TerraPay, a mobile-first international payment network, has been recognized by Aite Research as a key digital innovator in its recent report; “Cross-border Remittances: Global Trends.” The report examines critical developments impacting international remittances and identifies digitalisation as a key trend poised to disrupt the industry.
The remittance industry is being digitally remastered. Remittance companies, irrespective of the size of their business, are adopting digital at the heart of their strategy. A growing base of customers comfortable with mobile technology to mediate their everyday lives, increasing competition from new entrants and pressure on operating margins, resulting from an evolving global consensus on lowering remittance transaction fees, are propelling the digital shift.
Conventional remittance services delivery models reliant on widespread agent networks are expensive to operate and would continue to diminish in importance. Currently, Aite Group estimates, 7% of total remittance volumes are channelled digitally. Globally, the wide availability of mobile wallet services in 54% countries, across the world, empowers large segments of the unbanked to safely and affordably store and exchange value. Africa leads the way with 90% of the countries offering mobile money services, followed by Asia Pacific, with 78% of total countries offering mobile money services. Harnessing the scale and the maturity of mobile money ecosystems for international remittances can have a transformational impact on the industry in terms of reaching financially underserved segments and promoting adoption of formal remittance products. mPesa, for instance, in Kenya charges customers between US $1 and US $2 for a USD 200 transfer compared to the US $29 fee levied by traditional remittance businesses.
TerraPay is building the rails for international remittances by interconnecting mobile network operators, financial institutions and remittance service providers. Commenting on the Aite Research report Ambar Sur, Founder and CEO, TerraPay stated, “We consider the recognition as a confirmation of the commercial efficacy of the TerraPay “one network” model. Our partners continue to enthusiastically embrace the value TerraPay brings in terms of rationalizing costs and improving reach and engagement among blue-collar migrants and beneficiary households.”
TerraPay services are currently available in the South Asia and the GCC regions and would soon be launched in Africa. TerraPay enables customers to send monies to any mobile in the same way as they send text messages. Partners gain immediate access to Terra’s global network with zero CAPEX investments and benefit from the resultant network effects, which helps to grow the overall business.
The report, whilst outlining the bright future for cross-border digital transactions, also details essential determinants that would influence the pace of digitalisation. The key factors include willingness of mobile network operators to interoperate and partner, an enabling and favourable regulatory environment that eases entry barriers for new players and promotes competition as well as adoption of sustainable profitability-oriented business models by Fintech companies.