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Reviews

Remitly Money Transfer Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Sending money to another country used to come with limited options. You either go to the bank and conduct a wire transfer or head to a money transfer storefront — both can come with hefty fees. However, money transfer services like Remitly aim to remove obstacles, both in terms of fees and convenience.

What is Remitly?

When it launched in 2011, Remitly’s founders looked to disrupt the remittance industry so that immigrants and their families could save money when sending money overseas. The state of Washington-based startup aimed to offer a fair exchange rate and transparent fees. Customers get two options when it comes to transferring money — the express option if they want their money to arrive within minutes or an economy option which arrives within five business days.

Remitly money transfer highlights

  • Save on transfer fees: Customers can pay as low as $0.49 for transfers. Depending on the country and the amount you want to transfer, you may not pay any transfer fees.
  • Not available in all countries: Remitly allows you to send money to 40 countries
  • Offers a money back guarantee clause: Remitly will refund your fees if your money doesn’t arrive on time.
Remitly Money Transfer Details

Sending Money

Fees and Penalties

  • Where can you send money? 30 countries including India, Mexico and the Philippines. Click here to see a full list of countries available.
  • How long does a transfer take? Remitly provides two options for International transfers: Express or Economy. For an extra fee, you can choose the Express option so your money can arrive within hours or Economy option means your money arrives within three to five business days.
  • How much can you send? There is no minimum amount you need to send. When you first open an account, you can only send up to $10,000 within the first 24 hours based on additional personal information you provide. You can increase the limit — up to $60,000 — as long as you have your account open for at least 180 days.
  • Fee to send money: Costs depend on where you’re sending money, how much you want to send and how fast you want funds to arrive. The lowest amount starts at $0.49. Fees also differ if you send via the Express option and if you want the money to arrive in local currency or in U.S. dollars.
  • Extra fees: You may be charged an extra fee if sending money using a credit card.  

Sending a money transfer with Remitly

To send money, you’ll need to create a free account through Remitly.com or download their app via Google Play or the Apple App Store. You’ll be asked to provide details such as your full name, email address, date of birth and mailing address. You may also need to provide additional information like your Social Security number.

Once you’ve opened an account, select how much money you want to send and to which country. From there, you have the option to send funds either via a bank deposit, cash pickup, mobile transfer or home delivery. Note that not every country allows this option. If you choose to make a bank deposit, Remitly has partnered up with various banks around the world, so you need to choose which one to send your money to. With the cash pickup, Remitly will ask you which pickup location is best for your recipient.

Afterwards, choose either the Economy or Express option to send your funds. If you choose the Express option — you can send money using your debit or credit card — your money can arrive within minutes to hours but there may be an extra fee. With the Economy option, money should arrive within three to five business days and you can only send money from your bank account.

Once you sent your money, you can track your transfer. You’ll receive a reference number with your transfer receipt and you’ll be sent a notification when the money has arrived. You’ll also receive updates if you make changes or if there’s been a delay.

Pros and cons of Remitly

Although Remitly claims to offer low fees and fast transfer times, there are some downsides to this service.

Pros:

Cons:

  • Low fees: Remitly displays their fees clearly on their website. You can pay as low as $0.49 for an Economy transfer or it’s completely free if you send a certain amount of cash.
  • Signup bonuses: Depending on the country you’re sending money to, you may be able to get your transfer fee waived if it’s your first time using Remitly
  • Simple transfer process: You can send up to $2,999 within minutes of signing up.
  • Mobile app: Remitly gives you the option to send money on the go via their mobile app or via their website.
  • Not available in all countries: Currently, Remitly is available in 30 countries although the company mentions it’s working on partnerships with banks in Ghana, Jamaica, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Cambodia, Haiti, Sri Lanka and Turkey.
  • Not all types of transactions supported in all countries: Only some countries support mobile and home delivery options. Most only allow bank transfers and cash pickup options.
  • Sending limits: You’re limited to sending up to $10,000 within the first 24 hours of signing up for Remitly. Your limit drops to as low as $2,999 if you don’t provide all required information, such as your full Social Security number and proof of how you’ll be funding your transfer

What people are saying about Remitly

Remitly is accredited with the Business Better Bureau and currently has a B rating there. Most customer reviews mention it’s easy to open an account and initially send money, even if it may have taken hours instead of minutes using the Express transfer option.

