Rebit.ph, a Philippines-based service that facilitates remittances via bitcoins, has announced that it has lowered its service fees from 3% to 1%. They also claim not to charge an exchange fee. According to their website, their new structure makes them the most economical choice for remittances in their market. Following is their comparison:
To put these in perspective, they are more than 60 times cheaper than Western Union on a percentage basis when transferring 1000 pesos.
Recall, however, that one US dollar is currently worth about 43.5 Philippine pesos. 1000 pesos translates to only $23, not typical for a remittance. Western Union charges a fixed service fee in addition to the variable amount-based fees, and hence the high percentage.
For a more typical amount of 20,000 pesos (=$460), the percentages are indeed closer, but rebit.ph still comes out on top and Western Union on the bottom:
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SendMoney.ph is another Philippines-based site offering similar service. Consumers will be happy as they become the ultimate winners in a race to offer the lowest rates.
Recently, Bitcoin access in the country was made even easier when BuyBitcoin.ph joined forces with local payment processor Dragonpay to enable bitcoin purchases at over 12,000 locations. BuyBitcoin.ph is a bitcoin exchange, also with a focus on remittance markets.
In a recent interview on Bloomberg, Western Union CEO Hikmet Ersek defended his business when asked about the high fees, noting that his company services thousands of locations and 121 currencies. Customers still find them convenient.
Both Rebit.ph and Sendmoney.ph offer flexible options for recipients to pick up their funds, although some options incur a small fee.