3 Global Remittance Technology Trends to Watch

A brief overview of recent data shows a staggering number of individuals, families, and communities are being supported by global remittances. Given its role as a pillar of our international economy, it is important to understand what the future holds for global remittances.

In this article, we will look at the three technology trends that may soon define the coming decade of global remittances. 

Innovation Is Changing the Remittance Industry 

Before we get into global remittance technology trends, let’s briefly set the scene with some hard numbers. 

In 2022 alone, the global remittance market will exceed $774 billion. And by the end of next year, that number could eclipse $810 billion. By 2027, remittances may reach $1.2 trillion. While there are many factors at play in this exciting trajectory, one element is most influential: 

the proliferation of innovative technology. 

OK–let’s look at the trends.

Trend #1: The Rise of Money Transfer “Super” Apps 

Last month, we discussed the causes behind the 2020 remittance “boom.”

The reason behind the expansion was evident: the pandemic dramatically increased reliance on digital technology (specifically smartphones). 

Forbes Magazine summed it up best, suggesting that 2020 was “the biggest catalyst for the growth of digital remittances ever. Four years of digital growth was compressed into two months in the money transfer space.

While smartphones were certainly popular pre-pandemic, they became ubiquitous in the last several years. 

In India, for example, smartphone penetration grew from 22% in 2017 to 60% in 2021

The rise of smartphones paved the way for another major trend in the global remittance market: the rise of money transfer “super” apps. 

Today, users can expedite the money transfer process with the convenience only a mobile app can provide. 

While remittances used to require paperwork, patience, and time-consuming visits to the bank, money transfer apps give consumers financial power wherever and whenever they need it

UniTeller’s P2P remittance brand, uLink, embodies this revolutionary trend. With the uLink app, consumers are empowered to send money to loved ones in a matter of minutes. 

The process is fast, affordable, and most importantly, highly secure. 

In fact, not only can users send funds directly to their loved ones’ bank accounts and cash-pickup, but they can even send directly to digital wallets or home delivery in select countries. 

Trend #2: The Growing Potential of Blockchain 

After fueling the meteoric rise of Bitcoin, blockchain technology became an overnight sensation. 

But what is blockchain, exactly?

It’s a digital ledger that records transactions across a business network. To put it another way, it’s a powerful database with unprecedented levels of security.

Cryptocurrencies have used blockchain technology to track assets, and in the near future, global remittances may follow suit. 

There are several reasons why blockchain is so popular (and why it may be the foundation of the future for the remittance industry). 

For starters, blockchain technology is a fully encrypted, decentralized, and immutable ledger. 

In other words, each transaction is highly secure and cannot be altered in any way. 

Plus, because blockchain technology is decentralized, no intermediary bank or financial institution can get involved. Blockchain effectively eliminates the need for intermediaries. 

That’s great news for remittance users, as it increases the level of protection for the business, the sender, and the eventual recipient. 

Additionally, blockchain technology can provide greater convenience to consumers, as it fosters real-time transaction verification. 

Historically, remittances have been rather slow, and while modern technology has expedited the transaction process, blockchain may further accelerate the process

By combining each of these advantages, blockchain technology could help reduce the global average transaction cost of remittances and help fulfill one of the United Nations’ most significant Sustainable Development Goals

Trend #3: Digital Remittance as a Service + White Label Solutions

While aiding economic growth, global remittances also present a major financial opportunity for businesses. 

This hasn’t always been the case. 

For years, the remittance industry has struggled to overcome the roadblocks and challenges that often arise from licensing issues, digital apps, managing payout partners, and more. 

In other words, the payment industry’s barrier to entry has been impenetrable–until now. 

Thanks to modern innovations, digital remittance as a service has become a powerful revenue stream for countless businesses. What is it, exactly? 

In short, it’s a flexible, end-to-end remittance processing service that enables businesses to move funds across international borders. 

UniTeller has helped pave the way for these innovations by creating a robust solution that empowers businesses to provide B2C remittance services to customers.

In fact, UniTeller’s Digital Remittance as a Service Solution provides a true one-stop, turnkey solution. With UniTeller, you get instant access to an expansive network of over 200,000+ paying locations in 80+ countries worldwide, which will ultimately enable you to scale your business globally. 

And that’s only the beginning. 


UniTeller’s White Label Solutions are a premier extension of our remittance services, as they offer a state-of-the-art experience for your brand. 

Want to elevate your brand with our advanced technology? UniTeller’s White Label Solutions can unlock:

  • Seamless API integration with no development efforts needed on your side.
  • Comprehensive mobile app and website development.
  • Integrated marketing capabilities and promotions.
  • Access to UniTeller’s Money Transmitter Licenses in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.
  • Extensive global payment network.
  • UniTeller’s fraud prevention model with zero fraud guarantee.

To explore our White Label Solutions, click here

Partnering With UniTeller 

These three trends are just the beginning of where technology can take the remittance market.

And when it comes to cross-border payments, UniTeller maintains the highest standard of excellence and innovation. As a fully licensed money transmitter in the United States, UniTeller remains intensely committed to providing international payment services with a transparent and flexible business model. 

By partnering with UniTeller, you’ll also gain access to our Customer Service department, available seven days a week. 

Plus, as a UniTeller Selling Agent, you will have total confidence in the money transfer services you provide with access to our extensive network of over 200,000 paying locations in over 80 countries worldwide. 

It’s fast. It’s reliable. And it’s trusted by countless customers and business owners across the United States. 

Want to learn more about becoming a UniTeller Selling Agent? Click here to get started.

Global Remittance Fact Sheet: 14 Facts You Might Not Know

Our international economy is complex, nuanced, and endlessly evolving. 

And yet, as complicated as the economy may be, one element remains vividly clear:
global remittances play a vital role in sustaining communities around the world. 

Each time migrant workers send money home, they preserve a cycle of benevolence that empowers individuals, families, and entire regions to thrive. 

