ENBD clients can now transfer foreign currency online for free

The offer on Emirates NBD's BankNet service is valid until June 30.

Emirates NBD offers an account-based money-transfer service, which can be done through a range of banking channels. Jeff Topping / The National
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Sending money home can be a costly process, more so when you add in bank fees and currency exchange rates, which are not always favourable for consumers.

Playing the waiting game is not always an option, especially if your family back home is relying on monthly transfers to supplement their living expenses.

In line with this, Emirates NBD (ENBD), the country's biggest bank by assets, is offering customers free online foreign currency transfers through its BankNet service until the end of next month.

Thanks to the country's large expatriate population, remittances from the Emirates total about Dh120 billion each year, according to ENBD.

"With a large expatriate population working and residing in the UAE, foreign currency telegraphic bank transfers are among the more popular services provided by UAE banks," says Abdulelah AlKindy, the general manager of retail banking at ENBD.

"The announcement will enable our customers to make all foreign currency online transfers, free of charge, until the end of June 2011."

According to ENBD, the largest slice of the country's remittance market goes to India, followed by China, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

Mr AlKindy says the limited-period offer is in line with the bank's focus to provide customers with relevant services. The offer is valid for all foreign currency telegraphic transfers that are conducted through BankNet, ENBD's online banking system.

"BankNet offers the ideal platform for making fast and convenient telegraphic transfers to anywhere in the world," he says. "The transaction can be carried out simply from any laptop or smartphone."

The move by ENBD follows an announcement by HSBC in March that it planned to scrap its free international telegraphic transfer service. From April 8, the bank said it would charge customers Dh50 per transaction to send their money overseas.

HSBC's decision to charge customers for telegraphic transfers came after the Central Bank announced in February that it would clamp down on excessive lending and high service fees by banks after consumer complaints.

ENBD tied up with Western Union in March to offer an account-based money-transfer service, which also allows customers to send money home through a range of banking channels, including ATMs.

The ENBD offer ends on June 30.

For more information, go to www.emiratesbank.ae.