Mohd Khairil Abdullah, CEO, Axiata Digital Services
Prasanna Rao, Head of Sales, Valyou
Sudhesh Giriyan, COO, Xpress Money
Aireen Omar, Deputy Group CEO – Digital, Transformation, Corporate Services, AirAsia Group
Hugo Cuevas-Mohr, Director, International Money Transfer Conferences (IMTC)
Innovative technologies are being developed across the remittance market. From cash-based money transfers to mobile and distributed ledger capabilities, these solutions are bringing together players which are normally not affiliated to one another. Both local and international players are coming together to share strategies, leverage strengths, and learn the dos and don’ts in the digital space.
Migrants depend on remittance services, but their needs extend beyond money transfers. Companies should consider the entire migrant experience, from needs people have when they first leave home (such as training and personal identification), to the needs they have when earning and using money (direct deposit of wages, e-wallet), to the needs they have once they find success (investment vehicles and insurance product). In addition, financial service providers (FSPs) must keep in mind that they are not only competing with other formal institutions but also with the unregulated market that can often offer lower costs and more convenience.
Customer satisfaction will determine whether users adopt new technologies. Convenience is key, and companies should look to develop products and services that are local (or mobile), self-directed, and simple to understand and use. Human-centred design that take into account what users wants will produce more appropriate and successful products.
Remittances alone are not high value, and companies will need to look at more comprehensive services, for example by linking remittances to other products such as savings, investment, microinsurance. Innovators can also thrive by targeting deficiencies in the market, for example by offering solutions to address market failure or identifying and reaching the un(der)served segments.
Customers’ needs change over time. Companies can better meet the unique needs of customers by addressing the entire migrant experience.
Speed, convenience and low costs are prime expectations of customers. Companies will need to enhance these in order to differentiate their services from their competitors, both formal and unregulated.
While cash is likely to remain dominant, improved technologies and a younger demographic may help push users to adopt digital options. As a consequence, companies will want to exploit these trends.