In order to better understand the true impact of global remittances, here are 14 instructive remittance statistics you might not know. 

1. Global Remittances Involve Over One Billion People

Remittances are a truly international phenomenon: over a billion people are involved with remittances around the world. 

Approximately 200 million migrant workers send money back home, while more than 800 million people receive it

2. India Remains the Top Recipient of Global Remittances

Since 2008, India has had the largest share of remittance flows. In 2021, India remittance inflows to India were nearly at $90 billion, considerably more than any other nation. 

In 2021, Mexico received the second largest share of remittances with a total of $54 billion, China received $53 billion, the Philippines ranked fourth at $37 billion, and Egypt rounded out the top five recipient countries with $32 billion. 

3. Global Remittances Hit Record Highs in 2021

Since 2010, global remittances have surged.

Last year, remittance flows reached over $590 billion, a whopping 7.3% growth over 2020

This trend is expected to continue over the coming decade. 

4. Global Remittances Will Set a New Record in 2022

This year, global remittances are expected to see a 4.2% growth

By December 31st, forecasters anticipate a final tally of over $630 billion sent in remittances—a new world record. 

5. By 2030, Global Remittances Will Total $5.4 Trillion 

Over the next eight years, analysts expect total remittances to continue their exponential growth.  

By 2030, remittances will likely reach a staggering $5.4 trillion.

6. In 2021, Latin America Experienced Major Remittance Growth

Over the last decade, many regions have seen a marked increase in remittance flows. 

In particular, Latin America has witnessed truly stratospheric growth, receiving $127.6 billion in 2021 alone.

That represents an annual growth of 26%, the highest in two decades, and nearly 300% above the region’s remittance rate in 2005. 

7. Global Remittances Top Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

In 2018, remittances officially surpassed foreign direct investment (FDI)—the financial backing of firms from one country to another.

In other words, remittances are now the largest source of foreign aid in the global economy, especially for low and middle-income countries (LMICs). 

8. Global Remittances Account For 5% GDP in 54 Countries

For many nations, remittances are more than a welcome financial gift: they’re an engine of economic prosperity. 

According to The Economist, remittances account for over 5 percent of the GDP in 54 nations. 

9. Global Remittances Account For Over 30% of GDP in Some Countries 

For countries like Tonga, Somalia, and Lebanon, remittances account for over 32% of GDP

In Tajikistan, remittances provide 31% of the total GDP, while in Kyrgyzstan, they account for over 35% of GDP.

10. Global Remittances Help Fight Poverty

The practical effects of remittances are well established, especially when it comes to fighting poverty. 

In fact, a mere 1% increase in global remittances—as a percentage of GDP—has been shown to equal a 22% decline in the poverty gap ratio.

11. Global Remittances Help Achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 

In 2015, member states of the United Nations established 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030. 

While ending poverty remains the top priority, there are five other categories where remittances have proven to play a vital role:

  • Elimination of hunger (SDG 2).
  • Support for better health and well-being (SDG 3).
  • Increase of quality education (SDG 4).
  • Promotion of clean water and sanitation (SDG 6).
  • Facilitation of economic opportunity and growth (SDG 8).

According to Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD):

“The small amounts of $200 or $300 that each migrant sends home make up about 60% of the family’s household income. This makes an enormous difference in their lives and the communities in which they live.”

12. Global Remittances Promote Access to Education 

The benefits of remittances aren’t merely limited to the financial realm.

In fact, remittances help keep 3.5 million children in school worldwide

Global remittances have also been shown to significantly curb school drop-out rates in Sri Lanka, El Salvador, and Nepal. 

13. Global Remittances Enhance Healthcare 

When it comes to promoting quality of life, remittances are essential. 

New research shows that global remittances increase health knowledge and access to healthcare

More importantly, remittance flows also improve life expectancy and reduce infant mortality. 

14. Global Remittance Costs Are Still Too Expensive 

While remittances are the lifeblood of our international economy, they nevertheless remain too costly for the average consumer.

The global average cost of remittances hovers around 6.5%, more than twice the SDG target listed by the United Nations. 


Fortunately, even minor reductions in fee structures can have lasting benefits for consumers. 

According to Dilip Ratha, Head of KNOMAD, “Lowering remittance fees by just two percentage points would potentially translate to $12 billion of annual savings for international migrants from low-and-middle-income-countries (LMICs).”

At UniTeller, we have one overarching goal: to continue making remittances as accessible and affordable as possible. 

The global community depends on these payments, and we’ll do everything we can to continue advancing our technology and expanding our international reach. 


In support of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, UniTeller remains committed to providing great exchange rates and low-fees to all of our customers. 

Partnering With UniTeller 

When it comes to cross-border payments, UniTeller maintains the highest standard of excellence.

As a fully-licensed money transmitter in the United States and soon to be in Canada, UniTeller remains intensely committed to providing payment services with a transparent and flexible business model. 

We provide in-depth training for you and your team, so you can see how the process works and offer remittance services to your end customers. By partnering with UniTeller, you’ll also gain access to our multilingual Customer Service department.

As a UniTeller Selling Agent, you will have total confidence in the speed and safety of the money transfer and international bill payment services you provide. Also, you’ll have access to process remittances to our extensive payout network of over 200,000 paying locations in over 80 countries worldwide.

It’s fast.

It’s reliable.

And it’s trusted by countless customers and business owners across the United States.

Want to learn more about becoming a UniTeller Selling Agent? Click here to get started.

Banking Deserts: What Are They and How Do Global Remittances Help?

For most modern consumers, accessing a local bank is easy.  

Those living in major cities can simply walk to a bank branch within a few minutes, while those in suburbs are usually just a short drive away.

And yet, while many people take their local banks for granted, millions of others are not so fortunate.

Though access to a local bank should be considered a basic human right in 2022, many people around the world are denied that luxury. In fact, the nearest bank may be well over an hour away. 

