G8 heads of government and states endorsed the objective of reducing the cost of remittance services by five percentage points in five years at the July 2009 summit in L'Aquila, Italy. The objective was strongly supported by the Global Remittances Working Group created by the World Bank.
An increased level of transparency can effectively drive down the cost of sending remittances. The General Principles for International Remittances Services (PDF, 299KB), in particular the General Principles 1, insist on the fundamental role of full information and transparency in the market.
The creation of publicly available databases containing detailed information on the cost of sending remittances has been identified as one of the most efficient means to improve the transparency of the market.
Collection of data at a national or regional level can be more frequent, detailed, and tailored to the needs of the local communities. Thus, these databases can actually serve as a tool that allows remitters to easily compare different services and costs, and have a more accurate idea on how much the beneficiary will receive. At the same time, the publication of price comparison tables helps to push the actors competing in the market towards efficiency and lower costs.
Over the last few years, a number of national or regional databases for remittance prices comparison have been developed (see Resources). However, these sites do not always use a consistent methodology.
A unified methodology:
- makes it easier and faster to develop new databases,
- supports international institutions and national authorities in their efforts to improve the collection of data on remittances,
- provides remitters with a consistent format when they move from one country to another, and,
- allows the creation of a worldwide network of national and regional databases, certified by the World Bank and listed here, so that information is shared by a wider audience in more countries.
The World Bank has identified 12 key minimum mandatory requirements of a national remittance price database. The World Bank will certify the databases that meet the minimum requirement and authorize them to use the icon below.
- Double price points data gathering
- Collection of fees for the sender
- Collection of the exchange rate applied
- Provision of total amount of the identified costs
- Speed of the transaction
- Type of service provided
- Minimum of 60% of market coverage per corridor
- Independence of the researchers
- Validation through mystery shopping exercises
- No advertisement policy
- No subscription policy and clear funding process
- Linkage with other WB-approved databases
Download the full version of the World Bank Policy Paper Remittance Prices Comparison Databases: Official Requirements (PDF, 173KB).
Currently, databases for Africa, Australia/New Zealand, Central America, France, Italy, and Norway have been certified by the World Bank.