Last year, Ghanaians living abroad sent home nearly $3.5 billion and the run up to Christmas is always one of the busiest times to send money. New data from WorldRemit reveals that, by switching from traditional offline money transfer services to lower cost digital channels, thousands of Ghanaians could receive an extra Christmas present this year.

The savings were highest when sending from Australia to Ghana, with an average saving of $25* - enough to buy a Christmas dress or a Christmas grocery hamper. 

Transaction costs are only part of the story and a significant challenge at this time of year is travelling to an agent during opening hours. With approximately 50% of the Ghanaian diaspora population living in Europe, the United States and Canada, before the advent of app and web-based money transfer services, tens of thousands would be facing freezing temperatures to travel to an agent to pay in money - often needing to leave work early to do so.

WorldRemit data suggests that their customers sending to Ghana send money around 3-4 times a month on average. It might cost up to $12 for a return trip from Eastern Region to Accra and the journey takes approximately 2 hours each way. With nearly 70% of customers sending to Ghana opting for mobile money transfers, services like WorldRemit also reduce the costs for those receiving money as they do not need to travel to an agent every time they need to collect their funds or to pay someone else a share to do so. Savings on travel alone during the festive season could be enough to buy a box of chocolates.

A recent poll by WorldRemit revealed that over 80% of people have found that switching to digital channels has made money transfer simpler not just for senders, but also for their recipients. However, the majority of global remittance flows are still going through informal channels. 

Companies like WorldRemit are working hard to help more people move to more cost-effective and convenient money transfer methods. The incentives on offer for existing customers who refer a friend to WorldRemit could be enough to buy a good quality pair of shoes in Ghana.

Pardon Mujakachi, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa at WorldRemit, said: “Sending money is an important way for many people spending Christmas away from home to connect with their loved ones and play a part in the festivities back home even when they can’t be there in person. Yet, taking time out of work to travel to agents to send and receive money, can make Christmas a time of stress rather than joy. ”

By enabling our customers to send money abroad in a few taps from their phones, we can ensure that more of their hard-earned cash goes straight into the hands of friends and family this Christmas, freeing up time for both senders and recipients to relax and enjoy the festive period.”