The world is getting smaller; the boundaries across countries are fading when it comes to business and money. People from all around the world are moving to different countries for work. Developed economies provide great opportunities for migrants to earn money and sustain the livelihood of their families back in the developing nations. In fact, the World Bank attributes 10% of the top 25 developing countries’ GDP to remittance inflows.
The high cost associated with sending remittances through the traditional channels – banks or cash-based MTOs (Money Transfer Operators) – has been one of the biggest challenges in the space of remittance. Another major challenge has been a lack of transparency in terms of fees charged and FX conversion rates offered by these traditional providers. Also, the multi-hop model of correspondent banking causes a significant amount of uncertainty and delay in the time taken for settlement. Customers hardly have a clear visibility into how their money is moving across borders.
The emergence of FinTech players and their innovative technologies, a network of relationships and unique digital-first business models has been a game changer, as the remittance prices have been on a decreasing trend over the past couple of years. In Q1 2018, World Bank reported the global average cost of sending remittance at 7.13% – a slight increase from Q4 2017 (7.09%), but a 4.23% YoY decrease from Q1 2017. While these digital MTOs are certainly a driver of change, these are only the initial steps of progress as the global remittance community is still way behind the UN’s SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) target for remittance cost of 3%. Apart from their low-cost services, most of these MTOs also claim to offer full transparency in their fee structure, with no