Sending Money

The Path Forward

Landmark federal safeguards adopted in 2013 are protecting money sent abroad and the U.S. residents who send it, resulting in a stronger economy at home, according to a new survey released by the Appleseed Network.

The new Appleseed report, Sending Money: The Path Forward , is based on data from a survey of international remittance customers’ preferences and behavior, administered by Appleseed in five states from September 2015 through December 2015.  Appleseed Centers in Connecticut, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas and Washington surveyed a total of 702 customers about their typical remittance transactions, comparison shopping behaviors, past problems with remittances, knowledge of their rights, and overall confidence in remittance services.

Complaints about International Remittances by Issue

Consumer Bill of Rights

Appleseed believes that all customers deserve:

  1. Disclosures for all transactions.
  2. Help understanding the disclosures so they can comparison shop and find low cost products that best meet their needs.
  3. Information and statements of rights about how to file complaints with businesses and the CFPB when they encounter problems.
  4. Clearer explanations about how to resolve errors made in remittances.
  5. Language-appropriate disclosures.

Key Findings

  • Consumers are receiving pricing disclosures.

  • Customers are choosing lower fees.

  • Consumers report stable or decreasing prices.

  • Consumers say their confidence has improved over last year or stayed the same.

  • Half of customers do not know how to file a complaint.

  • Language matters.

Appleseed's Recommendations

  1. All consumers should be given clear and conspicuous legally-required disclosures for all remittance transactions including prominent error resolution notices/statements of rights required in the Dodd-Frank Act to increase consumer confidence.

  2. Measures should be enacted to promote better customer understanding of disclosures.

  3. The complaint process should be improved and consumers should receive assurances that complaints will be resolved where possible.

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Read, share or print a press-ready summary of the report.


Acknowledgements

We are grateful to president Bert Brandenburg and the Appleseed Board of Directors for your ongoing support for this work.  Appleseed Centers’ strong relationships with local partners fostered this work.  We wish to thank these organizations for working alongside Appleseed Centers to help us conduct the survey and focus groups:

CT Appleseed partners:

KS Appleseed partner:

TX Appleseed partners:

NE Appleseed partners:

WA Appleseed partners:

We are grateful to New School consultant Jeremy Stremler for his work with the Consulate General of Mexico in New York City, NY, to test our survey.  We congratulate him on the writing award he received for this report and his position with the Community Development Corporation of Brownsville, TX, as their Associate for Resource Development & Strategic Planning.

Thanks as well to perennial Appleseed friend Kelsey Snapp, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc., Brownsville, TX, to Kris Krieg, Vivify Creative Communications, Inc., for his beautiful design work, and to Janis Monger for her constant support and enthusiasm for Appleseed.

Finally, we deeply appreciate the community members and Appleseed Center partners who have shared their experience and stories with Appleseed.

Appleseed’s work is generously funded by the Ford Foundation.

 

The remittance company I use charges $12 for sending $200, but $15 for sending $100.

Central American father

ECHOS Focus Group Participant, Houston, Texas

Report Team

Primary Author and Project Manager
Annette LoVoi, Appleseed

Co-authors
Ann Baddour, TX Appleseed
Laura R. Gerber, WA Appleseed
Bob Kettle, CT Appleseed
Benet Magnuson, KS Appleseed
Maile Molin, TX Appleseed
Gloria Sarmiento, NE Appleseed
Darcy Tromanhauser, NE Appleseed
Yamanda Wright, PhD, TX Appleseed

Data Scientist
Yamanda Wright. PhD

Pro Bono Legal Advisor
Kathleen Scott, Norton Rose Fulbright

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