Senegambian migrants are currently facing a major hurdle in Europe, and this
time round is how to send cash back home as leading money transfer companies
operating in certain European cities swiftly amended operational procedures.
International Money transfer companies have ‘’suddenly and unexpectedly’’
changed rules for ‘’senders’’ transferring cash, thus rendering a perilous and
precarious situation for such migrants.
is internationally regarded as one of the largest financial inflows to
developing countries such as The Gambia and Senegal and as such appropriate
measure to safeguard and protect its operation is widely respected.
The Point can confirm that, Western Union and RIA, companies that previously
set rules that a ‘’receiver’’ must show documentary evidence of his or her
identity, are now equally demanding that a ‘’sender’ must also provide the same
such as name of sender, country of origin, sum of money and the MTCN, which is
a tracking number transmitted to the receiver in order to be able to collect
the cash, is still mandatory.
service enables customers across Europe to transfer money at a convenient time,
although some European governments also set limits on how much can be sent or
the sum to be received at a particular time.
and Western Union, for example are offering competitive exchange rates thus
obtained many loyal Senegambian customers.
both are now demanding customers sending money to produce a ‘’proof of
identity’’ including proof of address before any transaction is allowed.
companies rightly stressed that any receiver must tender the ‘’PIN number
provided’’ and a ‘’valid ID to be shown when at the point of payment...the name
on the ID must match that on the money transfer’’.
the rule that the ‘’sender’’ must provide the same documentary evidence is
never heard of before. However it is important to note that such requests are
made when sending a large sum and not a small amount.
interestingly, though, is the fact that non of the companies have so far issued
any information regarding such a drastic change with the exception of a word of
mouth from their various agents.
correspondent trying to verify the reasons behind the new instructions visited
four different agents in different locations as well as contacting
representatives in disparate locations.
such efforts, it is surprising that some of the agents are not even aware of
the current changes until they logged in their computers serving
customers. Automatically it then
demanded that senders are now required to produce ID before any transaction is
to queries about the unexpected changes, and how much it may affect customers,
one of the agents slowly responded: ‘’Yes it is true but this is a new rule by
the companies...we are just seeing it now...Sorry but ID is now a requirement
Point also verified that for security reasons, identification documents such as
passports are also scanned and stored in computers for any ‘’future
transaction’’. Any document with expiry date is also unaccepted.
major hurdle and setback for undocumented migrants has further frustrated some
of them so much that their emotional reaction is increasingly noticed.
instance when WorldRemit, a leading online remittance provider, ceased
providing services to Nigeria, thus suspending operations immediately, many of
them turned to Western Union, RIA or MoneyGram.
though such a move was described as ‘’draconian and unfair’’, rendering all
Nigerian customers the inability to enjoy its services, the suspension
this time round, the requirement that a sender ‘’must provide ID’’ may continue
despite protests and complaints.
on its part has already noted that ‘’it reserves the right to withdraw or amend
its website, and any other service or material...in our sole discretion without
notice, except as otherwise required by law...’’.
customers trying to digest the main cause for such a drastic change, the
undocumented migrants’ ambition to send money back home continues to hang in
Mbye, The Point’s Europe Correspondent.