These areas are known as “banking deserts,” and they are becoming increasingly common in rural areas across America and the world at large.

This trend has forced countless people to live without access to the financial services, products, and guidance they need. 

In this brief article, we will explore the breadth of banking deserts, examine the challenges they present, and introduce several dynamic ways we can overcome them. 

What Are Banking Deserts?


Generally speaking, a banking desert constitutes any geographic area without a local bank branch. As expected, there is a range of definitions for banking deserts across the financial and legislative realms. 

For example, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York considers a banking desert any area that has no bank branches within it or within ten miles of its center.

Conversely, the Hope Policy Institute states that “bank deserts are defined as ZIP Codes with zero or one bank branch.”

Despite these slight definitional differences, the statistics surrounding banking deserts—as well as their instigators—are not up for debate. 

Banking deserts are caused for myriad reasons, including bank failures, branch closures, population losses, and most recently, an increased demand for digital and online-only banking. 

This problem has been well documented over the last decade.  

Following the 2010 census, researchers identified 1,214 banking desert tracts across the continental United States. While a majority of these areas were noted in the West—particularly in many rural and arid regions—nearly 25% of banking deserts were found in metropolitan areas. 

No area, however densely populated it may be, is fully immune from banking deserts.

Since 2010 (and the global recession that preceded it), banking deserts have only increased. Worse yet: between 2013 and 2020, the share of the U.S. population residing in a banking desert grew from 5.6% to 6.3%

Unfortunately, the pandemic only helped accelerate this distressing trend. 

In 2021, US banks closed nearly 3,000 branches, further widening the breadth of banking deserts. 


While these studies focus on American banking trends, branch closures are an equally international phenomenon. 

In the United Kingdom, scores of bank branches have shuttered in recent months. In Nigeria, a major lender is closing over half of its branches in favor of digital banking. And in southeast Asia, over 11,000 branch closures are expected in the coming decades.  

With all of these closures, experts and consumers alike are asking an essential question:

what are the practical effects of a world with fewer banks and more banking deserts?

Key Challenges of Banking Deserts

Banking is a recurring transaction between a lender and a consumer.

As such, banks must be readily accessible to their customers. When they’re not, consumers suffer in a number of ways.

For starters, banking deserts cost consumers the most prized possession of all: their time.

When banks aren’t conveniently located, its customers are forced to travel significant distances to handle their financial needs, whether they need to make a deposit, obtain a mortgage, or simply get a new sheet of checks.

Yes, digital banking presents a compelling alternative, but many customers lack the digital literacy to confidently bank online. Indeed, many eldelry customers have spent their entire lives relying on personable bank tellers to manage their money, rather than using a laptop, smartphone, or tablet.

While convenience is often the first casualty of banking deserts, fraying financial habits follow closely behind. After all, when people can’t visit a physical bank branch, they may lose their access to resources that help promote financial literacy and freedom. 

As a result, banking deserts are often responsible for causing a drop in consumer credit scores. 

This is especially apparent in Native American reservations, where the nearest banks are sometimes over 30 miles away. 

In fact, research shows that those who grew up in Native American bank deserts “had worse financial literacy…were less trusting of bankers…[and] developed worse credit histories, a disadvantage that lasts a lifetime.”


Such problems are equally pervasive among entrepreneurs, who rely on banks to access loans.


According to James Angel, professor of finance at Georgetown University, banking deserts make it harder “for the struggling small businesses in the area to do their banking. Whether it’s getting change in cash for their customers or getting a small-business loan to finance their inventory, it’s basically making it harder for small-town America to thrive.”

Ultimately, banking deserts are a drain on the financial interests of consumers at every level. 

How We Can Overcome Banking Deserts

While banking deserts show no sign of dissipating, modern technology can help unbanked and underbanked consumers access the products and guidance they need most. 

These three strategies can help consumers overcome the financial deficits inflicted by banking deserts:

1. Prioritize Financial Literacy

Though many consumers may not have access to a bank branch, they can still receive the tools they need to handle their money with confidence. 

While financial education is a lifelong endeavor, it’s best to initiate the learning process early. 

As Professor Tony Cookson writes in the Elsevier’s Journal of Financial Economics, “finance is a thing you learn by doing. People who grow up with finance are likely to learn the things you learn from interacting with a bank.”

As we move forward, the underbanked and immigrant communities must be given the financial resources and training they need to succeed —irrespective of their nearest bank branch. 

These subjects can focus on everything from budgeting and borrowing, to credit reports and investing. Blogs and newsletters can be great, efficient ways to distribute this information. 

The rise of fintechs and community-driven digital banks will also play a vital role in this fight, especially as many bank branches are expected to disappear over the next decade. 

2. Endorse Prepaid Cards

Let’s face it: banking can be intimidating, especially if you aren’t familiar with the financial world and its rather expansive lexicon. 

Plus, many consumers don’t trust traditional banks and are put off by the fine print often involved in opening and managing an account. 

This is often accentuated in banking deserts, where people don’t even have a traditional bank nearby that they can learn from or even (mis)trust.

Fortunately, prepaid cards make it easier than ever for consumers to handle their money. 

For example, the uLinkcard Prepaid Mastercard® requires no credit check3 and no checking account to get started. 

3. Promote Remittance Platforms

Remittances are the lifeblood of global aid flow. 

According to Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD):

“The small amounts of $200 or $300 that each migrant sends home make up about 60 percent of the family’s household income. This makes an enormous difference in their lives and the communities in which they live.”

While helping put food on the table, global remittances are also instrumental in providing access to health care, to building more sanitary living conditions, and even to promoting educational opportunities for children. 

From an economic perspective, remittances are a powerful engine of growth. In fact, they comprise more than 5 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 54 countries and over 30% of the GDP in nations like Lebanon and Gambia. 

