Are you worried about receiving international cash remittances during the Coronavirus pandemic?
We spoke to Gbenga Okejimi, Country Manager, Nigeria and Ghana at WorldRemit, who answered the most common questions. Mr. Okejimi spoke to us about how the London-headquartered online money transfer company is supporting its customers and explained the options available to both senders and receivers.
WorldRemit allows senders in 50 countries to instantly send money via the app or online to receivers in 150 countries, including Nigeria and other countries across Africa. Your sender can access WorldRemit online on www.worldremit.com or by downloading the app on an iOS or Android device to send you funds.
QUESTION: Can my friends and family still send money to me during the pandemic?
ANSWER: Yes! These are challenging times for everyone around the world, but I’d like to reassure you that we continue to provide a 24/7 global money transfer service for our customers.
QUESTION: Can I still collect cash during the Covid-19 pandemic?
ANSWER: Yes, cash pick up is still available in some commercial banks and financial services providers both here in Nigeria and elsewhere across the region.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many countries have placed different levels of restriction on movement allowing only specific sectors that have been classified as essential services to operate. Like most countries, Nigeria has classified financial services as essential services and exempted them from the full lockdown measures. Banks and other financial service providers are therefore still operating.
You can access our cash pick up service in states that do not have lockdown measures in place but it is important to note that they are operating alternative opening and closing times or have limited number of locations open to business while observing tight health and safety control measures. However, in states that have full lockdown measures in place, financial services are limited to services requiring non-physical interaction (e.g. ATM and other e-banking channels). This means that if you go to our partners for cash pick up especially in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun States during this period, the cash payout option will not be as readily available.
QUESTION: Is this the case elsewhere, considering it’s a global pandemic?
ANSWER: Overall, cash pickup services throughout the global remittance industry are on a general downtrend at this moment due to social-distancing measures introduced by Governments. People simply aren’t going out of their homes and are shifting more of their transactions and work to online.
In some countries where we operate, we have seen a 100% swing to digital payout methods, bank accounts, mobile money or airtime top up – for example in Thailand and Fiji. But it’s still too early to tell whether or not we are looking at a 100% cashless world in the future. Cash is still king to many people around the world.
QUESTION: What other options do I have to receive money besides cash pick ups?
ANSWER: In addition to cash pick up, you can receive money directly into a bank account or mobile wallet from your sender.
The sender can also send you Airtime directly to your phone, helping you stay connected to loved ones.
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We give our customers the option of sending money to any bank account in Nigeria in Naira, transfers happen within 24hrs. We aim to provide a first class digital experience for our customers on both sides of the transaction. This is key today more than ever as we are now required to work from home and stay indoors.
QUESTION: What if I need money in cash form urgently?
ANSWER: Receiving money directly to a bank account or via mobile money is likely to be quicker and more reliable than waiting for cash pick up operations to open. Our service is available 24/7 via the app or on our website.
Whilst digital transfer is better at this time, if Cash Pick Up is critical, please visit www.worldremit.com or our app to see the Cash Pick Up Partners we work with and contact them directly for operational hours.
QUESTION: What is airtime top up?
ANSWER: When you connect a mobile phone to a telecom network, you need to purchase credit to enable you to use that telco network’s airtime. Airtime allows you to access the network’s services.
Direct airtime top-ups via WorldRemit are critical at this time when people are asked to work from home and stay indoors, since it allows for purchase of Internet data bundles, which support work, entertainment and keep local internet-based companies as well as SMEs in business.
QUESTION: If I still want cash payout, how long will the Covid-19 situation impact movement?
ANSWER: Restricted movements will last for as long as is needed. Governments all around the world recognise the importance of remittances and are doing their best to make sure you can access money safely. As a company, we are also doing everything possible to minimize disruption.
QUESTION: Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers?
ANSWER :We know our money transfer service is crucial to you to help friends and family in areas impacted by the virus. We want you to stay safe, so where possible we ask you to choose to receive money to bank accounts or via mobile money.
At times like these, we know distances can feel greater than before. Our hearts go out to everyone who is being affected by the Coronavirus, either directly or indirectly.