Charges Increased for Expats Sending Money Back Home
Remitting money back home has become costlier for expatriates living in the UAE from this week, exchange houses said on Monday, 17th April, 2017.
Major money exchange houses have increased their charges for remittance from 15th April.
Most of the leading money exchange houses raised the transaction fee by up to Dh2 for bank transfers from Saturday, 15th April. However, some exchanges had raised the fee from first week of April.
For bank transfers exceeding AED 1,000, customers have to pay AED 22, compared to AED 20 earlier. Similarly, for bank transfers up to AED 1000, the service charge has been increased to AED 16 from AED 15.
Service charge for currency exchange has also been increased by AED 1, from AED 2 to AED 3 per transaction.
Although most of the leading players, which raised the charges, are members of the Foreign Exchange and Remittance Group (FERG) — an official platform of the money exchange houses in the UAE, it was not a FERG decision, its chairman told Gulf News on Monday. “We had shared a study, which had suggested making nominal increase in charges, among our members. It is up to the individual members to make a decision about it,” said Mohammad Al Ansari, who is also the managing director of Al Ansari Exchange.
He said the raise was minimal to meet the increasing operational costs only.
“We are aware that there will be further increase in operational costs due to new regulations. Some categories of exchanges may have to increase their capital and bank guarantee as per the Central Bank regulations,” he said.
Rajiv Raipancholia, CEO of Orient Exchange and treasurer of FERG, said that his company implemented the raise from 5th April but it would not affect low-income workers. He said AED 2 increase per transaction for middle-and higher-income expatriates would be very nominal.
According to industry executives blue collar workers remit money every month as they are the sole breadwinners of their families back home.
Although large exchange houses with branches across the country have already made the increase, some small exchange houses have not done it, industry sources said.
“Even last time [In January 2014], when major exchange houses increased service charge from AED 15 to AED 20, some small exchanges did not do so. There are exchanges that still charge AED 15 and less. However, there was an impression that they were compensating it by giving a higher exchange rate to the customers,” an exchange house employee said. Money remittance industry is an open market in the UAE and individual businesses have the right to decide their charges without the need of any approval from the UAE Central Bank, he said.