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Julia Bersch, Jean François Clevy, Naseem Muhammad, Mrs. Esther Perez Ruiz, and Mr. Yorbol Yakhshilikov
This paper analyzes the potential for fintech to facilitate cheaper and more efficient remittances, and to enhance financial inclusion in Central America. Digital remittances remain nascent in the region, primarily reflecting behavioral inertia, small cost advantages of digital over traditional channels, and inadequate financial literacy. Through expanded alliances between traditional and fintech operators, digital remittances can further reduce transaction costs and reach those remote, low-income households in a timely and secure manner. A meaningful expansion of fintech remittances necessitates an enabling regulatory environment for digital financial services, and KYC and AML/CFT requirements proportionate to the value of transfers.
Julia Bersch, Jean François Clevy, Naseem Muhammad, Mrs. Esther Perez Ruiz, and Mr. Yorbol Yakhshilikov

: jbersch@imf.org ; jclevyaguilar@imf.org ; muhammad.naseem@etu.uca.fr ; eperezruiz@imf.org ; yyakhshilikov@imf.org ; Contents ABSTRACT I. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY II. INTRODUCTION III. WHAT ARE FINTECH REMITTANCES? IV. U.S. TO CA REMITTANCES CORRIDOR: STYLIZED FACTS A. Operators B. Modes of Transfer C. Remittances Costs V. EMPIRICAL ANALYSIS OF REMITTANCE FEES’ DRIVERS VI. REMITTANCES AND FINANCIAL INCLUSION IN CA VII. REMITTANCES DIGITALIZATION IN CA: COUNTRY CASE STUDIES A. Remittances Digitalization: Supply, Demand, and Regulatory

International Monetary Fund. Statistics Dept.

PRODUCTIVITY A. GDP Versus Welfare B. Globalization C. Productivity PRICE INDEX COMPILATION CHALLENGES AND STATE OF PLAY A. Quality Adjustment and Price Indexes B. Coverage of E-Commerce and the Sharing Economy COMPILATION CHALLENGES AND STATE OF PLAY IN NATIONAL ACCOUNTS A. E-Commerce and Free Products from Online Platforms B. The Sharing Economy C. Lags and Data Gap Concerns COMPILATION CHALLENGES AND STATE OF PLAY IN EXTERNAL SECTOR STATISTICS A. Digital Trade B. Digital Payments and Measurement of Cross-Border Remittances DIGITALIZATION AND

Julia Bersch, Jean François Clevy, Naseem Muhammad, Mrs. Esther Perez Ruiz, and Mr. Yorbol Yakhshilikov

remittancesdigitalization in CA. Adults who own a Mobile Phone but have no Bank Account (Millions) Sources: World Bank 2017, Gallup World Poll. Although traditional cash-based remitters had started to diversify into digital transfers pre- COVID-19 to better meet their customers’ needs, inadequate market competition and behavioral inertia dragged remittancesdigitalization. The advent of COVID-19 is accelerating customers’ and governments’ uptake of digital remittance and payments. As a way of illustration, Zelle’s payments value and volume in the U.S. both