Tuesday, September 22, 2020
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UAE expats without bank accounts can transfer money for free

Anyone in the UAE who doesn’t have a bank account can now make unlimited number of fund transfers a month without extra charge.

A US-based company has launched a new financial product to enable consumers in the UAE, especially the unbanked population, to transfer funds abroad for free.

The TransCash MasterCard Prepaid Money Sharing Cards, introduced recently by TransCash Corporation, will benefit expatriate workers who do not have a bank account and need to send money to their families and friends in their home countries.

Anyone who signs up for the product will only need to pay a nominal price of Dh45 and get at least two cards, one primary of green colour and one supplementary card of red colour. Both cards have a separate account but they are linked to facilitate money sharing. The primary cardholder keeps the green card and gives the red one to his or her family or money transfer beneficiary.

An account holder can have as much as 10 supplementary cards. All the cards are valid for paying the bills, shopping at over 35.6 million merchant locations, paying on the Internet and withdrawing cash worldwide at over 2.1 million ATMs.

Eric Sridarane, head of operations at TransCash, said a cardholder does not pay a service charge or transaction fee when sending money from the primary card to the supplementary card, however, there’s a monthly fee of Dh15. The fee is intended to cover the costs related to the management of the cards, not for transferring funds.

One of the benefits of being a TransCash cardholder is that there is no limit in the number of free card-to-card transfers the customer can do in a month, provided the card has balance in it. It must be noted, however, that fund sharing between two different primary cards that are not linked carries a Dh5 charge.

Sridarane said they are working with their sponsor bank to make TransCash cards soon become WPS (Wage Protection System) cards so that the workers who still don’t have bank accounts can get their salary paid through TransCash MasterCard Prepaid Money Sharing Cards and at the same time, share money with their families without hassle.

Mohammad Wassim Khayata, group chief operating officer at Finance House, said that introducing prepaid cards that make it possible to wire funds abroad would be hugely useful for the unbanked consumers. “Since there are a lot of blue-collar employees who cannot open a bank account in the UAE, such a card will give them a proper solution for them to withdraw, deposit cash and transfer cash to their home countries,” he said.

The cards are available at TransCash-owned stores in three malls. There are three authorised stores so far, and more will be opening soon. By end of 2013, there will be around 15 authorised outlets.

Next week, the company will also deploy progressively the TransCash services (sales of packs and reloading services) in around 150 point of sales all over the country with their preferred retailer, Zoom. These points of retail will be represented by convenience stores in Eppco petrol stations, metro stations and stand-alone Zoom supermarkets.