Should I use Remitly for money transfers?
Services Offered by Remitly
Remitly Review: Executive SummaryRemitly is a digital remittance company that allows customers to send money to family and friends in other countries. The company was founded in 2011 by Matt Oppenheimer and Jack Hughes, and is headquartered in Seattle, Washington. Remitly has a network of over 30,000 banks and cash pick-up locations in 55 countries, and offers its services in 65 currencies. Similar to companies like Wise, it is primarily focused on remittances and is not really suitable for large transfers. That is why customers do not receive any dedicated support and no hedging tools.
Our Top Rated Remitly Alternatives
On Money Transfer Comparison, we have reviewed 80+ money transfer services, 40+ of which could be considered direct Remitly competitors. View our best rated Remitly money transfer alternatives which have received higher ratings below:
- Min Transfer: £/€/$ 250
- Currencies Supported: 120
- Offices : UK, EU, USA, HK, and UAE.
- Our Rating : 92.8% 🌟Best for Large Transfers🌟
- Business Oriented, Many High Profile Business Customers
Industry Veteran since 1979
Safest and Most Geared Towards Large Amounts
Up Close and Personal Service by Professionals
Fix Today's Rates for Up to 2 Years with a Forward Contract
- Min Transfer: £/€/$/A$/NZ$/$CAD 100
- Currencies Supported: 140
- Offices : UK, EU, USA, Australia, NZ and Canada.
- Editorial App Rating : 98.4%
- Min Transfer: £/€ 1,000
- Currencies Supported: 138
- Offices : UK, Europe.
- Our Rating : 90.6%
TrustPilot Rating : 4.3 / 5
- Very Quick to Respond in a Friendly Manner
Competitive Rates and No Wire Fees
Very High Customer Satisfaction
Operating from Cornwall, Less Operating Costs Rolled Over to Customers
Directors Have Dozens of Years of Industry Experience
This Remitly review will showcase both the good and the bad of using the remittance provider to send money home. With thorough research, we present the fees and exchange rates offered by Remitly, the different ways Remitly can transfer money abroad and the payment routes and destinations Remitly covers. We’ll provide a recommendation based on what existing clients have had to say about their experience with Remitly, combined with our expert comparison of Remitly competitors.
Is Remitly Safe?
As a tech-focused remittance provider, Remitly is highly similar in nature to WorldRemit and the now PayPal owned Xoom. Like WorldRemit and Xoom, Remitly has tried to bring a fresh, mobile friendly approach to the way migrants remit money home. Going by existing client reviews, Remitly arguably adopts this mobile-friendly approach the best.
To a slightly lesser extent, Remitly is also similar to the services provided by Wise (formerly Transferwise) and CurrencyFair. If it’s specifically a bank-to bank transfer you’re after then we’d certainly recommend looking at Wise and Currencyfair as viable Remitly alternatives. Both firms have transparent FX spreads as well as payment fees. Whereas Remitly clearly advertises their payment fees, but does not specify their exchange rate spreads (it’s often in the FX spread where most money is lost/made on a transfer).
Established in 2011, Remitly is a remittance provider with a bold vision to “transform the lives of immigrants and their families by providing the most trusted financial service products on the planet”. Remilty seeks to help the millions of immigrants around the world who make a big sacrifice in leaving their families behind to work in another country. They know that by providing a fair and affordable service that their customers’ hard-earned money can stretch farther and more makes it to their loved ones safely.
Remitly’s values and guiding principles are not just some PR stunt either – it’s clear they take their social objectives importantly. This is demonstrated by Remitly CEO Matt Openheimer testifying to the US congress (pages 7-8) on the devastating impact a proposed ‘2% remittance tax’ would have on migrants. As well as Remitly’s ongoing commitment to its own charitable initiatives which has seen the firm join the ‘Pledge 1%’ scheme, alongside tech giants like Salesforce and DocuSign. Committing not only 1% of current profit to support nonprofits in the community but 1% of all future profits that Remitly earns too.
Remitly offers international transfers with a variety of ways to withdraw or deposit money, including bank deposit, cash pickup from over 180,00 locations, mobile transfer and even home delivery. Users get the choice between ‘express’ payment for faster delivery or ‘economy’ for a slower but lower-cost transfer. Their mobile focus has revolutionised how easily migrants can send money home and has been a huge part of Remitly’s success.
Remitly’s success has seen the firm attract over $420m in VC funding and even led to an IPO in September 2021. Joining the likes of Wise and OFX as new-age money transfer companies to become publicly traded.
In August 2022, Remitly acquired Israeli remittances startup Rewire for a sum of $80m. Rewire says it is “geographically complementary” to Remitly, and hence should increase Remitly’s global reach capabilities.
