Safely sending money to loved ones in the wake of Haiti earthquake
On August 14, a powerful earthquake devastated Haiti for a second time in recent history. While humanitarian efforts are being deployed, thousands are seeking safe shelter as the country faces significant damage and the threat of tropical storms.
Many people in the United States are trying to connect with family and friends in Haiti, including finding ways to send them money directly. We have a number of resources aimed at helping you safely send money overseas, as well as to help loved ones make informed financial decisions as they work to recover and rebuild.
Sending money overseas
If you’re sending money abroad, you have federal rights and protections. Especially in the case of an emergency, you want to ensure the right amount is getting safely into the hands of the correct person.
Before you send money, the money transfer or remittance company generally is required to tell you:
- Exchange rate
- Amount to be transferred
- Taxes collected by the money transfer company
- Certain fees
- Amount the recipient will receive (in some cases, this may be lower than the amount transferred because of fees charged by the recipient’s bank and foreign taxes)
Afterward, the remittance provider also gives you a disclosure that shows the information above, as well as the date the money is available to the recipient.
You have the right to shop around for the best provider. You can also cancel a transfer – generally within 30 minutes after payment is made – at no cost, unless that transfer has been picked up or deposited into the recipient’s account.
Sharing money and resources with family and friends
Our research shows that one in three U.S. adults provides financial support to family and friends. Most people want to help protect those close to them, especially in urgent situations.
While, again, getting financial support to loved ones in Haiti may be your most important priority now, we have a guide to help you have successful conversations and clarify financial arrangements, so that your most important relationships can stay strong and stable.
Protecting money after a natural disaster
After a natural disaster hits, the first priority should be protecting your safety and meeting basic needs. As help begins to arrive, recovery and rebuilding may start to be a focus for you and your family.
It’s often hard to know the right steps to take to move forward. Start first with taking care of the most urgent financial issues. As Haitians work to recover and rebuild, making informed decisions about their money can help as they put their lives back together.
To help you as you assist others, as well as think through your own emergency preparations, we have a guide for preparing, recovering, and rebuilding after a natural disaster. And, you can use our checklist for gathering financial information and documents to prepare for emergencies or reconstruct your financial life after a disaster. ( | )