Friday, June 21, 2024

Study: Pinoys still ambivalent on sending money digitally

Tech-savvy Filipinos seek choice above all for their future international money transfer needs, according to the results of a study commissioned by Western Union.

Jean Claude Farah, president of Middle East and Asia Pacific at Western Union

Exclusive insights show that while 44% of consumers currently prefer to receive money transfers through digital platforms, almost 70% want to be able to choose how they collect their funds in the future – be it in cash or digitally.

More than 2000 consumers across the Philippines who send and receive money internationally were surveyed.

“As consumers look to the future, the principle of choice in how to transfer money internationally is most appealing,” said Jean Claude Farah, president of Middle East and Asia Pacific at Western Union.

“This resonates with what we see among our customer base, who actively seek services that are convenient, fast and reliable, based on their needs.”

“It amplifies the need for larger ecosystems, where retail and digital platforms grow and evolve symbiotically,” Farah added.

“At Western Union, one of the key focus areas to accelerate growth in the Philippines and around the world is just that — to build on our core capabilities so that we can help grow, strengthen and evolve a financial ecosystem that surrounds our customers. Through our omnichannel approach, we believe that we can harness the power of both the physical and digital touchpoints to serve all our customers’ money movement needs.”

World Bank data shows that the Philippines is the fourth-largest inbound (receiver) market in the world, bringing in $37 billion in 2021. The government and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas have made significant strides in driving digital transformation and encouraging inclusion by creating and committing to a clear financial inclusion strategy.

Western Union’s study results show, however, that there is still more to do. While many consumers opt to use digital platforms, many others do not.

Trust ranks highly as a top barrier for using digital money transfer services among senders (31%) and receivers (23%). Thirty-seven percent of receivers prefer face-to-face interaction, while senders say process or customer experience prevents them from doing so (15%).

However, approximately 30% of senders and 14% of receivers do not transfer money online for reasons such as lack of connectivity, limited knowledge of digital services, no online banking history or because they are generally unbanked.

Rising interest rates and increased cost-of-living expenses have driven headlines around the world. Against a backdrop described by the United Nations as the ‘largest cost-of-living crisis of the 21st century,’ consumers in the Philippines have been proactively trying to cope.

Keeping pace with daily financial needs, 44% of senders in the Philippines state that family support is the primary driving force behind how much and how frequently they need to transfer money.

In line with this, 83% of the country’s receivers agree they need to receive more money to support loved ones and family.

Meanwhile senders also struggle with a cost-of-living dichotomy. Seventy-seven percent state that because cost-of-living has increased in the country they send to, they have to transfer more money.

Yet 72% state that because cost of living expenses have increased in the country they live in, they are unable to transfer as much as they previously did.

With that said, both send and receive consumers agree that they expect transfers to increase in the next 12 months — with 74% of senders and 80% of receivers stating that their flow of money is set to go up.

“While many factors contribute to remittance flows, to remit is a personal decision – most commonly to support loved ones and family,” said Farah.

“So, it follows that in the current economic climate, receivers have strong influence over the frequency and amounts their senders transfer. As the push-pull dynamic changes over time, it is critical that consumers remain armed and supported with the right money transfer tools in their time of need. That is why we are focused on building a modern, adaptable platform that provides a strong user experience for our customers. As we evolve our business strategy in the Philippines, we look forward to creating opportunities for our customers to better manage their financial lives.”


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