PAYMENT SYSTEMS operator Pouch has partnered with digital payments platform Strike to facilitate remittance payments from the United States to the Philippines.

Through the partnership, customers including Filipino migrants in the US can now send dollars to recipients in the Philippines and have the funds received in local currency.

“The US to Philippines remittance market is one of the largest in the world, and until now, most Filipino-Americans have been limited to outdated options,” Pouch Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ethan Rose said in a statement.

“With Pouch’s partnership with Strike, we are revolutionizing the way cross-border payments are made, empowering people to easily send money to their loved ones back home. We are proud to be a part of building the world’s most powerful payment network for global transactions,” he added.

Citing World Bank data, Pouch said the Philippines is one of the top five global remittance markets in the world as many Filipino families rely on money sent home to cover household expenses. But the average transaction fee is about 4.57% of the total value.

It said it seeks to help achieve the World Bank’s goal of reducing money transfer costs to 3% by 2030 by providing more efficient and convenient payments across borders at the best possible exchange rates.

“Remittances are a broken system and Strike delivers an incredibly empowering experience for people to send money around the world in nearly an instant,” Strike Founder and CEO Jack Mallers said.

“We’re excited to partner with Pouch to advance financial inclusion and bring fast, low-cost cross-border payments via the Lightning Network to the Philippines. Our technology allows us to both improve on the existing cross-border experience and include those that have previously been excluded by legacy payment rails,” he added.

Pouch started in 2021 and built the country’s first lightning wallet to give Filipinos access to globally connected digital payments.

Pouch is connecting the Philippines with the lightning network to ensure clients can operate on this new payment standard.

It said Bitcoin’s lightning network is a technology that boosts financial inclusion and the efficiency of cross-border payments.

Remittances grew by 5.7% to $2.644 billion in November 2022, central bank data showed.

For the January-November period, cash remittances coursed through banks rose 3.3% to $29.38 billion, from $28.43 billion a year earlier. This was below the central bank’s 4% remittance growth projection for 2022. — K.B. Ta-asan