Some of the downsides that customers have mentioned include the verification process. In many cases money wasn’t sent in a timely manner or there may have been issues with the receiving bank. Of course, experiences differ, but those who expressed concern over how long it took for someone to receive funds still agree that Remitly’s exchange rates are competitive.

Alternative money transfer options

If Remitly doesn’t send money to your desired country or you want to compare different options, below are two alternative money transfer options:

TransferWise

  • Where can you send money? You can send money internationally to 57 countries, including Canada and Australia.
  • How long does a transfer take? Transfers very depending on the destination, payment method and how soon your recipient’s bank can process the transaction — typically one to four business days. You’ll be able to get an estimate of how long it takes by entering in details in the transfer calendar once you log in to your account
  • How much can you send? You can send up to $10,000 per order/per 24 hours if transfering money using ACH and up to $50,000 for other payment methods.
  • Fee to send money: Amount depends on how you choose to send money. There are four options — ACH transfer, wire transfer, credit or debit card.

TransferWise has more countries you can send funds to. For example, it allows you to send money to Hong Kong whereas Remitly doesn’t. You can also save money on exchange rates as TransferWise uses the mid-market rate — aka there are no markups. However, the fees may be higher than Remitly depend on how much money you send.

To transfer money, you’ll first need to open an account, complete the verification requirements. Then you can send money by choosing where to send the cash, how much and your payment method. You’ll be able to tell what your fees are upfront before agreeing to the transfer.

MoneyGram

  • Where can you send money? You can send money to over 30,000 locations in the U.S. or to over 200 countries internationally.
  • How long does a transfer take? If you’re sending money for the recipient to pick up as cash, it can take as quickly as minutes. To make a bank transfer, it can take up to the next day.
  • How much can you send? You can send up to $6,000 per online transfer and up to $6,000 every 30 days. If you want to send more you’ll need to do so in person.
  • Fee to send money: Fees depend on where and how you send money. You can get an estimate using their calculator before using their service.

MoneyGram is a good option considering it allows you to send money to more places than Remitly. If you like to make transactions in person, MoneyGram gives you that option. However, it may not be as convenient as Remitly if you plan on sending large amounts of money online. You can also check the status of your transfer by logging in to your account or use their tracking tool to find out.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Sarah Li Cain
Sarah Li Cain |

Sarah Li Cain is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Sarah Li here

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Reviews

Review of Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Get rewarded for your spending with the Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account. The account earns unlimited 3% cash back earned from online or in-app purchases, but unlike most cashback programs, this one prevents you from enjoying your earned rewards immediately. The catch: You can only access and redeem your cashback rewards if your account is in good standing a year after registration. In addition, there is a $7.95 monthly fee, although it’s simple to get around the fee.

While you wait for your account registration anniversary, you can use this account’s other features to your advantage. For one, Green Dot Bank can get you your paycheck up to two days in advance through direct deposit. You can also use the 3%* APY Green Dot Bank High-Yield Savings Account to stash and grow your money.

Green Dot doesn’t have any branch locations of its own, so it relies heavily on its app and participating stores to offer its services to customers. This makes it slightly tricky for users who need quick and easy ATM access.

Read on to learn more about the FDIC-insured Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account and its rewards requirements, fees and fine print.

How does the Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account work?

 

The Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account’s biggest draw is the unlimited 3% cash back earned from online or in-app purchases. There’s no limit to how much cash back you can earn, so long as you’re using your card for online and in-app purchases (there’s more on how Green Dot identifies those purchases in a section below)

Getting access to your cash back is a little trickier, however. While you’ll see the cash back earned on each purchase reflected almost immediately, you’ll have to wait for each anniversary of your account registration to redeem the funds. On each anniversary date, you can transfer your cash back rewards into your Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account. Your registration date is the date you actually register your card no matter where you got it, either at a store or online.

On your registration anniversary, your account must be in good standing. This means it must have a positive balance and cannot be blocked or flagged for any reason. If you have a negative balance, you must bring it to a positive balance before you can redeem your rewards.

Depositing cash into your Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account is also a little unorthodox, as Green Dot doesn’t have any of its own branches or ATMs. To deposit cash, you need to visit a Green Dot participating retailer, including CVS pharmacies and Walmart stores. Cash deposits are free when you initiate the deposit on the Green Dot app and complete them at a retail store. You can also initiate a cash deposit by swiping your Green Dot debit card at a participating retailer, who may charge a cash deposit fee of their own.

