How Banks Capitalize
On Immigrants

Over 800 million people around the world are recipients of remittances – money sent by their family members who have migrated to other countries for better financial opportunities. 

These remittances sent from migrants are extremely valuable, representing on average, 60% of the household income for the family members receiving the remittances. From covering essentials like food, housing and medical expenses, to helping families navigate crises back home, money received from migrated families play an essential role in the lives of their native communities.

Where migrants see remittances as an opportunity to provide financial support to their families, big banks and remittance operators see something different— revenues. On average, big banks and money transfer operators (MTO) are keeping an additional $40 billion U.S. dollars out of the pockets of the people who need it most

To put that into perspective, the U.S. reported providing $46 billion dollars of foreign aid in 2020. That means that big bangs and MTOs are taking as much away from families as the U.S. provides in foreign aid all together.

Are you paying too much in remittance fees? Check out the breakdown of wire transfer fees provided by NerdWallet, to see how much your bank may be charging :

Financial institution (click name for full review)

Incoming domestic wire

Outgoing domestic wire

Incoming inter-

national wire

Outgoing inter-

national wire

Bank of America

$15

$30

$16

$0 sent in foreign currency; $45 sent in U.S. dollars

Chase

$15 ($0 if coming from Chase)

$25 online; $35 with banker assistance

$15 ($0 if coming from Chase)

$5 sent in foreign currency (or $0 for transfers of $5,000 or more); $40 (or $50, with banker assistance) sent in U.S. dollars

Citibank

$15; Varies; fee may be waived for eligible accounts

$25; Varies; fee may be waived for eligible accounts

$15; Varies; fee may be waived for eligible accounts

$35; Varies; fee may be waived for eligible accounts

HSBC Bank

$12

Varies; fee may be waived for eligible accounts

Varies; fee may be waived for eligible accounts

Varies; fee may be waived for eligible accounts

PNC Bank

$15; fee may be waived for eligible accounts

$30; fee may be waived for eligible accounts

$15

$45

USAA

$0

$20

$0

$45; $20 fee for all outgoing wire transfers. There is an additional $25 international wire service fee to cover the fees of correspondent banks

U.S. Bank

$20

$30

$25

$50

Wells Fargo

$15

$30

$16

Varies; inquire with bank representative

While many traditional banks and MTOs still charge high remittance fees, cheaper options are continuing to spring for migrant families. This is great news for migrant families, because more options mean greater fee transparency and more savings.

One solution is Fair, a halal-certified neobank and wealth building platform created by an immigrant to help other immigrants. 

Fair’s membership model operates similarly to many of your favorite wholesale retailers. Fair members make a one-time membership payment of $99 and receive lifetime access to banking services with NO HIDDEN FEES. Members can also sign up for a monthly membership for $9.99 a month— a cost cheaper than what most traditional banks charge for one international money transfer. 

Today, Fair’s halal-certified, banking membership provides their members with no-additional-fee services like:*

  • No international money transfers fees 
  • Up to 2-day early direct deposit 
  • Spending account
  • No overdraft fees
  • MasterCard® debit card 
  • ATM access across 55,000+ Allpoint ATMs
  • Convenient and secure mobile app access 

Fair looks forward to removing unnecessary remittance fees. 

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