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While remittances serve as a crucial support for millions of migrant workers and their families, Visa’s annual “Money Travels: 2024 Digital Remittances Adoption” research report highlights that humanitarian assistance is a key reason for remittance use on the sender side. Many participants stressed the importance of aiding individuals in need during global events.

The survey involved nearly 45,000 remittance senders and receivers from twenty countries, revealing the growing necessity for swift, simple, and secure payment methods which are vital for families, communities, and economies globally. 

Despite a year-over-year decrease in global remittances due to various economic pressures, the report reflects a positive outlook from senders regarding future remittances.

The research also indicates a preference for digital platforms as the primary method for international money transfers for more than two-thirds of remittance users, with 43% reporting seamless transactions. In contrast, 76-77% encountered issues with physical remittances including cash, checks, and money orders.

“Migrant workers have shown incredible resilience within the past year to support families back home, but high inflation and a slowing economic growth has impacted the frequency that they can send vital funds home,” said Vera Platonova, Chief Revenue Officer, SVP, Global Money Movements at Visa. 

“One of our visions for Visa Direct is to create new opportunities for financial inclusion and wealth building by helping to simplify cross-border payments and streamline the way money travels. This new research shows incredible acceleration of digital payments, but there is still more the industry can do to bring streamlined remittances within reach for more migrant front and their families who rely on these lifeline payments.”

The Money Travels: 2024 Digital Remittances Adoption study looks into the preferences and behaviours of consumers sending money abroad, covering rates, methods, and motivations. Highlights include:

  • Digital methods are favoured for both sending and receiving money among the survey respondents, with the exception of the UAE and Saudi Arabia, where physical locations are also popular. In Germany, sending cash was viewed as particularly insecure, notably when dispatched via mail or courier.
  • The motivation behind sending remittances varies internationally: In countries like India (52%), Australia (49%), and Singapore (49%), the primary reason was to support those in crisis. In Latin America, reasons included unexpected needs (Peru 27%, Mexico 36%) or personal investments (Brazil 37%).
  • The issue of hidden fees associated with physical payments was significant, with over a third (36%) of participants being offered a ‘free’ transfer only to later discover additional costs.
  • The survey identified Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States as the predominant sources of remittances. The primary recipients were Brazil, India, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, and Poland.

Visa collaborates with worldwide remittance providers and enablers such as Brightwell, Thunes, Remitly, Western Union, and Asia United Bank (AUB) to facilitate efficient digitised remittance services.