For Tongans, a Secure Way to Send Money Home is Priceless

Asia-Pacific, ICT, News, July 9 2018

various paper money in a glass box with dark shadows.

Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash

TONGA: Working overseas is tough. But it can be even tougher for workers trying to send their hard-earned money back home to help relatives. Sione Tau, a Tongan who has been picking strawberries in New Zealand for eight seasons, knows this all too well. Until recently, he had to navigate the cumbersome process of withdrawing cash from his bank, negotiating with a remittance agent, and paying a high fee before money could be sent to his wife in Tonga.

Like Tau, half of all adults in Tonga work outside their country. Their burdens have grown in recent decades because of regulations related to anti money-laundering policies and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CTF). Since many banks consider the providers of remittance services to be high risk, prices of remittances have increased. Tau and his peers were sometimes forced to turn to the grey market for a solution, but too often it involved high fees, unfavorable foreign exchange rates, and a greater risk that the money could go missing.

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Source: World Bank

Re-posted with permission

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