from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A system for remitting money, primarily in Islamic societies, in which a financial obligation between two parties is settled by transferring it to a third party, as when money owed by a debtor to a creditor is paid by a person who owes the debtor money. Hawala transactions are usually based on trust and leave no written record.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A long-established, informal system of money transfer from India and the Middle East, still in use by migrant workers.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an underground banking system based on trust whereby money can be made available internationally without actually moving it or leaving a record of the transaction


Arabic ḥawāla, bill of exchange, check, from ḥāla, to change.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Arabic حوالة (ħawāla, "transfer”, “trust") (Wiktionary)



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  • “India has relatively few bank branches for a country its size, so many migrants stuff money in their mattresses or send cash home through traditional “hawala,” or hand-to-hand networks.”

    The New York Times, Do Believe the Hype, by Thomas L. Friedman, November 2, 2010

    November 3, 2010

  • Interpolate too many sweets and now has a tummyache.

    February 18, 2010

  • So what does Interpol have against sweets?

    February 13, 2010

  • Halawa refers to halva, the sweet; hawala has to do with a means moving money outside the formal banking system - money that sweetens many a deal, legal or otherwise.

    February 13, 2010

  • I prefer listing terms in lowercase unless I'm certain the term is a proper noun that would be capitalized regardless of its position in an English sentence.

    February 13, 2010

  • Hawala or halawa?

    February 13, 2010

  • Interpol explains halawa in depth.

    February 13, 2010

  • Also, hundi.

    February 13, 2010