Absa takes global money transfer online


Absa banking group expanded its relationship with global money transfer service provider Western Union, enabling its internet and mobile banking customers to send and receive cross-border remittances electronically.

However, the SA Reserve Bank, fearing that the service could be used to circumvent currency controls, imposed a number of restrictions on the service, which could serve to reduce its attractiveness.

The electronic service, which is not available to non-Absa customers, can only be used to send money internationally under strict conditions. Absa says she hopes the Reserve Bank will reduce the number of exclusions over time.

Absa group innovation and special projects manager Paolo Zambonini said the Reserve Bank “has played a very constructive role” in ensuring that the money transfer service can be made available through electronic channels.

But according to Absa, the money can only be received under the following conditions: foreign tourists visiting South Africa, receiving funds from abroad related to their visit; foreign students studying in South Africa, receiving funds from abroad to pay for living expenses, tuition and books; income of South African residents temporarily abroad; and monetary gifts received from abroad.

Money can only be sent under the following conditions: earnings of foreign nationals temporarily residing in South Africa; gifts other than to charitable, religious, cultural or educational organizations; and support payments under a court order.

Service charges vary and are applied at time of transaction. Subject to the rules of the country to which the money is sent, there is usually no charge to the recipient.

There is a transfer size limit of R30,000, or the maximum allowed by the sender’s normal internet or mobile banking limit, or whichever is less. And the annual transaction limit for individuals of R500,000 also applies.

Absa says the biggest markets for remittances with South Africa are Zambia and Zimbabwe in Africa; the United States, Canada and Argentia in the Americas; the United Kingdom, France and Germany in the United Kingdom; and Saudi Arabia and China in the Middle East and Asia. – Journalist, TechCentral

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