A tool against extortionate remittance fees

by Letizia Orlandi - 2013.12.18

As remittances increase, so do agents’ commission fees for transferring immigrants’ money to their country of origin. Hence the launch of a free and accessible online platform called TawiPay, which lists the fees of 2,200 private money transfer agents worldwide. It confirms and compares the rates charged and lets you choose the best one. It’s no coincidence that the initiative comes from Switzerland, which, with an average of £11,000 per immigrant, has the highest money transfers abroad worldwide. The new platform is certainly useful for comparing the high cost of remittances, which has recently been noted by the World Bank. It found that, globally, in the third quarter of 2013, fees were equivalent to about 8.93% of the total amount sent by foreigners: a figure considerably higher than the 5% agreed for 2014 by the G20 states. It’s an unattainable goal to say the least, considering the lack of transparency of costs (exchange rates and commissions) of local banks and companies such as Western Union and MoneyGram, as well as the absence of national laws that protect those who transfer savings to their homeland.