Remitly provides a simple and convenient platform for low value transfers. However, it suffers from poor customer service and excessive requests for personal information.
|Transfer speed:||1-3 days|
|Trustpilot score:||4 stars|
|Our score:||2 stars|
What we like
- Flexible delivery, such as cash pickup
- Competitive exchange rates
- Ability to transfer small values without ID
What we don’t
- Limited receiving countries
- Low transfer limits
- Poor customer service
The seed for the idea of Remitly was planted when its founders noticed that sending money developing world was not as easy as it should be. The service that was launched as a result has gone on to receive eager support from its customers, who believe in its vision.
Focusing on popular currency corridors to Africa, Asia, and Latin America, Remitly is reducing the costs for people sending money back to their friends and family. With a loyal following, it is beginning to see some signs of success.
To learn more about this service and see if it’s right for you, read on for our in-depth Remitly review.
Affiliate disclosure: If you sign up with a money transfer service after being referred from our website, we might earn a referral fee. Learn more.
What is Remitly all about? Let’s begin our Remitly review with some general information about the service.
Remitly was established in 2011 by three co-founders, Matthew Oppenheimer, Josh Hug, and Shivaas Gulati. The inspiration behind the company, initially named Beamit, came when Matthew was working for Barclays in Kenya and discovered how difficult it was to send money internationally. Since then, the company has focused specifically on low-value remittance corridors to selected destinations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
The service facilitates over $4 billion worth of transactions each year and employs approximately 400 staff across four international offices. It has attracted support from investors such as the World Bank, Bezos Expeditions and TomorrowVentures, raising a total of $200 million in funding to date. Remitly’s marketing strategy positions the company as a venture for social good, helping immigrants support their loved ones back home.
Today, Remitly continues to be led by its founding team, with Matthew acting as CEO and Josh as Chief Operating Officer. They are supported by Susanna Morgan as Chief Financial Officer, who has significant experience in senior leadership roles at Microsoft and Amazon. Co-founder, Shivass, continues to look for ways to improve Remitly’s product offering, as Head of New Initiatives. Hilton Hewitt rounds out the executive team as Chief Compliance Officer.
Remitly is headquartered at the following address:
1111 3rd Ave, Suite 2100
Seattle, WA 98101
International Remitly locations
Remitly has established local offices in the following countries:
- United Kingdom
Supported countries and currencies
Remitly supports the transfer of funds to approximately 58 countries. To accomplish this, the service has established a network of international bank accounts using its own locally domiciled subsidiaries. This allows Remitly to facilitate many transfers without actually having to enter the currency market. It may also utilise the SWIFT network.
Remitly transfer limit
Remitly has a minimum transfer value of £1, which is excellent news if you only need to transfer a small amount. Its maximum transfer limit is £25,000, so the service is suitable for moderately-sized personal transfers. In addition to a per-transaction limit, there is also an aggregate limit of £150,000 every six months.
Remitly fees and Remitly money transfer rate
What are Remitly fees and exchange rates? It will take a few minutes to explore the foreign exchange market, so we can properly consider this question.
How the foreign exchange market works
Let’s begin with how the foreign exchange market works. Banks and other money transfer services will buy foreign currency at a price very close to the mid-market rate. They will then sell this currency to you, the customer, for a higher rate than they bought it for, taking a margin in between – known as “the spread”.
The spread is essentially a hidden cost that is not disclosed to you during the transaction. Then, in addition to the spread, some services will charge a transaction fee on top – which is typically the fee that they quote to you. In any case, the total cost of a transfer for you, the customer, is the combination of the two; the spread + transaction fee.
Q. Does the Remitly money transfer rate include a spread?
A. Yes, there is a spread.
Q. What about Remitly fees?
A. Yes, there is a transaction fee of up to £2.99.
But for the moment, don’t pay too much attention to the details. Rather, for the purpose of our Remitly review, let’s consider the overall cost.
Why focus on overall cost?
If you focus on the spread or transaction fee in isolation, it is easy to become lost in marketing gimmicks. Instead, it is more helpful to consider the overall cost when these factors are combined. For example, a typical bank will charge up to 5% of the overall transfer value in spread and transaction fee to complete a transfer on your behalf. Not great.
