BPI, WorldRemit sign deal to improve money transfers

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BANK of the Philippine Islands (BPI) has partnered with London-based firm WorldRemit to fast-track remittance transactions, with the country standing as the biggest market for the financial service provider.

In a statement, BPI announced its deal with the digital money transfer service from the United Kingdom, which would improve access to funds for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families.

WorldRemit pursued the tie-up with the Ayala-led bank as it saw that money transfers to the Philippines accounted for over a fifth of their monthly transaction volumes, making it the “largest receive market” globally. WorldRemit said 160,000 of the average 700,000 remittances they process each month are bound for the Philippines.

Over the last six years, WorldRemit customers sent 4.5 million money transfers to Manila.

WorldRemit leverages on financial technology to facilitate fund transfers through payment messages made by its users through its Web and mobile app platforms.

The money is then sent either as mobile money, bank deposit, an airtime top-up, or may be picked up as cash from accredited outlets.

“Filipinos in the diaspora will now be able to make secure, instant money transfers from the ease of their phones or personal computers directly to loved ones back home, further supporting the transition from costly offline remittances sent from bricks and mortar agents to safer, faster and lower cost online transfer method,” WorldRemit chief executive officer and founder Ismail Ahmed was quoted as saying.

On the other hand, BPI vice- president and head of inward remittance Melinda V. Dulay said the partnership would allow the local lender to further expand their fund transfer services to more Filipinos abroad.

Money sent home by OFWs reached $13.813 billion as of end-June, according to central bank data, 4.7% higher than the $13.192 billion recorded during the same six-month period in 2016.

About 98% of remittances received by OFW families are used to buy food and household needs, according to results of the third quarter consumer expectations survey of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Remittance inflows as well as business process outsourcing revenues have constantly been cited as key drivers of domestic private consumption, which in turn supports overall economic growth.

The BSP expects remittances to hit a fresh record high at $28 billion this year, up by 4% from last year’s $26.9 billion. — Melissa Luz T. Lopez