Explanation of key remittance words used on SMP

About the methodology used on this site

This site provides a comparison between different money transfer organisations that send money from Australia and New Zealand to eleven Pacific countries. The methodology that has been used is consistent with that used by the World Bank in its site https://remittanceprices.worldbank.org. The World Bank Remittance Prices website contains price comparisons that cover 365 money transfer routes, or ‘Corridors’ as the pairing between money transfer routes are termed. A robust methodology was developed for the World Bank site which has become the de facto standard for remittance price comparison sites around the world.

Data is collected by researchers, posing as customers and contacting individual firms within each corridor. Researchers in a number of countries worldwide collected data for each corridor on the same day, in order to control for fluctuations in exchange rates and other changes in fee structures.

  • Operator: data is collected for all the major service providers in each corridor, including both the primary Money Transfer Operator (MTO) and Banks active in the market. In some markets very few banks or MTOs operate. Companies surveyed within each market have been selected to cover the maximum remittance market share possible.
  • Amounts: Two amounts have been surveyed per corridor: $200 and $500. These sums have been chosen to reflect what is believed to be the average amount transferred and the most frequently transferred amount.
  • Transfer fees: This is the most visible cost and can differ significantly among different companies. This fee usually represents the charge the sender pays and can vary depending on the amount sent. In some cases, there may be fees and taxes that are charged at the destination that have not been detected in this database.
  • Exchange Rate Fee: An important portion of the remittance cost is the exchange rate spread, which is not quoted in the transfer fee. The majority of remittance transactions are paid in local currencies, and, thus, an exchange operation is required. Money transfer operators and banks usually charge a currency conversion fee - a margin they add to their costs of foreign exchange. This is harder to compare with other money transfer providers.  In this database, where remittances are paid in US dollars, or where exchange rate information was not provided, this information may not be available. In these cases, the total costs might be higher than indicated in the database and an approximate (worst case) exchange rate has been substituted to emphasise this circumstance.
  • Speed of transfer: The website covers a variety of transfer methods including cash-to-cash and account-to-account transfers. The speed of transfer is noted for each product based on the information supplied by the operators.

Explanation of the headings on each of the columns on the ‘compare costs’ tables.

The compare costs tables contain 9 columns. This section provides more information on information contained within each one.

  • Operator - the name of the organisation in the sending country that will transfer your money. The type of operator (e.g. bank or MTO) is also listed
  • Methods of transfer - this describes how the money is ordered in the sending country. The Icon Legend below the comparison tables lists all of the featured method of transfers.
  • Fee (AUD) - this represents the fee paid by the sender only. It does not include any money paid by the receiver.
  • Total cost (AUD) - this represents the total amount, expressed in the sending currency, it will cost for the transaction. This includes the fee paid by the sender, any fees paid by the receiver and the total cost of the foreign exchange in relation to the transaction. There may be some other costs that are hidden and not covered in this survey, e.g. ATM costs, local delivery costs, etc. 
    Hover text over the total cost provides the sender with information on Exchange rate, Exchange rate margin and the date the data was collected for that operator.
  • Total cost (%)  - this represents the total amount (as a % of the send amount) the sender pays including fees and any foreign exchange cost. 
  • Location - this describes the place that you can go to or the method that you can use, in the sending country, to send your money. Where appropriate it describes whether the service is available nationwide or only in selected areas. It also advises if you can order the service online.
  • Amount received - represents the amount that will be received by the person receiving the money, in their own currency, after taking into account all known costs.
  • Speed of transfer - shows the anticipated length of time between the sender giving the instructions and the money being available to be collected or credited to an account under normal circumstances. The times are given in the number of working days. The actual amount of time taken may vary depending on unforeseen circumstances. Times given on this website are subject to different time zones and the opening hours of the receiving location.
  • Network coverage - shows the extent of the operator's network in the receive country, e.g. whether money can be received in urban only, rural only, nationwide, major cities or the main city in the receive country.
  • Outlets - describes the places where the money can be collected or where it is delivered to, e.g. a bank account. Note, that if the chart says ‘Fijian bank account’ it is a requirement that the receiving customer already has a bank account before the money can be sent on that occasion.