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OFW Guide: Use banks, wire transfer services in sending remittances

Overseas Filipino workers (OFW) looking to send a little Christmas cheer to their relatives in the Philippines this season need to take extra precaution in sending in their remittances.

According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), some OFWs opt to send their remittances through courier services, as service fees tend to discourage them from sending money through banks and wire transfer centers.

In a report on GMA News' “Unang Balita,” the BSP reminded OFWs that courier services do not have protection for monetary packages.

“Maganda na sa formal remittance agents ka pupunta because you're afforded protection there,” said Ma. Belinda Caraan, a BSP director.

Some may still be hesitant to follow this advice. In the past, there have been reports of remittance centers imposing hidden fees in their transaction charges, and con artists who steal money by posing as beneficiaries.

The BSP said OFWs could avoid such incidents by checking the legality of the centers they will transfer their money to. A method of checking their legality is through BSP's website, which lists formal remittance agencies and banks where OFWs can send their money safely.

Recipients are also advised to take precautions in claiming the money sent to them. The control number of their transactions should be kept a secret, to avoid unscrup from using it. If they receive foreign currency, it should be exchanged in registered or authorized BSP money changers where exchange rates are stable.

From January to September of 2013, P800 billion ($18.2 billion) in personal remittances have entered the country—6.6 percent higher than last year's.

The holiday season is expected to strengthen dollar remittances of the country, and the BSP expects its remittance growth forecast of 5 percent to be beaten around this season. Pledges for the rehabilitation of areas hit by Typhoon Yolanda is also partly to credit for the increase in dollar inflow. — Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News