Global remittance platforms like uLink provide a reliable, affordable, and convenient way to send money overseas. 

uLink not only provides the competitive exchange rates (and a secure platform), but it also provides the option for cash pickup, account credit, deposits to digital wallets, and home delivery. Better yet, with over 156,000 locations across 67 countries, you’re sure to reach even regions that are labeled as banking deserts.

Every time consumers utilize remittances, they help close the gap caused by banking deserts. 

Partnering With UniTeller


When it comes to transferring money and international bill payments, UniTeller maintains high standards of excellence.

As a fully-licensed money transmitter in the United States (and soon in Canada), UniTeller remains intensely committed to providing payment services with a uniquely transparent and flexible business model. 

By partnering with UniTeller, you’ll also gain access to our multilingual Customer Service department. Plus, as a UniTeller Selling Agent, you will have total confidence in the speed and safety of the money transfer services you extend to your customers. Also, you’ll have access to our extensive network of over 200,000 paying locations and billers in over 80 countries worldwide.

It’s fast. It’s reliable. And it’s trusted by countless customers and business owners across the United States.

Want to learn more about becoming a UniTeller Selling Agent? 

Click here to get started.

How Technology is Powering the Global Remittance Industry

Remittances are thriving now more than ever. 

Thanks to the rise of modern technology, countless individuals, families, and communities are receiving the financial support they need in a fast and secure manner. 

At UniTeller, we’re confident that these positive trends will only continue. As we head into the second half of 2022 and beyond, our team is thrilled to facilitate the expansion of remittances throughout our global economy. 

To that end, we believe it’s important to reflect on how far remittances have come, and how essential they truly are in the modern world, and how we plan to continue innovating and advancing in our industry for years to come. 

The State of Remittances in 2022

Remittances are a monetary lifeline for migrants to their families. They are symbols of hope, love, and generosity.

As such, they rank among the most powerful financial tools in the world, particularly for low-and-middle-income countries. 

In fact, even the smallest increases in remittances can drive a substantial decline in poverty. According to the Asian Bank Development Institute, “a one percent increase in international remittances as a percentage of gross domestic product can lead to a 22.6 percent decline in poverty gap ratio.”

While helping to close the poverty gap, remittances also promote access to healthcare, increased savings, and even school enrollment rates.

On a larger scale, remittances are often integral to a country’s gross domestic product (GDP).  

As of last year, remittances provided over five percent of the GDP for 54 individual countries. And in nations like Lebanon and Somalia, remittances comprised nearly one-third of total GDP

When compared to other sources of international aid, remittances reign supreme – and they have for many years. In fact, since 2018, remittances have consistently eclipsed foreign direct investment (FDI)

In total, the global remittance industry reached $589 billion in 2021, and by the end of 2022, it is expected to exceed $630 billion.

This exponential growth shows no signs of stopping, and experts anticipate the remittance market will exceed $745 billion in 2025.

While there are undoubtedly many factors contributing to this narrative, digital innovation is most responsible for the international surge in remittances. 

A New Era of Accessibility and Affordability 

Until recently, global remittances have been hamstrung by legacy technology, prohibitive costs, and slow transaction speeds.

Such issues are especially evident in low-and-middle-income countries, where outdated infrastructures often fail to support remittance payments.

For example, the additional cost of sending a USD $200 remittance to Sub-Saharan Africa is roughly eight percent – nearly three times above the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

In total, the average remittance costs an extra six percent of the total amount sent (as of December 2021). 

Migrants have sacrificed enough and simply don’t need the additional financial burden to support their loved ones. Fortunately, even the smallest reductions in fee structures can have lasting benefits for consumers. 

According to Dilip Ratha, Head of KNOMAD, “lowering remittance fees by just two percentage points would potentially translate to $12 billion of annual savings for international migrants from low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs).”

Of course, the pandemic only exacerbated these ongoing challenges, as stay-at-home orders made it more difficult for underbanked customers to send and receive cross-border payments. 

The situation looked uncertain for all parties involved. 

But then, the unexpected happened: the meteoric rise of the digital economy – and the proliferation of smartphones – helped the remittance industry overcome the international health crisis. 

As the world went remote, remittances soared. 

In fact, remittance flows in 2020 not only defied financial forecasters, but they signaled a turning point for the payment industry’s future. 

According to Forbes Magazine, 2020 was “the biggest catalyst for the growth of digital remittances ever. Four years of digital growth was compressed into two months in the money transfer space.

The numbers speak for themselves. In April 2020, mobile app tracking company Apptopia reported a staggering 52 percent increase in downloads

Smartphones propagated practically overnight. In India, for example, smartphone penetration was just 22 percent at the end of 2017. 

But in 2021, that number nearly tripled to 60 percent

As of today, countless consumers around the world are enjoying a faster and more reliable way to send money to their loved ones. 

After all, global remittances can now be sent in a matter of minutes – wherever and whenever consumers choose. 

Where We’re Headed

At UniTeller, we have one definitive goal: to build on the progress that’s been made and continue making remittances as accessible, affordable, and reliable as possible. 

It’s abundantly clear to us that the global community depends on each and every payment, and we’re doing everything we can to perpetually advance our technology and expand our reach. 

In light of the United Nations’ laudable Sustainable Development Goals, UniTeller remains fiercely committed to providing great exchange rates and low fees to all of our customers. 

And while our state-of-the-art technology plays a role in this mission, so do our partnerships.

To that end, UniTeller recently began a formal alliance with Tranglo, one of the leading cross-border payment service providers in Asia Pacific. As a result of this partnership, UniTeller can now reach 13 Asia Pacific markets, including Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, and Nepal – adding over 58,000 cash pick-up points, more than 1,100 account deposit banks, and nine e-wallet platforms. 

We’re equally proud to meet the growing demand for digital payment capabilities across the continent of Africa. 

By partnering with Singapore-based global payments network, Thunes, UniTeller adds account deposit service with 552 banks and e-wallet service with 28 operators across both Africa and Asia Pacific at large. 

Such partnerships are essential to increasing the accessibility of remittances while progressively reducing their cost. 

