Remitly Money Transfer Review

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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.

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Sarah Li Cain
Sarah Li Cain |

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

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