The UniTeller team had a phenomenal participation as a Platinum Sponsor at the 2021 IMTC World event in Miami. We not only formed business relations with key industry players, but received a welcoming response as CEO, Alberto Guerra, and Head of Digital Innovations, Fernando Gutierrez, shared their thoughts about the trends and future of the payments industry as panelists at the roundtable discussions at the event. Alberto Guerra touched upon the importance of partnerships, the traditional niche model, machine learning and AI, and how it impacts the future of the payments industry, while Fernando Gutierrez discussed the challenges in transforming a company to address a digital future at the Digital Transformation roundtable. Overall, a successful participation as always with plenty more to look forward to in the future.
Outlook of the industry
Remittances have been an enabler of economic growth. As we go through the second half of the year, I’m optimistic that the remittance industry will remain resilient and grow in the coming months.
While economic recovery is uneven across countries, the International Monetary Fund in its World Economic Outlook has projected the global economy to grow 6 percent in 2021 and 4.9 percent in 2022.  As economies around the world take steps to position themselves to emerge stronger, the remittance industry will continue to gain momentum and play a key role in supporting the economic rebound. Notably, in its latest estimates, the World Bank has predicted that remittance flows to low and middle-income countries may increase by 2.6 percent to $553 billion in 2021 and by 2.2 percent to $565 billion in 2022. It is also expecting remittances in Latin America and the Caribbean and in South Asia to grow twice as fast.
While the projections and estimates are encouraging and reflect the industry’s potential, industry players need to stay agile and adapt to seize growth opportunities.
The rise of digital remittances
We know that the events in the past year, including the closure of borders and movement restrictions, impacted those who rely on traditional remittance models. Clearly, in the rapidly changing and unpredictable world that we live in today, it has become more critical than ever for businesses to embrace digitalization and transform their business models to thrive. For example, we are already seeing digital remittances picking up speed as migrant workers, and remittance receivers become more familiar with digital transactions.
As more industry players become more receptive to riding the digital wave to stay relevant, we can expect the flow of digital remittances to become more mainstream. The behavior of remittance senders and receivers will also evolve further with more significant usage of mobile wallets and digital currency transfer platforms over time, contributing to a more vibrant and dynamic industry. The ease of use, a larger number of trusted service providers, and the convenience of remitting money across borders will continue to become critical determinants contributing to market growth and a rise in cross-border transactions. Here at UniTeller, we remain committed to helping more money transfer operators, banks, fintech companies, international payers, and retailers to be a part of a connected digital financial ecosystem. We recognize a need to push for greater adoption of digital transactions for both senders and receivers of remittances. Apart from boosting the financial and digital inclusion of migrants, we also want to enable more businesses to leverage new technologies, increase merchant acceptance, and make digital platforms more universal across countries. UniTeller’s Remittance as a Service Digital Platform aims to achieve this by helping more companies offer digital-based solutions without the need to invest in developing a digital capability.
Towards a resilient future
Looking ahead, we believe digital cross-border payments will continue to contribute to solid growth in the years ahead. There will be significant opportunities to be seized by industry players as existing companies and new fintech players, and governments worldwide continue to improve the infrastructure and channels for cashless transactions. I’m confident that the remittance industry will evolve for the better and continue to stay resilient.
Remittances have shown they are a lifeline for migrants and their families worldwide. This is why at UniTeller, we will continue to forge more partnerships to continue to be a company that facilitates payments for individuals and businesses that move funds internationally. UniTeller is optimistic about the future. We see it as our responsibility to ensure that our consumers and business partners can leverage the best-in-class cross-border payment capabilities and solutions that will make a difference to their lives and businesses.
We were glad to have had the opportunity to participate live and in-person at one of the most anticipated events in the fintech scene, Money20/20 in Vegas. The valuable insights on how industry players adapt to the new world of Fintech never ceases to impress us.
Alberto Guerra, CEO of UniTeller, in conversation with Mohit Davar, Chairman of IAMTN at the recent IAMTN “Peer2Peer Talk” presented and hosted by IAMTN – Payments Network. Get the scoop on Alberto’s background and his journey, the history, vision, and capabilities of UniTeller, as well as the importance of fostering long-term partnerships with global industry players.
As an industry leader, UniTeller must work closely with money transfer operators, banks, fintechs, international payers, and retailers to move closer towards the goal of making financial services accessible to everyone.
Fostering close relationships with key local partners helps us identify specific local customers’ friction points and enables industry players like us to only further strengthen our remittance capabilities.
