Remittance companies, providing services to collect money from a sender and deliver it to a beneficiary, have long been an engine of prosperity for much of the world.
Remittance companies have embraced digitalization of remittance, providing individuals with money transfer platforms and enabling millions of individuals to send money quickly and securely worldwide through their smartphone. And now, remittance companies are evolving to offer companies of all sizes the ability to move money and make B2B payments across borders in a safe, quick and cost-effective way.
This blog looks at how remittance providers can make the most of the opportunities of servicing the increasing number of companies who are using B2B cross-border remittance to grow their global business and improve operational efficiencies.
Remittance, a global engine of prosperity
According to a recent market sizing data by FXC Intelligence, total consumer remittances globally reached $848 billion in 2022. The expectation is that this will pass $1.1 trillion by 2025. Remittances are the hidden engine of global connectivity, linking individuals and contributing to interdependence on a global scale; impacting social, economic and political spheres.
Remittance flows have remained relatively stable, mitigating against economic downturns, and are vital to the livelihood of developing economies. According to a Visa 2023 Global Remittance Adoption Report, 70% of residents surveyed in the Philippines said they mainly received remittances rather than sending remittances (17%). With more than 1.83 million Overseas Filipinos Workers (OFWs) working abroad this figure isn’t surprising. Remittances received in the Philippines contributed to 9.3% to the country’s GDP in 2021, and are a source of stability and income for many of the country’s families.
Digitalization of the remittance sector
As discussed in a previous Currencycloud remittance blog, the adoption of smartphones worldwide means people are increasingly sending remittances to family and friends via digital means, namely app-based digital platforms. According to the Visa 2023 Global Remittances Adoption Report, 53% of individuals surveyed reported using digital apps to send and receive funds. Adoption of app-based digital payments is high because it’s convenient and considered to be the most secure method of sending funds globally. Compared with the physical shops people have long used for sending remittances, digital app-based payment platforms are fast, cost-effective and convenient for senders and receivers of remittances.
There has been a global increase in the use of digital payments since the COVID-19 pandemic, with low and middle-income economies (excluding China), seeing over 40% of adults who made merchant in-store or online payments using a card, phone, or the internet doing so for the first time since the start of the pandemic. In India, more than 80 million adults made their first digital merchant payment after the start of the pandemic, while over 100 million adults in China did the same.
The evolution from retail to B2B remittance
Cross-border payments are the lifeblood of marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Alibaba and Etsy as they benefit from a huge volume of small-item purchases made possible by increased global access to digital payment apps. These are fuelling cross-border commerce and driving C2B, B2C and business-to-small-business payments. In 2023 global ecommerce is predicted to account for 20.8% of total retail sales and to reach 23% by 2025. A recent FXC Intelligence report shows in 2023 B2B ecommerce, which is the second biggest segment in business cross-border payments, has a market size of $10 trillion, is set to grow 120% by 2030, accounting for $22 trillion in market size.
However, what has made it painful for companies large and small to take full advantage of cross-border B2B transactions are the difficulties with paying across schemes and borders. Take, for example, a US-based company, looking to send funds to a company based in Hong Kong. This US-based company will find there are a number of challenges from expensive SWIFT costs right through to the FX complications - which will need to be borne by the buyer or the seller, or sometimes both. Traditional bank transfers, too, often take days and can result in delays, putting restraints on how a business can operate while funds are waiting to arrive and clear. What most businesses want is an instant, international payment solution that is as immediate as the one they enjoy domestically.
B2B, shaping the future of remittance
It’s little surprise that businesses are increasingly demanding of their B2B payments the same transparency, ease of access and embedded payment process they enjoy in the retail space. This demand is an opportunity for remittance companies who plan to expand internationally or want to scale up to increase flows from conventional retail remittance to B2B or corporate remittance. There is more at stake like cash flow, the ability to release goods across borders, accurate accountability, compliance and ultimately their reputation. There is a lot riding on who they choose to provide their B2B remittance services.
So, how can existing remittance providers scale up and meet the demands of B2B remittance and stay ahead of the competition? Remittance providers who are not yet offering a B2B cross-border remittance service can take steps now to offer businesses the seamless, safe and transparent cross-border payment service they will need to ensure a global future for their business, and that of their clients.
Successful B2B remittance providers need to be able to provide the following if they are to scale up their business and provide a best-in-class service to their customers:
Access wholesale, low FX rates: so you can offer your customers the competitive rates they expect, which in turn allows you to turn FX into your revenue stream.
Offer local collection accounts: the ability to give customers the option to pay for their goods in a local currency via the local rails will drive a better customer experience, a more seamless payment flow as well as driving down operational costs associated with lost payments.
Embrace digital technology: get access to risk-based know-your-customer (KYC) requirements and keep ahead of risk-averse correspondent banks whose de-risking strategies impede access to bank accounts for money transfer businesses operating in smaller remittance corridors.
Offer multi-currency accounts: give your customers a truly global B2B payment service by giving them access to dozens of currencies (not just major global currencies).
Access to a global banking network: this is a must-have if you want to move money seamlessly across borders.
Be fully compliant with all the regulations in every jurisdiction: protect yours, and your customers’ reputation, data and money.
Provide all payment services on one platform, online or on a phone: offer your customers a seamless user experience.
This is a long list, and not exhaustive. The good news is that there are remittance providers offering B2B remittance globally. They have partnered with existing payment solution providers like Currencycloud who have eased them into this new remittance corridor.
An example of remittance companies evolving in APAC
APAC’s remittance companies like South Korea’s E9Pay are increasingly sending more of their flows cross-border, and with this has come a shift from retail remittance to corporate B2B remittance. These remittance providers use payment solution providers like Currencycloud to enable their cross-border flows. Currencycloud supports remittance companies in seamlessly conducting B2B cross-border payments for their clients to send and receive payments in local currencies. Crucially, Currencycloud offers access to low-cost FX, enabling remittance providers to provide market-leading FX rates to corporates making B2B cross-border remittances.
Two B2B remitters, with different origin stories
South Korea-based money transfer operator (MTO) E9pay's goal is to facilitate international payments for South Korea’s globally-focused B2B market. By integrating Currencycloud’s APIs into its existing platform, E9pay has been able to develop and launch its E9pay Collection Service allowing, for the first time, South Korea’s SMEs and merchants to collect cross-border payment funds in a convenient way.
UK-based SwapMoney is an international remittance company that has evolved from offering remittance services to individuals to offering remittance as a service to businesses, providing companies with a truly borderless payment solution that ensures the fast, safe and low-cost transfer of funds to clients and suppliers worldwide.
The evolution from retail remittance to B2B remittance doesn’t have to be painful or drawn out. Payment providers like Currencycloud can facilitate B2B cross-border remittance, opening up the lucrative world of global B2B payments for you and your customers. Get in touch with Currencyloud’s experts to discover how our APIs can help you embed a global payment platform for your B2B payment flows.