India is one of the biggest recipients of foreign remittances Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Indian expats in the UAE seeking to send remittances back home through Western Union (WU) can still do so, according to operators in the country.

The clarification comes in the wake of reports that some agent retail locations may be temporaarily shut down as a measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“Our customers are visiting us and sending money back to India, we haven’t seen any big problems as of yet. If the beneficiary is unable to receive the money because the exchange house is closed at a location, the sender can transfer the money directly to a bank account,” said an agent at Al Fardan Exchange.

“We know that some exchange houses in India have been closed for a month, and if some of our customers are running into that issue, we then recommend them to send the money into a bank account so that it can be received. If they don’t have a bank account, the transferred money will still be available to them for a month, which they can collect at any time during that period.”

Another agent at Lari Exchange said that residents should first check if the exchange houses are open or not.

“Not all agents are closed. There are exchange houses that are open; the sender should check beforehand. If the agent is closed, they can still visit us and make the transfer, but it would have to be into a bank account.

“If the receiver does have a bank account, there shouldn’t be any issue as we also deal directly with the banks and they can just get the money through the bank,” the agent added.

What Western Union says

“Western Union understands that our agent retail locations in areas with a high concentration of COVID-19 outbreaks may close their businesses temporarily or may have altered operating hours. We encourage our customers to please check the agent locator for the most accurate information, and call before visiting to confirm availability of services and hours of operation.

“Given the dynamic situation Western Union is recommending customers experiencing local restrictions due to COVID-19 use WU.com and the Western Union mobile app to facilitate transactions for payout into bank accounts and digital wallets, which is currently available in more than 100 countries,” said Western Union on its website.