Remitly eyes Philippine remittance market


Andrea Barnes
Andrea is Communications Manager at FXcompared. Prior to joining FXcompared, she worked as a communications consultant for companies seeking guidance with their social media, marketing and digital… Read more
  • American money transfer company is seeking to gain an estimated 40% of the Philippine remittance
  • Remittance to the country grows about 8% per
  • The Philippines receives an estimated $28bn in remittances per year

US-based money transfer startup Remitly is eyeing a larger piece of the Philippine remittance pie, and it is seeking to gain around 40% of this market by 2022. Armed with an aggressive expansion plan, the brand aims to double the number of countries it caters to and this includes the Philippines and other Asian nations. Remitly currently serves a total of 47 countries and it wants to expand this number to over 100 within the next few years.

While the American company’s expansion plan is of utmost importance, Remitly executives note that the areas they plan to offer international money transfer services to need to have a remittance market that is large enough for Remitly to reach its revenue goals.

During a visit to one of Manila’s business districts, Remitly’s VP for Global Business Development Gene Nigro said: “The market [here] is growing [by] about 8 percent a year.” Based on 2017 data from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the country received a total of $28.2 from January to November making the Southeast Asian nation one of the largest remittance markets in the world. While money transfer services such as Western Union and MoneyGram exist, the country’s need for faster and more convenient fund transfers has kept growing.

Nigro added during a side-line interview with the Business Mirror that the brand wants to serve the Filipino diaspora by making sending money home a lot cheaper and faster. Filipinos living in the Philippines can also send money abroad through Remitly’s partners.

The brand established its remittance service for Filipinos overseas in 2011 and has been serving immigrants in the US ever since. Due to the large population of Filipinos working and living abroad, Remitly decided to expand its services in Canada and Australia. According to reports, the American remittance platform plans to expand to 11 new markets in Europe as well.

As of September 2018, an estimated $2bn has been sent to the Philippines from North America alone. Areas that receive funds through the brand include Bulacan, Cebu, Cavite, Davao del Sur, Laguna, Metro Manila, Negros Occidental Pangasinan, and Pampanga. Remitly’s disbursement network in the country includes major banks such as Banco de Oro, Metrobank, Philippine National Bank, and the Bank of the Philippine Islands. The platform also works with LBC, M. Lhuillier, Cebuana Lhuillier, Globe, Villarica Pawnshop, SM Department Store, and Bayad Center.

Remitly recently inked a deal with fintech Stripe to accommodate more Filipino communities abroad, which include those who work and live in Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Finland, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Spain.

Based on Remitly figures, the average monthly remittance from Filipinos abroad is $270 noting that Filipinos overseas send this average amount around 13 times per annum. According to Nigro, Filipinos saved an estimated $9m in transfer fees through Remitly. The company’s representatives add that the country, along with Mexico and India, are its top three remittance recipients. Nigro said: “That was the strategy: To focus first on the big markets. And now we’re going to the second tier markets.” Second tier markets in Asia are Vietnam and Indonesia based on recent numbers. Vietnam receives an estimated $20bn annually while Indonesia receives around $10bn a year.

Find out more about international money transfer services here.

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