Growth in digital remittances can be a game-changer in international remittances, mainly in terms of reducing the cost of global money transfer, increasing accessibility, and being more customer-centric.
In the case of Nepal, which is one of the highest recipients of remittances in the world, youth are leading the mobile and digital revolution in the country. 50% of the users of eSewa, Nepal's most prominent digital wallet, are between the age of 18 to 30 years.
With eSewa, users can make various payments such as pay utility bills, pay internal bills, recharge phones, book airline, and bus tickets, scan and pay to merchants, make a bank transfer (from eSewa to a bank account), and so on. There are also cashback and reward points upon registration.
Established in the year 2019, eSewa Money Transfer is affiliated with F1Soft Group. With 15 million users (almost half of the country's population), F1Soft has been the leading fintech company in Nepal since 2004.
eSewa is licensed by Nepal Rastra Bank under foreign exchange regulation, so it is a safe and highly regulated mode of money transfer. It offers traditional brick-and-mortar and agent-based remittance services along with the non-traditional digital modes of remittance.
eSewa is partnered with various leading money transfer companies such as MoneyGram, WorldRemit, Remitly, Skrill Money Transfer, TerraPay, WireBarley, enabling customers from the U.S. to send money to friends and family in Nepal directly into the recipient's bank account or eSewa wallet.
The account deposit service is available in more than 65 banks in Nepal. With more than 4.2 million registered eSewa wallet users, the addition of remittance service to eSewa wallet will provide a boost in remittance inflow to Nepal.
Remittances to Nepal constitute a major portion of the country's foreign exchange reserve, surpassing both the official development assistance and the total foreign direct investment. In 2019, Nepali migrant workers sent home $8.64 billion which constituted 25.4% of the country's GDP.
The U.S. to Nepal money transfer corridor is a thriving one, with many money transfer operators competing for business. Here are the top 5 money transfer service providers from the U.S. to Nepal.
PayPal-owned Xoom, a leading digital money transfer provider is one of the fastest, secure and convenient ways to send money from the U.S. to Nepal.
The Xoom mobile app or website allows users in the U.S. to send money in an instant to friends and family in Nepal using their U.S. bank account, debit card, or credit card.
Xoom has partnered with major banks in Nepal - Everest Bank Ltd., Nabil Bank, Himalayan Bank, Nepal SBI Bank, and others offering instant bank deposits.
The money can be transferred to a bank account or picked up from an agent location (from over 4000 cash pickup locations) in Nepal.
The maximum transfer amount is $9,000 per transfer when using Xoom transfer. The transfer fee varies depending on the method. Bank transfers are usually free of cost. Fees for payments by card are percentage-based.
Do keep in mind that a margin is added to the exchange rate when converting U.S. dollars (USD) into Nepalese rupees (NPR).
Wise (formerly known as TransferWise)
Wise (Ex-TransferWise) is a London-based financial technology company regulated by (Financial Conduct Authority) FCA in the UK.
For online money transfers from the U.S. to Nepal, Wise is a secure, fast, and low-cost option. There are no hidden charges, no marked-up exchange rate.
Wise gives you the interbank exchange rate for your transfers. You can pay by direct debit, bank transfer, debit card, or credit card. Bank debit or ACH is the cheapest followed by bank transfer. While payment via credit cards has more fees.
Depending on the transfers, the money can be reached in one day or even within seconds. There are limits to how much you can send to Nepal. For larger transfers, Wise might ask you to provide your ID card. To initiate the transfer process, sign up online or in Wise's app for free.
With WorldRemit, Nepalese immigrants in the U.S. can send money online to recipients in Nepal. The money can be received via cash pickup, bank deposits, mobile money, and even airtime top-up.
The cask can be pick-up from thousands of Samsara, NIC Asia, and Citizen Bank locations within minutes. The bank transfer may take 1 business day.
You can send up to $5,000 per transfer with bank transfer and up to NPR 300,000 with the cash pick-up option. A maximum amount of NPR 1,000,000 can be sent in a day.
The transfer fee will depend on the transfer amount. WorldRemit adds a margin to the exchange rate.
Muncha Money Transfer
Muncha money transfer lets you send money to Nepal from all the 50 states in the U.S. It is a preferred choice for many NRN (Non-resident Nepalese) as an online payment gateway. Muncha Money Money Transfer and ThamelRemit are popular ways of sending money.
An individual with a U.S. bank account can transfer money to the recipient's bank account in Nepal. It takes about 48 hours to complete the transfer. It is licensed by Nepal Rastra Bank, so your money is safe and protected.
It offers ACH transfer and can send up to $10,000 per transaction from the U.S. to Nepal. The first transaction is free for all customers.
ThamelRemit is an online money transfer platform for sending money from the U.S. to Nepal. It is trusted by more than 50,000 Nepalese in the U.S.
The platform is supported by Siddhartha Bank Ltd., one of the fast-emerging banks in Nepal, and is powered by MachNet.
The transfer is carried out via ACH where money is directly debited in USD from your bank account in the U.S. and transferred to the recipient's bank account in Nepal in NPR. There is no charge or bank processing fee within Kathmandu Valley.
Outside Kathmandu Valley, there may be a bank processing fee that is deducted from the recipient's bank account as per the particular bank's rules and regulations.
The exchange rates offered are highly competitive and fees are affordable. You can send up to $10,000 per transaction and get the money deposited into the destination account in 48 hours.
Thanks to the increasing number of users of digital payment platforms like eSewa and others, the cashless transaction is becoming a reality in Nepal.
The above list is not an exhaustive list of all the services available to send money from the U.S. to Nepal. It can be difficult to choose one from a plethora of options.
Before you make the transfer, compare the money transfer service providers to get the best value for your money while sending money from the U.S. to Nepal.
Nepalese living abroad prefer to send remittances directly through mobile banking, internet banking, or digital wallet. It offers ease of use, convenience, lower cost, and a competitive marketplace of the money transfer industry that gives better service and better exchange rates.