Remitly money transfer review: Fees, rates and transfer times

TransferWise
09.12.19
7 minute read

Remitly is an international payment company offering cross border payment services to a range of countries across the globe. It’s helpful to know that although Remitly serve some 45 countries, transfers can’t be made on some major payment routes, such as transfers to the UK, Australia, France or Germany.¹

Signing up is free, and some customers may be eligible for promotional offers when they first start using the service.

When you’re deciding which company to use for your international payment, it’s a smart idea to do some research. There are many different services out there, which all offer different payment products, including varied fees and delivery times. Compare Remitly with some other providers to make sure it’s best for you.

This Remitly review will tell you all you need to know - and we’ll also highlight an alternative to kick start your search for the best deal - TransferWise.

How does an international transfer with Remitly work?

Remitly lets customers send money online via their website or app, to a range of countries around the world. You’ll need to first create a free account to get started, and can then arrange payments. You simply enter the details of the person you wish to pay, select a payment method and transfer funds. Depending on where you’re sending money to, you may have the option to send using the Express service, which is funded using a credit or debit card, or the Economy route, which is funded with a bank transfer. ²

The fees and delivery times vary for each service, with Express transfers typically costing more, but arriving faster than the Economy option. Fee structures also vary widely by destination country. You can model the payment you wish to make before you commit to the transfer, and you’ll also be able to check out our overview of the fees you need to think about, below. ²

Once you’ve modeled the payment you wish to make with Remitly, it’s worth comparing the fees and exchange rates offered with other online services such as TransferWise. Because TransferWise provide specialist transfer services which use the mid-market exchange rate with no markup, cross border payments can work out to be much cheaper than your regular bank. You just pay a transparent upfront fee which makes it simple to see the costs of your transfer, and can mean you save money against other payment options.

You may also save even more time and money with a TransferWise borderless account. This account is perfect for people who travel a lot, need to remit money frequently, or get paid in foreign currencies. You can hold money in dozens of different currencies in the same place, and switch between them simply whenever you need to, making low cost international payments convenient and straightforward.

What are the fees when you want to transfer money overseas with Remitly?

There are a few different fees you should look at when deciding if Remitly is the right currency service for you. Don’t forget to look at the upfront fees and the exchange rates, too, when you compare Remitly with other services, to make sure you get the best available deal for your payment.

Fee type Remitly costs ³ ⁴ ⁵
Express payments Express payments are funded by credit or debit card. Depending on the destination country, you’ll find different pricing structures. Sending money to Mexico, for example, will cost $18.97, plus a $3.99 charge for amounts under $500. If you want to send money to South Africa, you’ll pay on a sliding fee scale, from $4.99 for payments up to $99.99, up to a fee of $49.99 for larger payments of over $8,000. Funding payments with a credit card incurs an extra 3% charge.
Economy payments Economy payments are funded by bank transfer. Depending on the destination country, you’ll find different pricing structures. Sending money to Mexico, for example, will cost $19.35, plus a $3.99 charge for amounts under $500. Sending money to South Africa by the economy option will cost $3.99.
Exchange rate costs When you start to arrange your payment online, you’ll see the exchange rate which will be used by Remitly. Don’t forget to check this against the exchange rate you find on Google for your currency pairing. The Google rate is the mid-market rate - the one banks and currency services get when they buy currency. By comparing the Remitly rate with the mid-market exchange rate, you can see if a markup has been added. More on this later.
Other charges to check out Don’t forget that credit card payments will cost 3% extra in fees. You may find extra charges deducted when making payments by bank transfer. These are often linked to the SWIFT network, and may mean your recipient gets less than you expect.

Quick tip:
One thing to watch out for when arranging an international payment, is extra charges added becauses of the SWIFT network. Bank transfers are often processed via the SWIFT network, in a process which involves several banks passing the money between themselves until it gets to the correct account. This is a long established way of making international payments - but it’s not usually quick, and it can be quite expensive, as all of the banks involved can deduct a fee as they handle the payment. Check with your transfer provider beforehand to see if you’re affected

You’ll be able to avoid the SWIFT network entirely for many payments if you choose to arrange your transfer with TransferWise. TransferWise uses a new approach to make cross border payments quicker and cheaper - and may help you dodge unexpected SWIFT charges, too.

What are the currencies that Remitly supports?

Remitly supports payments to around 45 countries across the globe. To check if your destination country is available, you’ll need to go to the Remitly website and model the payment. You’ll also be able to see the payment and delivery options, and exchange rates available to you.

Don’t forget to also compare the coverage and fees on offer at Remitly, with other providers. With a TransferWise borderless account, you can hold over 40 currencies in the same place, and also send money for low transparent fees to over 50 different countries online.

What is the exchange rate you get with Remitly?

To check the exchange rate on offer for the transfer you want to make with Remitly, you’ll need to model the payment online.⁶ It’s helpful to check the rate you’re given against the mid-market exchange rate, to see if a markup or margin has been added to it. This is a common practice, but can mean you pay more for your transfer than you need to.

The mid-market rate matters because it’s the one banks and foreign exchange services get themselves when they buy currency. However, it’s not necessarily the rate they pass on to their customers. Instead, you’ll find a margin is added to the rate, which the company then keep as profit in addition to the other fees you’ve already paid. This can make it hard to see the real cost of your cross border payment.

Not all services add a markup to the exchange rate they use. TransferWise payments are processed using the mid-market rate. This can make it easier to see exactly what you’re paying for the transaction - and also save you money.

Are there any limits to the amount that you can transfer with Remitly?

When you create your Remitly account, you’ll see there’s a limit to how much money you can send at first. If you wish to, you can apply to increase this limit 24 hours after creating your account.⁷

To ask for an increase to your limits, you’ll need to log into your account, and click on the Sending Limits tab on the website, or the Increase Limits option if you’re using the app. You’ll then be able to see your options to increase your sending limits, which may require you to submit further details and documents to get approval.⁷

How long does an international transfer with Remitly take?

An Express transfer should be processed within minutes, with an Economy transfer taking 3-5 business days. You can track the progress of your transfer online by logging into your account.⁷

How can you contact Remitly?

If you have a question about how you can use Remitly, you may find the answers you need in the FAQ section of their website. You can also track your payment online to check it’s making progress.

If you still need to talk to a member of the team, you’re advised to use the contact form on the Remitly website, to get help.

Their phone line is open 24 hours 7 days a week at (888) 736-4859

Finally, if you have a broader issue, the Remitly corporate contact address is:

Remitly, Inc.

1111 3rd Ave., Suite 2100

Seattle, WA 98101

Choosing the right service for your international payment can mean you save time and money. However, with so many different options out there, finding the best option for your particular transfer may require a little research. Check out the delivery options and fees available from Remitly, compared to some other popular specialist services like TransferWise, to get the best deal for you.

Sources:

  1. Remitly pricing page 14 August 2019
  2. Remitly FAQ 14 August 2019
  3. Remitly - Mexico pricing 13 August 2019
  4. Remitly - Why do you charge more for credit cards 13 August 2019
  5. Remitly - South Africa pricing 13 August 2019
  6. Remitly - Help - Where can I find information about exchange rates, transfer fees, and which currencies Remitly supports? 14 August 2019
  7. Remitly Help page 14 August 2019
  8. Remitly - Contact Us 14 August 2019

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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