JNBS challenges Western Union for larger slice of remittance pie

JNBS challenges Western Union for larger slice of remittance pie

BY AVIA COLLINDER Business reporter collindera@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, December 09, 2016

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Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), which operates JN Money Services, the owner and operator of the JN Money Transfer remittance brand, has slashed remittance rates in a bid to secure a larger portion of remittances to Jamaica, which are now valued around US$2.1 billion.

It has cut rates to a minimum US$1.99 per amount sent, targeting remitters located in the USA, Canada and the UK who are sending money to Jamaica.

Remittances in Jamaica increased to US$2.3 billion in 2015 from US$2.16 billion in 2014.

JNBS is going up against chief competitor Western Union, which has about 50 per cent of the market, and other players including Xoom Express, which is staking a bigger claim on the Jamaican market.

Western Union’s lowest fee for sending up to US$20 appears to be US$4.99, as indicated on its website

JNBS declined to share the sum which would attract the US$1.99 sending fee, but told the
Jamaica Observer, "For larger amounts the fees will be slightly higher, but the US$1.99 will be for monies in the lower band."

Inbound rates on the group’s website are yet to be updated.

JNBS said the rate cuts are permanent and extend beyond the holiday period. "It is in keeping with our desire to make remittances fast, affordable and convenient," the response to
Caribbean Business Report, channeled through its communications department, said.

The building society in its response asserted, "Our rates are the lowest in the market at present for same day service. It is lower than all our competitors who remit money to Jamaica."

Horace Hines, acting general manager, JN Money Services, was quoted in a company release saying, "Our reduction in fees shows our commitment to our customers to keeping them connected with loved ones across the world with the provision of a quick and efficient service at an even lower rate."

JNBS indicated that a lower cost to send remittances will benefit many Jamaicans, as remittances continue to be one of the major contributors to the Jamaican economy, accounting for slightly over 17 per cent of GDP.

Remittance inflows to the country for the period ending June 30, 2016 was more than US$965 million.

Meanwhile, in October, Xoom.com also set its cap for the Jamaican market with a new ‘request’ feature for money transfers and mobile reloads.

Xoom.com, PayPal’s digital money transfer service, introduced the new ‘request’ feature which allows remittance recipients to request funds 24/7 on the web from any mobile phone, tablet or computer from contacts in the United states.

Funds can be requested for cash pickup at any local payout partner listed on Xoom’s site, including JMMB Money Transfer and Victoria Mutual Building Society in Jamaica.

Julian King, chief marketing officer and head of business development, Xoom, said that the service is free for the requester, and users can start requesting now in 29 countries, including Jamaica.

"After your loved ones in the US receives your request, all they need to do is accept it and send," King said.

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