WorldRemit insights: How COVID-19 is impacting international payments

Country lockdowns are significantly impacting the flow of international payments. As governments across the globe impose movement restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, data from international money transfer service WorldRemit shows this is changing the way people send and receive money abroad.

WorldRemit enables international payments to be sent from 50 countries via its 100% digital platform. In recent weeks, customer acquisition was up compared to the same period last year. In countries like the US, Canada, Spain, Italy and the UK where strict lockdowns have been put in place, people who still need to send money abroad but don’t want to put themselves at risk by leaving their homes are beginning to move to digital methods.

On the receive side, the company is observing a marked increase in money flows into digital channels like bank accounts and mobile wallets. Data collected by WorldRemit from the last few weeks shows that where cash pick up is impacted due to lockdown, there has been a shift to digital. In countries including Thailand and Fiji, the shift to mobile money, airtime top-up or bank transfers has been 100% since the first half of March.

Although some customers may eventually return to cash as their preferred money transfer method after the COVID-19 pandemic passes, it is highly likely that we will see an accelerated migration from cash and retail money transfer towards mobile money and other forms of digital payment.

According to data from the World Bank in Q4 2019, WorldRemit digital money transfers save customers an average of 25% when sending USD200, compared to other global money transfer providers*. In the global economic downturn that we are beginning to experience, offering great value and competitive pricing to consumers is critical for money transfer companies like WorldRemit.

"In the midst of the very challenging environment that our customers are facing around the world, we are committed to continuing to provide a secure, convenient and affordable money transfer service through digital channels. Hard-working immigrants around the world more than ever need these safer digital options to continue to support their families in these difficult times" says Daniel Canning, Managing Director for WorldRemit Americas.