Financial inclusion rates for the subregion, at 47 per cent, are lower than the average for Asia and the Pacific (52 per cent).
The share of account ownership among the adult population of mainly receiving countries remain below 50 per cent with the notable exceptions of Thailand and Malaysia at 82 and 85 per cent respectively.
While close to one quarter of the population receives domestic remittances, only 36 per cent of the recipients use an account throughout the subregion. Thailand and Malaysia, with more than 60% of recipients using accounts, show the most significant change to cash habits.
A number of governments in receiving countries have developed programmes to use remittances as a trigger for financial inclusion. Examples include the Philippines through programmes that foster migrant household financial literacy and diaspora banking, and in Indonesia, through the promotion of innovative digital remittance models.
In sending countries such as Malaysia, the regulatory reforms in the remittance market have led to a significant increase of access points and fostered the emergence of e-wallet remittance models. These have reduced the comparative advantages of informal remittances and paved the way for the provision of a broader suite of digital financial services bundled with remittances.
The use of regulatory sandboxes in Malaysia has introduced an innovative element to the development of new regulations and licenced entities.
Donors' support encompasses the provision of remittances linked with digital and/or banking products targeting the most excluded populations, such as the IFAD projects in the Philippines for rural populations or the United Nations Capital Development Fund SHIFT project in the Mekong region, focusing on women receiving remittances.
Account ownership among the adult population +15 year old (%) Sources: Findex survey 2017 (Pacific region countries not available)
Adult population receiving domestic remittances and patterns to receive money
|Average adult population receiving domestic remittances (%)
|In person and in cash (%)
|Over the counter(%)
|Through a financial institution (%)