Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) said today that Wells Fargo ExpressSend customers with qualifying accounts now can have transaction fees discounted or waived and have more choices in how they remit money to Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, China, Vietnam, India and the Philippines.
Key features of the new Wells Fargo ExpressSend service are:
- Wells Fargo customers can have the remittance transaction fee discounted or even waived if they send money directly from their eligible Wells Fargo checking or savings account. All customers using the account-based service can have zero dollar transaction fees as part of the new service introduction through September 30, 2007.
- Customers will have greater flexibility in remittance transfer methods, which enables them to remit funds faster, more conveniently and safer to friends and families overseas. The remittance transfer choices now include: account to account, account to cash, cash to cash, and cash to account.*
- Those receiving funds in Mexico, El Salvador and Guatemala can now receive their money as soon as the same day it is sent. Recipients in China, India, Vietnam, and the Philippines can now receive their money as soon as the next business day.
- Customers will also receive increased information when they complete a transaction in a Wells Fargo's banking stores, including details about the remitter, the beneficiary, how and where funds are sent, the fee, how much money the beneficiary will receive, foreign exchange (FX) rate (if applicable) for the transaction and the Foreign Exchange Margin (estimate of the amount of revenue Wells Fargo earns on the foreign currency conversion).
"Most Latin American and Asian countries have significantly large unbanked consumer populations and eliminating the bank account requirement for the receiving country makes it much easier for recipients to get their money," said Daniel Ayala, head of Wells Fargo's Global Remittance Services. "Based on our tests and pilots, account-to-cash will be the preferred choice for our customers. This opens the service for use by a large number of remitters whose friends and family overseas (beneficiaries) do not have bank accounts in their home country."
"Appleseed commends efforts to provide consumers with more complete pricing and transaction information," said Betsy Cavendish, executive director of Appleseed, a network of public interest law centers in the U.S. and Mexico advocating for improved financial access for consumers. "It's only fair that people sending money know how much their relatives will be able to pick up and when the funds will be available." Wells Fargo is a participant in Appleseed's initiative to create a "Fair Exchange" brand, which would make it easier for consumers to shop for the best remittance deals by providing upfront pricing disclosure.
"Remitters have generally benefited from a sharp reduction in remittance costs in the past few years. Yet, the lack of pricing transparency has remained a cause of frustration among them," said Gwenn Bezard, Aite Group research director. "By overcoming some of the technical and risk issues related to disclosing the foreign exchange fee upfront, Wells Fargo is making an important contribution to making the remittance industry truly consumer-friendly. By introducing account-to-cash remittances, Wells Fargo is also sharply increasing the relevance of banks to remittance senders."
Wells Fargo offers international remittance services to the top seven (Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, India, the Philippines, Vietnam, and China.) immigrant remitting segments in the Wells Fargo banking states. It began offering the International ATM Remittance Account for customers sending money to the Philippines in 1994 and launched the InterCuenta Express consumer remittance product to Mexico the following year.
Wells Fargo ExpressSend is a patent pending service.
* Cash pick is not available in China and India.