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Remitly Review

Remitly is one of the largest independent digital remittance companies in the United States. Based in Seattle, the provider serves over 2 million customers who collectively send an annual remittance volume of more $6 billion. The company was founded in 2011 with a mission to provide immigrants in the U.S. with convenient, faster and cheaper ways of transferring money to their families and friends back home and has been doing that ever since.

Its proprietary money transfer platform allows customers to pay for transfers using debit cards, credits cards and bank transfers. Remittances are swift and can be delivered directly to your recipient’s bank account, cash pickup point, debit card, mobile money or digital wallets, or even delivered at their doorstep.   

Apart from the United States, Remitly customers can now transfer money from Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, France, and 12 other countries – and can make transfers to over 55 countries globally. Remitly has so far raised $420 million from top investors like Bezos Expeditions, Founders’ Co-Op, QED Investors, and Trilogy Equity Partners among many others.

In this review, we’ll look at the exchange rates and fees, the payments you can make, transfer speeds, what customers are saying about Remitly, and anything else you could need to know about Remitly before trusting the company with your money.

General
Payment Options
Supported Currencies
Support
Date Founded:
2011
Provider Type:
MTO
HQ Location:
Seattle
Regulators:
FCA
Mobile Friendly:
Yes
Mobile App:
Yes
Languages:
English, French, Spanish, German, Romanian, Polish

Remitly exchange rates and fees

Remitly focuses on enhancing product and customer experience across a limited number of corridors handling a large volume of transactions. This includes a commitment to provide low fees and great exchange rates for all the customers they serve. Here is how Remitly is different from other money transfer companies in terms of fees and exchange rates from Remitly.

Exchange rates

Customers using Remitly enjoy competitive rates across a variety of currency pairs. Exchange rate margins typically vary between 1% and 3.7% above mid-market rates, but the individual exchange rate will depend on a variety of factors including the speed at which your transfer is processed. To get a picture of the margins charged, let’s look at the following scenarios as of 15th April 2020:

Sending $1,000 from the U.S. to Mexico

  • Using ‘Express’ delivery, you get a USD/MXN rate of 22.96 against an interbank rate of 23.838. This translates to a 3.68% margin. 
  • On the ‘Economy’ delivery you’ll get a USD/MXN rate of 23.57 which is a 1.12% margin above the mid-market rate.

Sending £1,000 from the United Kingdom to the Philippines 

  • Using either ‘Economy’ or ‘Express’ delivery speeds gives you a GBP/PHP rate of 62.65 against the interbank rate of 63.2753. This translates to a margin of 0.98%.

Sending CA$1,000 from Canada to Kenya

  • Remitly gives users a CAD/KES rate of 72.93 against the mid-market rate of 75.3108. This translates to a margin of 3.16%. There is no option to choose ‘Economy’ or ‘Express’ delivery.

The exchange rate margin you’ll get on your transfer varies depending on the transfer corridor and whether you need the money delivered very fast or not. Remitly also offers promotional rates for new customers, so if it’s your first time using the service you could benefit from these deals.

Fees

On top of applying a margin on top of the mid-market exchange rate, Remitly charges customers fees for making transfers. Transfer fees on Remitly depend on how much you send and the delivery method you choose. Express is the fastest delivery method, but also costlier than the ‘Economy’ option, which is inexpensive but with a longer delivery window.  Here are some scenarios to give you an idea of the fees charged.

Sending funds from the United States to Honduras

  • A transfer of $1,000 will cost $15.99 on ‘Express’ and $10.99 on ‘Economy’.
  • Sending $5,000 will attract a fee of $55.99 on ‘Express’ and $50.99 on ‘Economy’.

Sending funds from the United Kingdom to the Philippines

  • Whether you choose Philippine peso or the United States dollar as the receiving currency, your transfer will attract a fee of £2.99 on ‘Express’ and £1.99 on ‘Economy’.

Additional costs

When you pay with a credit card, you may incur a processing fee charged as a percentage of the transfer amount. When paying from the United States this fee is 3% and 1% when paying from Canada. The recipient may also be charged landing or bank processing fees – these are not controlled by Remitly so contact your bank before making a transfer.

