Room for improvement: Enhancing the remittance experience
By Josh Gordon-Blake, vice president of global partnerships, Pangea
When it comes to the modern payment experience, two words often come to mind – speed and invisibility.
While this is great in certain circumstances – such as quickly paying for a ridesharing trip without reaching for your wallet – there are situations where the customer craves control and transparency into the payment experience. For global remittances, speed is critical, but so to is a clear understanding of each element of the payment and delivery process.
Transparency gives the customer the control they need to trust their hard earned funds to a new intermediary. Because remittance payments are often driven by an emotional or personal motivation, they cannot be treated in the same way as a normal transaction.
There is no doubt that moving personal funds across borders carries deep emotional significance for both senders and receivers. For immigrants who move abroad to secure a more stable financial future, money transfers to loved ones back home carry a degree of importance few other transactions can match.
Contrary to the transactional nature of most payments, these money transfers are needed to help friends or family members deal with an emergency or pay an overdue bill. Time is of the essence for remittances, but so is control of the payment experience itself.
We need to think about these payment experiences differently. Rather than opting for invisibility, remittance payments should be as visible and engaging as possible.
Introducing straightforward, transparent pricing is a good place to start. With a predetermined fee for every transaction, customers can focus less on the cost of sending money and more on what is most important – the people receiving those funds. International pickup locations are yet another way to enhance the money transfer experience. By enabling customers to receive money at a local grocery store or gas station, the process for remittance customers is more personal and convenient than ever before.
Here is a look at other ways to simplify money transfers today as well as the technologies that will continue to impact the remittance industry well into the future.
What's happening now
One-Click Transfers: Cater to consumers with one-click transfers that provide the speed and convenience they are looking for. The ability to transfer funds in just one click can save repeat customers hours over the course of a year. And, considering the importance of speed in such transactions, as well as their frequency, a few hours can make a big difference.
Money Transfer Apps: Since remittances are sent to just about every country in the world, there is no telling where a company’s next customer might come from. The remittance solution used for funds sent to Mexico will have different cultural expectations than transfers being sent to China. By optimizing these solutions for mobile, there is a greater ability to better accommodate for the cultural differences across a customer base. This can help each customer feel at home, no matter where they are sending to or receiving money from.
What's coming next
Bilingual Chatbots: A growing number of customers are opting to interact with businesses online. In fact, more than 60 percent of customers would contact a business or brand through an online chatbot. By keeping an eye on the development of bilingual chatbots, businesses can position themselves to quickly address problems from customers anywhere in the world. Better yet, they may also save money along the way. According to a report from BI Intelligence, chatbots help slash customer care costs by 29 percent.
Bitcoin: High fees are a common pain point for consumers who routinely send money transfers – and it is easy to see why. Fees can eat away at hard-earned money, leaving friends and family members with fewer resources to take care of their needs. Bitcoin could soon change that. Not only can the cryptocurrency reduce the cost of remittances, but it also promises to increase transfer speeds.
New Authentication Methods: The advent of improved authentication methods may provide plenty of options when it comes to protecting consumers’ personal information. From voice commands to iris or fingerprint scanners, remittance companies can keep pace with increasing demands for data security.
Whether it is a father who moved away for a better job or a young woman hoping to help her parents make ends meet, there’s a story behind every remittance. Businesses that make an effort to meet the unique needs of such customers – both now and in the future – will be one step closer to ensuring the remittance payment experience remains as personal as it should be.