This week, we take a look at the money transfer landscape across Asia, a region we track very closely in our datasets. We focus on those payment companies headquartered in the region, operating directly in the remittance segment or powering the remittances.
According to the World Bank, the East Asia and Pacific region sent $71bn and received $162bn in remittances in 2019. In 2020, the inflows declined to an estimated $146bn, largely due to the pandemic.
Recent announcements from companies such as Nium with Travelex and Ripple with Tranglo point to the growing interest in the region.
This past month, Nium announced a partnership with Travelex that saw the launch of a new digital remittance offering in Asia Pacific. Nium, a Singapore-based platform, will power the new Travelex International Money Transfer service with its global payment rails and real-time payment capabilities. The service is currently live in Australia and Singapore, where Travelex customers can remit money to 50+ markets, and is planned to expand to the rest of Asia.In March 2021, Ripple agreed to acquire a 40% stake in the cross-border payment specialist Tranglo. Based in Malaysia, Tranglo’s payments infrastructure will support existing and new corridors in the region. According to Ripple, the deal is a result of the growing customer demand in the region and the fragmented payments landscape in Southeast Asia, which this partnership will seek to address.
One of the challenges in the region, as highlighted by the World Bank, is operators face increasing hurdles as banks close their accounts to reduce risk of non-compliance with AML and CFT standards. To offset this scrutiny, especially for lower-income migrants, AML/CFT rules could be temporarily simplified for small remittances.