Almost $15 billion is sent by people in Canada to developing world countries as remittances. Over the years I have written quite a bit about remittances, how important they are; how they dwarf charitable funds in Canadian charities used for international disaster relief and development; and the prohibitive rates of Western Union and others. Here is some good news. Vancity in Vancouver has set up a much more affordable way for their customers to send funds to the Philippines. Thank you Vancity for taking the lead in this important area.
Here is information on the Vancity website:
Send money in minutes to friends and family who has a mobile phone through Smart Communications Inc. in the Philippines.
Introducing a fast, secure and affordable way to send money to SMART subscribers in the Philippines. Transfer money directly from your Vancity account and a free SMART mobile phone text message lets your recipient know the transfer is in their SMART Money account or if they don’t have a SMART Money account yet then they will be advised to go open an account to claim the funds (one time instant set-up). Funds can be accessed from their SMART mobile phone and SMART Money account card.
$5 per transfer.
Our SMART Money service is more affordable than wiring money and going through foreign exchange shops (like Western Union).
The maximum amount that can be sent through is 40,000 Pesos (roughly $950 Canadian).
It’s so easy.
1.Get the recipient’s exact mobile phone number from SMART Communications, Inc. to ensure the correct person receives the funds.
2.Go into a Vancity branch and request to send a mobile transfer to the Philippines.
3.Your recipient will receive a text message of the transfer and can pay bills, reload airtime and do ATM and debit card transactions with SMART Money.
Visit your Vancity branch for details.”
Some of my previous blogs on remittances are:
Hudson Institute’s study on remittances shows Canada at 14.7 billion
Remittances and the high cost of giving for the poor - consider this Avaaz petition
2010 Hudson Report Index of Global Philanthropy and Remittances - People in Canada remit 12.2 b
Global Philanthropy is growing in Canada, but remittances and investment rule
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Mark Blumberg is a partner at the law firm of Blumberg Segal LLP in Toronto and works almost exclusively in the areas of non-profit and charity law.