As for withdrawals, you can locate free ATMs through the bank’s app. Otherwise, you’ll face an out-of-network ATM fee, in addition to a potential ATM owner surcharge.

Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account features

  • Earns unlimited 3% cash back on eligible online or in-app purchases
  • Get your paycheck up to two days earlier with ASAP Direct Deposit™
  • Links to 3%* APY Green Dot Bank High-Yield Savings Account
  • No overdraft fees

Along with its competitive cash back rate, another big perk of banking with Green Dot Bank is that you can get your direct deposit paychecks up to two days in advance. Typically, employers deposit paychecks into employees’ banks two days before actual payday. So instead of letting your paycheck sit in the Automated Clearing House (ACH) limbo, where payments like these are processed, Green Dot deposits your paycheck on the same day the bank receives it. Exact timing and availability of your direct deposit will depend on when your employer submits your payment information and deposit verification.

Also included with the Green Dot app is the Green Dot Bank High-Yield Savings Account. There is no fee, and the account earns 3%* APY on balances up to $10,000. Once you’ve redeemed your cash back rewards and deposited them into your Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account, you can then transfer those funds into your High-Yield Savings Account for better savings.

As you’ll read below, the Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account is rife with fees, depending on how you use your account and manage your money. But a certain perk of the account is its lack of overdraft fees. So when you make a purchase that your balance cannot cover, Green Dot will decline the transaction, but they won’t charge a fee like most other banks do.

Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account fees and fine print

Unlimited Cash Back fees
Unlimited Bank Account purchase — online $0
Unlimited Bank Account purchase — in store$1.95 or less
Monthly fee$7.95, waived when you spend $1,000 or more in the previous monthly period
Deposit cash with Green Dot app & participating locations$0
Direct deposit$0
Out-of-network ATM withdrawal$3 per transaction
Teller cash withdrawal$3 per transaction
Out-of-network ATM balance inquiry$0.50
Foreign transactions3% of total transaction amount
Paper checks (pack of 12 checks)$5.95

There are quite a few fees to keep an eye out for when you have a Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account. For starters, note that there is a fee when you open the account in a store. You can easily avoid this fee by opening the account online instead.

The account charges a $7.95 monthly fee. This can be waived when you spend at least $1,000 in the previous monthly period. This excludes transactions like ACH payments or prepaid card purchases. This may be easier if you do much of your shopping online, since you’re more likely to reach the minimum balance. If you’re betting the cash back you earn will offset this monthly fee, you’d have to spend $3,180 in a year to earn enough to pay off a year’s worth of the monthly fee. Plus, you’d have to wait for each anniversary to take advantage of that cash back bonus.

It also helps to keep your account activity online. You can initiate the deposit through the Green Dot app then depositing cash at a participating retailer at no charge. However, if you want to deposit cash without the app by swiping the debit card at a participating retailer, then the retailer may charge a service fee for cash deposits. Note that direct deposits are free.

As for the fine print, there is some room for error when it comes to determining which purchases are eligible for the 3% cashback. Green Dot identifies online and in-app purchases through unique merchant category codes (MCC) and “other identifying information,” according to the Green Dot website.

However, Green Dot acknowledges that sometimes online or in-app merchants use an MCC that does not properly identify themselves as online or in-app. On Green Dot’s part, the bank states that it “does not determine which MCC a merchant chooses to classify itself as and has no way of changing a merchant’s identifying information.” So if merchant misidentification is the case, your purchase won’t register as online or in-app and won’t earn 3% cash back.

Cash back also does not apply to airline tickets or to products and services that are redeemable for cash, such as gift cards, online funding of accounts, credit card cash advances, P2P funding, prepaid cards, money orders and traveler’s checks.

Opening an Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account

You can open an Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account either online or in-store at Green Dot participating retailers. When you open an account online, you’ll need to provide your full name, address, email address, phone number, Social Security number and date of birth. If you open an account in store, you’ll need to register your new debit card online or through the Green Dot app. There, you’ll need to provide your personal information.

Who is the Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account best for?

The Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account seems to be a better option for those who aren’t chasing a quick reward. Green Dot requires you to wait a year after account registration to redeem your cash back rewards, which may not be much of a reward for some. It’s more of an added perk than a real primetime feature since you have to wait so long.

The Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account may also be better for those who are tech savvy enough to manage their accounts largely online and in the app. Accounts are more easily opened and registered online and even cash deposits work best when done through the app.

