I had to send money to Nigeria urgently on Sunday, so I went to Giant to use their Western Union service. The guy who was helping me told me that as of the day before (Saturday, October 5th 2013), Western Union had changed their policies for sending money to Nigeria. You can no longer send the money in US dollars. Your loved one has to receive the money in naira. What’s so bad about that, you ask?
The problem is, the bank converts the dollars at a rate that it lower than the market. From what I’ve been told, the bank exchanges the money at N150 per every dollar. Outside though, you can get it for about N160 for every dollar, maybe even more. The N10 may not seem like a lot of difference, but it does add up. Example, if you send $500, your loved one will get N75,000 instead of N80,000. So, like I said, it does add up.
Meanwhile, I collected my money back and headed to Moneygram. No one will tell me in what currency I can send my own money. I don’t know what’s up with Western Union making this change, and from the way the guy put it, it does not appear that this change is for all international transactions, but specifically for Nigeria (and maybe some other countries, too).
I searched the Western Union website to find this change in policy, and I didn’t find it. But then, I didn’t find much anyway. You know, sometimes I wonder about companies like Western Union and Moneygram. Nigerians and Africans patronize them a lot! Most of us have someone back home that we’re taking care of. So I cannot help but wonder, what does Western Union and Moneygram do for the Nigerian and African community, both home and abroad?