Dubai: Expatriates in the UAE have seen the cost of sending money home getting costlier recently, as service providers have increased remittance fees to as much as 9.75 per cent.
Charges for forwarding funds from the emirates to seven out of 12 popular destinations, including India, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Egypt and Indonesia, among others, went up by a few dirhams more in December 2018, according to the latest data compiled by the World bank.
Sending money to India has gone up from Dh21 to Dh25.84 per transaction, while average fees for cash transferred to the Philippines climbed from Dh21.7 to Dh23.40.
Forwarding money to Egypt now costs Dh26.85 on average, up from Dh25 in September 2018, while charges for Jordan-bound cash went up to Dh26.57.
The cheapest country to send money to from the UAE is Bangladesh, with an average cost of Dh13.65 per $200, while the costliest place to forward funds to is Sudan, at a whopping Dh71.66, up from Dh41.
The average remittance prices refer to the charges incurred by remitters, including the transfer fees and exchange rate margins, when transferring money through exchange houses, banks and other service providers in the UAE.
Remittances are the backbone of many developing countries outside the Gulf region. They are mainly used to cover the costs of basic expenses of expatriates’ dependents, such as housing, food, education and healthcare. Transferred funds also go towards migrant workers’ investments, savings, emergency and retirement funds back home.
The World Bank has been tracking the fees, as part of a global campaign to reduce the cost of money transfer for foreign workers, especially those originating from developing countries.
Despite rising costs, however, South Asia remains the lowest cost-receiving region for money transfers, with an average cost of 5.23 per cent.
Those in Sub-Saharan Africa are the most expensive place to send money to from the UAE, recording an average cost of 8.97 per cent.
Cheapest, priciest countries to send money to from the UAE
(Average cost of sending $200 as of December 2018)
Sri Lanka: Dh25.95
Yemen: Dh 36.46
South Sudan: Dh67.99
Between April and June 2018, expats in the UAE transferred a total of Dh44.4 billion to their home countries, according to the figures released by the UAE Central Bank.
More than half of the money (55 per cent) landed in the pockets of beneficiaries and personal bank accounts of expatriates from India, Pakistan and the Philippines.
India bagged the lion’s share, nearly 40 per cent of remittances, or approximately Dh17.6 billion.
Pakistan emerged as the second-biggest beneficiary of remittances, receiving an estimated Dh3.8billion, or 8.5 per cent of remittances, while the Philippines bagged Dh3.2 billion, or 7.1 per cent.