But what about Remitly? To determine its overall cost we need to compare a transfer with a benchmark, the mid-market rate, which in theory has no cost. Practically speaking, it is unlikely that you will ever receive the equivalent of the mid-market rate, however, your goal should be to get as close as possible.
If you can achieve a total cost of less than 1% of the overall transaction value then you are on the right track. However, it really depends on what your needs are and if you are willing to pay a little bit extra for additional features, advice, or research. To find out the mid-market rate of any currency pairing, use this calculator at xe.com.
What is the cost of Remitly?
To calculate the cost of Remitly, we received three quotes to exchange British Pounds (GBP) into Indian Rupee (INR) – for low, medium, and high values. The overall cost of each transaction was then compared against the mid-market rate and represented as a percentage of the transfer value.
Here is the calculation:
|Transfer value||Overall cost|
An average cost of 0.77% means that for every £1,000 sent, on average £7.70 will be lost in spread + fees. By using this figure, we can make a general representation of Remitly across a range of transfer values. Of course, it is not a perfect representation by any means, but it is helpful for comparative purposes.
Important note on SWIFT: You should be aware that any transfer conducted via the SWIFT network may incur additional hidden charges by correspondent banks; the exact cost depending on the amount of the transfer and the recipient bank. In our experience, these fees can be as high as £25 per transaction.
Remitly review: Market comparison
So, how does Remitly compare to other services in the market? To help you determine its relative competitiveness, we have prepared a chart. Beside the name of each service, we have listed its average cost, speed of transfer, receiving countries, and our review score – sorted from highest to lowest.
To sort this chart by column, click its respective headings. If you are reading on mobile, you may need to scroll horizontally to view all fields.
|wdt_ID||Service||Ave. cost||Speed||Countries||Our score||Review|
|1||Paysera||0.97%||3-5 days||174||3 stars||Read review|
|2||Azimo||0.89%||1-3 days||200||2 stars||Read review|
|3||OFX||1.20%||3-5 days||226||4 stars||Read review|
|4||OrbitRemit||0.43%||1-3 days||43||4 stars||Read review|
|5||Currencies Direct||1.79%||2-4 days||188||3 stars||Read review|
|6||MoneyGram||3.50%||1-3 days||194||2 stars||Read review|
|7||CurrencyFair||0.45%||2-4 days||157||5 stars||Read review|
|8||RationalFX||1.16%||1-3 days||201||3 stars||Read review|
|9||Remitly||0.77%||1-3 days||58||2 stars|
|10||Ria Money Transfer||3.06%||1-3 days||158||2 stars||Read review|
If you would like to learn more about the rationale of our Remitly review, take a look at our review methodology.
A typical transfer with Remitly takes 1-3 business days. The exact duration will depend on a few factors, including the currency pairings involved, the transfer value, as well as the particular systems of the sending and receiving bank.
Key payment features
How do payment features affect our Remitly review? Let’s take a look at its capabilities.
A spot contract consists of a single payment from one currency to another at the current available rate. If you need to send money right away, simply login to the Remitly app or website and with a couple of clicks a spot payment can be arranged.
A cash pickup payment allows you to transfer money to a person in another location, whereby they can pick up the payment in cash – typically from a physical branch. It is the easiest way to send money to family or friends who need quick and flexible access to funds.
Remitly contact details and telephone number
Remitly contact service is available by phone or email. Here is the Remily telephone number for a few of their offices:
+61 2 8607 8054 (Australia)
+44 800 086 9992 (United Kingdom)
+1 888 736 4859 (United States)
In our experience, we found the customer service of Remitly to be wanting. Our issue was not with any particular customer service representative, rather its clunky and unrefined processes. We were able to speak with someone, presumably based in the Philippines, with relative ease. However, no matter how friendly they were, they were of very little use when we ran into issues.
Specifically, whilst conducting our review, we began the process of obtaining tier 3 account verification, to increase our transaction limit £25,000. This process required that we send a copy of a passport and bank statement. As per all our dealings with money transfer services, we redacted some of the information which we deemed not relevant for the purposes of identity verification.
Remitly, apparently has an issue with this, and instead of opening up a dialogue asking for further information, decided to permanently suspend our account without reason; directing us to its terms of service, without specifying a clause of reference.
Is Remitly safe?
As a customer, is Remitly safe to use? Let’s take a look at some of its security measures.