That said, this account could be a potential hassle who want the ease and speed of ATM access. Green Dot requires you to visit a participating store to deposit cash, whether you use the app or not. For many, navigating a physical store just isn’t as convenient. When it comes to withdrawals, it may be difficult to find a free ATM nearby in order to avoid the out-of-network ATM fee.

In all, the Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account seems to hold a lot of promise. But there’s a few hoops to jump through to earn rewards and use the account efficiently that detract from the eye-catching 3% cash back.

*Rate accurate as of August 21, 2019

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Lauren Perez
Lauren Perez |

Lauren Perez is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lauren here

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Reviews

Fitness Bank Savings Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Fitness Bank’s savings account option

Fitness Savings Account

This unconventional savings product offers customers the chance to earn an outstanding APY when they are physically active. The daily average number of steps you took in the previous month determines the APY you earn on your account balance. The table below outlines the five earning tiers that this bank currently offers:
APY Tiers*Minimum Balance to Earn APYSteps Required
0.50%$1000-4,999
1.25%$1005,000-7,499
1.75%$1007,500-9,999
2.50%$10010,000-12,499
3.00%$10012,500+

If you are a US citizen age 65 or older, you qualify for a different rate schedule:

APY Tiers*Minimum Balance to Earn APYSteps Required
1.25%$1000-4,999
1.75%$1005,000-7,499
2.50%$1007,500-9,999
3.00%$10010,000+
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum daily balance to earn APY: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10, waived by maintaining the minimum daily balance.
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: $40

These rates truly are outstanding if you live an active lifestyle. The first month, everyone gets highest APY regardless of number of steps they take. After that, your APY will be assigned based on your daily average number of steps over the course of the prior month. Needless to say, if you don’t live a very active lifestyle, or if you have a health condition that would prevent you from meeting the step requirements, this may not be the best account for you.

This bank charges a $10 monthly maintenance fee if you don’t maintain a minimum average daily balance of $100. If you’re not confident you can maintain this minimum, you may want to look at a checking account rather than a savings account — keep in mind, however, that Fitness Bank only offers a savings account. If you meet the minimum balance requirement, the monthly maintenance fee will be waived.

This savings account does not come with an ATM card or checks. You are limited to six certain withdrawals and/or transactions per month, per Regulation D, which is enforced by the federal government, although banks do have some flexibility in allowing more than six per month in certain cases. At Fitness Bank, if you make more than six withdrawals per month you will be charged a $10 fee for each additional withdrawal.

If you want to go above and beyond achieving the highest APY available from this account, you can join one of Fitness Bank’s challenges. Every month, there is a step challenge where you can compete with all other participating Fitness Bank members to get the highest number of average daily steps. Top competitors will be awarded with prizes at the end of the month. You can also set up challenges just for your family or friend group, or for a group of employees participating in a workplace challenge.

How to get Fitness Bank’s savings account

Opening a savings account at Fitness Bank is a straightforward process. The bank boasts account setup will take you less than two minutes.

You’ll fill out a quick online application, supplying basic information like your name, address and Social Security number, along with documentation of your driver’s license or passport. Then you’ll need to provide funding information, namely your bank account number, credit card or debit card.

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on FitnessBank’s secure website

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How Fitness Bank’s savings account compares

This bank offers phenomenal rates. At the time of writing, they offer the highest savings account rate in the market — if you can rack up the steps needed to earn it. In addition, you will have to be comfortable doing your banking 100% online with this savings account. You will not receive a checkbook or ATM card – all of your withdrawals and deposits will be completed via electronic transfer. If you’d prefer ATM access or the ability to visit a physical branch, Fitness Bank is not the right match for you.

The minimum deposit required to open and maintain an account without incurring a monthly maintenance fee isn’t outrageous. But you can find savings accounts offering somewhat competitive rates without these requirements. And to repeat, you’ll have to meet the step requirements; if that challenge goes unfulfilled, the advantages of saving with Fitness Bank wane. Its rates get progressively less competitive the fewer steps you take.

Overall review of Fitness Bank’s banking products

This bank offers a unique financial product aimed at promoting wellness. Its minimum balance and deposit requirements are fairly average for the industry, as are its fees. While its offerings are fair and get more generous as you take more steps, you will likely find better rates elsewhere if you cannot realistically meet these specific fitness standards. If you can, though, you’re in for some of the best rates on the market.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Brynne Conroy
Brynne Conroy |

Brynne Conroy is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brynne here