Remittances to Mexico on the Up, Up and Up!

Despite the FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) by the current Trump Administration when it comes to Mexico, The Border Wall, Clamp down on both legal and illegal immigration, etc. One would imagine that the remittances (money being sent back home) would dwindle.

Yet, just the opposite has happened. Figured released by the Central Bank of Mexico (Bank of Mexico), January 2019 remittance figures saw a boost of 6.5%.

Mexico received 2,414.94 Million Dollars. Remittances from the United States increased also by 4.39% to an annual rate of 7.71 million remittances. The average transaction value also rose from US$ 307 to US$ 313.

2018’s annual number of remittances received by Mexico was 33.470 Billion Dollars.

Blockchain Payments by UAE Remittance Firms

Two UAE remittance firms, UAE Exchange and Unimoni  have gone live with blockchain payments, using Ripple’s technology, RippleNet.

In the initial phase of this new technology adoption, customers can make cross border payments in real time to Thailand. Finablr group, owner of UAE Exchange, Unimoni, Remit2India and many others, has partnered with Thailand’s Siam Commercial Bank to offer this service to its international customers. More countries will be added in the coming days.

“The adoption of blockchain opens up considerable potential to streamline remittances and provide a frictionless, fast and secure payments experience. The launch of this service is a significant milestone for us in our commitment to enable seamless services for our customers, and we thank our partners Ripple and Siam Commercial Bank for their collaborative support in this journey.”

Promoth Manghat, CEO Finablr

More on this story: Two Remittance Firms Go Live With Ripple-Based Payments to Thailand

Mizuho Financial Group’s launching StableCoin for Payments & Remittances

Japanese powerhouse banking giant Mizuho Financial Group will be launching its own stablecoin on 1st of March 2019. After JPM Coin as announced by JP Morgan, this is huge!

The coin will be called J-Coin (“J” presumably for Japan).

The megabank is teaming up with 60 or so fellow financial institutions spanning most of the country. They together host a combined 56 million user accounts, which serve directly as digital wallets on the J-Coin Pay platform.

Source

Not only will the coin be used for remittance payments, it will also be used for Retail payment, target, the loyalty/points market set by Line and Rakuten.

As reported, each existing bank account will be directly linked with J-Coin digital wallets, making it easy for the stablecoin to be adopted by consumers. The J-Coin currency will be managed by users via a dedicated mobile application dubbed J-Coin Pay, which will feature retail crypto payments via QR codes at checkout.

Per the Nikkei report, J-Coin will be a stablecoin fixed at a price of 1 yen (~$0.01 USD) per unit, which can be transferred between J-Coin wallets and Mizuho bank accounts free of charge.

Mizuho reportedly aims to onboard a minimum of 300,000 stores and sign up at least 6.5 million users within a few years. While these numbers seem quite large, in reality, Mizuho is not setting the bar too high.


For instance, the popular chat app provider, Line, who launched their own cryptocurrency, already have 79 million Japanese users and are currently supported at 1.3 million stores.

Source

It would be interesting to see how more and more of these stablecoins will link tot he crypto-exchanges (for those wanting to cross-trade on these coins). Do listen to an interview by Andy Bryant, COO of bitFlyer Europe on Around The Coin who spoke earlier about the need for licensed crypto-exchanges who will bridge these stable coins to the regular users.

Future of Cross Border Payments

You don’t get smarter just by standing in the middle of the field, you get smarter by reading what the field publishes. McKinsey & Company‘s Global Banking Practice has a short 21-page report called: A Vision for the future of Cross Border Payments. This is a report done jointly with SWIFT.

One particular image that stuck out was this one (see below). How much has changed? You decide.

Cost per Single Cross Border Payment
Cost per single international cross border transaction.

The report (21 pages, PDF) can be downloaded from here. (No registration required). Report publish date: cira October 2018.

Remittances Grow in Developing Countries

Remittances to low and middle income countries are projected to reach a new world record, states the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief December 2018.

Remittances flows to low and middle income countries.

According to the brief, remittance to developing nations is estimated to reach $528 billion by the end of 2018, which is a robust 7.8% growth since 2017. On the other hand, global remittances, including the developed nations, are expected to increase by 10.3% and reach to $689 billion.

In addition to this, future remittance is also expected to grow to the developing countries. In 2019, the figures are estimated to grow by 4% and reach $549 billion. On the other hand, global remittance will grow by 3.7% and reach $715 billion in 2019.

Find out more about remittance figures and trends here, Accelerated remittances growth to low- and middle-income countries in 2018.

Guidance on Existing AML Program Rule Compliance Obligations for MSB Principals with Respect to Agent Monitoring | FinCEN.gov

With the recent Western Union fiasco and the fines levied by FinCEN (nice income by the FinCEN!), MSBs are often complacent when it comes to their responsibility regarding Agent Monitoring. I thought I’d dig up the original rule book of the FinCEN guidance – and here it is.

Source: Guidance on Existing AML Program Rule Compliance Obligations for MSB Principals with Respect to Agent Monitoring | FinCEN.gov

Mass deportation of Jamaicans under Trump administration could affect remittances – Immigration attorney | Loop News Jamaica

With the recent ascent to the throne, President Donald Trump’s government is making the illegal aliens in the US quite worried. Not only is it the illegal aliens, but also their original countries from where they came from as they are dependent on these remittances, read: lucrative Benjamin’s that come from the US.

Countries like Jamaica are bracing themselves, for what many say is inevitable – mass deportation of aliens and the significant reduction in remittances.

 

Walker-Huntington said the country needs to be prepared for an increase in the number of deportees. “It [deportation] is going to happen,” she stressed. Speaking at the Victoria Mutual Wealth Management Economic Forum, under the theme “TRUMPONOMICS: Repercussions for Jamaica” on Monday, Walker-Huntington said there are some 70,000 undocumented people, who recently arrived in the US and are sending back remittances to Jamaica.

Source: Mass deportation of Jamaicans under Trump administration could affect remittances – Immigration attorney | Loop News Jamaica

Western Union Settlement: A Cautionary Tale for Bitcoin Money Transmitters | Bitcoin Magazine

This should be no surprise. Many-a-times I have written about the need to have full transaction visibility in the remittance lifecycle, but it seems that is not understood by many. Up-stream aggregators in many cases are looking at bulk payments and do not have access to the elementary data of the transactions that are flowing through their banking or remittance channels.

The availability of having full transaction visibility ensures that there is a transparent policy in the company and with that, the confidence to execute transactions because nothing is being masked. It goes without saying that a corrupt agent or one with nefarious purposes can always endanger the pipeline, hence the need for redundant checks and balance, not to mention, spot audits.

Bitcoin Magazine is the original source of information, news and commentary about Bitcoin, the blockchain and digital currencies.

Source: Western Union Settlement: A Cautionary Tale for Bitcoin Money Transmitters | Bitcoin Magazine