Ethnic communities in the UK can now have greater peace of mind when sending money to their families living overseas. International Development Minister Shahid Malik recently launched a new charter which commits participating firms to be completely transparent about issues such as how long money transfers will take, how much money will be received and what to do if something goes wrong.
The charter already has over 18,000 outlets on board, the largest signatory being MoneyGram® which offers the service through 14,000 Post Office branches. The charter is expected to be welcomed by ethnic minority communities sending money overseas to friends and family as according to research by the Department for International Development (DFID), the biggest worry for those sending money is whether it will arrive safely.
Ethnic minority communities in the UK send an estimated £2.3bn a year to over 50 developing countries. This includes over £300m to India and £200m to Pakistan. Reasons for sending money overseas are varied. Nearly a third of the money is used to buy food, 21% for medical bills and 17% for schooling. Such payments are also playing an increasingly important role in the aftermath of natural disasters with payments to Pakistan increasing by £90m after the devastating Kashmir earthquake in 2005.
As it is contributing to both basic living standards and rebuilding lives after natural disasters, it is vitally important this money reaches its destination as swiftly and safely as possible. With this in mind it's hoped the new charter will make a significant difference to both ethnic communities in the UK and their families overseas.