It's cheapest in the world to remit money from the UAE: World Bank

The UAE is the world’s cheapest country for remitting money from, a World Bank report has confirmed. With an estimated expat population of up to 80 per cent in the country, remittances from the UAE form a big chunk of an expats’ monthly financial dealing.

The fact that it takes less than 3 per cent of the total transaction cost to remit $200 (Dh735) from the UAE to Pakistan (2.46 per cent), and a little more than that to Sri Lanka (3.18 per cent) and the Philippines (3.23 per cent) means that the UAE emerges as the world’s cheapest country to remit money from.

According to Remittance Prices Worldwide data, the global average total cost of remitting $200 worldwide was 8.96 per cent in September 2012.

While it takes less than the global average to remit $200 from the UAE to India (5.02 per cent), the most economical Gulf country to remit money to India is actually the Saudi Arabia, from where it takes 4.40 per cent of the total transaction cost to remit $200 to India.

“The most expensive sending markets of those surveyed are Tanzania, South Africa, and Ghana. The cheapest sending markets are those in the Gulf – UAE, followed by Saudi Arabia, and Spain,” the World Bank report states.

The world’s most economical country for remitting money to India is Singapore (4.16 per cent), followed by the US (4.35 per cent).

With an average total cost of 11.89 per cent, sending $200 to (or within) Africa is 2.93 percentage points higher than the global average. Sending money to Africa is over 5 percentage points more expensive than sending the same amount to South Asia, which costs 6.54 per cent, the lowest in the world, a recent World Bank report points out.

According to World Bank data, the most expensive corridor in the world for a $200 remittance is the South Africa to Zambia remittance, where it costs a whopping $45.87 to remit $200 (almost 23 per cent), followed by Ghana to Nigeria ($44.56), South Africa to Malawi ($43.17), South Africa to Botswana ($42.24) and Tanzania to Rwanda ($42.14).

The world’s least expensive corridor for remitting $200 is the UAE to Pakistan corridor, where it costs $4.92 to remit $200 (2.46 per cent), followed by Singapore to the Philippines ($5.42), Saudi Arabia to Pakistan ($5.63), Saudi Arabia to Yemen ($5.92) and the UAE to Sri Lanka ($6.35).

However, for higher denominations ($500), the corridors change but only slightly.

The most expensive corridor in the world for a $500 remittance is the South Africa to Malawi remittance, where it costs $65.18 to remit $500 (13 per cent), followed by South Africa to Zambia ($60.65), South Africa to Botswana ($59.44), South Africa to Mozambique ($57.05) and, interestingly, Singapore to Pakistan ($56.96).

The world’s least expensive corridor for remitting $500 is Saudi Arabia to Yemen, where it costs $6.82 to remit $500 (1.36 per cent), followed by Singapore to the Philippines ($7.12), the UAE to Philippines ($8.56), the UAE to Pakistan ($8.7) and the UAE to Sri Lanka ($9.31).

“The two cheapest sending markets in the survey are the Gulf countries of UAE and Saudi Arabia which, in Q4 2012, measured at 3.5 per cent and 4.7 per cent, respectively,” the World Bank states.

“Whilst the costs in these markets can vary from month to month, their competitiveness in comparison to other sending markets in the sample reflects the fact that the Gulf region is amongst the cheapest for remittances globally thanks to the high level of competition achieved in these markets. With an average total cost of 5.9 per cent, Spain is the third least expensive market to send money from,” it notes.

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