It was a double celebration for the Western Union Samoa family on Tuesday night.
Held at their Apia branch at the D.B.S. Building, the event celebrated the launch of the Outbound Pricing as well as the official opening of their newly renovated branch in Apia.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi was the keynote speaker. Also in attendance were the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Afamasaga Rico Tupai and the Minister of Revenue Ti’alavea Tionisio Hunt.
Deputy General Manager of Western Union, Mulipola Anarosa Molio’o told the Samoa Observer the double celebration is something that had been in the pipeline for quite some time now.
“Firstly, the launching of our outbound pricing service and when it comes to sending money overseas Western Union is the most expensive money transfer because the higher the amount to send, the higher the charge,” she said.
“There was no fixed charged for any amount sent and throughout our 22 years of service, we have been begging Western Union Head Office in America to grant Samoa a fixed price to send money overseas.”
“And so on 1 June 2018, our new price for outbound price became effective. The fee to send money to New Zealand and I mean any amount is only $10 and in any other countries, it’s just $30 maximum fee.”
“So this is the perfect time to send money to families and friends who are working outside of Samoa and I know this is good news for all our Philippines community who are working here as well as the Fijian community and international students in A.P.T.C.”
“It is also good news for our Samoan people because there are parents who have children that are studying overseas like in China, Australia, New Zealand, Vanuatu and Fiji so this is a special treat for them.”
She added Western Union is the cheapest place to send money overseas.
“We are now rolling out our new pricing, before we were the most expensive money transfer when it comes to send out money and from the 1st June 2018 we are the cheapest money transfer when it comes to sending money overseas,” said Mulipola.
“This service is available in all our 26 location in Samoa, so if you want to send money overseas then please use us because we are the cheapest, fastest and reliable and it is all over the world.”
Moreover, Mulipola said even though their outbound pricing fee is the cheapest, their compliance standards is still their main priority.
“Compliance in terms of identification as well as our monitoring system to monitor money that will be sent outside of Samoa and as you know, this fixed price only applies to money sent overseas,” she said.
“So at the same time we have to comply with the Central Bank conditions for money that is being sent out of the country.”
“So while this service is convenient for our Samoan people and others, at the same time we have an expose risk where people can use our service illegally.”
“It’s the only genuine sending that can be used in our service. We don’t want to use our service to send scam transfer, money laundering and so forth. So we don’t want to use that because that is not the purpose of our service.”
“Genuine sending is when parents here in Samoa send money to their children studying overseas or people from other countries send money back home to their families, that is family support people like the Philippines because they are the regular senders, they send money every two weeks to their families.”
“We don’t want our service to be abused and used illegally and that is why we are strict with our policies in terms of identification as well as questions that we ask the sender.”
“We also have the right to reject the sender from sending money if they don’t meet the conditions that we have already setup.”
“And we have already trained our frontline tellers to get in contact with the sender in terms of asking the sender questions and kept it in the system.”
“Most of the time, people will get offended when we ask questions but this is our role and what we are doing is also helping them in a way that they are not falling into scams.”
“One of the most important things is making sure the sender has a valid identification because before the sender can just come in and say he or she wants to send money and we just do it, but now we ask for a valid identification for our records.”
“If they cannot meet our terms and conditions, then we have the right to reject their transaction.”
As for their newly renovated branch at the Development Bank Building, Mulipola said this will be the new layout design for all their branches in Samoa.
“As you notice our airport branch, that is where we first put out our new layout design,” she said.
“This is the second office that has been designed in this layout and we are going to roll out the same designed to all our other offices including our main office at Saleufi.”
“It was built by Hamrock Construction. This is the highest transaction volume location and it includes a conference room as well.”
“This project cost more than $40,000 and it was done within a month.”
“We request the Hamrock Construction to make sure that the operation will not be affected so they worked around after hours even Saturday and Sunday.”
“We want to encourage the people of Samoa to come and take advantage of our new outbound pricing but at the same time follow our terms and conditions apply,” Mulipola said.