Since introducing the product in 2017, the number of remittance transactions facilitated by Amret has grown exponentially and exceeded one million by the end of 2019. By 2019, the average transaction size has also increased to $480, resulting in an estimated US$ 553 million of domestic remittances sent.
Family+ Implementation Learnings
Although the use of mobile tellers was identified as an opportunity in the service design and piloting, Amret found it challenging to compete with the convenience provided by mobile money operator agents. Many of the customers Amret tried to reach, such as garment workers, could not use the service during working hours and this caused a low uptake among potential customers. The characteristics of the account, particularly the lack of flexibility in the registration process and transfer amount, also contributed to this. Amret learned lessons from these challenges and adapted the business model to offer customers greater flexibility. The Family+ accounts were integrated into their existing Convenient Accounts, allowing a wider group of clients to access the remittance service.
To increase the accessibility of their service, Amret has tapped on the extensive network of mobile money operator agents available in Cambodia, namely Wing and TrueMoney agents, to increase customer reach. Through UNCDF's Customer Journey Action Research trainings in Cambodia, Amret realized the significant presence of dormant accounts amongst its customers. The partnership with Wing and TrueMoney was therefore proposed as a solution to address this challenge, and also helped to make up for the lack of an agent network license due to Amret’s status as a formal microfinance institution in Cambodia.
After partnering with these mobile money agents for the remittance service, the number of transactions increased significantly as shown in the above graph, from an average of 37 per month in 2017 (with 20 percent being sent via mobile money agents), to 67,283 transactions per month (with 97 percent being sent via mobile money agents) in 2019.
The Mobile Savings Officers are still operating today as they continue to support sending domestic remittances from urban areas to friends and family in rural areas, providing an important financial safety net to last mile local communities.
Through this a few key lessons were learnt:
- Assess customers’ needs at service touch points in terms of convenience and ease of access to ensure competitiveness of service.
- Forge partnerships with existing players in the market to overcome regulatory and other organizational limitations.
With at least 180 garment, footwear and travel goods factories in Cambodia grinding to a halt as a result of COVID-19, the importance of the garment sector cannot be understated, where over 150,000 workers have been affected. This has a direct impact on domestic remittances, and the livelihoods of the two million Cambodian family members who depend on them. In the wake of COVID-19, UNCDF continues to work to address the digital financial inclusion needs of garment workers in Cambodia and the wider ASEAN region to protect livelihoods and improve financial health.
About the United Nations Capital Development Fund
The UN Capital Development Fund makes public and private finance work for the poor in the world’s 47 least developed countries (LDCs).
UNCDF offers “last mile” finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development.
UNCDF’s financing models work through three channels: (1) inclusive digital economies, which connects individuals, households, and small businesses with financial eco-systems that catalyze participation in the local economy, and provide tools to climb out of poverty and manage financial lives; (2) local development finance, which capacitates localities through fiscal decentralization, innovative municipal finance, and structured project finance to drive local economic expansion and sustainable development; and (3) investment finance, which provides catalytic financial structuring, de-risking, and capital deployment to drive SDG impact and domestic resource mobilization.
UNCDF’s Shaping Inclusive Finance Transformations (SHIFT) in ASEAN programme is supported by the Australian Government.
The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of UNCDF, the United Nations or any of its affiliated organizations or its Member States.