Free and easy way for migrant workers to remit money

Migrant workers standing in line at a remittance facility at Avery Lodge dormitory. Such queues could be a thing of the past under a recently launched initiative by fintech firm Remsea, where workers can now send a portion of their salaries home with
Migrant workers standing in line at a remittance facility at Avery Lodge dormitory. Such queues could be a thing of the past under a recently launched initiative by fintech firm Remsea, where workers can now send a portion of their salaries home without having to queue to use remittance services on their days off. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Fintech start-up Remsea is working with migrant workers and their employers to remit salaries from the payroll, which would save them the need to stand in line on their days off for remittance services.

Under this initiative that started last month, workers agree to have a portion of their salaries sent back to their home countries, and provide information on their beneficiaries. Workers are informed once the transaction is completed.

Remittance fees are currently waived, and Remsea plans to waive fees for at least the next three months. Fees typically range from $8 to $15 per transaction.

So far, about 50 migrant workers from one construction company have joined the initiative, Remsea's general manager Bernard Lim told The Straits Times.

Remsea is also working with the National Trades Union Congress' Centre for Domestic Employees and non-governmental organisations such as the Migrant Workers' Centre to get more workers on board.

Mr Lim said: "Having the remittance done digitally means workers don't have to spend time queueing on their days off. They can rest on those days. It also makes it easier for them to adhere to safe distancing measures, with many workers living in dorms."

The two-year-old firm is licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore to provide cross-border money transfer services and has an outlet at Boon Lay MRT station.

"We look towards extending this collaboration beyond the Covid-19 circuit breaker period. After all, our aim is to bring remittance to our customers while ensuring convenience, competitive rates and security," said Mr Lim.

Mr Fakir Kudrot Ali, 31, a Bangladeshi construction worker who sends $500 to his wife every month, said he was thankful for the initiative. "It allows us continuous access to remittance services so my wife was able to receive funds in time for Eid Mubarak," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2020, with the headline 'Free and easy way for migrant workers to remit money'. Subscribe