The cost of sending international remittances with mobile money is more than 50% less expensive than using global money transfer operators (MTOs), according to a report published by GSMA.

The average cost of sending $200 via mobile money account was 2.7%, compared to 6% when using global MTOs, the study found.

The research report says that mobile money providers are strategically well-placed to lower international remittance costs by increasing competition, leveraging existing networks and infrastructure, and capturing smaller remittance values than traditional players.

GSMA chief regulatory officer John Giusti said: “Mobile money is one of the most exciting innovations in financial services, with more than 400 million registered consumer accounts across over 90 countries.

“While today mobile money services are largely used for domestic transactions, international transfers represent the fastest-growing segment of mobile money services. In just a few years’ time, mobile money has moved from a purely domestic service to one that allows migrants to send remittances between more than 20 countries globally.

“Through mobile money services, the industry is directly supporting the goal of expanded financial inclusion for migrants and their families by reducing international remittance costs, as captured in UN SDG10.c. The potential gains of achieving this target could be as high as US$20 billion in additional income for remittance recipients,” Giusti added.

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In 2015, global remittances totalled $581.6bn, of which $431.6bn, or nearly 75%, was sent to the developing world.