Last year as many as 190m migrant workers sent cash home, according to the World Bank. These remittances amounted to US$337 billion, of which US$251 billion went to developing countries. But the cost of sending hard-earned cash depends on both the source and destination. On average, sending US$500 from Spain to Brazil will incur a modest charge of US$7.68, or a 1.5% fee. Sending the same sum from the Netherlands to Indonesia costs a whopping US$86.41, a 17.3% charge. The Netherlands, Germany and Japan tend to be the priciest places to send money from. Costs are generally lowest in Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Singapore, America and Britain. (economist.com)
With hard times at our doorsteps, all we can say is a remittance mechanism that employs mobile communications would be an excellent idea. By the way, that is one area our research on Mobile2.0@BoP will focus.