Robust international payment systems are key to the digital transformation of businesses

In the past year, mobility restrictions around the world quickened the pace of the shift to digital and online channels for all types of commercial transactions. This, coupled with investment in digital infrastructure and growth in numbers of smartphone users in recent years created the perfect environment for business and society to reap the benefits.

70% of the global population is expected to be subscribed to mobile services by 2025, and 61% will be mobile internet users. By then, smartphones will be adopted by 81% of the population in Asia Pacific by 2025, and 79% in Latin America.[i] As lockdowns and social distancing restrictions swept the world last year, the high penetration of mobile services and smart phones allowed a rapid acceleration of the adoption of digital solutions by businesses and consumers.  

While digitalization was already successfully driving the transformation of business, the events of 2020 created a step change. According to consultants Bain & Company, stronger digital foundations could contribute an additional $1 trillion to the GDP of ASEAN alone by 2025[ii].

Digitalization of business driving economic growth

With increasing efforts by government and private sector partnerships to promote financial inclusion and digitalization of payments, at least one silver lining arising from the recent challenges is that there is now more business and consumer appetite to leverage digital solutions for affordable, accessible, and fast cross-border payments. Global cross-border e-commerce volume increased from 22 billion in 2019 to 26 billion in 2020, and is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 14% over the next five years, exceeding the growth of domestic e-commerce (9%), according to fintech research firm Kaleido Intelligence[iii].    

In order for the payments industry to encourage digitally driven economic growth, digitalization of businesses is absolutely crucial. There is also a need to upgrade and extend the international payments infrastructure, support business innovation, and consumer education. At UniTeller, we are pleased to be partnering with businesses around the world to deliver some of the most innovative and secure business solutions that are fueling this digital revolution. We offer Money Transfer Operators, corporations, banks, and retailers end-to-end integration support to enable both businesses and individuals to move funds internationally and instantaneously.

Robust and integrated payment systems

 Digitalization of business offers choice to consumers, opportunity to businesses, and provides society with a path to greater economic growth and prosperity.

There is still much to be done to increase access to digital solutions for business. There needs to be adequate digital infrastructure and payment networks in both origination and destination countries, as well as user confidence and competence to embrace new technologies and innovations.

Collecting payments in multiple markets is one of the biggest pain points for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) growing abroad. UniTeller’s innovative and secure solutions facilitate cross-border payments and with a network spanning over 70 countries and more than 175,000 payment locations worldwide, we are uniquely placed to enable businesses to expand and grow across multiple geographies. 

New high-tech players are already capitalizing heavily on this trend. By adopting UniTeller’s Turnkey White Label and API solutions and integrations, our partners are able to fully leverage the shift to digital. By implementing our solutions into their existing business models, our partners can swiftly process remittances while eliminating friction points. As a result, they are able to expand their customer database and offer their customers seamless and secure cross border payment services, virtually instant real-time transactions, and lower fees.

Looking to the future…

Given the upswing in sentiments around the world due to the availability of vaccines, as well as the receptiveness of consumers, we expect digital transactions to further accelerate and gain momentum.

And while strong digital infrastructure and robust international payment networks are key to fostering innovation and driving the digitalization of business globally, to fully capture the enormous potential of the digital economy to transform businesses, the public and private sectors need to work together to put in place the infrastructure and create access to robust international payment systems, particularly for SMEs.  

In an increasingly uncertain world, people, businesses, banks and governments need to be able to rely on secure, robust and standardized payment systems that enable cross-border trade and economic growth. As an organization, we continue to drive this transformation by facilitating and simplifying the interactions between consumers, businesses and financial institutions.  




Remittances as a Driver of Women’s Financial Inclusion

Uplifting women in low-income communities to better manage remittances.

Today marks International Women’s Day, a day that recognizes and honors women’s significant achievements globally. 

Aside from celebrating milestones that women have accomplished, it is also a day for us to think about how we can further uplift women across the world, particularly those in low-income communities. 

Role of Women in Rural Communities  

Women in rural areas typically assume a caregiver’s role while their spouses take on the breadwinner’s responsibility, providing food and financial security to the family. In most developing countries, women constitute the majority of remittance recipients as their spouses take on job opportunities overseas. For example, in Guatemala, a key remittance-receiving market in Latin America, approximately 63% of remittance recipients are women[1].

With women in rural communities playing a central role in managing their family’s day-to-day household expenses, remittances have the potential to transform their roles, both within the household and the larger community. 

Beyond examining how they can effectively allocate funds for their families’ basic needs; it is critical to empower these women to create sustainable wealth through remittances to uplift their role within the family in the long run. 

How Digital Remittances Empower Women 

While digital remittances were developed as a tool for domestic transfers and payments, it has vastly revolutionized the way in which people send money across borders. 

Not only does it increase financial access to low-income communities who are traditionally unbanked, but digital remittances also have multiple distinctive features that make them particularly appealing to women as compared to other remittance channels. 

Digital remittances offer increased convenience, privacy, and security, which are characteristics that women especially value. Transfers can be made instantly from any location at any time without the need to travel to a paying agent or a bank, offering women time savings and greater control over their lives.  

Interestingly, digital transactions have led to more women receiving remittances in higher frequencies than cash-based remittance channels[2]. People using traditional cash-based remittance channels typically send a one-time lump sum every month to the remittance recipient. 

With digital remittances enabling people to send lower amounts more frequently back home, it gives women more control over household budgets and increases the likelihood of greater economic empowerment. 

Accelerating Women’s Financial Inclusion and Poverty Reduction

Most importantly, the ability to receive remittances digitally offers women the opportunity to be part of a digital financial ecosystem and access a broad and sophisticated range of digital financial services beyond remittances. 

Women have the option to either store the received funds safely on their digital account or use it in other ways, such as making digital payments to buy groceries from a local merchant, pay for utility bills, or school expenses.

In the future, creating an enabling regulatory environment around mobile money-enabled remittances will be critical to allow women to benefit from the advantages of digital remittance channels. 

At UniTeller, we firmly believe that the world has a lot of room for improvement in increasing the accessibility of digital financial solutions for low-income communities, including women.

By expanding their access to a wider range of products – credit, savings, domestic and international payments, women will hold bigger decision-making power within the family. We believe this will undoubtedly strengthen their economic empowerment in the long term.