Remitly pros and cons

Remitly’s goal is to offer an unbeatable digital platform that customers can interact with simply, securely, and conveniently. Here are the pros and cons of using Remitly for your international money transfers:

Pros

  • Simple user-friendly interface: Remitly’s platform is simple to use with every feature and functionality within reach. This enhances customer experience.
  • A variety of payout methods: Your beneficiary can receive the funds sent through their bank account, cash pickup points, debit card, their mobile money transfer wallet, or have the money delivered to their doorstep.
  • Ability to lock in an exchange rate: Remitly allows you to lock in an exchange rate to shield your transfer from currency market fluctuations.
  • Flexible delivery options: On some corridors, you can choose between ‘Express’ and ‘Economy’ delivery options. If your transfer is not that urgent, the ‘Economy’ option can save you some money.
  • Transfer updates: When your transfer is initiated on the platform, you’ll be notified through text. Also, when the transfer is completed, both you and the recipient will get SMS notifications informing you that the funds have been delivered.

Cons

  • Steep transfer fees: On some transfers corridors such as the United States – Honduras route, fees can quickly add up especially on small transfers. For instance, sending $100 on this route will cost you $6.99 on ‘Express’ and $4.99 on ‘Economy’. 
  • Daily and monthly transfer limits: Remitly’s service has 3 tiers that accounts fall into. These are determined by the amount of personal information you provide, and each tier has daily and monthly limits. When making a transfer from the UK, the Tier 1 daily limit is £5,000, whereas Tiers 2 and 3 have a limit of £25,000. In the US, Tiers 1, 2 and 3 have a daily limit of $3,000, $6,000, and $10,000 and monthly limits of $10,000, $20,000 and $30,000 respectively.
  • Limited transfer network: You can only transfer money from 17 countries to slightly over 50 markets. Remitly’s aim is to only serve transfer corridors that see a lot of traffic, but this can lock you out of their service if you don’t live in one of those areas.

What kind of payments can I make with Remitly?

Remitly offers a variety of ways to transfer your money internationally through the internet. Here the ways you can pay for your transfer and how your recipient can get the funds.

Payment methods available 

There are two main ways you can pay for your transfer when using Remitly’s platform:

  • Bank transfer: Remitly gives you the bank account details you should pay into in order to fund your account. If you pay within 3 hours of confirming your transfer your funds should be received by Remitly very quickly. Paying after 3 hours may delay the receipt of funds for up to 2 business days.
  • Card payments: You can pay using your debit or credit card and Remitly will receive the funds in minutes. However, it is important to note that credit card payments may attract a 1- 3% processing fee depending on the card issuer. 

Withdrawal options available

One of the key selling points of Remitly’s service is the number of methods available for beneficiaries to collect their funds. Here’s a summary of the available withdrawal methods:

  • Bank deposit: Remitly has partnered with a network of banks in each country to facilitate smooth transfers to your recipient. Using this method, the money will be directly deposited into the beneficiary’s bank account.
  • Cash pickup: Many of the markets supported by Remitly have cash pickup locations. In April 2019, the company entered a partnership with Ria Money Transfer that saw 73,000 more cash pickup locations added to its network – bringing the total locations to more than 140,000.   
  • Mobile money and digital wallet: When transferring funds to destinations such as Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, Nepal, Philippines, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, and Uganda, you can send directly to a mobile money wallet. When making a transfer to China, you can send to your recipient’s Alipay account.
  • Home delivery: If your recipient is in the Dominican Republic or Vietnam, they can have the funds delivered at their doorstep.
  • Deposit to a card: You can send funds directly to the recipient’s Visa debit card. This method is available when making a transfer from the United States to Romania or Thailand.  

How to send and receive money with Remitly

The very reason Remitly was founded was to bridge the gap between where your money is and where you want it to be. Here is what to expect when sending and receiving money through its proprietary platform.

How to send money with Remitly

To send money using Remitly, just follow these simple steps:

  1. Sign up for an account: This process is as simple as keying in your email address and password. In less than 3 minutes, your account will be ready to use.
  2. Select your transfer amount and payout method: Enter the amount you want to send, the delivery method, and select the delivery speed (Economy or Express). The system displays the conversion rate for your currency pair.
  3. Enter recipient details: If sending funds directly to your recipient’s bank account, enter their account details, contact information, and address. If sending to their debit card, enter the card details. 
  4. Key in sender details: Enter your name, address, and date of birth as the person making the transfer.
  5. Provide payment details: Choose how you want to pay for your transfer. You can pay using a debit card, credit card, or a bank transfer.
  6. Confirm and send: Review that everything is correct, confirm and transfer. You’ll get an email or text notification informing you that your transfer is in progress. You’ll also get notified when the transfer is delivered.

