With the ongoing lockdown in India having severe personal and economic impacts, for many Indians in New Zealand it’s more important than ever to be able to send money back home to support their loved ones. Indian Weekender spoke with Bryce Currie, Country Director for New Zealand for WorldRemit, and Ruzan Ahamed, Country Director for India for WorldRemit, to understand how remittances are being impacted by Covid 19, and what our readers can do to help their families at this time.
Bryce, how has your service been impacted by Covid 19?
We are very focussed on making sure that WorldRemit continues to operate our service so that New Zealanders can securely send money home to friends and family in India. Good news is that here in New Zealand, our business is fully digital, meaning that Kiwis can send money safely from their home during the lockdown 24x7, by using our app or website. Back home in India, we also offer a range of digital options, meaning that money can make its way straight to friends and family even during the lockdown.
Ruzan, what is the situation like in India?
With the country in lockdown, we are hearing that many people are struggling, and are more reliant than ever on inward remittances from NRIs. The good news is that our Indian bank partners continue to operate, meaning that our service is uninterrupted. We have heard firsthand from many Banks in India that they, like other companies, have had to transition to working from home for many of their staff. Despite this, they are focussed on keeping money flowing for their customers and their loved ones overseas. Of course, we are constantly monitoring the situation, and any changes to our service are kept up to date on our website.
Ruzan, what can our members do to make sure their remittances arrive safely at this time?
We suggest that our customers try and use digital receive methods wherever possible – this means sending directly to bank accounts, rather than organising for a cash pick up. This means your recipient will stay safe at home and won’t have to worry about navigating the lockdown restrictions. Fortunately, we have seen Indians really embrace these digital methods over the last few years, which means that India has not been as severely impacted as other countries which rely more heavily on cash for inward remittances.
Ruzan, what else are you doing to help?
In addition to making sure that transfers to bank accounts in India continue to flow smoothly, we have two other services that are seeing great demand at this time. The first is remote airtime top-up. This means that NRIs can top-up their loved one’s prepaid credit from here in New Zealand, which can be great when staying in touch is more important than ever. We have also recently launched a bill payment service, which enables your readers to pay bills back home. Before, paying a bill back home was a complex multi-step process. But using this service, your readers can pay electricity, telephone, mobile, internet, water and gas bills in India for their families or themselves in one simple step from our website or app.
Bryce, anything else our members should know at this time?
First, let me say it’s our privilege to serve the Indian community here in New Zealand. We have 10 years of experience in building out a strong digital network across the globe, and we know what a lifeline remittances can be right now. The best way we can support the Indian community here in New Zealand is to make sure that our service continues to run as seamlessly as possible, and that’s our sole focus. Thank you.
To support during these challenging times, WorldRemit is currently offering 3 fee free transfers to new customers. Simply use promo code ‘3FREE’. More details and T&Cs are here
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