Low remittance fee now available to OFWs
By Renee F. De Guzman
San Fernando City, La Union (7 September) -- A much lower cost of dollar remittance is now available to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) through the National Cash Card Program (N-cash) of the National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO).
N-Cash is a cash card system which can be used for a "Card-to-Card" remittance, prepaid cell phone loading and bills payment. Through NATCCO's existing Internet facilities, cardholders could remit money to their families in the Philippines by only sending a text message. At $1 to every $200 transaction the OFW can remit through N-cash a maximum of $2,000.
Launched recently at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) in Makati the NATCCO's N-Cash Program is being undertaken in coordination with government-owned Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri.
The government acknowledges the big contributions of the OFWs to the economy. Bangko Sentral records shows the OFWs sent $12.8 billion to their families in the Philippines last year and it costed them $1.7 billion in remittance fees to bring in that amount, based on the current prevailing 13.5 percent remittance fee.
Once the OFWs use the N-Cash, the $12.8 billion remitted last year will now cost only $64 million and save the Filipino workers $1.663 billion. N-Cash program will reduce the cost of dollar remittances from the current cost of $27 per transaction to just $1 per transaction.
NATCCO has a cooperation agreement with the iPay Solutions which will be its technology partners for the implementation of the N-Cash program. The agreement allows NATCCO to use the payment platform developed by iPay to offer its member cooperatives and individuals basic financial services that are more easy and convenient to use.
Government is aware that overseas Filipino migrant workers are the most affected sector by the peso's continuous strength which resulted in the OFWs earning less. With the appreciation of the peso, the OFWs have to work more to be able to send more to support the pesos that their families back home need.
The OFWs have no shield against the sharp peso surge, unlike dollar earning exporters.
As the government tries to find other ways of providing OFWs some relief against the appreciating peso, the provision for a much lower remittance fee for OFWs through N-Cash Program as initial option, is a big help. (PIA La Union) [top]