As our understanding of the factors that lead to customer adoption of branchless banking expands, there is a growing consensus that for international remittances services to reach a significant level of scale, they will require an existing mobile money ecosystem that allows for downstream transactions which give users access to a wider array of cost-effective services and products such as payments and access to savings.
It can be concluded the Russia-Tajikistan corridor offers some interesting insights on how one might link financial products to remittance flows, but it also provides insights on the basic challenges accounting for why no significant scale has yet been reached.
The potential seems huge to make use of a promising mix of (i) people on both ends of the remittance corridor being in regular contact with banks; (ii) most of the senders and receivers still being unbanked; (iii) the banks having detailed records of remittance clients’ financial flows; and (iv) intense and growing competition among banks, which has led to declining fees for customers to remit money.
Last week, we began a blog series and released a CGAP report on international remittances through mobile banking channels. The series continues this week with guest blogger Paolo Baltao, President of G-Xchange, Inc. (GXI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Globe Telecom in the Philippines. G-Xchange’s GCASH is one of the first mobile wallet services in the world and has been offering international remittances since 2004. In this post, Paolo shares some of the lessons GXI has learned in the past eight years.
Since remittances to developing countries were estimated at about $351 billion for 2011, capturing even a small share of this market could be a transformational opportunity for mobile money providers – right?