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I regularly send a little bit of money to friends in The Philippines. It's usually fast and easy (though maybe not the cheapest) to do a direct international transfer from my Korean KB bank account to my friends' bank account in The Philippines. But it seems that recently international remittances are not making it through in the normal amount of time (or at all?). My friends say a lot of people in The Philippines are having that problem and are complaining online about not receiving the remittances that family/friends have sent from abroad. I'm guessing itís due coronavirus-related factors. 

So I'm exploring other options like Paypalís Xoom, Western Union, etc. But I'm wondering if these don't ultimately rely on the remittance department at the bank. As an analogy, back when I was living in California, I was happy to find a "small, independent" internet/cable/phone company so I didn't have to hand my money over to the crooks at Comcast, Verizon, etc. But the company confessed that while they provided the installation and service, they were ultimately at the mercy of the Comcast network because their infrastructure was actually Comcast's. They just leased it (and Comcast let them so they didnít have to hire their own technicians and specialists). So any service interruptions, etc. on the Comcast lines would affect their service in exactly the same way. So I'm wondering if Western Union, Xoom, TransferWise, OFX, etc. go/slow down when banksí remittance services go/slow down. Do they all have to go through the same bottleneck? Are they at the mercy of the banks just as my small cable outfit was at the mercy of Comcast?


  • thunderlips
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1987

    • June 07, 2012, 10:01:55 am
    • South Korea
I donít know about the bottle necking. But have you tried Sentbe? I personally havenít because kebhana brought back their global pay with Paypal. But I hear Sentbe is good.


I donít know about the bottle necking. But have you tried Sentbe? I personally havenít because kebhana brought back their global pay with Paypal. But I hear Sentbe is good.

Thanks for that suggestion. I'll look into it.


Looks like it is the same bottleneck.

I used both WorldRemit and Sentbe to test some remittances. I got near immediate texts back from both saying that the cash remittance was "ready for pickup." But when the recipient visited two different shops where remittances are normally picked up, they found that the shops were open and operating normally but that both of the remittances  were not available. I sent them both Sunday night and the recipient visited the shops on Tuesday morning to find out the cash was not there.

So I went to WorldRemit's website and found this very new message, which wasn't there when I made the initial transaction:

"Please note: Our local partner BDO bank is experiencing some technical difficulties at the moment. This may cause our Cash Pickup to Philippines to be slightly delayed."

I called Sentbe's customer service center and they were confused. They said the money should be there and would have to contact their "local partner" in The Philippines. Might be the same BDO bank as well.

I'm not sure if all of the remittance services out there are similarly dependent on (and thus hobbled by) sometimes undependable "local partners" (i.e. banks), but it looks like it's the case at least for WorldRemit and Sentbe.