Manila, Philippines–(BUSINESS WIRE)–According to the results of a study commissioned by Western Union, tech-savvy Filipinos are looking for choice above all else for their future international money transfer needs. Exclusive insights show that while 44% of consumers currently prefer to receive money transfers through digital platforms, almost 70% want to be able to choose how they collect their funds in the future, whether in cash or digitally.
The study results, which reinforce Western Union’s recent announcement “Evolve 2025′ (E25) strategy of combining high-value and accessible retail and digital financial services for the world’s aspiring populations, explore consumer sentiment on the movement of money. Over 2,000 consumers across the Philippines who send and receive money internationally were surveyed.
“As consumers look to the future, the principle of choosing how to transfer money internationally is most appealing,” said Jean Claude Farah, President of the Middle East and Asia-Pacific at Western Union. “This is consistent with what we see among our customer base, who are actively seeking convenient, fast and reliable services based on their needs.”
“This amplifies the need for larger ecosystems, where retail and digital platforms grow and evolve in symbiosis,” Farah added. “At Western Union, one of the key focus areas for accelerating growth in the Philippines and globally is precisely that: building on our core capabilities so that we can help develop, strengthen and evolve an ecosystem finance that surrounds our clients. With our omnichannel approach, we believe we can harness the power of physical and digital touchpoints to meet all of our customers’ money-moving needs. »
Digital money transfer platforms are used by many, but not all
World Bank data shows that the Philippines is the fourth largest inbound (receiver) market in the worldbringing in $37 billion in 2021. The government and Central Bank have made significant progress 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 a lot to be done. While many consumers choose to use digital platforms, many others do not.
Trust is a top barrier to using digital money transfer services among senders (31%) and receivers (23%). Thirty-seven percent of recipients prefer a face-to-face interaction, while senders say the process or customer experience prevents them (15%). However, around 30% of senders and 14% of receivers do not transfer money online for reasons such as lack of connectivity, limited knowledge of digital services, no online banking history or because they are generally not not banked.
Consumers say their remittances should increase
Rising interest rates and rising cost-of-living expenses have grabbed headlines around the world. In a context described by the The United Nations as the “biggest cost of living crisis of the 21st century,” Filipino consumers are proactively trying to cope.
Tracking the pace of daily financial needs, 44% of senders in the Philippines say family support is the main driver of how much and how often they need to transfer money. With this in mind, 83% of recipients nationwide agree that they need to receive more money to support loved ones and family.
Meanwhile, shippers are also grappling with a cost-of-living dichotomy. Seventy-seven percent say that because the cost of living has increased in the country they are sending to, they need to transfer more money. Yet 72% say that because the cost of living has increased in the country where they live, they cannot transfer as much as they used to. That said, both sending and receiving consumers agree that they expect transfers to increase over the next 12 months – with 74% of senders and 80% of receivers saying their money flow is expected to increase.
“While many factors contribute to remittance flows, sending remittances is a personal decision – most often to support loved ones and family,” Farah said. “So it follows that in the current economic climate, receivers have a strong influence on how often and how much their senders transfer. As push-pull dynamics change over time, it is essential that consumers remain armed and supported with the right money transfer tools when needed. This is why we are focused on building a modern and adaptable platform that provides a solid user experience for our customers. As we develop our business strategy in the Philippines, we look forward to creating opportunities for our customers to better manage their financial lives.
Western Union in the Philippines
Western Union has been providing money transfer services in the Philippines for over 30 years and has a deep commitment to the country. It offers agent-based digital money transfer services to over 95% of bank accounts, as well as some of the country’s leading e-wallets. As of the third quarter of 2022, the Company also offers its services through more than 24,000 retail outlets.
In October 2022, the Company announced its three-year strategy to provide accessible financial services while remaining connected to its purpose of serving people and their communities. The search for financial opportunities often leads consumers to cross borders to start their life in a new country. Through Western Union’s strategy, the company will offer solutions to provide customers in the Philippines with the best end-to-end experience when transferring money and better manage their financial lives.
About Western Union
The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a global leader in cross-border, cross-currency money movement and payments. Western Union’s platform provides seamless cross-border flows and its leading global financial network connects more than 200 countries and territories and approximately 130 currencies. We connect consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments through one of the most extensive networks in the world, accessing billions of bank accounts, millions of digital wallets and cards and a vast global network of points of sale. Western Union connects the world to bring unlimited possibilities at your fingertips. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.
About the Western Union study
The research was commissioned by Western Union from Censuswide. Censuswide surveyed 2003 consumers aged 18 and older – who send or receive international money transfers to the Philippines. The research was conducted between October 31, 2022 and November 8, 2022. Censuswide respects and employs members of the Market Research Society, which is based on the ESOMAR Principles.