2024 Digital Remittances Adoption Report

Billions worth of currency travels around the world every second. And many of those billions come from individuals — not just from the trading of stocks from brokers in capital cities or businesses sending funds over country lines.

While remittances are a lifeline for millions of migrant workers and their families, Visa’s annual “Money Travels: 2024 Digital Remittances Adoption” report found that humanitarian assistance was a predominant driver of remittance usage on the send side, with many noting that it was important to support the lives of people in need, amid worldwide events.

Remittance in numbers

According to the survey of nearly 45,000 remittance senders and receivers across 20 countries, the need for fast, easy and secure payments has never been more important to families, communities and economies around the world.

And while global remittances declined year-over-year due to various economic challenges, the report shows that senders remain positive about future remittances.

Remittances to low- and middle-income countries grew an estimated 3.8% in the past year to reach a staggering $669 billion in 2023.

By region, remittance inflows grew for Latin America and the Caribbean (8%), South Asia (7.2%), and East Asia and the Pacific (3%).

Flows to the Middle East and North Africa fell for the second year, declining (-5.3%) mainly due to a sharp drop in flows to Egypt.

Remittances to Europe and Central Asia also fell (-1.4%) after gaining traction (18%+) in 2022.

The report also found that digital applications are the preferred ways to move money globally for more than two-thirds of remittance users, with many (43%) experiencing no issues when sending or receiving digital remittances, compared to the 76-77% who experiences issues when sending or receiving 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,” says Vira 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 workers and their families who rely on these lifeline payments.”

The Money Travels: 2024 Digital Remittances Adoption study examines how consumers send money abroad, diving into the rates, methods, and reasons for sending and receiving these lifeline payments.

Highlights include:

Digital remittances continue to be the preferred method amongst surveyed consumers across most countries. In all markets except the UAE and Saudi Arabia, digital apps are preferred over sending digital remittances from a physical location.

Similarly, digital apps are also favored for receiving remittances in all markets. In Germany, sending cash was perceived as the least secure, especially when sent by mail or courier.

Remittances motivation for sending varied across countries: Most surveyed in India (52%), Australia (49%), and Singapore (49%) said the top reason for sending remittances was because supporting the lives of people in crisis was important to them.

Meanwhile, in Latin America, respondents sent money due to an unexpected need (Peru 27% and Mexico 36%), or own accounts/investments (Brazil 37%).

Physical payments equate to hidden fees. Globally, over one-third (36%) of respondents have been offered a free transfer when sending cash, checks, or money orders, only to find out there were hidden fees.

Send and receive markets vary. Of the countries surveyed, Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States were the largest source of remittances. The top remittance receivers were Brazil, India, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, and Poland.


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