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Inclusive Cross-Border Remittances: Mojaloop and Inclusive Real-Time Payments

Making Remittances Cheaper and Faster for the Singapore-to-Philippines Corridor

21 July 2023

Introduction: Cross-border remittance has long been plagued by high costs, slow processing times, and limited accessibility, hindering the economic well-being of overseas migrant workers and their families. Recognizing the urgency to address this global challenge, a collaborative effort between ThitsaWorks, INFITX (previously ModusBox), and Visa resulted in the successful awarding of a Proof of Concept (POC) grant by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Financial Sector Technology and Innovation (FSTI) in 29-June-2022. The objective was to develop a groundbreaking solution leveraging innovative technologies and payment networks to deliver cheaper, faster, and transparent cross-border remittance services, with a particular focus on low-income rural areas.

The Project's Vision: By harnessing the potential of the open-source Mojaloop payment technology platform and connecting affordable sub-national instant payment systems (IPSs) to national and international payment networks, the project aimed to demonstrate how affordable and efficient remittance services can be extended to underserved regions. This initiative, supported by the Visa Direct network as the international payment network, targeted the Singapore-Philippines corridor, a significant migration route with a sizable population of migrant workers.

Key Design Principles: To ensure the success of the project and promote financial inclusion, four key design principles were established: a user-centric approach, expedited time-to-market, scalability, and replicability. By prioritizing end-users, minimizing implementation costs, utilizing existing solutions, and focusing on speed, the project aimed to deliver a more effective and cost-efficient remittance flow.

Technical Objectives: Eight technical objectives were identified to evaluate the project's readiness and measure progress. These objectives encompassed inter-system payment, existing interface utilization, cost transparency, and low-cost operations for smaller financial institutions. Each objective guided the exploration and testing of suitable solutions within bilateral sandbox environments, with results compared against the predefined technical targets.

Outcomes and Future Implications: The project's white paper presents the detailed work conducted during the Proof of Concept, showcasing the proposed approaches and their successful outcomes. The project team's diligent efforts not only met the desired technical objectives but also unveiled valuable insights, lessons learned, and potential next steps for future considerations. Moreover, this initiative intends to serve as a blueprint for other developing countries, offering a technical and implementation framework that can be adapted to various remittance corridors worldwide.

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