World wide remittances have reached $435 billion yearly, 4 times larger than yearly Global AId. The average cost of sending this money is 8% in 2014, which fell from about 9% in 2013. That means the take from the Western Union’s, Money Gram’s and other is about $33 Billion dollars a year. Competition, Bitcoin and internet based transfer methods are expected to continue to drive down fees.
India is #1 for remittances and Thailand is 25th with around $5 Billion. While remittances average $200 per month on average, mobile top ups are a small part of that. In Thailand, pre-paid top ups average 207 Baht, so that’s about 3% of monthly remittance amount.
Without access, cheaper remittance platform are useless
One of our goals with our API is to enable anyone involved in remitting money to people in Thailand to consider Topups key part of the remittance strategy. The purpose of remittances are to help friends and family. Top of credit helps people purchase calling time and mobile Internet data. 3G mobile Internet data especially helps rural people in regions without good Internet access.
If you run or provide access to online remittance service, the obvious first challenge is people having access to that service through mobile Internet. This would of course mean people with both access to smart phones and secondarily the top up credit to power 3G Internet data packages. This means mobile data packages and remittance services need to go hand-in-hand. Without access to data packages there is no access to cheaper faster and better remittance online services, and people will still need to rely on the traditional physical establishments.
With a smart phone adoption in rural parts of the world skyrocketing, it’s only a matter of time before people who would not previously had assess to quality online services will be able to use those services.