Taiwan government experimenting with allowing foreign workers to send remittances through convenience stores
Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) is exploring the possibility of allowing foreign workers to remit their earnings to their home countries through convenience stores.
FSC Chairman, Wellington Koo (顧立雄), said that the Financial Technology Innovation and Experiment Act, better known as the Financial Regulatory Sandbox, could be used to test out the use of convenience stores by migrant workers to send remittances to their hometowns.
In the past, migrant workers used U.S.-based Western Union Quick Cash to remit money to their hometowns. However, as the regulations on money laundering have become more and more strict, doubts have started to arise about its security.
Yet if the foreign exchange remittances are limited to foreign workers, the risk may be lower than unlimited cross-border exchanges. Therefore, the FSC intends to conduct a sandbox experiment to discuss feasible solutions.
There will be three criteria to determine the viability of the new sandbox:
First, is its "singularity" and that the overseas remittances are limited to foreign workers only.
Second, that they are fixed or regular remittances, and the recipient's identity is clear (such as a member of the remitter's family).
Third, that it enhances the labor autonomy of migrant workers.
Western Union Quick Cash is a real-time online remittance service operated through the cooperation of Western Union Corporation with other banks all over the world. As long as the remitter goes to a bank that cooperates with Western Union, they can send the remittance to recipients overseas within one day to any overseas bank within Western Union's network.
The main advantages of Western Union Quick Cash is that it is quick and convenient, and there is no need to open a bank account. However, due to the need to use English to fill out the remittance form, differences in alphabetical spelling can be exploited in money laundering or theft.
As a result, many Taiwanese banks have stopped offering Western Union remittance services. Koo said that enabling foreign workers to remit funds via convenience stores instead could be a good alternative.