In 2020, 272 million migrants* sent the equivalent of $689 billion* through traditional bank transfers, and a whopping 1.76 trillion through underground remittances. Traditional remittance methods no longer meet today's standards.
Migrants are important for economic growth, remitting money home through various channels such as banks or money transfer services like Western Union, MoneyGram, and most of the time through underground remittances.
Data from United Nations World Migrant Report
Estimated the total of $1.76 trillion* was transferred through "underground remittances or Hawala",** which are usually private companies, agencies, brokers, and syndicates that carry out remittances as a paid service.
Most migrants, who frequently send remittances to family relatives and friends in their countries of origin, find the underground transfer beneficial. Underground Remittance facilitates the flow of money between underdeveloped countries where formal banking is too expensive or difficult to access. Both methods of remittance incur high fees such as bank charges and unfair exchange rates.
Hawala is an informal method of transferring money without any physical money actually moving. It is described as a "money transfer without money movement." Another definition is simply "trust."
more information about Hawala here
2.5 million migrants from Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos are documented in Thailand. They have limited access to the bank and financial services. Similarly, their families back home are underbanked or unbanked.