We’re thrilled to continue this journey, and we welcome you to join us. 

Partnering With UniTeller

When it comes to transferring money and international bill payments, UniTeller maintains the highest standard of excellence.

As a fully-licensed money transmitter in the United States (and soon in Canada), UniTeller remains intensely committed to providing payment services with a uniquely transparent and flexible business model.

By partnering with UniTeller, you’ll also gain access to in-depth training, marketing support, and our multilingual Customer Service department, available seven days a week.

As a UniTeller Selling Agent, you will have total confidence in the speed and safety of the money transfer and international bill payments services you provide. Also, you’ll have access to our extensive network of over 200,000 paying locations and billers in over 80 countries worldwide.

It’s fast. It’s reliable. And it’s trusted by countless customers and businesses. Want to learn more about becoming a UniTeller Selling Agent? Click here to get started.

What the COMPETES Act of 2022 Means for Immigrant Businesses and Visas

The United States House of Representatives just passed a landmark resolution.
H.R 4521, the COMPETES Act of 2022, was built with one overarching goal: to help America lead the world in innovation. 

For decades, the U.S. has lost top talent to countries like England, Canada, and China. 

As President Joe Biden exclaimed in January

Together, we have an opportunity to show China and the rest of the world that the 21st century will be the American century – forged by the ingenuity and hard work of our innovators, workers, and businesses.”

While such rhetoric may seem to prioritize domestic employment and growth, President Biden and his legislation have a different focus.

Indeed, immigrants are at the heart of the COMPETES Act of 2022. 

More specifically, immigrants in STEM fields — the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — are the top priority of the COMPETES Act (an acronym for Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength).

While the initiative itself is over 3,600 pages long, its mission is clear: to attract and retain top global STEM talent with groundbreaking visa programs and pathways to permanent residence. 

Note: Though the House of Representatives passed the COMPETES Act of 2022, the U.S. Senate has yet to do so. They began debating the bill in early April. 

Introducing An All-New Visa Category

The COMPETES Act would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act in one fundamental way. It would deliver startup visas under an entirely new category: the “W” visa.

This would provide a dedicated visa classification to innovators from around the world.

While other nations have long offered visa programs to attract entrepreneurs, the U.S. has been slow to follow suit.

According to the National Foundation for American Policy,

“A major gap in U.S. immigration law is the absence of a “startup visa.” There is no visa that allows a foreign national to gain lawful permanent residence by founding a business, attracting investment and/or employing U.S. workers.”

This has shocked the international community, considering immigrants founded or co-founded 55% of America’s billion-dollar “unicorn” companies

Companies like SpaceX, Moderna, and Uber are all part of this elite club. 

By creating a new visa, the COMPETES Act aims to bring more visionary entrepreneurs to America. 

The “W” Visa: Explained

The proposed W visa would be classified into three separate categories: W-1, W-2, and W-3. 

For starters, the W-1 visa would be given to foreign nationals with an ownership stake in a startup. 

According to the legislation, ownership interest constitutes at least 10% of a company formed within five years of the visa application. 

As an ancillary stipulation, the start-up must have received “at least $250,000 in qualifying investments” or “at least $100,000 in qualifying government awards or grants” in the eighteen months prior to the visa application. 

Secondly, the W-2 visa would be made available for staff deemed “essential” for the operation of that startup. 

Finally, the W-3 visa would be provided to the spouses and children of W-1 and W-2 visa holders. 

The initial W work visas would be valid for three years and could be extended an additional three one-year periods if the startup meets or surpasses certain economic standards, including:

– If the individual/startup has received at least $500,000 in “additional qualifying investments
– If the individual/startup has created “at least 5 qualified jobs
– If the individual/startup has “generated not less than $500,000 in annual revenue in the United States and averaged 20% in annual revenue growth.”

While the potential impact of the COMPETES Act might seem obvious, the facts bear repeating.

For one thing, there are over 1.4 million skilled immigrants currently stuck in green card backlogs — nearly ten times the amount of new green cards issued annually. 
With the new W visa, however, entrepreneurs, innovators, and workers would be able to escape the backlog, expedite the approval process, and begin working in America. 

And that’s only one of the many benefits the COMPETES Act could offer. 

Permanent Residency for STEM PhDs 

Under the proposed legislation, STEM Ph.D. graduates seeking to work in the U.S. would be given a direct path to legal permanent resident status. 

The key prerequisite is clearly defined: foreign nationals must hold STEM Ph.D. degrees from either a U.S. school or from an equivalent program overseas. 

STEM Ph.D. applicants that meet this criterion would be exempted from annual green card limits. Plus, their immediate family members would also be eligible for permanent legal residency. 

This provision would be truly life-changing for countless immigrants across the STEM field. 

According to the Department of Education, immigrants comprised nearly 50% of all STEM Ph.D. students at American colleges and universities in the 2019-2020 academic year.  

The COMPETES Act would allow Ph.D. students to become legal permanent residents after graduation and seamlessly continue their careers in the United States. 

Note: All W-1 visa holders and STEM Ph.D. applicants will be required to pay a one-time fee of $1,000. This assessment will be directed to help fund STEM scholarships for low-income American students. 

Looking Ahead

Earlier iterations of the COMPETES Act of 2022 had lofty ambitions that may finally be realized.

In fact, studies predict that the proposed legislation could create “1 million to 3.2 million jobs over the next decade if enacted into law.”

Of course, that last qualifier — “if enacted into law” — is perhaps most important. 

The COMPETES Act of 2022 is not yet enshrined in law, as it must first be ratified by the U.S. Senate

This will play out in the coming weeks and months. 

Though changes to the bill are inevitable, we remain hopeful the legislation will pass, providing a safe haven for immigrant STEM entrepreneurs to innovate in America. 

As this story develops, and as the COMPETES Act of 2022 approaches a vote in the Senate, UniTeller will keep you informed of the latest news. 



