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New, cheaper way for cross-border remittance
Lim Siew May 
While there are different means to transfer your funds overseas, disruptive technology has driven the cost of remittance to new lows
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We are living in an era where globalisation is a feature of any emerging economy. There are thousands of knowledge workers coming from foreign lands to work here. Likewise, many Malaysians also work overseas. 

Hence, in a globalised era, transferring money overseas has become a norm. The money transfer could be due to foreign investment, supporting a child’s education overseas, sending loved ones who reside overseas monetary gifts or helping family members out with a loan.

Unfortunately, some of the major pet peeves associated with cross-border money transaction are the unfavourable exchange rate and transaction costs. As remittance of money is increasing, FocusM takes a look at the different ways to remit money across borders.

Those who frequently remit money across borders will be surprised that there are several cheaper options, thanks to disruptive technologies that have driven down the costs. 

Cross-border remittance – fees and features at a glance

A homegrown fintech startup, MoneyMatch Sdn Bhd, is one such example. Launched last November, MoneyMatch’s Transfer portal service prides itself on offering cross-border remittance solutions with lower rates than conventional banks. Regulated by Bank Negara Malaysia, MoneyMatch keeps it operational costs low by virtue of being a fully digital platform.

MoneyMatch offers the most competitive exchange rates and transaction fees (see table below). Aside from a more favourable exchange rate that puts more money in a recipient’s hand, the company charges a flat transaction fee of only RM8. This is in striking contrast to other money remittance providers whose fees vary depending on the amount you send and your recipient’s destination. For example, MoneyGram and Western Union charge more than RM400 for transferring RM10,000 to recipients in Singapore, Australia and the United States. 

However, according to the company’s website, the time it takes for your funds to be successfully transferred to your recipient could range between one to four days, compared with more established competitors like MoneyGram and Western Union, who promise to get the job done within 10 minutes.

For speedier delivery, try making transfers earlier in the day to countries with time zones that are ahead of us, says Naysan

MoneyMatch’s co-founder, Naysan Munusamy, agrees that speed is of the essence in the money transfer industry. “Actually, we promise no later than two days,” he says when asked to clarify the actual time it takes to transfer one’s money to an overseas recipient.

“This (having to wait at most T+2 days (transaction day plus two days)) is similar to what the existing banks and/or money transfer operators’ service-level agreement (SLA) being offered to their customers as well,” he clarifies.

He also contends that most of its major currencies are, in reality, executed faster. “For example, for disbursements out to India, we do it within minutes. For China, Singapore and Indonesia, we do it within the same day. It’s just that we have a policy for all countries’ disbursement to be no later than two days.

“Sometimes, we have customers sending to certain countries in Europe, where we might have to use the bank’s SWIFT network, which takes two days. But usually, the vast majority of our transactions are done on the same day, if not in minutes,” he says.

To ensure a smooth experience when remitting your money overseas, Naysan advises potential users to familiarise themselves with the service offering by looking into the company’s website and engaging with its staff. He also advocates transferring money earlier in the day for speedier delivery, and check its live exchange rates while making a comparison with other money transfer service providers.

“We only need to look at Australia as an example. Their banking hours usually close around 4pm or so, which means 1pm Malaysian time. Hence, this is why we always suggest that customers try transferring their monies by the morning.

“If done within the targeted country’s cut-off time, the transaction can easily be done on the same day. But if you transfer during late afternoon Malaysian time, then even though we process it immediately, it would only get disbursed the next day in the targeted country,” he explains.

Another tip is to be careful when entering the details of the beneficiary. Mistakes can cost time and money, depending on the platform one is using. Maybank, for instance, states that it will charge RM10 bank fee and beneficiary bank/agent charges (where applicable) should the foreign telegraphic transfer (TT) be rejected by the beneficiary bank due to mistakes on the details of the customer.

According to Naysan, entering incorrect beneficiary details is a common mistake. “This error will not directly cost them any money, as MoneyMatch will absorb any charges related to errors from the sender’s end at the moment. However, delayed timing from this error could impact the arrival of goods based on customers’ expected time,” he says.

Going forward, Naysan points out that MoneyMatch has a few plans in store – these include increasing its transaction limits (it is currently limited to a daily cap of RM30,000 for individuals), increasing the number of its payout partners to ensure faster and cheaper disbursements, as well as improving user experience by launching more functionalities in the coming months.

Always compare exchange rates and transaction fees for cross border money transfers to get the best deal

How they work

MoneyMatch

If you are a first-time user, sign up for an account using your email address on the MoneyMatch Transfer website or on its iOS and Android app, or register using your Facebook or Google+ account. To create an account with MoneyMatch, you must perform a one-time Know Your Customer (KYC) verification using MoneyMatch mobile app.

Inform MoneyMatch the amount you wish to send abroad, and the recipient’s details. Then, check how much your recipient gets based on the amount of money you are transferring in ringgit, and also MoneyMatch’s exchange rate

Finally, confirm and pay – send the money to MoneyMatch via bank transfer over the phone or online. MoneyMatch will transfer money to your recipient once it receives the money.

 

MoneyGram

Find a MoneyGram agent location near you via the website’s agent locator tool.

Prepare for your agent visit by bringing along the following: your identification card, your recipient’s full name matching their identification document, and their location.

Inform the agent the amount you wish to send. Pass the agent the completed form with applicable funds, including transaction fees. Then, save your receipt and share the 8-digit reference number with your recipient for pick-up at its agent locations worldwide. The recipient will need to bring his reference number and personal identification along with him, and then complete and submit the receiver form to the MoneyGram agent.

 

Western Union

Use “Find A Location” to search for an agent near you. Complete the Send Money form. Pass the agent the completed form with the applicable funds (including transaction fee) in cash. Save your receipt and tracking number or money transfer control number (MTCN). Your receiver will need the tracking number (MTCN) for cash pickup.

Source: Extracted from the company’s respective websites



This article first appeared in Focus Malaysia Issue 278.