Tech creating opportunity for the cross-border money movement



The global Covid-19 pandemic has changed how people transact and interact around the world. But one thing that never changed was the connection that people have to their family and those they love, no matter how far away. The cross-border money transfer industry had one of the more unexpected reactions to the pandemic over the last year. While the World Bank predicted a 20% decline in consumer cross-border payment flows at the onset of the pandemic, they walked back their hypothesis when 2020 remittance data showed only a 1.6% decrease from 2019. Why did this happen, and what can we learn from it across the greater financial services industry?

About the author

Max Alvisini is Senior Vice President Europe CIS & Africa at Western Union.

Cross-border consumer payments, or remittances, are sent for a variety of use cases. People send money to provide for family in their home country, to invest or support their own assets in another country, for emergencies – including healthcare or as gifts. Throughout the pandemic, those needs didn’t change. If anything, they became more acute as people endured health crises or were out of work due to lockdowns. The world bank predicted that remittance senders affected by lockdowns in their residing countries – perhaps unable to work or to enter a money transfer location – would be less able to send funds home and reduce the overall remittance market.



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