This week, we attended the International Association of Money Transfer Networks (IAMTN) Annual Summit in London, which featured lively discussions on some of the key challenges and trends in the money transfer space.
“I’m delighted to be back at the IAMTN Summit after three years of absence,” said Veronica Studsgaard, Vice President of Partnerships, Global Payments at MFS Africa and Founder and Chair at IAMTN. “The cross-border remittance industry is evolving, and as customers are becoming increasingly accustomed to speed, pricing and transparency improvements across the remittance industries, the innovation that simplifies complexity is key.”
Here are some of our takeaways from the summit:
- The Covid-19-driven push towards digital adoption will continue (particularly in LatAm, Asia and Africa), but cash will continue to have a vital place in the remittances space for years to come. Digitalisation is helping in areas where bank branches are less accessible, but a lack of financial awareness is hindering adoption in some developing countries.
- Several speakers believed the cost of money transfers will continue to go down as new entrants drive competition and simplicity, but it is unlikely to hit zero due to the practicalities involved (similar to what we heard at Money20/20 Europe).
- Regulatory challenges remain one of the biggest barriers to growth in some emerging markets, particularly when it comes to gaining licences and striking up partnerships in new countries. Some speakers felt more should be done to educate regulators on why remittance players need faster approval on things like licences.
- Building customer trust is vital for new entrants; ensuring that your digital service works effectively first is more important than piling money into customer acquisition.
- Crypto was rarely mentioned outside of a panel about the potential for blockchains as new payment infrastructures. Chris Ostrowski, who works on public sector engagement for mobile-first de-fi platform Celo, said that some central banks are still wary of crypto. However, he said this could change if they are educated on how blockchains can make remittances cheaper and more accessible.