How to receive money with Remitly

Depending on the payout method you choose, the transfer may be deposited directly into your recipient’s bank account, debit card, mobile or digital wallet, delivered at their doorstep or sent to a cash pickup location. 

All the payout methods save for the last two, don’t need your recipient to do anything. They just have to wait for the funds to be credited to their account. However, for cash pickup and home delivery, they’ll need the transaction reference number and a government-issued ID card or passport to get the money.

Does Remitly have a mobile app?

Yes, Remitly has an app that you can download for free on Play Store or App Store. Here is what you can do with the app:

  • Send money: You can send money to over 55 countries conveniently from the palm of your hand.
  • Check transfer rates: You can check the rates for your currency pair to enable you to estimate the amount the recipient will get.
  • Manage recipients: You can add, edit or delete recipients to keep your list up to date.
  • Add payment methods: You can add your bank account, debit card or credit card to enable you to pay for your transfer.
  • Check your transfer history: You can view the transfers you’ve made and their status, whether in progress or completed.
  • Access customer support: You can be assisted through online chat right from within the app

On Play Store, the app has over 30,000 reviews and a rating of 4.6/5. On the App Store, it has a rating of 4.5/5, and close to 179,000 reviews. 

How fast are Remitly’s transfer speeds?

Your money can be sent in minutes or days depending on the delivery speed you choose. There are two delivery speed options available: Express and Economy. 

  • Express: Funds are transferred immediately upon the provider receiving your debit or credit card payment (you cannot use a bank transfer to send an express payment).
  • Economy: Funds can take 3-5 days to be transferred to your recipient, and you pay for your transfer with your bank details.

Are there maximum and minimum transfer amounts?

Yes, Remitly has daily, monthly, and 180-day limits. How much money you can send depends on the tier your account belongs to. Remitly has 3 tiers of accounts, and these are determined by the number of personal documentation users are willing to provide to the company. Here are the 3 tiers and their limits if you are sending from the U.S.:

Tier 1

The daily, monthly and 180-day limits are $2,999, $10,000 and $18,000 respectively. Whenever you sign up for an account, this is the Tier you are automatically assigned, so you only have to provide limited personal information (such as your name and your email address) to access this.

Tier 2

The daily, monthly and 180-day limits are $6,000, $20,000 and $36,000 in that order. To join this tier, you should submit the following information:

  • Your full social security number
  • Your government-issued ID card
  • Other information including the source of funds

Tier 3

The daily, monthly and 180-day limits on this tier are $10,000, $30,000, and $60,000. In addition to the information provided in tier 2, you’ll be asked for more information, such as proof of funds. It’s also important to bear in mind that the limits vary depending on the country you are sending money from. 

Can I trust Remitly?

Remitly has the right mobile technology and money transfer infrastructure to help you send and receive money across borders all over the world. Whether you are in the Philippines, El Salvador, India or any of the more than 55 support countries, you can be guaranteed of quality, secure, and fast service. Here’s a summary of all the factors that can assure you Remitly is a trustworthy service.

History

Remitly was established in the United States in 2011 and has its headquarters at 1111 3rd Avenue Suite 2100 Seattle, WA 98101. It has since grown in both transaction volumes and the number of employees which currently stands at over 1,000. 

Initially, the service was available only to U.S. residents but has since grown into 16 other countries including the United Kingdom, Australia, France, and Canada. Remitly U.K. was set up as a private limited company on 1st December 2015. 

Regulatory compliance

In the United States, the company is registered as a Money Service Business by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. It is also licensed in the several U.S. states in which it operates as a money transmitter. Here are the other registrations and licenses that Remitly has acquired:

  • United Kingdom: Remitly is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) financial register number 728639. Its operations conform with the Payment Services Regulations 2017. It is also registered as a Money Service Business (MSB) by the HMRC under number 12861136.
  • Australia: Remitly Australia Pty Ltd is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
  • Singapore: Remitly Singapore Pte. Ltd. is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
  • Europe: In Europe, Remitly operates as Remitly Europe Limited and is regulated by the financial authorities in each individual European country. The regulations require that the provider maintain separate accounts for client funds and its business finances.

