The Future of Cross-Border Transactions in Asia
The remittances market in Asia has seen significant changes in recent years, with a reduction in the cost of remittances and the growing digitalisation. These developments are transforming the way people transfer money across borders and are creating new opportunities for financial players.
The Cost of sending $200 in remittances
According to recent data, the cost of remittances worldwide has significantly decreased. At the end of the third quarter of 2022 transferring an equivalent of USD200 cost on average only 6.30% of the amount sent. Although the global average cost increased from 6.01% in Q2 2022 to 6.30 in Q3 2022, this still represents a significant decrease from previous years, and it is expected that this trend will continue as the market becomes more competitive and the ascent of new technology further lowers the cost. As the cost of remittances continues to decline, it is likely that we will see even greater demand for cross-border transactions, making it an increasingly vital area of focus for financial players.
“As the cost of remittances continues to decline, it is likely that we will see even greater demand for cross-border transactions, making it an increasingly vital area of focus for financial players.”
Trends and Developments in the Remittances Market in Asia
Recent surveys from RFI Global Priority and Banking Council show that online platform is the preferred channel for consumers when it comes to cross-border transactions. In China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan, a significant percentage of people send money internationally through banks online. This highlights the growing importance of digital banking capabilities in the international remittances market.
Security of transfer and low transaction fees are the most important features for remittances. This suggests that financial players operating in that market should pay close attention to pricing strategies to remain competitive.
Case Studies: HSBC Ventures and Singapore's PayNow
One way financial players are responding to these changes is by investing in technology to improve the speed and security of cross-border transactions. Furthermore, financial players are pioneering digital banking services as part of their response to these evolving dynamics. For example, some companies are developing mobile apps that allow users to send money internationally with just a few taps on their screen. These apps often include features such as real-time exchange rates, low transaction fees, and secure transfers. HSBC Ventures has invested US$35mn in UK fintech Monese, which the bank says will help it deliver banking tools, including remittances. Monzo, the UK challenger bank, has recently incorporated TransferWise’s API into its platform, enabling customers to conveniently send money in 16 different currencies through the Monzo app. Another example of innovation in cross-border payments is the recent collaboration between PayNow in Singapore and PromptPay in Thailand and India’s UPI which provides customers with a safe, simple, and cost-effective way to transfer funds across borders in real-time.
Future Outlook: The Evolution of the Remittances Market in Asia
Overall, the remittances market in Asia is evolving rapidly, with technological advancements and changing consumer preferences driving innovation and competition. It will be important for financial players to keep pace with these changes to remain relevant and competitive in this market. By investing in technology and offering innovative digital banking services, financial players can meet the changing needs of consumers and stay ahead of the competition. At RFI Global, we offer extensive data insights and financial expertise to help financial players operating in this space develop effective strategies and seize the opportunities and better serve the needs of their customers.
 World Bank, Remittance prices worldwide, quarterly, an analysis of trends and cost of remittances services, 2022. https://remittanceprices.worldbank.org/sites/default/files/rpw_main_report_and_annex_q322_final.pdf