Call to regulate international remittance fees

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Regulation should be introduced to curb extortionate fees charged for international remittances, says the head of global money transfer business Xpress Money.

According to the company’s chief operating officer (COO), Sudhesh Giriyan, some markets are effective monopolies

Xpress Money describes money transfer services as a “frequent, convenient and established method of transferring money between families and friends internationally,” which is increasingly popular in the expatriate Asian, African and Eastern European populations in the UK.

“What we are seeing is a huge variation in fees and customer rates between territories that exploits and disadvantages clientele,” says Giriyan. “Our global average cost for sending remittances is 2.09%. We see no reason why any money transfer business should be in a position to charge more than this.

“The average cost for sending remittances globally is around 7.6%. The figure is inflated by costs charged in sub-Saharan Africa which, in some cases, amount to as much as 20%”.

“In 2009 the G8 set a target of reducing average charges to 5%. Six years on, we are woefully short of that target. Candidly, we see intensive lobbying in this sector, creating effective monopolies in some countries that exploit those in need.”

The company reports that more than £15bn in remittances is sent from the UK every year, with around two-thirds sent to developing countries. It is estimated that around one in 10 people globally send or receive remittances. Sums sent to developing countries alone are around £289bn, according to recent World Bank data.

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