Remitly is regulated by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network in the USA. Its international subsidiaries are regulated by the relevant authorities in the jurisdiction of their operations, such as the FCA in the UK and ASIC in Australia.
Customer funds are held in trust
In accordance with the standards imposed by government regulators, the funds of Remitly customers are held in segregated accounts and are kept apart from the company’s own operating accounts. This ensures the security of customer funds, should Remitly encounter financial difficulty.
Website is securely protected
The Remitly website is protected with TLS encryption, which prevents sensitive data from being intercepted during your visit. You can confirm that this is in place by recognising a green padlock next to the website’s URL on your browser.
Are there Remitly complaints? A look at its reputation
Are there any Remitly complaints – or what about Remitly fraud? Let’s take a look at its reputation.
As of publication, Remitly has received over 28,000 reviews on Trustpilot with an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars; representing a positive experience in 90 percent of interactions with its customers.
Here are our observations of the feedback posted:
- Successful payments despite delays with identification verification
- Fast and easy for small amounts
- No explanation for account suspensions
- Excessive requests for private information and documentation
- Sloppy customer service and poor communication in general
Upon viewing the Facebook and Twitter feeds of Remitly, we can see a range of interactions between the service and its customers. It appears that any queries raised by customers are addressed promptly. Remitly will typically move the conversation into private messaging to rectify any issue.
The mainstream media reporting of Remitly is generally positive and provides it with a handful of vanity articles. Many of these highlight the benefits that money transfer services have over traditional banks.
Interview with Remitly founder, Matthew Oppenheimer.One Million by One Million
The 2 principles that guided Remitly to Series D funding.Inc.
Remitly guns for aggressive Asian expansion.Tech in Asia
Remitly online experience
How does product design affect our Remitly review? Let’s take a look at the user experience.
Remitly online design
The Remitly website has been designed thoughtfully, with special attention being paid to user experience and simplicity. As far as we are aware, the website is only available in English.
A Remitly mobile app has been developed for Apple and Android devices. By using the Remitly app you can access your account at any time and use its core features, such as initiating new payments or tracking the status of in-progress transfers.
The registration process is very quick and takes around 1 minute. All you need to do is enter your email address and a password.
No identification is required to make transfers up to £5,000. If you would like to make larger transfers than this, you will first need to verify your identity. Typically this will require providing two types of documents:
- Photo identification, such as a passport or drivers licence, will allow transfers of up to £25,000.
- Proof of funds, such as a bank statement, will allow aggregate transfers of up to £150,000 every six months.
How does Remitly work?
As a part of our Remitly review, we will take you through an example transaction. If you would like some guidance in navigating your own account, you can follow along below.
Step 1 – Sign up and login
Visit remitly.com, sign up and login. Select the receiving country and enter the amount you want to send. Also, the select how you want your funds to be received and your desired time frame – either standard or express.
Step 2 – Enter recipient details
Enter the personal information of your recipient, including their bank details if that is the method of receipt selected.
Step 3 – Enter your details
Enter your own personal details, including name, address and phone number.
Step 4 – Select payment method
Enter your payment details, if you are paying by debit or credit card. Alternatively, you can choose to pay by bank deposit.
Step 5 – Confirm transaction
The terms of the quote are presented, and a reason for the payment is requested. Once you are happy to proceed, click Send Money. If you selected bank deposit in a previous screen, now is the time to transfer your funds into the local bank account of Remitly.
Step 6 – Remitly tracking
When your funds are received by Remitly, it will complete the final leg of the transfer. You can track its status online or with the Remitly app. You will also receive email updates throughout the process.
Finally, once the transfer is complete its status will be updated accordingly. The funds should arrive in your recipient’s bank account shortly.
Review disclosure: Unfortunately, we were not able to test Remitly with a transaction of our own. As a result, we cannot confirm the efficacy of the service.
Remitly review: Final thoughts
Remitly focuses on assisting immigrants when they need to send money back home. Despite its clear intent, in our experience, it suffers from poor customer service. Although we weren’t able to transact with Remitly, it does appear that its online platform performs reasonably well.
We can’t help but feel that Remitly’s ambition for growth has come at a cost. There are many reviews out there complaining about their intrusive behaviour when it comes to personal information. Considering this, it may be worthwhile exploring alternatives such as WorldRemit, TransferGo, and Wise.
If you have any questions or feedback about our Remitly review, let us know in the comments below.