Shaping the evolution of MSBs in APAC: Lessons learned and the best practices for success

September 15, 2023 |
By - Karen Chan
3 minutes read
3 minutes read
By - Karen Chan

For decades, money transfers received from people working abroad have acted as lifelines of development for many emerging nations. Given their impact, the socioeconomic benefits of MSBs (money service businesses) have been widely acknowledged. Typically, MSBs permit their customers to transfer money, and exchange currencies or cash cheques without needing to rely on bank accounts.

Broadly, MSBs can include corporate entities and individuals who provide either of the above services or a combination of the same. One of the main services that differentiate some MSBs from other enterprises is the offering of international remittances.

Regardless of the service being offered, all MSBs must comply with various regulations in diverse geographies to ensure the operations are fully compliant and within the legal guard rails. The same is true for MSBs in the APAC region.

Keeping this in mind, here are some guidelines for MSBs in APAC for adhering to local laws:


Ensure compliance with regulations:

MSBs in APAC must comply with strict regulatory requirements to operate legally. In countries such as Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines, MSBs are subject to supervision by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Bank Indonesia, and The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, respectively. It is crucial to understand and comply with regulations related to anti-money laundering (AML), countering the financing of terrorism (CFT), and know-your-customer (KYC) requirements. Non-compliance can result in severe consequences, such as fines and even criminal charges.


Invest in technology:

According to a report by Frost & Sullivan, the Asia-Pacific MSB market is projected to reach US$500 billion by 2025, driven by the increased adoption of digital payments and the rise of fintech. Investing in the right technology can let MSBs provide better customer experiences and minimise the risk of fraud. Examples of technology that MSBs can use include online and mobile payment systems, blockchain, and artificial intelligence (AI).


Develop strategic partnerships:

A report by Ernst & Young states that collaboration with banks, fintech, and other industry players can help MSBs in APAC grow their businesses and tap into new markets. Building strategic partnerships can provide MSBs with access to funding, better exchange rates, and allied services that can facilitate their growth. Partnerships can also increase credibility and help MSBs gain the trust of customers.


Offer value-added services:

To stay competitive, MSBs in APAC should look to offer value-added services beyond traditional money transfers. According to a report by McKinsey, MSBs can consider offering microloans, savings products, insurance, and investment services. This could include currency exchange, prepaid cards, bill payment services, and other financial products.


Focus on customer experience:

Providing excellent customer service is essential for MSBs to retain and attract customers. A report by Accenture suggests that MSBs in APAC can improve customer experience by personalizing their services, offering multiple channels for customers to reach out to the business, such as phone, email, or social media, and providing fast and efficient customer support. Additionally, offering competitive exchange rates and low fees can help enhance customer experiences.


Here are some ways whereby TerraPay can help empower MSBs in APAC:

Faster and more affordable cross-border payments
According to a report by the World Bank, the average cost of sending money to the Asia-Pacific region is 6.75%, which is higher than the global average of 6.5%. TerraPay offers a low-cost and instant cross-border payments platform that allows MSBs to send and receive money across borders in real-time. This can help MSBs improve their competitive position by offering faster, more accessible, and affordable services to customers.

Connected to a global network
TerraPay has a deep-rooted global network of partners, including banks, mobile money operators, and other financial institutions, that can enable MSBs to expand their reach and tap into new markets. This will help MSBs in APAC grow their business beyond local regions and offer cross-border services to customers globally.

Compliance with regulatory requirements
TerraPay has a robust compliance framework to ensure all its partners comply with local regulatory requirements, including AML, CFT, and KYC across the globe. This can help MSBs in APAC meet all compliance and regulatory requirements easily and reduce the risk of any non-compliance penalties.

Access to technology and innovation
Over the years, TerraPay has developed an innovative and interoperable infrastructure and solutions platform, enriched with APIs and mobile apps, that assists MSBs in improving operational efficiencies and offering new services to their customers. This can also allow MSBs in APAC to stay up-to-date with the latest technology trends and provide innovative solutions to customers.
In conclusion, TerraPay can play a significant role in driving the growth of MSBs in APAC by providing them with a fast, secure, and cost-effective way to transfer funds globally while ensuring access to a far-reaching global network of partners, and promoting robust compliance.