Global money transfers keep increasing steadily at a rate of 10 percent to 15 percent per year, and forecasts suggest that this trend will continue. But not every market is showing gains. The growth is mostly confined to Asia and Africa. Money transfers developed in Europe and the United States, but now there are new corridors opening up, such as the corridor between Brazil and Bolivia, or between outh Arabia and India.
The money transfer industry is moving from agent or cash based channels to online and mobile channels. As cell phones and smart phones become the central device for all communications, transfers are moving to these ubiquitous platforms. The pace of this shift varies from one market to another, more slowly in some channels, but very quickly in others.
Money transfers have been dependent on migration. When many Mexicans were emigrating to the United States, money transfer grew along with the pace of immigration.
Now, money transfers are used for much more than migrant workers sending money home. People are paying bills through money transfer channels, either because they have a second home, or because they are paying bills for their children who are students. These financial services are moving outside of traditional banking.
As life becomes more mobile and more financial transactions are moving online, the traditional profile of money transfer companies and their customers is changing.
Telcos are moving into money transfer due to the use of mobile phones as payment devices. One telecom company in Canada is even seeking a banking license. Although others may not follow this trend because some dislike the banking regulations, expect non-traditional players to continue to enter the financial services market. Many telcos want to move into the payment space in some capacity and this trend is likely to produce some very interesting partnerships.