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UAE Expats Call for a Boycott of the Banks: They Charge Too Much to Transfer Money

One of the biggest bugbears with banks and international money transfers is cost. Banks unfairly enjoy ranking status among unsuspecting clients as the de facto medium for transferring funds internationally. But a movement is sweeping the international money transfers arena as people come to realize that banks may not be the best option in this regard. While some folks focus on the money transfer costs for incoming and outgoing wire transfers, these are not the real concern. The main concern with banks when it comes to international currency transfers relates to the spread. The spread is the difference between the buy and the sell price of Forex.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is home to 200+ nationalities, with Emiratis making up just 10% of the population. This is a startling statistic, but it’s also food for thought. Since most of the people living in the UAE are from other countries notably the UK, the EU, the US, Australia, India, Pakistan etc. there is a big need for international money transfer services. At the time of writing, there were hundreds of thousands of Britons residing in the UAE, mostly of Scottish and English descent. Most of the Brits live in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai. Consider that when the GBP dropped in value after the Brexit referendum, Britons living in the UAE with its powerful currency were sending large amounts of Forex back to the UK and benefiting from the relatively weak sterling. This practice continues today, as Brexit uncertainty fuels currency weakness. The number of Westerners living in the UAE is substantial, and includes Canadians, Australians and a large contingent of Americans. Each of these groups requires effective money transfer services.

Banking Customers in the Mideast Seek Alternatives

While High Street banks certainly have plenty of clout with customers, cost-effective money transfer services are cutting into bank profits in a big way. There are several ways to evaluate the authenticity, reliability, and credibility of non-bank money transfer services. One of them is independent customer reviews. The best way to gauge public sentiment of international money transfer providers is independent aggregator platforms which evaluate a group of money transfer companies and provide a bare-bones assessment of each platform.Typical bank transfers abroad are associated with many fees, commissions, and hidden charges. Most clients are blissfully unaware of these charges, and routinely lose lots of money in the process.

Fortunately, these alternative options are available to everyday folks, in the form of FinTech companies and online money transfer operations. These include a host of recommended companies such as Currencies Direct, World First Money Transfer, Moneycorp, Currency Solutions, Currency Index, Transfer Wise, Halo Financial, and OFX among others. In fact, there are scores of money transfer companies currently offering their services to clients around the world, and one of the major benefits of these money transfer services is that senders and receivers pay less to transfer money, and they get to keep more of what is theirs.

Westerners in the UAE and other wealthy Mideast countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and others are always searching for a low-cost money transfer services to benefit from currency cross exchange rates. Banks simply don’t cut it for most folks since they take too much of the cream off the top. While Mideast banks offer some of the lowest rates compared to UK and US banks, it is still far more beneficial to choose alternative money transfer companies for the lowest spreads, quickest transactions processing, and most reliable services.

What Are Some of the Benefits Offered by Money Transfer Services in Mid-East Countries?

For starters, most of the reputable money transfer organizations offer a wide range of currencies to traders. You can conduct your money transfers abroad online, via mobile applications, email, or chat functionality. Most of these money transfer corporations have offices around the world, such as Transferwise with offices in Hungary, Estonia, Japan, Ukraine, Australia, the UK, and the US. Full licensing and regulation is important, and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regularly oversees the services of operators based in the UK. Among others, FinTech companies and online money transfer corporations offer high degrees of transparency and credibility.

They are safe and secure, and they offer an innovative, bold approach to sending money abroad. Multi-currency options make it easy for clients around the world to interact with these companies. As a case in point, consider that Transferwise has raised an estimated $440 million by October 2017 in venture capital. Among the many benefits of using companies like this are easy on-boarding processes, exceptionally low rates, credibility, transparency, and a sterling reputation. The UAE is one of the most advanced financial centers in the Middle East. A huge variety of money transfer companies, banks and financial institutions is available. Fortunately, expats can use the services of low-cost online money transfer companies without having to resort to land-based institutions.

It is also worthwhile checking out multiple other ‘money transfer review’ resources such as TrustPilot for in-depth analysis from a customer’s perspective of the best Mideast money transfer services. The near-unanimous agreement among customers is that reputable money transfer services offer a better deal to clients. Banks have the name, but the costs that they levy – both overt and hidden are simply too much to bear. For example, there are no fees for transfers from the UK with companies like Transferwise. And when it comes to individual country fee schedules, the fee ranges from 0.5% for amounts greater than $500 to the US, to 2.5% of the amount transferred when transferring to Colombia. Compared to PayPal, it’s a no-brainer – money transfer companies offer a much better deal than PayPal!

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Israa Elkhatib

I was born in Palestine but raised with the fireflies in Georgia. My teenage years were spent being the Muslim nerd who was known as the bookworm of the school. That followed me back to Palestine, to develop into being the girl with the big vocabulary. I spent most of my high-school days cursing Newton for not eating that apple. My English Literature Bachelor's degree was only obtained because I'm a nerd for literature and my minor in Translation pretty much pays the bills, thank you Birzeit University.Creative writing is my passion and reading is my escape from reality into a world where everything is the way you imagine it to be.

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