BPI ties up with WorldRemit to target OFW remittances

MANILA, Philippines – Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) partnered with UK-based remittance giant WorldRemit in a bid to capture more of the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) remittance market.

The partnership would allow the country's 3rd largest bank "to continue expanding its international fund transfer service offerings to better serve Filipinos around the world," said BPI head of inward remittance Melinda Dulay in a statement on Tuesday, September 12.

"Our focus is to make the experience of our overseas Filipino remitters simpler and easier by providing innovative solutions," she added.

The partnership gives OFWs a convenient suite of options to send money, including an option to send digital money though an instant message.

There are an estimated 2.4 million Filipinos working abroad and more than 10 million in the broader diaspora, which has made the Philippines the biggest receiver of money transferred through WorldRemit's platform.

Since WorldRemit started its operations in the country in September 2011, its customers have completed 4.5 million money transfers to the Philippines.

About 160,000 transactions are now sent every month to the Philippines via the WorldRemit app or website.

Globally, WorldRemit customers send almost 700,000 transfers every month to more than 140 destinations worldwide. Besides the Philippines, it also has a presence in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Singapore, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

The firm also processes 74% of all transfers to mobile money accounts coming from money transfer operators, according to 2016 data by mobile trade group GSM Association.

"Filipinos in the diaspora will now be able to make secure, instant money transfers from the ease of their phones or personal computers directly to loved ones back home, further supporting the transition from costly offline remittances sent from brick and mortar agents to safer, faster, and lower cost online transfer methods," said WorldRemit founder Ismail Ahmed.

For its part, BPI has also been focusing on financial inclusion and micropayments as of late, notably launching its retooled microfinance bank BPI Direct BanKo last July in another indication of the Ayala Group's shift toward digital payments.

Another Ayala-led firm, Globe Telecom, also announced its own remittance partnership with Hong Kong-based startup EMQ this month. – Rappler.com