Consumer remittance pricing is one of our central data products, tracing live and historic pricing for around 700 providers and across more than 110 countries. And through this, we are able to determine which countries cost the least to send to across 2023.
For a send value equivalent to around $200 to the world’s largest 35 remittance destination markets, for all pay-in and pay-out methods across cash and digital, we found that Croatia climbed the rankings significantly this year to become the lowest-cost market to receive remittances globally. This was because Croatia joined the euro at the start of 2023, resulting in the cost to send money into the country dropping by more than half.
With most remittances into Croatia coming from inside the Eurozone, FX margins for most remittance flows into the country dropped to 0% with the switch, while transfer fees remained stable, enabling corridors into Croatia to together see the lowest total cost globally. A lack of FX margin as a result of the send and receive currency being the same also explains El Salvador’s strong ranking, with most flows to the market sent USD to USD.
Meanwhile, similar developments also occur in markets where many remittances are received in a non-local currency. For example, around half of the services we track to Romania have EUR as the receiving currency, instead of RON. Meanwhile, many flows to Yemen are sent in non-local currencies, with USD favoured for remittances sent from the US or UAE, and SAR for those sent from Saudi Arabia.
In some cases, geopolitical developments can also impact pricing. For example, Ukraine saw a drop this year largely due to the impact of promotional pricing changes. In 2022, many companies opted to waive fees in response to the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war, with a total of 10 providers and 31 services offering promotional pricing that year, including Ria, Small World and Paysend. However, in 2023 this had dropped to four providers and 25 services, prompting an increase in average pricing.
Notably, not every country that reduced in ranking also saw a drop in average price. For example, the Dominican Republic saw its average price drop by 0.01 percentage points between 2022 and 2023 yet dropped a place in the overall ranking, as other countries saw more significant price changes.