Nearly half of Filipinos now prefer receiving remittances through digital platforms, according to a study by Western Union Co.
The study also showed that nearly 70 percent of Filipinos want to be able to choose how they collect their money in the future — digital or otherwise.
Citing data from the World Bank, Western Union said the Philippines is the fourth largest incoming (receiving) market in the world, bringing in $37 billion in 2021.
“As consumers look to the future, the principle of choice in how money is transferred internationally is most attractive,” said Jean-Claude Farah, the company’s president for operations in the Middle East and Asia Pacific. “This fits with what we’re seeing among our customer base, who are actively seeking convenient, fast and reliable services, based on their needs.”
Western Union said the national government and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) have made “significant strides” in driving digital transformation and encouraging inclusion by creating and committing to a clear financial inclusion strategy.
However, the results of the Western Union study show that there is still more to be done. While many consumers choose to use digital platforms, many consumers do not.
Trust ranks as the highest barrier to using digital money transfer services, among senders at 31 percent and recipients at 23 percent.
The data also showed that 37 percent of recipients prefer face-to-face interaction, while 15 percent of senders say the process or customer experience prevents them from doing so.
However, nearly 30 percent of senders and 14 percent of recipients do not transfer money online for reasons such as lack of connectivity, limited knowledge of digital services, no history of online banking, or because they are generally unbanked. .
Farah said this “amplifies the need for larger ecosystems, as retail and digital platforms grow and evolve symbiotically.”
He said one of the company’s key areas of focus to accelerate growth in the Philippines and around the world is to build on its “core capabilities”.
“So that we can help grow, enhance and develop a financial ecosystem that surrounds our clients,” Farah said. “Through our holistic approach, we believe we can harness the power of both physical and digital touchpoints to serve all of our clients’ money movement needs.”
Rising interest rates and increasing costs of living have made headlines around the world. Against a backdrop described by the United Nations as “the largest cost-of-living crisis of the 21st century,” consumers in the Philippines have been proactively trying to deal with it.
To keep up with daily financial needs, 44 percent of dispatchers in the Philippines cite family support as the primary driving force behind how much and how often they need to transfer money.
In line with this, the data showed that 83% of recipients in the country agree that they need to receive more money to support their loved ones and families.
It also means that senders also suffer from splitting the cost of living. About 77 percent said that because the cost of living has increased in the country they are sending to, they have to transfer more money.
However, 72 percent said that due to the high cost of living in the country they live in, they are unable to convert as they once did.
Still, Western Union said that both sending and receiving consumers agree they can expect conversions to increase in the next 12 months; 74 percent of senders and 80 percent of recipients say their money flow is about to go up.
“While many factors contribute to remittance flows, remittance is a personal decision – most commonly to support loved ones and family,” said Farah. “Therefore, it follows that in the current economic climate, receivers have a strong influence on the frequency and amounts of transmission sent to them.”
The study findings explore consumer sentiment regarding the movement of money. More than 2,000 consumers across the Philippines sending and receiving money internationally were surveyed.