By Jane Taguicana

Low fees and a competitive exchange rate are reasons cited by the husband-and-wife team of Alejandro and Magdalena Geron in choosing a money transfer operator. They have been sending money to their son Ronald in the Philippines monthly since moving to Toronto 12 years ago.

So far, so good.

Once the money is sent and a control number has been received by Ronald, he goes to the nearest pawnshop to receive the transfer.

As to cargo services though, the couple had an unusual experience one time after using the same service for years.

About four years ago, Ronald accepted a balikbayan box without noticing that there has been a slash over the tape used by the cargo company. Once he opened it, most of the canned goods were gone.

“You can push the box down and feel it’s about a third empty,” Magdalena recalls.

“Look for someone you trust,” she warns many, to make sure they use a reliable and reputable company.

Although both of them rely heavily on friends’ recommendation, they also want others to check that the businesses you choose are registered (Check Financial Transactions and Report Analysis Centre of Canada or go to www.fintrac.gc.ca) and compare the rates against other services.

Below are profiles of two businesses dealing with money transfer and cargo.

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Rafael Policarpio, LBC Mundial Cargo Corp

How long has LBC been in the business?

Over 60 years in the industry.

And how long has it been in Canada?

Over 15 years in Vancouver and five years here in Toronto.

What type of service/s do you provide?

We do door-to-door balikbayan boxes, both by sea and or air cargo.  We do air parcels and documents.

How long does it take for the boxes to get to the recipient?

From Vancouver  approximately 30 days by sea and by air is 7 to 10 days. From Toronto about  50 days by sea and our air is also 7 to 10 days but we have twice weekly service by air out of Toronto.

Can you provide the price/s?

Prices are available at our box outlets and or air cargo agents. You can also call our customer call centre team who is available 24/7 for prices and/or any questions the customer may have.

Or if you can’t, how about the range?

Prices range from as low as $50 Cdn to Metro Manila by sea for our small box.  We also have for example $15 Cdn for documents up to 1 Lb to Metro Manila .

Are there any guarantees on the boxes sent?

No, we do have an air product which we call BB15, balikbayan box 15 days. If it does not get delivered in 15 days, your next BB15 is free of charge. 15 days count is based on cut offs as explained to the customer before shipping.

What sets you apart from other cargo services?

LBC has this vision to give our 3C’s and 1H, which stands for convenient, clear and certain service to our customer and reinforced by a very helpful LBC attitude.

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Manuel Arnaldo, PNB Remittance Company (Canada)

How long has PNB Remittance been in the business?

PNB has been in the money transfer business since it started as a government bank. PNB opened its wholly-owned subsidiary, PNB Remittance in the U.S., in 1990. The U.S. company opened its subsidiary, PNB Remittance Canada in 2000.

What type of service/s do you provide?

We do Money Transfer to the Philippines and to other countries in tie up with Western Union and other international remittance companies.

We also provide account opening assistance to SSS pensioners and those who want to open an account with PNB in the Philippines. We also offer other remittance products such as a Peso Money Card, which we call our “Global Filipino Card” (GFC).  Our GFC is a prepaid card which is used like any peso ATM card in the Philippines.

How long does it take for the money to get to the recipient? 

For remittances for credit to PNB accounts or for pick up at PNB branches, transfer is almost instantaneous.

For credit to accounts with other banks, same-day delivery if the other bank is online. For non-online banks, funds are transferred to the other bank on the same day. Other banks credit the account from 1-3 days after they receive the funds.

Door to door deliveries in Metro Manila and major cities are delivered on the same day. Deliveries to provinces take 1-5 days depending on the distance.

Can you provide the price/s? Or if you can’t, how about the range?

Our fees schedule are available on the PNB website.

Are there any guarantees on the money sent?

Funds are guaranteed until delivered.  If funds cannot be delivered for any reason, they will be refunded to the sender.

What sets you apart from other remittance services?

PNB Remittance – Canada is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Philippine National Bank. We were the first bank to open in Canada. Money sent are secure and guaranteed. Delivery is often faster or just as fast as our competitors. We have seven branches in Canada, 4 in Ontario, one in Winnipeg, and two in British Columbia.  We have two staff in Alberta, one in Calgary and one in Edmonton, for those who want to open accounts with PNB and need assistance.  They can also take remittances. We have the most number of company-owned branches in Canada, and over 70 agents throughout Canada.

We will soon open our Online Remittance and Phone Remittance. For the tech savvy Filipinos, they will soon be able to send money online through PNB. For those who want to speak to a live person, we will soon have our call centre set up to receive phone calls from Canadian residents who want to send money to the Philippines.

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