As I did for 2013, I have put together the 10 most important news stories for the International Money Transfer Industry in 2014, as a way to reflect back and at the same time analyze the trends for the coming year. They are not necessarily in order of importance.
They are based on my personal opinions and ideas from friends and colleagues in the industry. If I miss something of importance or if you have any type of comment, please share your opinions.
Volume of Money Transfers continue on the rise. The estimated global remittance volume will be close to US$580 B in 2014 and rise above US$600 B in 2015. Volume to developing countries are rising globally by 4.4% to reach US$454 B in 2015.
Bank Discontinuance and De-Risking took new heights with more bank account closures in the US, Australia and other countries prompting responses and statements from the World Bank, US regulators and other agencies.
The cost of remittances continues as a major objective of multilateral agencies such as the World Bank and its influence in the G20 agenda while more governments discuss the idea of taxing remittances. It’s all politics?
Telcos on the move. With still major regulatory and technological hurdles to overcome and many partnerships and cost structures to be agreed upon, mobile wallets to be tested, Telcos are moving ahead with money transfers.
Online Remittances are disrupting the traditional agent-based ecosystem as more clients look for these alternatives and every major MTO in the world increases its online channel developments. Are we finally seeing the shift?
Mobile Remittances on the rise with every online money transfer provider hastily rolling out their mobile solutions with a good response from new and existing clients while mobile-only service providers get funding and forge ahead.
US Regulator moves forward and fines the first Compliance Officer of a major Money Transfer Operator (MTO) sending chills throughout the industry. Some say US Regulators needed a “sacrificial lamb” and quite a few have deemed it unfair.
The performance of Public Traded Money Transfer Companies has been a concern of many analysts that watch the payment industry closely. It hasn’t been a good year for the two major MTOs due to competition for market share & lower pricing.
Is Remittances the best driver for financial inclusion? As the concept of inclusion changes, as some banks develop agent-based networks and as mobile access to financial services widens, will remittances take a driver seat?
Is Bitcoin as a remittance tool ready to pick up steam? We have seen a year full of regulatory discussions on cryptocurrencies, growth of the blockchain ecosystem and the emerging of firms devoted to Bitcoin & Remittances.