Yanilsa Gonzalez-Ore, North America Head of Visa Direct and Global Ecosystem Readiness, and Remitly’s CEO Matt Oppenheimer told PYMNTS cross-border money transfers are ripe for app-driven, digital modernization.
“Global money movement has not yet evolved to the levels expected and needed by the world,” said Gonzalez-Ore, who added that speed, cost and transparency continue to be cross-border pain points. Real-time and digital-first solutions are among the best ways to address those pain points and alleviate frictions, she said.
Monday (Nov 20), Remitly and Visa said they had expanded their collaboration, first detailed in May 2021, that seeks to streamline cross-border fund flows.
Oppenheimer and Gonzalez-Ore noted that the expanded efforts enable Remitly customers in more than 15 countries, including the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Australia, to push funds directly to holders’ Visa debit cards and bank accounts in more than 100 jurisdictions globally. The transfers can be tracked directly through the Remitly app.
Oppenheimer said that the expansion takes into account the “structural shift” that’s been gaining momentum since the Visa/Remitly collaboration was announced initially, where, traditionally, most remittance activity began and ended at a physical location (such as at remittance agents). The pandemic, of course, moved more individuals to embrace digital options to move funds, using their devices as digitally-enabled endpoints to facilitate push-to-card transactions.
In terms of the mechanics of the transactions themselves, senders enter a recipient’s name and 16-digit Visa debit card number into the Remitly app in order to send funds to Visa debit cards and to recipients’ bank accounts. At a high level, said Oppenheimer, the move helps bolster Remitly’s bid to expand its network “for customers to send money to 4 billion bank accounts, 1.2 billion mobile wallets and more than 460,000 cash pickup locations.”
For Visa, said Gonzalez-Ore, the expansion broadens financial inclusion for millions of migrant workers sending money to loved ones globally.
Asked by PYMNTS for an illustrative use case, Oppenheimer offered that 80% of remittance transfers support households’ needs and medical expenses. Funds sent to pay for an individual’s emergency surgery, he said, “are critical. They’re a lifeline,” and speed, reliability and transparency are critical, too.
“Someone who’s sending money home for their child,” he told PYMNTS, “cannot afford for that transaction to be delayed.” Partnering with Visa, he added, enables the funds to be collected and disbursed securely.
It’s still early innings in the digital shift that is helping transform remittances, said Oppenheimer, who added that Remitly has only about 2%+ share of the $1.6 trillion in remittances that cross borders each year. The opportunity is there, noted Oppenheimer, to expand beyond remittances and craft financial services ecosystems for immigrants and their families.
Added Gonzalez-Ore, P2P payments serve as “tip of the spear for a change in money movement.” Consumers have gotten used to the convenience and speed that they’ve enjoyed as part of everyday domestic transactions. They’ll expect the same in cross-border interactions — and remittances, after all, are a form of international P2P payments. We’re headed toward a future where cross-border payroll and other use cases build on the interactions forged through the collaborations between Visa and Remitly.
As Gonzalez-Ore told PYMNTS, “this is an example of how different players in the ecosystem can come together to change the way things operate today and help evolve money movement…it’s an alignment of goals and we are excited for it to continue for the longer term.”