up to $50$5
For transfers up to $900$76
Note: Prices may vary per country. Fees shown above are based on transfer from the US.

In other countries, senders can transfer money online using their app, website, or over the phone. However, these features are only available in a few regions (US, EU, and the UK).

Pros

For OFWs, Western Union is accessible almost everywhere. They’re very well-known and are usually tied up with big-time remittance centers overseas, even with banks. It’s probably the first remittance center that you’ll bump into the first time you’re sending money overseas.

They have an established hotline and recipients can easily get in touch with them for concerns and even tracking their money.

Cons

The fees can vary per country and they’re usually very strict with the documents required for the receiver to claim the money.

Pro tip!

To save money, transfer funds via direct to the bank instead of cash pick up. Not only is this cheaper, but it will also save you and the receiver time. While the transfer is not instantaneous, the receiver will still receive it on the same day if the transfer is done early in the day (before 5 pm).


MoneyGram

MoneyGram is the world’s second-biggest money transfer company for OFWs, with around 350,000 location in more than 200 countries. While their agent locations overseas aren’t as visible as Western Union, MoneyGram is tied with most local remittance centers in the Philippines such as Mlhullier, Cebuanna Lhuillier, and Palawan.

Information

Primary services

  • Cash pick-up
  • Direct to bank

Payment method accepted

  • Cash
  • Credit and debit card (some countries, also offered in-store)
  • Checking account or ACH (some countries)

Other features

  • Track a Transfer: Enables MoneyGram customers to check the status of their remittance online.
  • Mobile Money Transfer: Allows the sender to deposit the money directly to the receiver’s GCash wallet in the Philippines.
  • Send money using your checking account, or credit or debit card when you do it online. (Only applicable for the US region).
  • Some countries have MoneyGram kiosks where senders can easily send money without having to deal with MoneyGram agents. 

Fees

The standard fees for MoneyGram are pricier than Western Union. However, these may also vary according to the country of origin and the mode of transfer.

Online money transfer
(either cash pick-up or direct to bank)
Using a checking account$3.99
Using a debit or credit card $7.99
Agent location
Cash pick-upVaries by location or country
Direct to bankVaries by location or country

Pros

MoneyGram isn’t as visible as Western Union overseas. However, they are tied up with most remittance service providers overseas and receivers can claim their money through local remittance providers such as Mlhullier, Cebuanna Lhullier, and Palawan, or even banks!

Cons

The fees can vary per country and they’re usually very strict with the documents required for the receiver to claim the money.

Note

Unlike Western Union, Moneygram doesn’t have a lot of dedicated walk-in centers, thus, they’re usually tied in with remittance centers. Prices may vary per country. Fees shown above are based on transfer from the US. 


Online money transfer

With the wide use of internet today and the advent of smartphones and mobile apps, OFWs now have an option to send money through their smartphone or computer. While these services aren’t necessarily cheaper, it provides more convenience to the sender as they will have the capability to send money anytime and anywhere.

World Remit

One of the newest money transfer services for smartphones. This app originated in London and then later on expanded globally. World Remit caters to at least 145 countries around the world including the Philippines and provides money transfer service by bank deposit, cash pickup, mobile money or airtime top-up.

Information

Primary services

  • Bank deposit
  • Cash pick up
  • Mobile money
  • Airtime top-u

Payment method accepted

  • Cash
  • Credit and debit card (some countries, also offered in-store)
  • Checking account or ACH (some countries)

Fees

$3.99 for all transfers regardless of the amount

Pros

World Remit can also be accessed through their easy-to-use website if you don’t fancy downloading their app. Unlike traditional remittance centers, you can pay with a credit or debit card or from your bank account. Funds can be deposited into your recipient’s bank account or made available for collection at any of more than 30,000 agent locations. Lastly, their conversion rate is almost similar to the actual exchange rate, which will translate to more peso on the receiver’s end.

Cons

While their service is very convenient, it falls short when it comes to availability. Word Remit isn’t accessible to some in countries or regions, like some States in the US or some countries in South East Asia (Malaysia).  Cash may be king but that isn’t the case for World Remit as you can’t pay for an international money transfer with cash. The app also conducts a thorough identity check before a transaction is processed by asking the senders to upload a copy of their license or passport, which could deter those without one. Lastly, their customer support is almost inexistent as there is no live chat option at least. If you have questions, you can call or fill out an online form for help.

 

TransferWise

An online money transfer provider based in the UK, TransferWise is known to be cheaper than other remittance service providers. It uses peer-to-peer technology that matches currency flows, meaning if you convert dollars to pesos, the provider will find a person who wants to convert pesos to dollars. This way, exchange rate costs are reduced and hidden charges are avoided.

Information

Primary services

  • Bank deposit

Payment method accepted

  • Credit and debit card
  • Checking account or ACH

Fees

$0.35% of the money sent.

Pros

Other than being a convenient, money transfer service for those who prefer to use their credit or debit card, compared to other online money transfer service such as PayPal, TransferWise conversion is based on the real exchange rate (or at least close to it) making less money from the exchange rates and giving the senders and the receivers more value for their money.

Cons

TransferWise isn’t exactly the best remittance service options for OFW as the receiver will not get the money immediately. Since the money will be sent to a bank account, the transfer will take 3 to 5 business days to complete. The lack of cash pickup option also limits its customers to bank transfers, which isn’t how many OFWs prefer to have their money received by their loved ones.

Xoom

Xoom is a more flexible option for OFWs who prefer to send their money using a credit or debit card or bank account through an app or a website. While this platform is more suitable for OFWs based in the US, Xoom does not limit its operations in the US, anyone from around the world can access this website and send money as long as they have a bank account.

Information

Primary services

  • Bank deposit
  • Cash pick up
  • Airtime top-up

Payment method accepted

  • Credit and debit card (some countries, also offered in-store)
  • Checking account or ACH (some countries)

Fees

Bank account $4.99
Credit card$5.99
Debit Card$5.99


Pros

While it’s only accessible online through their website or app, recipients can choose to have the money transferred via traditional remittance centers or banks. Plus, the transfer is done in an instant, compared to TransferWise.

Cons

Xoom is a subsidiary of Paypal, the most popular web-based money transfer in the world. Despite Paypal’s popularity, they are also known to be less generous when it comes to foreign exchange, giving you less peso for your money transfer. Thus, the same case applies to Xoom. But, if you’re in need of a reliable money transfer service without so much fuss, this provider will do it for you.  

 

While there is no single provider that can tick all the boxes for every remittance needs, finding one that will be more cost-efficient to deal with can help you save time and money. For instance, if you’re looking to save on the remittance fee by transacting in a brick and mortar remittance center, but you spend a lot on your transportation to get there or skip a day at work, it would ultimately defeat your purpose. You’ll end up losing more money.

At the end of the day, it’s about finding a balance between the fees, the resources involved, and the out-of-pocket expenses that you need to put out just to have your money delivered.

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