Recently, we announced our partnership with Security Bank, one of the leading universal banks in the Philippines. With the Philippines being such a major remittance-receiving market, partnering with key market players such as Security Bank enables UniTeller to bring cutting-edge payment solutions along with best-in-class security and compliance to even more customers.
The addition of Security Bank as a payer of UniTeller also increases the accessibility of digital payment channels for users, eliminating traditional pain points experienced by remittance customers in the past, such as travel time and in-person transactions at remittance agent locations.
Through UniTeller’s Turnkey White Label and API solutions and integrations, our partners are able to provide digital cross-border payments across the globe. As a company, we will continue to innovate and deliver best-in-class cross-border payment processing services worldwide.
Alberto Guerra, CEO of UniTeller, spoke with Hugo Cuevas-Mohr at a fireside chat during the IMTC EMEA Conference about his passion for the remittance industry and payments sector which have seen increasing growth potential in recent years.
He also expresses his views on the impact and value that network aggregators bring to the businesses looking to provide global remittance services.
The resilience of global remittances
Today marks the UN International Day of Family Remittances (IDFR), a day that recognizes the remarkable resilience of migrant workers and their fundamental contribution to families and communities back home. Over 200 million migrant workers and 800 million family members in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) rely on remittances for essential needs.
While the global pandemic has proven to be a formidable test for global remittances, recent data published by the World Bank demonstrated the resilience and dependability that remittances represent for families during crises. Defying projections of a severe contraction, remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries recorded a total of US$540 billion in 2020, only 1.6 percent below the 2019 figure of US$548 billion.
One of the biggest drivers behind the resilience of remittances was the migrant workers’ desire to help their families tide through challenges amidst the economic slowdown, even if that means cutting down on their own consumption or drawing on their personal savings.
Accelerated adoption of digital technology
Another catalyst that sustained the momentum for remittances was the accelerated adoption of digital technology by migrant workers and their families. Lockdowns and physical distancing protocols have made traditional remittance challenging. This has, in turn, fueled the use of digital remittance channels and enabled migrant workers to continue sending money back home in times of need.
While this has been a silver lining, the way forward towards continued recovery and resilience of the industry as well as the migrant workers is through better digital and financial inclusion, and that begins with education and expanding the useability of mobile money.
Increasing digital and financial inclusion through education and expanding practical use cases
As a leading organization in this growing industry, UniTeller remains deeply committed to enabling companies and consumers to fully leverage money transfer services by ensuring user-friendly and secure solutions. We also recognize our responsibility in generating greater awareness surrounding the technologies in the industry and how they can make a difference in the lives of the migrant workers and their families.
With almost 1.7 billion adults in the world who remain unbanked and operate solely on a cash basis, digital remittance solutions would also have to continue pushing out initiatives to boost the adoption of digital transactions for both the senders and receivers of remittances.
At our end, remittance players need to ensure that the shift towards digital payments is supported with robust and integrated payment systems. Our Turnkey White Label and API digital solutions empower our business partners worldwide to implement solutions that can allow them to offer easy-to-use applications for cross-border payments. On this day, we want to take this opportunity to recognize the efforts of migrant workers around the world and reaffirm our commitment to increasing the accessibility of digital financial solutions for the migrant population. By expanding access to a broader set of financial services, we believe we can emerge stronger together as an industry and make a more significant impact on the lives of migrant workers and their families.
UniTeller recently launched its new payment service to Brazil, in partnership with one of the country’s biggest payment processors, Pontual Money Transfer.
Having the largest payout network in Brazil, Pontual offers account deposit services for P2P, B2B, and B2C across 52 banks as well as cash pick-ups at Sicoon Crediara with 230 payment points.
As an industry leader, it’s important that UniTeller works closely with key stakeholders on the ground such as money transfer operators, banks, fintechs, international payers, and retailers in order to bring financial services to local communities.
Given the uptick in demand for digital payments in the past year, the launch of this payment service is in line with the increasing push by the Central Bank of Brazil towards touchless payments.
This shift towards digital banking would mean a real need for players like UniTeller to ensure that we have proven capabilities in digital payments and that local retailers and businesses have access to such payment solutions. Partnering with Pontual allows us to bring our innovative and cutting-edge payment solutions to more customers, achieving our goal of making financial services accessible to everyone.
Digital transactions will only continue to gain momentum and I believe that we should capitalize on this trend and focus our efforts towards improving existing payment infrastructures and channels for cashless transactions.