Alternative delivery channels increase reach of global money transfers

November 2, 2020
During the last few months, we have seen in an increase in digital money transfers in general, and alternative delivery channels in particular. Such alternative channels include agents, mobile money, mobile banking, cards and more. These forms of money transfers have the advantage of limiting in-person transactions and cash-based transfers at a time when social distancing rules during the COVID-19 pandemic are still in effect across the world.

But even before the virus outbreak, alternative delivery channels for transferring money were picking up steam, with Kenya as a long-time shining example of how cross-border transactions can function without relying on cash or the traditional banking system.

Mobile money has played a key role in remittances to Kenya, attracted by the low price, speed and convenience of sending money instantly from an app or online service directly to a recipient’s phone. Perhaps most importantly, the recipient is able to receive funds without needing a banking account. That makes it easier for more people to take part in the service in a practical way – pretty much everyone has a mobile phone number and otherwise it’s easy to obtain one. While Kenya is an early success story, alternative delivery channels were already on the rise worldwide.

Back in 2018, a study by MIX found that 60% of financial service providers were serving clients through alternative channels to improve customer experience. At the time, it was perhaps considered a secondary channel added for convenience, but the new way of living and working during the coronavirus pandemic has underscored the value of alternative channels. The scales for digital money transfers services have tipped, and it is widely agreed that the shift towards alternative channels for sending money across borders is permanent and will persist long after the current crisis is finally over.

However, sending money abroad is not a one-sided operation. Senders of remittances also consider local conditions on the recipient side when choosing the transfer method. The more options we provide, the more people are able use alternative delivery channels for receiving money transfers.

Taking the shift towards digital money transfers to the next level

N2Xpress has partnered with Paykii to offer people a new way to support friends and family abroad: bill payments. Paykii operates of one of the largest sets of payment rails for international bill payments in over 20 countries, and through this partnership our customers can now pay for water, gas, electricity, internet, tuition, and phone bills overseas using N2Xpress platform. Ultimately, a large portion of money sent as remittances is already used for paying monthly household expenses and we are making that easier and simpler for both senders and receivers.

The ability to pay bills directly not only benefits the sender by way of making money transfers more personalised, it also greatly increases the reach of digital remittance services which plays a vital role in lifting financial inclusion globally. At once, more people now have easy access to a financial service which cuts the costs of traditional transfers in a sustainable way. Not everyone has a bank account that allows them to receive digital money transfers, but they will have at least one
account with one a major utility company providing water, gas, electricity, or telecommunications.

Beyond utilities, we are expanding our Pay Bills network to include other bill types such as tax, tuition and even home delivered groceries. It all adds up to our goal of making money transfers more meaningful for people living in between countries, so they can save more and do more. The way we do that is by looking closely at what people really want and need, and then building out the right services that add real value.

Send more than money.