The dominant position of banks and major money transfer companies such as Western Union and MoneyGram is threatened by startups and smaller MTOs. They still have a significant advantage over the pack of challengers, but the advancements of technology are working in the favor of the underdogs. They use new money transferring solutions and in the process fragment the industry, while providing clients with inexpensive alternatives.
The main players in the money transfer industry
The money transfer industry is contested by fintech, MTOs and the blockchain. The latter is not yet a fully fledged service and although it shows a lot of promise, its development is highly unpredictable. The blockchain has the potential of starting a revolution in the money transfer industry and threatens big banks with its low fees and faster transactions. For the time being, it has the shortcoming of involving fewer users and few understanding the technologies behind it.
Fintech companies are user-friendly and just as the name suggests, use the latest technologies to drive the costs down. Financial technology ventures attract customers directly using SEO and SMO solutions, which are inexpensive and in turn allow them to provide affordable services. They are the main threat for established players and also the largest banks which dominate the market but are losing their grip on it.
MoneyGram and Western Union are second only to big banks when it comes to money transfer industries and they perform a significant percentage of all transactions. Not so long ago, they had a monopoly and could afford to charge users high commissions, because they had no real alternatives. In the face of relentless assaults from fintech companies, they put the full weight of their bankrolls to develop new technologies that should help them consolidate their lead.
The world’s biggest money transfer markets
A lot of money is transferred beyond borders these days and most money is sent from the United States, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the UK and Germany. A significant percentage ends up in India, China, the Philippines, Mexico and Nigeria, for a combined $600 billion remitted worldwide in 2014. Major corridors are from the US to Mexico and China, but also from the United Arab Emirates to India.
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The main money transfer services?
Banks and traditional MTOs perform most of the money transfers and they’ve always been the dominant players. Large, reliable and trustworthy, they are still preferred by many of those who send money back home, despite the fact that they offer the most expensive services.
Peer-to-peer money transfer operators are the main challengers for the establishment, as they remove the middleman from the equation. They use technology as a springboard to progress and allow people from all over the world to send money directly without involving a bank. Brokers work in a similar manner, but the difference between them and peer-to-peer MTOs is that they are used by larger companies and experts. They move larger amounts and are more concerned about cutting down the costs.
The latest trends in international money transfers
Consumer Remittance Providers are gaining traction among migrant workers and immigrants who support their families back home. They prefer the online solutions offered by these companies to the services promoted by Western Union and MoneyGram. The speed, reliability and lower costs associated to P2P money transfers have won them over and virtually none returned to conventional MTOs.
International Payments Specialists are also consolidating their position and challenging the banks by using new technologies. They are well versed in the art of using SEO and SMO techniques to attract customers and they invest only a fraction of what banks spend.