A new report by remittance firm UniTeller has revealed that the most common method of receiving international money transfers is still via cash pick-ups (67%), followed by electronically into an existing bank account (41%) and mobile wallets (29%).
But, as a sign of growing digitalization of financial services in the Philippines, 88% are receptive to a semi-digital payments solution that would allow them to initially confirm the transaction online and then subsequently fulfil the transaction at a physical location.
The survey also showed that 78% of respondents in the Philippines have a mobile wallet account and 97% have a smartphone.
Amid these changes, concerns around cyber security are a rising issue, with 71% of the respondents expressing this as an issue, followed by concerns around processes being too complex at 57%, and not being able to receive funds at 56%.
“We can see immense opportunity for the digitalization of remittance services to make peoples lives easier. Many overseas workers have families that reside in provinces, outside of urban centres where physical services are more accessible. Similarly, for senders there is a high time cost, with remittance services often requiring them to physically go to a location and queue on their day off.,” said Noel Cristal, UniTeller Philippines country president.
As global remittances hit record highs, the report also indicated that the value of monthly remittances from family and friends working abroad now averages more than 2.5 times the monthly incomes of recipients.
The monthly remittance value sent back by low-income overseas Filipino migrants is $446, compared to their receiver’s average monthly household income of $175.
The Philippines is the fourth largest remittance destination in the world with $34 billion of inflows in 2018. According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, personal remittances from overseas Filipinos reached a high of $2.9 billion in the month of August 2019 and personal remittances for the first eight months of 2019 were estimated to be some $22 billion.