To read more from the UniTeller blog, click here

Remittances: Key to the Fight Against Global Poverty

At UniTeller, we’re proud to facilitate remittance payments for families around the world. 

As we expand our international reach, nothing brings us greater joy than hearing from users as they celebrate sending and receiving remittances. 

And while economic uncertainties remain in our post-pandemic world, statistics show that remittances have remained strong through the most difficult period in recent memory. 

As a company, we truly believe that every remittance payment has tremendous power — for individuals, families, communities, countries, and regions at large. Every time our clients send money overseas, they help change the world. While that may sound hyperbolic, we believe the facts support the sentiment. 

While it can be challenging to articulate the hope that remittances provide, new studies and research have helped uncover a number of essential truths. By investigating the available data surrounding global remittances, we can better appreciate their true value. 

Here’s a brief overview of some remittance statistics that show how this ubiquitous form of transferring money helps fight poverty and promote economic prosperity.

Remittances Eclipse Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

Over the last decade, remittances steadily gained prominence throughout the world economy. Before long, they became the number one source of aid to foreign nations. 

In 2018, remittances officially surpassed foreign direct investment (FDI) (i.e., the financial backing of major firms from one country to another).

With the exception of China, remittances to low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs) reached $462 billion in 2018. That was more than $118 billion than FDI flows during the same period of time. 

In other words, remittances became the largest and most important source of foreign aid in the global economy — especially for low and middle-income countries. 

This watershed moment astonished forecasters and set the tone for the coming decade. 

According to Dilip Ratha, lead economist and head of KNOMAD, the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development,

“Remittances are on track to become the most important game in town when it comes to financing development. In five years, remittances will likely become larger than [overseas] development assistance (ODA) and FDI combined…We could see remittances reach a trillion dollars in the foreseeable future.”

Ratha’s expectation for a trillion-dollar remittance market is supported by the United Nations, which expects remittances to exceed $8.5 trillion by 2030

To be sure, half of Ratha’s prediction has already been validated, as remittance flows to foreign nations (excluding China) have easily surpassed FDI and ODA for the second consecutive year

While these findings are undoubtedly exciting, the question remains: what do these trends actually look like in practice?

Growing Remittances, Growing GDPs

For many nations, remittances are more than a helpful financial gift. 

Instead, they are like oil to a country’s economic engine, endlessly inspiring new growth and potential in their gross domestic product (GDP).

According to The Economist, remittances account for over 5 percent of the GDP in 54 global countries. 

In nations like Tonga, Somalia, and Lebanon, remittances account for over 32% of GDP

And as remittances increase, global poverty sharply declines. 

In fact, the Asian Bank Development Institute found that a “1 percent increase in international remittances as a percentage of gross domestic product can lead to a 22.6 percent decline in poverty gap ratio.”

These astounding findings are derived from a 35-year study of ten Asian countries, including Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Nepal, China, and the Philippines.

The Fruit of Remittances: Fighting Global Poverty, Promoting Prosperity 

The ripple effects of remittances are widespread. Indeed, over one billion people are involved with remittances on some level, whether on the sending or receiving end of the transaction.


Remittances help achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a number of ways, including:

  • Providing Meals: As for their most basic virtue, remittances help provide shelter and put food on the table for families around the world.

    In fact, roughly 75 percent of all remittances are used primarily to pay for meals and cover housing costs.
  • Boosting Savings: While remittances attend to essential daily needs, they can also promote long-term financial savings.

    In Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, a 10 percent increase in remittances saw direct increases in savings by 7 percent.
  • Enhancing Healthcare: Remittances help families increase their healthcare budgets, which are often entirely neglected in low-and-middle-income countries.

    In Mexico, for example, households that receive remittances show a 44% increase in spending on medical care.

    As one journalist aptly asked in the International Migration Review, “Is an ounce of remittance worth a pound of health?” That certainly seems to be the case.
  • Affirming Education: Remittances also play a major role in keeping children enrolled in school. In fact, new research shows that money sent by loved ones overseas keeps 3.5 million children in school worldwide.

    More specifically, countries like El Salvador, Sri Lanka, and Nepal have reported that remittances significantly lower school dropout rates

It’s no wonder that the United Nations declared remittances as “the most important source of external finance for least developed countries, and in some cases, a key driver of economic growth.”

Partnering With UniTeller

When it comes to transferring money and paying international bills, UniTeller maintains the highest standard of excellence. As a fully-licensed money transmitter in the United States and soon to be in Canada, UniTeller remains intensely committed to providing payment services with a transparent and flexible business model. To that end, businesses have minimal to no upfront investment to get started with UniTeller.

In fact, our professional team will provide in-depth training for you and your team, so you can see how the process works and begin completing money transfers right away. By partnering with UniTeller, you’ll also gain access to our multilingual Customer Service department, available seven days a week.

As a UniTeller Selling Agent, you will have total confidence in the speed and safety of the money transfer and international bill payments services you provide. Also, you’ll have access to our extensive network of over 200,000 paying locations and billers in over 80 countries worldwide.

It’s fast.

It’s reliable.

And it’s trusted by countless customers and business owners across the United States.

Want to learn more about becoming a UniTeller Selling Agent? Click here to get started.

The Surprisingly Important Role Global Remittances Play in Climate Change Adaptation

The economic power of remittances is widely known. 

Every time payments are sent abroad, families are protected and communities are strengthened. 

The global community witnessed this throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, where remittances stayed strong — despite pessimistic projections — and remained a lifeline for families, friends, and loved ones around the world. 

And yet, that’s only part of a truly triumphant story. Beyond their widely-heralded economic virtues, remittances are also playing an increasingly large role in climate change adaptation. 

Though it is likely a new term for most people, “climate change adaptation” is an increasingly relevant expression that encompasses the global efforts to combat extreme weather, both actual and anticipated. 

According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, adaptation is a comprehensive reference to “adjustments in ecological, social, or economic systems in response to climate change.” 

