Keywords:remittances, money transfer, households, families, return migration
The World Bank’s latest brief on migration and development launched in October 2017 revealed that remittances to developing countries comprising three quarters of the total global remittance flows are set to grow about 4.8% to reach $450 billion. This is seemingly a reflection of the economic growth recorded in Europe and North America. Therefore not surprising to see the receiving countries in this period will be the migrant sending countries to these destinations. Hence India continues to be the top recipient. As we have analysed in the case of remittances from the UK (See Sirkeci and Privara, 2017), cost of sending money to the poorest parts of the world is the most expensive while overall remittance costs remain very high in contrast to the target of 3%, the Sustainable Development Goal. The World Bank brief pins the high cost down to exclusive deals between post offices and money transfer operators in certain countries and the security concerns resulting in higher processing costs for the operators and banks. This is very relevant to the discussions presented in this issue of Remittances Review investigating Hawala system in the Gulf countries and the use of virtual currencies in cross border money transfers. Both trends are benefiting from high costs of traditional money transfer methods via banks and money transfer operators.