Respondents in a global survey wanted lower charges, faster transfers, and more platform choice and flexibilities

In an Oct 2022 to Jan 2023 survey of 30,600 consumers in 20 countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific on remittances and money transfer preferences, inflationary trends were causing respondents to expect to transfer more funds overseas in their current and future financial planning.

Respondents in the Asia Pacific region indicated that economic challenges such higher costs of living meant 77% were asking for more money, while 71% were sending more than before.

The main purpose of respondents’ remittances were cited as “family support”, while “paying for education costs” was ranked second. Other reasons included “saving for the future” and “supporting business interests at home”.

Other findings
With currency fluctuations being top-of-mind for respondents, trends linked to remittance preferences were observed.

    • 68% of APAC respondents indicated they sent more money when the currency value falls in their receiving country. Conversely, 69% indicated they received more money when currency values fell.
    • 60% of APAC respondents indicated they currently preferred to use digital-only solutions for their money movement needs.
    • 78% of respondents indicated their preference for money transfer firms to offer an additional service notifying them of shifts in relevant currency values. Other requests included being helped to achieve the best exchange rate, to pay the lowest or no charges for the transfers, and having remittance transacted more quickly.
    • Of those respondents that chose not to use digital transfer services at all, trust and customer experience were identified as top barriers — along with a preference to seek face-to-face interaction — among both senders and receivers.
    • 71% of APAC respondents (both the senders and the receivers of remittances) indicated they were frustrated with repetitive and time-consuming paperwork, and 78% of senders would prefer facial recognition/biometric technology for instant and reliable registration. Receivers also indicated wanting the ability for their funds to be disbursed on a prepaid card or e-wallet that does not require a bank account (74%), as well as the option of collecting in different currencies (80%). Finally, 79% indicated an interest in integrated ‘super’ apps that could allow them to manage remittances alongside other financial products with ease.

According to Jean Claude Farah, President (Middle East and Asia Pacific), Western Union, which commissioned the survey for an inaugural Global Money Transfer Index: “Macroeconomic conditions have made our daily lives more challenging. Remittances are typically resilient because of their purpose. This makes it more incumbent on money transfer providers to agile and support consumers on their journey. That is why today we have launched the Global Money Transfer Index — to share the voice of the consumer, how they view money movement today, and what they will need.”