A remittance is money sent from a migrant worker to his/her homeland. World Bank reported in 2010 that around 440 billion dollars were remitted across nations. These funds are utilized to support low income families across developing countries to cover their daily expenses and deal with emergent conditions like earthquake, floods and like, special sad and happy events like funerals and wedding, and to subsidize new startups and small businesses. Great numbers of people are sending and receiving money that needs to have a clear and affordable way to transfer these funds from one country to the other.
Most if not all migrant workers earn very low incomes, so they can only send a few bucks per remittance and they wish that only a small amount to be cut by these in terms of remittance fees. This is significant for the users of remittance services to know the costs that are associated with each transaction they make. There are 2 key elements that make the cost behind the transaction and they are as follows;
- Foreign exchange rate
- Fees that are charged by common remitter service provider.
Foreign Exchange Rate or the amounts of money at which different currencies are traded are quoted at different rates by every different remittance service provider. To find a provider with the best exchange rates will definitely reduce the cost of sending money. Let us look at this example;
A remitter service provider A offers an exchange rate of 1 US dollar per 11 Mexican Pesos or MXN, on the other hand, service provide B offers 1 USD/12 MXN. If you send 1000 US dollar through Provider A, you can send 11000 MXN and if you use Provider B, you can send 12000 MXN. Thus, only a small difference can make service provide B much more cost effective than A.
The second expense is the cost of sending money overseas or we can say the fee that is charged by remitter service provider. These charges or fee is different depending on the method in which an individual sends his/her funds. One of the most affordable options for those who send smaller amount is online money transfer that charges between 5 to 12 USD for sending amount under 1000 USD. In contrast, banks take fees at a flat rate of 25 to 50 USD per transaction for up to 50,000 per remittance. This implicates that bank wire transfer is costlier than online transfer and is only suitable for sending larger amounts such as above USD 10,000 or above, so it better to use only online common remitter services.