Remittances are an essential economic resource across the developing world, and their value is rising every year. In the World Bank’s April 2019 Migration and Development Brief, they described remittances as having the potential to become the largest source of external financing in developing countries.
This increase in remittances results from accelerated digital technology advancements, demographic changes, market and infrastructure reforms. With the increased rate of remittances, the key issues relating to remittances have also found their way to the limelight—issues like cost, speed, convenience, transparency and security. Additionally, there is a growing appreciation for remittance’s contribution to financial inclusion.
Remittance flows to low and middle income have grown exponentially in the last few years. The growing remittance figures also reflect the growth in international migration. As more people move abroad searching for better-paid jobs and building new lives, they send higher value and higher volume remittances to their home countries. Experts expect this financial trend to grow as now remittances are reinforced by technology.
Currently, technological progress is the most critical trend shaping remittances. Technology has enabled remittances to be more affordable and accessible for the general population. In addition, digital technology is building a fluid and dynamic marketplace with newer business models and new service providers competing with established traditional channels.
Earlier, banks and foreign exchange bureaus were the default choice for transfers; currently, digitally-enabled money transfer operators have joined that list. Moreover, these operators are forming collaborations and partnerships with FinTechs and other third parties. Together leveraging the latest technology, they connect more people in more corridors and provide alternative and versatile services to reach the unbanked while staying affordable.
Cost is, of course, a significant consideration. Lower remittance is one trend every remitter is waiting on. The United Nations wants to reduce the current global average of 7% to 3% by 2030 as a part of its Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Thanks to technology, money transfer operators are not only moving money faster than traditional channels; they have done it while staying cost-effective. Digital remittance service providers are working towards achieving the global average of less than 3%.
Mobile money is another significant trend that has proven to be instrumental in bridging gaps in payments, banking and global financial services. With digital wallets on the rise, remittances are more accessible to people. In addition, the mass adoption of smartphones has also added to the convenience of transferring money.
Mobile money will continue to shrink the world and expand remittances, while remittance service providers will have to evolve their networks to support mobile solutions. Current technologically informed consumers expect service with convenience and minimum friction. This is the primary reason behind the growing popularity of digital remittances and payments.
But this new world of remittances is not without obstacles. The technology-driven remittance landscape is far more complex and competitive than ever before. As a result, regulators also need to keep with fast-paced technological advancements and the unique solutions introduced to the ever-changing landscape.
Despite some minor speed bumps, digital remittances are moving forward each day. Moreover, a technology-driven remittance landscape can achieve market reforms such as open banking. Industry partnerships between service providers and FinTechs will play a key role in shaping the marketplace to build a faster and cost-effective international money transfer landscape.
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ATL Money Transfer is a remittance service provider that enables you to send money across the border with ease. You can send money to over 60 countries around the globe with just three simple steps. We offer great exchange rates, low fees and zero hidden charges. Also, you can track your transaction while in transit, giving you tremendous peace of mind.
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