Most Jamaicans in the diaspora are in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada. Over 90 per cent of the 2017 and 2018 remittances to the Latin American Country came from the three countries. According to the Pew Research Centre, Jamaica received a total of US $2,522 million in 2017 alone. The money sent to Jamaica plays an important role both at the national and household levels.
The Bank of Jamaica has increased its monitoring of inflows and regulation of the ways through which money gets into the country. Therefore, it helps to know the different ways you can send money to Jamaica, what is required to send the money, how your loved ones will access it, the needs to prioritise, and the factors to consider. The sections below will give you that and more.
Sending money to Jamaica is simple and easy. Follow these steps to get started.
There are multiple ways to easily send and receive money in Jamaica but these will largely depend on the provider you decide to use. Below you will find everything you need to know about sending and receiving money.
According to a survey done on remittances in Jamaica, 64 per cent of the respondents said that senders determine the transfer method to use. There are several ways you can send money to Jamaica depending on your preference and convenience.
Jamaica is a member of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT). Therefore, Jamaicans in the diaspora can send money to their loved ones through interbank wire transfers in United States dollar (USD), Canadian dollar (CAD), Sterling pound (GBP) or in Euro (EUR).
The Bank Identifier Code (BIC) or Swift Code to use will vary depending on the beneficiary bank you are sending. For instance, when sending money to JN Bank, the code to use is JNBSJMKN. When you are transferring to the National Commercial Bank Jamaica, the BIC is JNCBJMKX.
The fees for incoming transfers are charged based on the currency. On average, CAD and USD transfers cost about $5 while transfers in EUR are much lower. These rates are applicable for transfers totalling $100 and beyond.
When transferring via Automated Clearing House (ACH), the maximum you can send per transaction is $ 7,300. This measure was put in place by the Bank of Jamaica, effective May 2, 2016. Initially, the maximum value per transaction was $14,700.
International money transfers to Jamaica can take up to 5 days to complete. The duration largely depends on the number of checks to be done and the intermediary banks involved.
While banks have served their role well in the different remittance corridors, money transfer service providers are gradually taking over. These providers are offering much faster and more convenient ways to send money to Jamaica.
The transfer service providers vary based on the transfer corridors. Providers such as Xoom, Ria, MoneyGram, Western Union, WorldRemit, Tranferwise and Transfast are available on almost all transfer corridors and help you send money to Jamaica in minutes.
The advantage of money transfer service providers is that they have outlets in places convenient for sending. Setting up is also much easier. All you need to do is to sign up for an account, pay for your transfer using a debit card, a credit card, bank transfer or direct bank debit and send.
You can make your transfers on the website, through downloadable mobile apps, or through send bots for providers like MoneyGram. Money transfer service providers give you a variety of ways through which you can send money to Jamaica.
Jamaica is among the 30 participating countries to which you can send money through an international money order. If you are in the United States, you can walk into any post office and ask the cashier for an international money order. It costs about $3.85 per order. The maximum you can send in a single money order is $700.
When sending money to Jamaica, you’ll need to provide some information as requested by the MTOs. The information may vary from one provider to another, though such variations are minimal. The following is a general list of what is required when sending money to Jamaica.
The Jamaican government has been very keen on issues of money laundering and terrorism financing. To ensure successful remittance, some providers may ask for more information on a case by case basis.
When their loved ones send money from abroad, recipients in Jamaica can access the funds in two main ways: bank deposit or cash collection. Unlike other least developed countries, mobile money has not taken root in Jamaica.
When you send money through SWIFT, ACH or MTO-to-bank transfer, your loved can access this money in the form of bank deposits. As long as the bank details you’ve used are correct, the transfer will be deposited in 3 to 5 days.
While this method is safer and more convenient, especially for receiving large amounts of money, it is not very popular. Close to 70 per cent of the Jamaican population is either unbanked or underbanked. Their access to traditional financial services is not as elaborate and not everyone has a bank account. Many Jamaicans in rural areas prefer cash collections.
When you send money through the cash pickup option, your target beneficiary can collect it from any of the designated payout locations. For instance, Xoom has 287 locations in Jamaica where the recipient can collect their money.
Cash collections are convenient because of their proximity to where people live. Some of the collection points are in fuel stations and supermarkets. The biggest threat to this mode of cash receipt is security. When picking the money, you should get a family member, relative or friend to accompany you.
When the money arrives in Jamaica, the provider will send you a notification through SMS or email. This will depend on the notification method you selected when sending. The following information will be required when collecting the money:
Your loved one should be prepared for additional disclosures depending on the provider and the size of the transaction.
A remittance survey done in 2010 in Jamaica, concentrated on several areas amongst them the usage of the money received. They separated frequent receivers from those who receive money at random. The money received is used in a variety of areas.
More than 30 per cent of the money received is used to pay for utilities (19 per cent) and food (18 per cent). The cost of living in Jamaica is relatively lower than in most places in the world. However, with less than expected improvements in poverty rates, many Jamaicans still depend on remittances to supplement their household incomes.
According to statistics obtained from the Bank of Jamaica over 14 per cent of remittances go toward education. Typical expenses include tuition, school supplies, and everyday needs.
This expenditure item takes up 10 per cent. It includes new builds and renovations of existing homes. The cost of real estate in areas such as Kingston can gobble up a large percentage of this money.
The survey report showed that 7 per cent of the money received is used to pay for medical treatments. The public healthcare system in Jamaica is not as effective as the private health care system. Though pricey, most people go to private care institutions.
Households in Jamaica invest about 6 per cent of the remittances. Typical investments include financial instruments and real estate. Some of them use the money received as startup capital for their businesses.
The portion most households allocate to savings is approximately 9 per cent. In case of emergencies, most households use savings to supplement their existing resources.
Families in Jamaica allocate remittances starting from basic needs going up the pyramid. Savings are often low in families that barely receive enough to cover their housing, education, and utilities.
Whatever your reason for sending money home, money transfer service operators will help you send money fast, conveniently, and cost-effectively. Many Jamaicans in the diaspora are moving to money transfer services to capitalise on the following benefits.
Once you register, you can pay for your transfer through debit card, credit card, or bank transfer and send online or through a physical store.
When sending money to Jamaica, there are certain things you need to bear in mind. Top among them are global economic performance, exchange rates, and regulatory requirements.
With providers jumping in to take advantage of the expanding Jamaican remittance corridors, competition may see better services introduced and transaction fees falling. However, don’t take the providers word at face value. Ensure you get independent information on sending and receiving, and do your own comparison to find the best provider or method of transfer.
Sending money anywhere else in the world is as easy as sending money to Jamaica. If you’re looking to send money to another country, here is the list of the most popular destinations.
Jonathan is the founder and editor of MoneyTransfers.com. Jonathan is highly experienced in the currency transfer market, having previously worked in the FX trading industry, alongside being an avid traveller. Using his knowledge he identified a need for transparency and further education to help people save money on their money transfers, leading to the creation of MoneyTransfers.com