Key industry partnerships

Remitly has entered the following strategic partnerships to improve its service and expand the company’s network:

  • Alipay: In January 2020, the company signed an agreement with Alipay, a digital wallet platform with over 1.2 billion users. Alipay customers can now receive money from Remitly directly into their accounts.
  • Ria: In April 2019, Remitly partnered with Ria Money Transfer to expand its cash pickup locations. The partnership saw 73,000 more cash pickup locations added on the network.
  • Visa: Remitly partnered with Visa in March 2019. This has enabled the company to leverage its Visa Direct platform to send and receive funds in a fast, secure, and transparent manner.
  • Stilt: Beginning May 2019 Remitly customers began accessing credit facilities of up to $35,000, thanks to the partnership with Stilt. Stilt is an immigrant-focused lending institution.
  • Xpress Money: From November 2019, Remitly customers can now send money from the platform to Xpress cash pickup locations globally. This has tremendously grown the company’s reach.
  • Stripe: Remitly’s 2018 partnership with Stripe, a payment processing platform, has helped the company to process transactions across several European markets.
  • Moneytrans: In September 2018, Remitly partnered with Moneytrans, a reputed Europe-based payment institution, to expand remittance convenience corridors to Africa.

Encryption and customer data 

To enhance security, protection and trust for its customers, Remitly has put in place vigorous account verification procedures. It also uses the industry-standard 256-bit SSL encryption to protect its servers. 

The service is also layered with risk management controls and automated detection techniques to deal with suspicious account activity and protect users.

Investors and Awards

Founded by Matthew Oppenheimer and Joshua Hug, the company has so far attracted 36 investors according to Pitchbook, who’ve put in a total of $420 million. The funding is a mixture of seed rounds, Series A, B, C, D, E, and debt financing raised between November 2011 and July 2019.

Some of the leading investors include Founder’s Co-op, QED Investors, Threshold, Stripes, PayU, Generation Investment Management, Silicon Valley Bank, DN Capital, Barclays and Owl Rock Capital Partners. The last round of financing valued Remitly at close to $1 billion.

The company has also bagged several awards in the 10 years it has been in the financial services industry. Here are some of them:

  • Technology Pioneers of 2019: Announced in July 2019, this award by the World Economic Forum recognises the role of Remitly in developing new technologies and innovation.
  • Fintech 50: In February 2019, the provider was named by Forbes as one of the 50 most innovative fintech companies. 
  • Most Innovative Companies in 2019: Remitly was named as the third most innovative company by Fast Company in February 2019.
  • 2018 Tech Impact Award: Given by the Seattle Business Magazine, this award recognises the company’s contribution to technology.

Customer satisfaction

Remitly highly rated on Trustpilot, with 92% of the 21,234 reviews rated as either 4 or 5 stars. Here is what customers had to say.

Positive

  • Fast and hassle-free: The service is simple to use and very fast in sending money to your loved ones.
  • Excellent funds tracking mechanism: You’ll have peace of mind knowing where your funds are in the transfer process.
  • Knowledgeable customer team: Customer support is really helpful and understands all the cross-border money transfer nuances.

Cons

  • Occasional delays: Customers complained of delayed funds delivery on isolated transfers

Can I cancel my transfer?

Yes, you can cancel your transfer on the website or through the app, provided the recipient hasn’t received the funds. If you cancel before the funds leave your account, the refund will be processed within 24 hours – otherwise, it can take up to 5 days to get your money back.

Top destinations for using Remitly

Here are the top markets customers regularly send money to using Remitly’s platform:

Customer support

Remitly has customer support as one of its top priorities. If you have a query concerning a transfer or any other related issue, you can get help through any of the following ways:

  • Online chat: Live chat support is available 24/7.
  • Telephone: The provider has a toll free number- 1-888-736-4859, you can use 24/7 for immediate support.
  • Email: You can also email customer support through service@remitly.com.

Summary

Remitly is the largest independent digital remittance company offering low transaction fees and fast payments across borders. It started in Seattle, WA in 2011 and has since grown to 16 other countries and supports sending to more than 55 countries.

Using the platform, you can send money to your recipient’s bank account, mobile money or digital wallet, deposited onto a card, have it home delivered, or sent to a cash pickup point. You also enjoy flexibility when paying for your transfer through bank, debit or credit card.

However, like with any other money transfer service, it is always sensible to compare your options and make sure you’re getting the best deal. Using our money transfer comparison tool, you can quickly compare Remitly’s services against their competitors for your specific transfer.

Remitly is one of the biggest names in the remittance market, so it is common to see it rank highly among our recommended services. But always compare your options if you want to find the best deal.

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