How do I remit my foreign domestic helper’s salary in Covid-19 times?

During this Movement Control Order, many remittances counters in Malaysia are closed, which affects many workers’ ability to send money home over the counter. Your worker may be seeking your assistance to help transfer their salaries home at this time.

1. What are remittance companies?

Unlike traditional banking, customers of remittance services need not open a bank account or provide much documentation to transfer and receive money internationally. The hassle free nature of remittance services makes it a popular service for many migrant workers. Remittance companies allow you to transfer funds through a variety of options: online, in person, bank account or mobile wallet. Your receiver can also receive the funds through a variety of options: in person, bank account or mobile wallet.

2. What are some popular remittance companies and how should I choose between them?

There are a variety of reputable remittance companies such as Western Union, MoneyGram and Merchantrade. To choose, you should consider the following factors:

Here are some things you should know:

  • Exchange rate: You may want to pick the option that gives you the best exchange rate during the time of sending so that your recipient receives the highest possible amount in her local currency. 
  • Transfer fees: Some companies may have the best exchange rate in the market, but charge exorbitant transfer fees for their services. Check if it’s a flat fee, a percentage, or no fee at all, which is usually displayed before you send or pay. 
  • Convenience: You can opt to transfer via the convenience of your bank account, as many remittance companies are linked to Malaysian banks.

The following are remittance companies linked with Malaysian banks:

  • Maybank & Western Union through Maybank2U
  • CIMB & MoneyGram through CIMB Clicks
  • Public Bank & Western Union through PBe 

You can also choose to download the remittance company’s mobile application, though some direct channels may require you to do the first transaction over the counter before you are able to do it directly on the mobile application or online.

  • Pickup method: This is the most important consideration. Be sure that your recipient can receive the funds through the remittance company you have chosen. Some workers’s families may only have one or two company agent locations in their local provinces for cash pick-up. During Covid-19, many local agent locations in receiving countries also have limited operational hours or are temporarily closed during the lockdown. Kindly ask your worker to confirm that her recipient can pick up from the chosen remittance company in their hometown before sending any funds.

3. What is an e-Wallet?
An e-wallet is an online prepaid account used to store money and transact online and offline through a computer or smartphone whenever required. For example, many of us have the TouchNGo e-wallet or Grab e-wallet that are directly connected to our bank accounts.  As of late, some e-Wallets serve unbanked customers too. In Malaysia, Merchantrade is a financial services company that offers e-Wallets, corresponding money cards and subsequent remittance services to persons without bank accounts. If your worker has a Merchantrade e-wallet and a Merchantrade money card, you can transfer her salary directly to her money card through services like Maybank2U Visa Direct. She will then be able to remit her salary back home using her Merchantrade e-wallet herself.

4. What currency should I transfer salaries in?
You should transfer the salary in Ringgit as that is the fixed and expected amount noted in the contract regardless of the fluctuating exchange rate with your recipient’s local currency.

Lastly, if your worker has a bank account in the Philippines, you can simply process a TT Transfer for her. Most banks are waiving their fees for TT Transfers during Covid-19, which makes this an attractive option for you to send money overseas.

If you have more questions or need more information, do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We would love to hear from you!

*Pinkcollar is not affiliated with any of the remittance companies mentioned here. We do not receive a commission and/ or fee for referrals and/ or recommendations made on our sites. The goal of this article is to share information that we think might be helpful for employers and domestic workers, and should not be taken as representations made on behalf of the companies mentioned here.

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