As such, it features the development of new processes and practices designed to protect communities around the world. 

Such strategies are unique to specific regions. 

For example, farming communities with heavy agricultural production are increasingly threatened by unpredictable rainfall patterns and record periods of drought. To combat these damaging periods (and the economic effects of reduced crop yields), such communities are dependent on adaptation strategies. 

In other words, they’re reliant on remittances.

Access to Essential Technology

For farming communities, enhanced irrigation technologies and safer housing have become essential, life-saving tools. But if they’re unable to receive financial support — whether due to extreme weather or simply due to neglect — such communities cannot adapt as needed. 

Remittances are crucial to not only supporting the economic progress of these regions but to protecting their health and wellbeing year-round. 

Though these discoveries are now gaining widespread recognition, they’ve been well documented for many years. 

In 2017, researchers from KNOMAD studied the positive effects of remittances in Upper Assam, India — the northeastern region that often deals with significant flooding. 

(Note: KNOMAD stands for the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development, and their findings have long been instrumental in the advancement of climate change adaptation.)


In their 2017 research, the KNOMAD team compared households in Upper Assam that received remittances against those that did not. 

Their findings were both revealing and alarming. 

Across the board, families that received remittances were far more likely to have insurance, to have communication devices (i.e. phones, cable, and internet), and to have essential tools like boats, rafts, and raised plinths for their houses — all essential for their safety and prosperity. 

The KNOMAD research also found that remittance-recipient households in Upper Assam were a driving force for community activity, “a proxy for social cohesion and access of a household to village institutions. Over time, the participation of remittances-recipient households in collective action on flood relief, recovery, and preparedness increases.”

In other words, remittances are a driving force in climate change adaptation on an intimate and local level.

Remittances Are Stronger Than Foreign Direct Aid

Climate change has been at the heart of the global conversation for many years. 

Governments have signed accords, emissions goals have been established, and countless initiatives have been launched across both the public and private sectors. 

While “climate finance” remains an ongoing international mission, individual remittances are proving to be even more influential than most government-led initiatives. 

In fact, in 2021 alone, remittance flows to low and middle-income countries reached nearly $590 billion — a 7.3% increase over 2020. 

While an impressive number to be sure, its implications are more astounding. 

According to the World Bank, “Remittances now stand more than threefold above official development assistance and, excluding China, more than 50% higher than foreign direct investment (FDI).”

In other words, loved ones have often been more generous with their support than the combined charity of many global governments. After all, remittance flows account for nearly 6% of the gross domestic product (GDP) for low-income countries. 

And in countries like Honduras and El Salvador, remittances account for over 20% of their GDP

It’s no wonder, then, that migration is heralded as a leading method to fight climate change.

According to the International Organization for Migration, a subsidiary agency within the United Nations, 

“A common adaptation strategy in response to these environmental stressors has been for households to send some members a way to find alternative livelihoods and income…[remittances] strengthen their long-term adaptive capacity if they are invested in health services or education, or in increasing agricultural production.” 

Ultimately, remittances provide communities with the financial freedom to build better, safer, and more profitable lives. 

And while providing short-term benefits, remittances ultimately create a bulwark against the rising tide of climate change. In doing so, they provide a measure of hope for the global community at large. 

___

At UniTeller, we’re honored to serve on the frontlines of international remittance flows, and we are thrilled to continue advancing our role in developing a better and more sustainable future.  
Click here to learn more about P2P remittance brand, uLink.

Key Challenges Facing Cross-Border Payments

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the vitality of global remittances.

While jobs were jeopardized and families were separated, cross-border payments helped sustain local communities around the world. Despite projections that anticipated a sharp decline in remittance flows, international payments to low and middle-income countries reached $549 billion in 2020.

Last year, remittances spiked an additional 7.3%, climbing to a staggering $589 billion in international support.

And yet, while remittances show no sign of stopping, they continue to face several persistent challenges in the global economy.

Accessibility remains an ongoing issue, particularly in emerging markets without the infrastructure to support digital payments and remittances.

Fortunately, as we’ll discuss below, UniTeller has taken steps to bridge those gaps and provide payment access to as many regions and markets as technology will allow.

1. Prohibitive Costs

Cross-border payments can be punitively expensive. Regulatory costs, foreign exchange fees, and other assessments tax consumers every time they send money abroad. 

For example, the average cost of sending a USD $200 remittance to Sub-Saharan Africa is 8.2%. That’s nearly three times above the United Nation’s 3% target for Sustainable Development Goals

Payment processors simply must do better. In order for global communities to get the economic support they need, transaction fees must come down.

At UniTeller, we do everything to lower costs at every corner so individuals and businesses can routinely maximize their investments.

2. Slow Transaction Speeds

Despite a myriad of technological innovations, many payment providers and banks continue to deliver slow and inefficient transaction times.

Consumers around the world expect and deserve fast payments, and providers must satisfy their demands — especially for people in embattled regions. 

According to Jon Cunliffe, head of the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructure (CPMI),

         “Cross-border payments are necessarily more complex than domestic payments, but we

         need to bring them into line with the standards, efficiency and reliability that users now

         have a right to expect.”

At UniTeller, we strive to provide fast, reliable transactions for individuals and businesses alike.

3. Ongoing Security Threats

Fraud is on the rise, especially in cross-border payments. According to recent studies, over 60% of U.S. and U.K. businesses face cross-border payment fraud.

This is unacceptable for modern businesses. After all, it drains companies of capital, threatens the hard-earned resources of consumers, and endangers those who depend on receiving financial gifts.

While developing strategies to lower costs and increase transaction speeds, UniTeller remains intently focused on increasing the security of cross-border payments. 

We strive to accomplish this through two primary means: by continually enhancing our technology and by strengthening our partnerships, both foreign and domestic. 

