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Digital remittances: re-writing the story of families everywhere

By Breno Andrade, Head of Visa Direct for Visa Latin America and the Caribbean

Amongst the many money movement use cases enabled by Visa Direct, one of my favorites is the cross-border remittances one, considering the positive domino effect it triggers. Through remittances, the influx of money from abroad has a direct impact first on the individual receiving the remittance, however that is just the beginning of a sequence of events energizing the whole community surrounding the individual, like the small market, local hair saloon, the neighborhood restaurant, and ultimately affecting the entire economy. 

Particularly in the age of digitalization, remittances have become important monetary lifelines that are crucial to the welfare of not only families everywhere, but communities at large considering that remittances inflows can represent a significant portion of the economy of some countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. For example, according to the most recent data from the World Bank, the personal remittances received in El Salvador, Honduras and Jamaica represented more than 25% of these countries GDP.¹

Visa Direct can help to solve the traditional challenges of physical payments

Without a doubt, innovation in money movement has enabled greater speed, transparency, convenience, and cost-savings for those that depend on remittances. These days, 53% of consumers admit to turning to digital apps to send and receive funds around the world. A recent study published by Visa surveyed more than 14,000 consumers across ten different countries (including Mexico and Peru) and found that digital remittances are quickly surpassing other popular ways of money movement like going to a physical branch or sending cash or checks.² And that’s because it’s clear that digital solutions like those powered in Latin America and the Caribbean by payment platforms like Paysend, MACH, Kash and Palla – and enabled by Visa Direct– can largely solve for the traditional challenges of physical payments, which include long wait lines, slow or unknown delivery times and tedious processes. 

Digital remittances with Visa Direct can reach over 7 billion receiving endpoints in the world, either through a debit card number, bank account or digital wallet. From Chile to Central America, we have partnered with different partners in the region to offer digital remittances solutions to more people in our countries. Take Kash for example, they are using Visa Direct technology to move money faster across Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. And this is just the beginning. 

The adoption of digital technologies in Latin America and the Caribbean

In Latin America and the Caribbean specifically, the inflow of remittances and adoption of digital technologies has been both exponential and consistent. On one side, the digital revolution has permeated into all facets of daily life, while remittances activity has steadily increased. The two factors together result in a visible change in consumer preference and behavior. Today, more than 70% of remittance senders in Mexico and Peru prefer digital payment methods over physical methods, signaling a healthy increase in adoption over the last year. Consequently, the adoption rate of digital payments is so high that few users report any barriers when using app-based payment methods to move their money. Security is also playing an important role with many consumers across the region considering that in app-based digital technology, when used to send and receive money, is the safest viable option. 

Despite some of the global trends, noticeable shifts towards a digital culture and a rise in adoption, remittances still represent one of the most fragmented financial service sectors in terms of technology, economic models, providers, and user experience. All of which represents incredible opportunity. With solutions like Visa Direct, we can be agents of change - lowering the cost of remittances and peer-to-peer money transfers and adding efficiencies to facilitate getting money in the hands of more people in a way that works best for them. Additionally, our work with Visa Direct creates new and improved opportunities for financial inclusion, streamlining the money movement process and leaving fewer people out of the global financial system. 

At Visa, empowering our global partners and remitters and redefining the remittance landscape is a top priority. For that, we remain committed to collaborate with all players of the ecosystem to build a remittance network that uplifts more people, in more places.

If you want to learn more how Visa Direct is helping transform global money movement, click here.

Source (1) Personal remittances received in 2021 (% of GDP) | Data (

Source (2) Visa Report - Money Travels: 2023 Digital Remittances Adoption