One in six people in South Africa claim that the cross-border payments they made last year enabled their family and friends to survive the economic crisis

October 3, 2022
  • 59% of people in South Africa who made cross-border payments to family and friends over the last year say recipients wouldn’t have survived financially without that support – vs 40% globally
  • Data shows a rise in the number of people using cross-border payments to support friends and family since last year
  • Globally, over half (54%) of consumers who have made online cross-border payments relied on these payments more than ever due to the coronavirus pandemic, lower than the 68% in South Africa, and with many countries experiencing economic crises now these will continue to provide a lifeline for people with families abroad
  • 85% in South Africa will still use cross-border payments to send money internationally post-pandemic compared to the global average of 71%


Johannesburg, South Africa, 03 October 2022 - The cross-border payments network was vital to the financial survival of families around the world at the height of the Covid-19 crisis and continues to play a key role post-pandemic, according to the 2022 Mastercard Borderless Payments Report.

Mastercard surveyed nearly 8,000 consumers across 15 different markets and found that despite evidence of economic recovery – with earnings up globally compared to before the pandemic – and international travel opening up again, all countries are sending and receiving cross-border payments more frequently than 12 months ago, with ‘supporting family’ a key driver for sending money abroad.

Nearly six in ten people (59%) globally say they send money abroad to support family and friends, by far the most common reason for making a cross-border payment – this rises to 61% in South Africa. With countries around the world bordering on recession or experiencing economic crises, this trend is set to remain.

Globally, over four in ten (42%) people are making or receiving more cross-border payments than 12 months ago. This is compared to 51% in South Africa. Over the same period, 25% are making or receiving less cross-border payments, higher than the global figure of 19%.

More than two years on, the economic effects of recent years and of other recent global events mean people are still finding it difficult to make ends meet. Nearly half (45%) of those who make online cross-border payments surveyed globally say that family abroad are still struggling financially and need their financial support, while 40% say their families back home would not have survived the recent times if they hadn’t been able to send money home to help support them. In South Africa, these figures rise to 59%.

And while more than half (54%) say they have relied on online cross-border payments more than ever before, the data suggests the trend is here to stay, with 71% saying that even though they can now travel home, they will continue to send money online for ease. To enable this, it’s important that cross-border payments are fast, transparent, and secure.

Keeping the transaction as well as personal and financial information secure is the most important consideration for people when making a cross-border payment. Over four in ten (41%) people ranked this as most important – with the figure reaching 46% in South Africa.

Overall, almost nine in ten (88%) people who make online cross-border payments are confident in the security of online cross-border payments – 91% in South Africa – as the cross-border payments network plays an increasingly central role in the global economy.

Stephen Grainger, Executive Vice President, Mastercard Cross Border Services said: “A well-functioning cross-border payment ecosystem has long been a crucial element of the global economy and remittances have become even more vital for families to get by given the huge economic challenges countries around the world are facing. Cross-border payments provided a lifeline for many during the pandemic and will continue to do so for the months ahead - playing a key role in keeping the economy moving and allowing families to put food on the table.”

Mastercard has facilitated increased volume and value of international payments between people and small businesses during the pandemic. Mastercard’s Cross Border Services enable banks, non-banking financial institutions and digital players to support multiple payment use cases and reach 90% of the world’s population in 100+ markets, improving predictability and certainty for international transfers. A key driver in advancing the company’s multi-rail proposition, Mastercard’s services deliver the choice to globally pay out to cards, bank accounts, digital wallets, and cash agents through a single, secure connection. Learn more at

The Mastercard Borderless Payments Report is available to download at




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