After all, business relationships are an essential component to maintain the highest security across the global arena. Thanks to these strategic partnerships, UniTeller has routinely facilitated the growing demand for digital payment capabilities in emerging markets.

Expansion in Asia Pacific 

It’s no secret that Asia holds the largest share of remittance inflows in the world. Within the region, India consistently receives the most remittances each year (having surpassed $87 billion in 2021 alone).

UniTeller has proudly maintained a presence in Asia for over 20 years, with a network covering over 90,000 paying locations in the region.

After observing the growing demand for remittances throughout the pandemic, UniTeller sought to expand its payment services by joining forces with Tranglo, one of the leading cross-border payment service providers in Asia Pacific.

As a direct result of this alliance, UniTeller can now reach 13 Asia Pacific markets, including Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, and Nepal — adding over 58,000 cash pick-up points, more than 1,100 account deposit banks, and 9 e-wallet platforms.

According to Alberto Guerra, UniTeller CEO,

         “Collaboration has always been an important part of our strategy. By partnering with

         like-minded cross-border payments companies, we can integrate international paying

         networks and combine our technology strength and local market knowledge to make an

         ever greater impact on the industry than what each of us can achieve individually.”

This collaboration also gives UniTeller access to RippleNet, the global financial network of Ripple.

Expansion in Africa

At UniTeller, we’re driven to serve and sustain emerging markets whenever and wherever possible. Given the growing demand for digital payment capabilities in Africa, it’s more important than ever for industry players to promote market efficiency and expand user access to a broad range of digital financial services. 

To that end, we sought opportunities to expand our presence throughout the continent of Africa. Indeed, Africa has seen a stratospheric increase in remittances over the last twenty years — reaching levels where cross-border payments eclipse the annual value of foreign direct investment (FDI).

By joining forces with Singapore-based payments network, Thunes, UniTeller proudly adds account deposit service with 552 banks and e-wallet service with 28 operators across Africa and Asia Pacific.

According to Tamer El-Emary, COO of Thunes,

         “We are glad to be able to strengthen our partnership with UniTeller, and jointly help to

         enhance global connectivity for millions of people through faster and more convenient

         cross-border payments.”

By uniting the networks of two major payment processors, UniTeller and Thunes are able to deliver state-of-the-art services along with unparalleled security and safety.

At UniTeller, we will continue to combat the many challenges facing the payments industry through collaboration, innovation, and above all, through partnerships.

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To learn more about UniTeller, click here.

Add Revenue to Your Small Business by Offering Money Transfer Services

In a matter of months, the pandemic changed the world’s functions. Remote work immediately became a fixture of modern life, travel grew increasingly rare, and the ability to visit friends and family was also greatly impacted. And yet, while economic growth slowed down, one area of commerce remained remarkably resilient: money transfers. This proved true both for individuals sending remittances and for businesses completing cross-border transfers.

While financial forecasters predicted a 20 percent drop in remittances during the first wave of the pandemic, the international flow of money fell little more than 1 percent from 2019. These statistics shocked the world.

According to Dilip Ratha, Head of KNOMAD,

         The resilience of remittance flows is remarkable.

         Remittances are helping to meet families’ increased need for livelihood support.”

Then, in 2021, personal money transfers accelerated to reach an all-time high. According to the World Bank, remittances grew 7.3 percent to hit nearly $590 billion. In the corporate sector, money transfers followed the same stratospheric trends. In fact, nearly 40 percent of small businesses sent and received more cross-border payments in 2021 than in 2020.

What precipitated this surge in money transfers? Simply put, the pandemic turned money transfers from an accessible feature into an essential one.

The total transaction value of money transfers remains on the rise. In fact, studies show they could reach $40 trillion by 2026. A staggering one billion people, or one in seven in the world, are involved with remittances, either by sending money transfers abroad or receiving them. One in seven people in the world benefits from these flows, which amounts to nearly 800 million people.

While money transfer services have long been popular, the pandemic only accelerated their appeal. Four years of growth has been compressed into two months in the money transfer space. Those two months in March and April 2020 have set the stage for the next decade.

As reliance on money transfers increases, modern consumers will only continue to seek out businesses that provide the services they need to support their loved ones.

Essential Reasons for Offering Money Transfer Services

Convenience is king, especially in 2022. After all, the age of digitization has dramatically increased the average consumer’s expectations. When it comes to payments and money transfers, people aim to do what they want, where they want, and how they want.

While they may have different end goals, the individual consumer and the business owner share one overarching value: they want maximum autonomy in everything they do. In fact, recent studies show that people value payment option convenience above almost every other factor (including sales/discounts and proximity to home).

In other words, if you’re offering money transfer services at your business, more customers will come calling. On the one hand, you’ll distinguish your business from the competition by giving your customers financial access to the world at large. Plus, beyond the obvious fiscal benefits — and the ability to earn additional income with every single transfer completed through your business — you’ll also establish a powerful rapport with your current customer base.

Over time, your clients will begin to associate your business with a place that enables them to support the things in life they cherish the most — whether it’s their family, their friends, or a business venture overseas.

Partnering With UniTeller

When it comes to transferring money and international bill payments, UniTeller maintains the highest standard of excellence. As a fully-licensed money transmitter in the United States and soon to be in Canada, UniTeller remains intensely committed to providing payment services with a transparent and flexible business model. To that end, businesses have minimal to no upfront investment to get started with UniTeller.

In fact, our professional team will provide in-depth training for you and your team, so you can see how the process works and begin completing money transfers right away. By partnering with UniTeller, you’ll also gain access to our multilingual Customer Service department, available seven days a week.

As a UniTeller Selling Agent, you will have total confidence in the speed and safety of the money transfer and international bill payments services you provide. Also, you’ll have access to our extensive network of over 200,000 paying locations and billers in over 70 countries worldwide.

It’s fast.

It’s reliable.

And it’s trusted by countless customers and business owners across the United States.

Want to learn more about becoming a UniTeller Selling Agent?

Click here to get started.