Every year, natural disasters affect an estimated 160 million people worldwide. In 2020, Statista reported that there were a total of 416 natural disasters worldwide, with the Asian Pacific region experiencing the second-highest number of natural disasters.
In the event of a natural disaster, digital money transfer apps have been proven to be an important resource for people to send money to friends and family affected in other parts of the world. Someone who knows all about this is Matt Montes, the US President of Paysend, a global fintech company on a mission to change how money is moved around the world. The Fintech Times spoke to Matt to find out how digital money is leading the way in helping people affected by natural disasters.
What are the most common financial issues that people affected by natural disasters face?
Every year, natural disasters affect an estimated 16 million people worldwide. Catastrophic events like hurricanes, typhoons, tornadoes and wildfires cause enormous difficulties for those caught in the crosshairs as homes and personal items are damaged. As such, the most common financial issues that arise from people affected by natural disasters include footing the bill for any damage to homes or temporary shelter and replacement for any personal items and food.
What are the quickest ways that you can send money to others affected by natural disasters?
Digital money transfers allow consumers to transfer money to friends and family affected by natural disasters without leaving their homes. In addition, friends or family that are receiving the funds won’t have to travel to a bank or money transfer location to pick up the money that has been sent to them. All that is needed to send money via a digital money transfer app is the recipient’s full name and a bank account number or a Visa or Mastercard number.
Have digital money apps become more popular recently? If so, why?
Digital money transfers have been thrust further into the spotlight last year, given travel restrictions and limited access to in-person financial services due to lockdown measures spurred by COVID-19. As the pandemic persisted, growing unemployment led to consumers sending more money to family and friends across borders to help them manage expenses, like housing, food and medicine, during challenging times. As a result, the popularity of mobile banking solutions and apps that supported digital money transfers and contactless payments boosted. These tools made it simple for the average consumer to securely transfer money anytime, from anywhere – breaking them free from slow, frustrating in-person processes. These solutions also empowered consumers to take greater control over their finances and provided a powerful sense of independence because it made it easier to help others back home.
How is digital money leading the way in helping those affected by natural disasters?
After a natural disaster, those who are impacted need immediate access to funds. Traditional money transfers require travelling to an in-person financial location, which can be difficult and dangerous after a natural disaster. With digital money transfers, consumers can receive money quickly and easily via their smartphones.
Are there any challenges in operating in this sector?
When you’re dealing with money, there will always be challenges. At Paysend, we believe that we believe that we’re not just facilitating a transaction, but we are facilitating a connection. We take this responsibility seriously and ensure our platform is easy to use, delivers funds quickly, and most importantly secure.
How else can fintechs help consumers faced with such disasters?
We can innovate new ways in which to send and receive money that provides similar security and ease. For example, if a consumer’s phone is lost or damaged during a disaster, we need to provide alternative options for consumers to receive real-time and easily accessible money transfers that are still affordable options..