The new Smile account, serviced with a Debit Mastercard, will enable the underbanked workers to deposit their income securely and pay or transfer domestically and internationally in 210 countries and territories.
First launch in Belgium in March, other countries like Netherlands, France, Italy and Spain will follow by end of the year.
Waterloo, 5th March 2020 – In their common commitment to financial inclusion, Mastercard and Moneytrans announced today the launch of the Smile account. The European Union is home to 38.2+ million men and women living and working in a country different than their country of birth. Each year, these foreign-born workers from non-EU countries send over 53€ billion euro back home to secure their loved ones’ better lives, according to Eurostat. However, many of those workers are excluded from the financial system, leading them to operate in a cash-only environment. Specifically designed for underbanked overseas workers, the Smile account will offer all the features and functionalities of a current account (e.g. deposits, withdrawals, online and offline transactions) together with a best-in-class remittance service.
Overseas workers choose Europe…
Although Europeans make up only 10% of the global population, the region is home to 20% of the world’s migrant workers, according to Eurostat. The European migrant workers (whether EU or non- EU nationals) play an important role in the labour markets they settled in, but they are also vital to the countries where they were born or where they have family, as a great majority support their families, sending on average 120€ billion euro per year.
According to Moneytrans, the Belgium-headquartered remittance company, servicing over 2 million active customers throughout Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the UK and Romania, most of the funds of Europe-based migrant workers using their service are sent to Africa. Latin America is the second largest region receiving fund transfers, followed by Asia and Eastern Europe. The average amount sent per customer is 235€, which is sent 5 times a year on average, which confirms the nature of family support of these worker remittances. Belgium counts an estimated 1,9 million migrant workers, who send 4,68 billion euro of funds home on a yearly basis. Congo is the country outside of the EU receiving the most fund transfers, followed by Morocco and Turkey.
…but don’t find their way to the traditional banking system
However, regardless of the country they settle in, most migrants face an array of financial hurdles; one of them being the simple access to simple banking relations such as a current account. According to the World Bank, although seldom associated with our region, financial exclusion affects around 165 million people living in Europe.
“Over our 15 years of experience in the remittance service, Moneytrans’ goal has been to put the human back in the centre of the financial relation. We create solutions that are specifically focused on the needs of workers of foreign descent with the objective to tackle financial exclusion. Thousands of our customers have shared with us their struggle to access simple financial services at traditional financial institutions. However, without a bank account, they operate in a cash-only environment where simple tasks like paying the rent is complex, time consuming and potentially unsafe. That’s when we knew that Moneytrans needed to come up with a solution. Our customers trust our agents to send money across the world to their families, so who better to provide them a financial product that answers their needs than us?”, explains Jeremy De Smet, CEO of Moneytrans.
The Smile Account: A tailor-made financial product
Mastercard committed to bring 500 million people in the financial system by the end of 2020, making the company the partner of choice for Moneytrans’ unique project. With the aim to include close to 1 million overseas workers by 2025, the unique Smile account gives access to both an IBAN formatted account and a Debit Mastercard with worldwide acceptance, two key aspects to become financially included.
As most migrant workers often don’t have access to formal financial services, despite legally working and earning a living, the Debit Mastercard is the perfect product to bring them into the financial system. As widely accepted as any Mastercard payment card, this debit card will enable Moneytrans customers to pay in more than 210 territories and countries, but also withdraw at ATM’s globally and shop at any online merchant, just like anyone else.
“We are extremely proud to bring such a cutting-edge product as a Debit Mastercard to Moneytrans’ customers, as we believe that innovation should benefit everyone. With this product, overseas workers get access to a wide range of services and are no longer forced to evolve in a cash-only environment. This product epitomizes exactly what we mean with doing well by doing good”, explains Guillaume Degrijse, Vice President, Business Development for Western Europe at Mastercard.
By linking the card to an IBAN formatted account, migrant workers will also benefit from a considerably reduced remittance cost thanks to a cash-less ecosystem. Where other remittance services are close to 7% or even beyond 10% in African countries, Moneytrans is now able to reduce the average cost to below 4%, while connecting more than 250,000 cash pick-up points around the globe, mobile wallets, prepaid cards or even bank accounts. For Moneytrans, this innovation is a true game changer in its mission to assist the global overseas worker population with its unique financial needs, facilitate their financial inclusion and challenge an industry that is ripe for change, using new technologies.
Launched first in Belgium in March 2020, the Smile account will be rolled out in Spain, Italy, The Netherlands and France by the end of 2020 and other European countries in the coming year.
Moneytrans is a leading cross-border payment company with an important footprint in Europe and Africa. Thanks to a worldwide network of 250.000 locations spread across 140+ countries, Moneytrans aims to reduce the distance between families and people living abroad. Over the years, Moneytrans has widened its range of services to offer a complete solution to overseas workers in addition to money transfer: FX solutions, bill payment, prepaid cards, mobile top-ups and customized payment accounts in IBAN format associated with a debit card.