✓ Financial Conduct Authority (UK)
✓ FINTRAC (Canada)
✓ FinCEN (USA)
✓ AUSTRAC (Australia)
Technology Pioneer – World Economic Forum (2019)
Remitly has been built on solid corporate values and an ambition to lower the cost of international transfers for migrants all over the world. To date, they’ve helped literally millions of migrants send money back to loved ones at home. Nowadays, the firm transfers over $6 billion worth of migrant flows every year.
The fact they recently IPO’d will only lead to greater transparency in investor relations and financial performance. In this regard, Remitly is definitely deemed a safe and credible option for remittance flows. Winning an award with the World Economic Forum is definitely rare in the industry too and isn’t something any other remittance provider can claim.
Remitly Customer reviews
The mobile nature of Remitly’s offering is evident, as can easily be seen by the huge swaths of app store ratings the firm has received. To put it into context, there are just over 33,000 Remitly reviews on Trustpilot compared to Azimo’s 51,000 reviews, but Remily enjoys 25-fold the amount of App store reviews – 566,000 compared to Azimo’s 22,500. Remily also has over 265,000 Google Play store reviews.
The Remitly app has received exceptional reviews, netting a 4.8 / 5 score on Google Play and 4.9 / 5 on the App store.
Where, Remitly falters is with its Trustpilot review score. At 4.3 / 5 this certainly isn’t bad but it’s behind the digital-focused Wise who scores 4.6 / 5 and comfortably behind more tailored bank-to-bank offerings like Currencies Direct who net a very impressive 4.9 / 5 on Trustpilot.
- Very slow at getting money back if something is wrong with the payment (sometimes weeks)
- Poor customer service that is difficult to reach
- Limited to three transfers per week
- Constantly asking for KYC for transfers, causing excessive delays
The majority of client reviews are highly positive, hailing the company for plenty of reasons concerning currency transfers. When payments work smoothly via the app it’s a very hassle-free experience. The Remitly app has a tremendous number of positive reviews. More than virtually any other provider on the market.
There are meaningful complaints about the company on Trustpilot though, where the firm’s score has reduced from 4.8 / 5 to 4.3 / 5. Towards the later end of 2021, the proportion of negative reviews that Remily received also appeared to be much higher than before. Virtually all of these are from clients who believe their money has been stolen or is taking forever to be returned. As Remily works with a huge number of countries (usually developing nations), a lot of the time the money is stuck with one of Remitly’s local partners or correspondent banks. This is more of an issue to do with outdated payment systems, as opposed to Remitly themselves. However, saying that, areas that Remitly can control, such as a timely response through customer service with a knowledgeable customer support team, does seem to be lacking.
Remitly Exchange Rates & Fees
Fees vary depending on the sending and receiving country, the currency in which the payment is sent and the payment method selected. It’s well worth utilising Remitly’s site to calculate payment fees ahead of making a transfer. Whilst most fees are fairly reasonable, there are some questionably high fees for certain routes (such as sending USD to Vietnam). As a predominantly US-focused provider, we highlight fees for a sample of US transfers here:
|Express Payment – Convert to Local Currency||Economy Payment – Convert to Local Currency||Express Payment – USD to USD||Economy Payment – USD to USD|
|Mexico||$0 > $500, $3.99 < $500||$0 > $500, $3.99 < $500||N/A||N/A|
|Philippines||$3.99 ($0 if payment > $1000)||$0||$9.99 – $93.99 (depending on size of payment)||$6.99 – $37.99 (depending on size of payment)|
|India||$3.99 ($0 if payment > $1000)||$3.99 ($0 if payment > $1000)||N/A||N/A|
|Israel||$5.99||$4.99||$7.99 – $21.99 (depending on size of payment)||$6.99 – $20.99 (depending on size of payment)|
|Vietnam||$4.99||$1.99||$4.99 – $94.99 (depending on size of payment)||$2.99 – 9.99 (depending on size of payment)|
Exchange Rates are hard to determine as they’re not completely transparent. Remilty will clearly publish the rate a customer can achieve ahead of making a currency exchange but they won’t specify the % difference this is to the actual, or interbank, exchange rate at the time. The Remitly welcome offer grants customers a preferential exchange rate for their first three transfers, each transfer up to $500. So if we look at a $1000 transfer from the US to Philippines as an example (USD/PHP), the Remitly calculator tells us the following:
An introductory rate of $1 to 52 PHP is even better than the actual USDPHP exchange rate at the time of writing of $1 to 50.83 PHP (11/10/21). Suggesting Remitly will actually make a loss on its introductory rate. Given that the introductory rate applies to only the first $500, the calculator then goes on to tell us the normal trading rate which would apply as standard and to the remaining $500 of this transfer. A rate of $1 to 49.33 PHP.
