App-based remittances win on convenience, security and speed in Asia Pacific

Photo by Sam Lion

Asia Pacific is one of the largest remittance-receiving regions in the world and making up one of the top five recipient countries for remittance inflows is the Philippines , with remittances contributing an estimated 9.3% of the market’s GDP in 2021. This signals the importance of remittances as not just a lifeline for everyday needs but also a key economic driver in many markets.

As the amount of global remittance inflows continues to reach new records, the Visa research “Money Travels: 2023 Digital Remittances Adoption” found that 53% of global surveyed remittance users are turning to digital apps to send and receive funds, with users in Singapore (73%) and the Philippines (71%) also overwhelmingly choosing to adopt app-based solutions to do so.

“Fast, easy and secure payments can make a profound difference to families, communities and economies around the world,” said T.R. Ramachandran, Head of New Payment Flows, Asia Pacific, Visa. “This new research shows incredible acceleration of digital payments and how consumer expectations of speed and ease of use is underpinned by the demand for better security.”

Digital remittances win on convenience, security and speed

The Money Travels: 2023 Digital Remittances Adoption study examines consumers’ habits and preferences when sending and receiving money. Highlights of the study include:

  • Digital remittances are the preferred method amongst consumers across all surveyed markets. Between 60-70% of surveyed remittance users across North America have used an app-based digital payment method to send/receive money internationally and this similar trend is observed with Saudi Arabia (69%) and the United Arab Emirates (65%) users.
    In Asia Pacific, digital solutions also continue to be the preferred choice, with Filipino remittance receivers intending to use digital transfers (57%) and to receive money digitally (36%).
  • App-based digital payments are considered the most secure method by a strong proportion of remittance users across countries. In Singapore, three out of five (61%) surveyed consumers reported using digital-only means for sending money internationally because of ease of use and security (53%).
  • Sending more money, more often, is easier than ever. Over half of those who have sent money internationally do so about once per month or more often in the United Arab Emirates (71%), Saudi Arabia (64%) and the Philippines (48%). Among those who have received money, 80% do so at least a few times per year in Saudi Arabia, followed by the Philippines (77%), and Mexico (72%).

Ramachandran continues, “Remittance habits are also changing with ease of use and better technology – we are seeing remittances being sent and received in less than a day in Asia Pacific, spurring increased frequencies. Beyond livelihoods, we are also seeing more remittances made in support of key life milestones, such as funding college education, making investments for the long term or saving for an overseas property purchase.”