Sending money home becomes expensive for expats

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Dubai, Oct 29 (UNI) In a major economic blow to expatriates, UAE's exchange houses will increase their service charge on remittances from November 1.

Senior officials of various exchange houses called the hike essential to meet rising rents and staff salaries.

At present, the service charge at various exchange houses varies depending on the country and the region the remittances are being made. But beginning next month they will all bring the service charge on remittances to 15 dirhams.

The decision has come as a shock to the expatriates as they are already incurring losses due to the fall of the US dollar and the strengthening of the Indian rupee.

''The timing to increase service charges is inappropriate,'' a Sharjah-based Indian was quoted as saying by Gulf News.

A Dubai-based resident Mohammad Hanif also voiced his discontent and said the hike would be a blow to expatriates following the falling value of the dollar and all round price increase in the country.

Money exchanges described the hike as ''marginal''.

Al Rostamani Group Financial service division CEO Krishna Murthy said, ''If you look at banks they are charging something around 45 dirhams to 75 dirhams in service charges. The exchange houses have not imposed a change in their service charges on remittances for a long time now. But it has become essential now, the reason being the cost of operations which has gone up.

Inflation too is high.'' The service charges on remittances to India has been increased from 10 dirhams to 15 dirhams.

Alukkas Exchange General Manager Kutty Krishnan said, ''There has been a nominal hike in remittances to other Asian countries like Sri Lanka and Nepal.'' UNI

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