They sometimes walk for miles. They often wait on line for hours. Even when they get their money, they often risk getting robbed on the way back home. Despite the obstacles, for many families around the world, global remittance is often the only financial lifeline they have.
For millions of individuals working in foreign countries, the ability to set up global money transfers to send paychecks back home is often the difference between bringing their family into the middle class or continued poverty.
Currently, most remittances sent back home are for cash payments where the challenging conditions described above are unfortunately a part of everyday life. But that reality is changing. Two trends are helping drive it:
• First, remittances are growing. The World Bank estimates that formal remittances to developing countries will grow to more than half-a-trillion dollars ($515 billion) by 2016, while global remittances are expected to reach a record $707 billion by 2016.
• Second, the explosion of mobile devices is bringing about new kind of empowerment not possible in the pre-digital world. The World Bank estimates that nearly three-quarters of all people around the globe currently have mobile access, including nearly five billion in the developing world, making mobile money transfers more prevalent.
These two trends only underscore the importance of this week’s announcement that MasterCard is partnering with eServ Global and BICS to create a joint venture for global remittance called HomeSend – – the latest development in support of MasterCard’s commitment to enable anytime, anywhere payments on mobile and other devices. The HomeSend JV, along with MasterCard’s partnership with Western Union, will provide the 24,000 financial institutions connected to the MasterCard network with even more end points to send funds, both domestically and internationally.
Instead of traveling long distances and waiting on line, in the future, mobile money users can electronically receive cash transfers from family overseas with the convenience of their mobile devices. Phone to phone transactions mean no more lines, no more waiting, no more worrying about one’s safety.
Using our technology to enable financial inclusion, demonstrates how as a company we can do well by doing good, and we’re proud to play a role in making it happen.