VoxTalks: The Stubbornly High Cost of Remittances

This short podcast provides an excellent overview of the challenges posed by the continuing problem of tragically expensive remittances – a cost so high that many refer to it as a “tax on the poor”.

Cross-border remittances are far from costless. On average, the charge for sending $200 – the benchmark used by authorities to evaluate cost – is $14. That is, the combination of fees (including charges from both the sender and recipient intermediaries) and the exchange rate margin typically eats up fully 7% of the amount sent. It is less expensive to send larger amounts, with the global average cost of sending $500 at just under 5% (World Bank 2017b). Even so, the aggregate cost of sending remittances in 2017 was about $30 billion, roughly equivalent to the total non-military foreign aid budget of the US!

The experts interviewed refer to the use of technology to reduce the impact of regulatory barriers to cost reduction and this is exactly the void that SureRemit will seek to fill when it launches on July 30th.

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