The global money remittance industry has witnessed significant growth in recent years, largely due to the rise of mobile payment channels and the advancement of modern technologies. According to recent reports, the industry generated a staggering $689 billion in revenue in 2018, with projections estimating that this figure will reach $930.44 billion by 2026.
However, being a financial service, money remittance is not immune to risks and dangers. One of the most pressing concerns is the threat of financial crimes such as money laundering and terrorist financing. The increasing sophistication of the remittance system only exacerbates these risks, making the sector a prime target for criminal activity.
To address these issues, the money remittance industry is heavily regulated, with the primary goal being to minimize or eliminate the risks associated with financial and cybercrime. These regulations are critical for ensuring the safety and security of the remittance system for both customers and businesses alike.
Assessing Money Laundering Within The Money Remittance
Money transfer transactions occur very frequently in the money remittance system, and these transactions may carry risks such as money laundering and terrorism financing. The main reason for these risks is the crime opportunities offered by digital money remittance services. Some factors can be given as examples of the causes of these risks: Money remittance services are difficult to audit by the required authorities. An anonymous transaction can be carried out in the remittance process; criminals can launder more money through this anomaly. Financial criminals can send and receive money through remittance services using money mules. These factors increase the risks of money laundering in money remittance systems.
On the other side, a crucial point should be considered. The lack of local or global regulations in the remittance system or the failure of regulators to check regularly creates a gap in the industry, and criminals can evaluate this gap. Furthermore, institutions that provide money remittance services must also comply with the regulations; not reporting any suspicious transactions to the necessary institutions and not applying the required procedures to their customers also increases the risks in this sector.
Money Remittances Sector' Regulations
We have mentioned that there are some regulations in the money transfer system. These remittance service providers may be subject to the regulations of the countries they are located in, and they have to comply with some global money laundering regulations. One of the institutions with regulations for money transfer globally is FATF, and the other is MONEYVAL. The regulations of FATF and MONEYVAL are valid for their member states. The basis of these regulations is risk assessments, recognition of customers, due diligence, and monitoring of actual transactions.
- The Financial Action Task Force (FATF): FATF is a global organization aimed at preventing money laundering and terrorist financing. The FATF, agreed upon by governments, sets rules and regulations to prevent illegal activities and their associated damage. Over 200 countries implement these regulations. The FATF creates standards to prevent money laundering from various crimes, such as drug trafficking and human trafficking, and is constantly updating its regulations on money laundering and terrorist financing, including cryptocurrencies. In addition to its primary objective of preventing money laundering and terrorist financing, the FATF also plays a regulatory role in maintaining the stability of the financial system and promoting the effective implementation of measures. The organization aims to globalize its anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing stance through The Financial Action Task Force Recommendations. In 2001, the FATF expanded its mission to include the crime of financing terrorism, and in 2012, it also began work to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
- MONEYVAL: The Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures is a body of the Council of Europe. It was established in 1997 and became a monitoring mechanism linked to the Committee of Ministers in 2011. MONEYVAL evaluates compliance with international standards in the fight against money laundering and financing of terrorism and makes recommendations for improvements. Its main objective is to raise awareness about global policies, evaluate compliance in finance, law enforcement, and law, and contribute to the global fight against money laundering and financing terrorism. MONEYVAL's monitoring procedure involves multidisciplinary teams visiting relevant institutions, preparing detailed evaluation reports, and discussing and publishing them. Some of the member states subject to evaluation include Bulgaria, Albania, Estonia, Croatia, and Georgia. Observers of MONEYVAL include the IMF, UNODC, FATF, World Bank, and OSCE.
The Importance of AML Compliance in The Money Remittance System
The remittance system is improving, and this development brings many new players and competitors. Money remittance industry providers are reaching more regions of the world with a wide variety of fast and convenient new services. It is essential to be safe and secure in an industry with so much competition. Money laundering and terrorist financing are security problems for the remittance sector, and the realization of these activities haunts is very negative effects. The realization of these activities lowers the reputation of the businesses and causes them to stay behind the competitors. That's why AML compliance should be one of the top priorities for the remittance industry.
Remittance company providers are subject to local, national, and international regulations. Whether the sender is a money transfer operator or remittance in banking, it is bound by and must adhere to other compliance obligations such as due diligence. Remittance institutions that adhere to compliance programs provide greater operational efficiency and better customer service. Without the regulations, the sender's safe and secure movement from the sender to the recipient would not be possible, and no illegal transactions could be identified. On the other hand, anonymous illegal transactions harm institutions and damage the country's economy. The digital solutions provided by the aml compliance program template should also be spread in the digital money transfers industry, such as Know Your Customer. With these practices, only the regulations are easily complied with so that institutions are not subject to penalties and do not lose their reputation.
Know Your Customer Requirement for Money Remittance Sectors
Know Your Customer is the application that regulators and regulatory remittance service providers must do. KYC aims to ensure that systems are not used for money laundering activities by financial criminals. When remittance service providers do business with a new customer, they follow KYC procedures to determine if they are the people they are talking about when establishing a new business partnership. Through KYC, it is learned who the people are, and the transactions made in this way can also detect the criminals from the beginning and prevent the risks.
In addition to KYC, remittance systems have to perform the Customer Due Diligence (CDD) recommended by the regulators and, where necessary, Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD) procedures. Through CDD, remittance service providers ensure that their customers provide correct information, know their customers, and take action steps according to these risks. Thus, crimes can be prevented before they are committed. Some customers may be Political Exposed Persons (PEP). These people are riskier than others, and Enhanced Due Diligence procedures are required for PEPs and high-risk customers such as them.
Service providers in the money remittance sector must also be vigilant about their relationships with money service businesses (MSBs) that may be associated with high-risk activities, such as those that operate in countries that are known for high levels of corruption or organized crime. To mitigate AML risks in the money remittance sector, service providers must implement effective AML policies and procedures, including customer identification and verification, transaction monitoring, and reporting of suspicious activities. They must also conduct regular training for their employees to ensure that they understand the importance of AML compliance and can identify red flags.
.Importance of Transaction Monitoring
In the world of money remittances, transactions happen at a rapid pace, and some of these transactions carry the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing. Manually monitoring these transactions can be a daunting task for compliance officers. To address this challenge, the industry has turned to technology in the form of Transaction Monitoring.
With advanced features, remittance service providers can create and test dynamic rules and scenarios to automatically monitor transactions for suspicious activity. Real-time alarm management can trigger warnings for flagged transactions, and Suspicious Activity Reports can be generated and sent to relevant authorities when necessary.
By implementing necessary compliance measures, such as KYC, CDD, and Transaction Monitoring, institutions in the remittance sector can mitigate the risks associated with money laundering. Sanction Scanner is an example of an Anti-Money Laundering Compliance software that is suitable for all-sized businesses globally. Stay ahead of the curve with our PEP, Sanctions, and Adverse Media screening tool that uses real-time data to comply with all regional sanctions, CTF, and Anti-Money Laundering regulations.