Why do some industries get disrupted by the Internet and others don’t?
Usually it is down to two factors: friction and expense — and whether these can be removed without affecting the quality of the product or service.
Take buying music - the friction of going to a record store and the expense of paying for a physical CD can be eliminated without reducing your listening pleasure.
Likewise, booking a holiday - you can do it online 24/7 and there’s generally a cost saving. However, the physical act of taking a vacation cannot be done over the internet. Nor can exercising at the gym or going out for dinner.
Transferring money is, curiously, only partly evolved. Domestic payments in many countries have progressed to the point where we can wave our phone in the vague direction of a wireless receiver and an instant transaction is made - it is literally frictionless.
Yet sending money internationally, for millions of people, still involves plodding to a high street money transfer agent, standing in line to be served, and paying over-the-odds for the privilege.
International money transfers are ripe for the removal of both friction and expense, without detriment to the desired outcome, i.e. moving money from Person A to Person B.
A combination of inertia, powerful incumbents and complexity of regulation means it is only in recent years that things have begun to progress.
WorldRemit is driving that digitisation of remittances, on both the send and receive side. The majority of senders now use a smartphone rather than a computer and the fastest growing part of our business is transfers to Mobile Money services.