Given we have both the proposed standard rate of 49.33 PHP to the dollar and the interbank rate of 50.83 PHP to the dollar we can calculate the exchange rate margin. Coming in at 3%, this is higher than CEO Matt Openheimer’s target to offer currency exchange at under 2% of the transfer. It’s also a rate much more akin to a bank than a new-age tech focused payment provider. Wise, for example, charges 0.53% on a $1000 USD to PHP transfer.
No minimum amount but there is a cap of three transfers per week and a maximum amount which can be sent but this varies depending on the country you’re registering from and where you’re sending money to. In order to send more than this limit, you’ll have to explain to Remitly the purpose of the transaction and potentially provide further documentation.
We like that Remitly has two payment types – economy and express – providing choice between a cheaper and longer transfer or a faster more costly one. Although it’s worth checking fees for both payment types and not just assuming the express payment will be more expensive. Across a number of currencies, such as MXN and IDR, the fees for economy and express are exactly the same. Fees are perhaps a bit higher than other money transfer companies but are likely to reflect the higher fees Remitly encounters themselves by operating in the US.
Exchange rate spreads seem high at 3% but it was just one sample and may not be reflective of all currency pairings. CEO Matt Openheimer has been on the record saying Remitly aims to conduct its currency transfers under 2%, which isn’t bad given the territories Remitly can get your money to, but still higher than the likes of Wise and CurrencyFair.
The process to increase payment limits seems a little convoluted based on client feedback and may prove a hindrance to those looking to make transfers more than three times a week or transfer large sums. Some uk currency brokers, such as Currencies Direct, have absolutely no maximum limits, whether it’s an outbound transfer from UK or international money transfers from USA.
Remitly Global Reach & Service
- Dedicated Dealer: No.
- Offices: Seattle, Washington (US, HQ), Spokane, Washington (US), Manga (Nicaragua), Cork (Ireland) London (UK), Krakow (Poland), Singapore, Manila (Philippines)
- Ways to approach: Online Chat, Email, Telephone.
- Translations: French, Spanish, Portuguese.
- Accepts clients: US, UK, Europe, Australia and Canada.
- Currencies Handled: 65 currencies to 125 countries.
- Client reviews: Generally positive about the service they received.
Remitly provides what we regard as a true remittance solution. It covers most of the major remittance corridors around the world, allowing transfers to over 125 countries. A little behind WorldRemit’s 130 and truly lagging behind Azimo’s 198 but an extensive footprint nonetheless.
One slight limitation is the countries Remitly can send from. Its onboarding capabilities are pretty extensive (UK, EU, US, Canada and Australian residents can all register) but users from Africa or Asia will have more luck with WorldRemit.
Remitly’s cash pickup locator is pretty nifty, allowing users to check there is a cash pickup point close to their family and friends whom they are sending money to. As it stands, the locator is limited to just Colombia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico and Philippines for now. Although that’s not to say cash pickup is not available in other countries – Remitly works with over 180,000 agents around the world.
You can only make spot transfers.
No offering , purely for individuals sending small remittance flows.
Easily the strongest element of Remitly’s service. Excellent user experience with all the functionality required to make it easy to transfer money on the go or from the comfort of your home. It’s rated 4.8 stars out of 5 in the Google Play store and receives an even higher 4.9 out of 5 on the App store. Considering there are over 800,000 Remitly reviews across both review platforms it’s a truly staggering performance. Not common for money transfer apps either as most usually quite poorly reviewed.
There are few additional features but Remitly covers everything that a top remittance provider should. It offers bank-to-bank transfers, payments to a debit card/mobile, cash pickup and in some cases even door-to-door cash delivery. No hedging functionality and no business offering but for individuals looking for an easy-to-use mobile app, Remitly has one of the best.
- Credibility Score - 92%92%
- Client Feedback - 88%88%
- Fees, Exchange Rates - 73%73%
- Global Reach, Availability, Service - 71%71%
- Added Values - 66%66%
Remitly is one of the fastest growing ‘new-age’ remittance providers in existence today. In fact, the firm has been on such a growth trajectory that it recently went public on the NASDAQ in September 2021. The focus of the firm has always been to democratise money transfers and make them super-accessible to migrants by being able to make transfers at just the click of a few buttons on their mobile. In this regard, they’ve succeeded. The Remitly app is just about the best money transfer app there is today.
On the other hand, there seems to be a greater number of negative Remitly reviews left on Trustpilot than ever before. Reviews almost always complain that customer service is slow and the team installs no confidence that their money is either safely on its way to the recipient or due to be returned to their Remitly account shortly. Exchange rate spreads also appear to be quite high and we’re confident there are cheaper remittance companies available on the market.