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IAMTN Weekly Update 08/01/2009


Happy New Year – let’s hope that it is a prosperous one for all of us.

In this, the first weekly update of 2009, we cover items that will probably be representative of the key themes for this year – aside from the global financial crisis – that is mobile payments and financial inclusion.

We will continue to bring you news stories from the industry as well as information on the activities IAMTN is taking on behalf of its members.

Leon Isaacs
Managing Director

1.MTD 2009 – Money Transfers Dubai
9th March 2009, Shangri la Hotel

Following the huge success of the 4th annual London money transfer conference, IAMTN are pleased to announce the date for the 2nd annual Dubai conference. MTD is aimed at executive and money transfer professionals as well as consultants, lawyers, investment bankers and IT solution providers working with the remittances industry.

An exciting and relevant programme has been designed that will address the key current topics in the region and will allow plenty of time for networking.

There are a few sponsorship and speaker opportunities available for this conference so if you are interested please don’t hesitate to contact Charlotte Giles:

Book Now!! To find out delegate costs please contact

If you would like more information about IAMTN and how to become a member of the international organisation for money transfer networks please contact Kellie Waidson:

2. NatWest launches mobile remittance for Polish expats in the UK
NatWest, part of the Royal Bank of Scotland group, has become the first UK bank to launch a mobile phone based international money transfer service for UK customers. The service is initially being launched for the bank’s Polish Welcome Account customers via a partnership with PKO Bank Polski. But the bank says it will look to extend the service to other countries.

The service uses technology from mobile banking network Monilink, a joint venture of Monitise and VocaLink. To make a money transfer, customers simply use the NatWest Mobile Phone Banking service on their mobile phone. The transfers are free of charge if customers are transferring to an account they hold with PKO Bank Polski

Customers can sign up for the service using a secure website and the international money transfer service is automatically available, regardless of which mobile phone network they use, once the customer has completed the enrolment and security process.

Roy Vella, Group Director of Mobile at RBS, comments: “Mobile phone banking is the fastest growing banking channel in the world, and NatWest is committed to being at the forefront of this exciting phenomenon.

“Our research shows that the Polish community in the UK sends home a staggering £1 billion each year. We recognise that our customers want to move this money as cost effectively, securely and conveniently as possible, and often when they are on the move.”

LI comments: ‘This is a logical extension of the Welcome Account Service. It shows that some banks are taking a focused approach to remittances for key customer groups and are also looking to test innovative solutions on them. These types of solutions and the pricing models deployed have the propensity to change the way remittance revenues are generated in the medium term as there are no fees charged but an exchange rate margin appears to be levied.’

3. Immigrants Lack Access to Vital Financial Services
Report Highlights Demand for Credit, Insurance and Improved Financial Education

A new study released by Appleseed examines the use of, and access to, financial services by Mexican immigrants in Chicago, proposing improved practices on the part of financial institutions and money service businesses to meet the needs of this community. The report concludes that immigrants’ ability to build and protect financial assets must be supported by expanded access to banking services, personal credit, and insurance.

“Immigrant Use of Financial Services and Unmet Needs” is the first in a series of three reports to be released by Appleseed over the next six weeks. The reports take a successively broader view of low-income populations and, cumulatively, call for higher levels of pricing transparency and outreach by providers of financial services - banks, lenders and remittance companies.

According to Executive Director Betsy Cavendish, increased outreach to the immigrant community through service and marketing innovation would “help draw attention to other banking and insurance services for which there is substantial demand but limited understanding.”

In addition to recommending ways to strengthen the financial outlook of Latino communities, the study identifies practices by which financial institutions can capture a greater share of the market. According to the survey, there is substantial demand for insurance and credit services, and though the majority of the immigrant population is banked and demonstrates a propensity to save and make regular payments, this community lacks access to such services. Although further research is needed, it appears that financial institutions which bundle, for example, health insurance with credit cards or loan offerings are more likely to meet the needs and demands of the immigrant community.

Remittance services are also important. Though often subsisting on meagre incomes, approximately half of all respondents remit money to Mexico at least once a month to support relatives. And they often do so without knowledge of pricing structures and exchange rates, which can vary dramatically based on the time, date, and location of the transaction.

Improved transparency in pricing would allow immigrants to make more informed decisions about which remittance services to use, helping to save scarce dollars.

LI: This interesting piece of research highlights the need for even greater price transparency which shows the needs for initiatives like the World Bank’s Significantly this report talks about migrants propensity to consume other financial services. This is an area that all businesses should look at seriously.

4 .Juniper Research forecasts Mobile Money Transfers Opportunity for Service Providers to exceed $5bn by 2013

A new analysis by Juniper Research forecasts that Service Provider revenues, derived from mobile money transfer services and remittances, will exceed $5bn globally by 2013 - based on the commissions and charges that they will acquire from the gross value of money transactions made, both domestically within countries and internationally.

In the third report in its Mobile Payments Series, Juniper Research found that there is a significant opportunity for the providers and vendors of mobile money transfer services as the market takes off, beginning as soon as 2010. The study explores how mobile money transfer will transform the ability of the ‘underbanked’ population and migrant workers to make remittances, using their mobile phones as mobile wallets.

Report author Howard Wilcox provided some insight into this new market: “New services and trials are being announced almost every day. Judging from the response from users so far to services like M-PESA and SmartMoney, prospects for these services are excellent, both in developing and developed countries. For many people it has been costly and difficult for them to transfer money via existing services even to friends and family: using mobile phones solves the problem.”

Highlights from the report include:
• Global annual gross transaction value (including the remittance itself) will grow over 10 times between 2009 and 2013
• the opportunity for companies providing these new services is forecast to exceed $5bn by 2013.
• The top 3 regions (W. Europe, Africa and Middle East and Far East & China) will represent over 60% of the global mobile money transfer gross transaction value by 2013.

LI: This article includes more data on mobile payments and their potential. 2009 will be the year when we see significant activity in this area and start understanding more about consumer reaction to the services as we move from concept development to widespread product launches.


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