For overseas Filipinos workers, mobile money is the cheapest way to send cash home, but the remittance market is still dominated by banks charging highest fees, Rep. Aniceto Bertiz III of CTS-OFW party-list said on Sunday.
Citing the World Bank’s latest remittance prices worldwide report, he said cash transfers via “mobile operators” cost a global average of only 3.20 percent of the amount sent in the second quarter of 2018, down from 3.29 percent in the same period in 2017.
“In contrast, remittances coursed through banks cost a global average of 10.41 percent of the amount forwarded in the second quarter of this year, down from 10.99 percent in the same period last year,” he said.
Remittances by means of money transfer operators cost a global average of 6.15 percent of the amount conveyed, down from 6.23 percent last year, he said.
He cited remittances passing through postal offices cost a global average of 6.81 percent of the amount dispatched, down from 6.85 percent last year.
“We have to push for the use of mobile technologies to make it cheaper and faster for OFWs to send money home,” he said.
He acknowledged the development of mobile money or “mobile wallets” has been slowed down by lack of harmonized regulations between countries.
Remittance markets are still dominated by banks that charge the highest transfer fees, he lamented.
“In our case, OFWs still rely heavily on banks to send their money home, so we have to put more pressure on banks to reduce transfer charges,” Bertiz said.
“While we recognize that Philippine banks correspond with foreign partners that also collect high fees, our banks here can do their share in bringing down charges, primarily through innovation and new technologies,” he added.
Overseas Filipinos sent home a total of $33 billion ( P1.7 trillion) in 2017, the third highest remittances worldwide, according to the World Bank.