Remitly Money Transfer Review

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Remitly is a web-based money transfer provider that lets you send money fast from the U.S. to over 90 countries, especially the Americas. Competitors that have options for delivery within minutes tend to have higher fees, but Remitly balances speed with decent prices. It often charges fixed fees around $4 for sending money, depending on the country, amount sent and payment method.

Remitly’s exchange rates generally have a rate markup from below 1% to just below 3% that largely depends on the currency and payment method, but they're roughly on par with similar competitors.

The mid-market rate, also called the interbank rate, is the exchange rate that big banks use to swap currencies between each other. Most providers give customers an exchange rate that’s the mid-market rate plus an additional percentage, or markup, to make a profit on the transfer.

Example: If the mid-market rate for U.S. dollars to Mexican pesos is 20 pesos per dollar, then a 2% markup means the provider is giving you 19.6 pesos per dollar. For a $500 transfer, that’s the difference between 10,000 pesos from the first rate and 9,800 pesos from the second. And the higher the markup, the less your recipient gets in the local currency.

This overview of Remitly is for U.S.-based audiences sending money within the U.S. and abroad only.

» Compare your options: Find out what banks charge for wire transfers

Best for:

  • People who want cheaper or fee-free options for sending money fast and an easy mobile app experience.

Remitly pros

  • Fast delivery options. Remitly has the ability to deliver money to recipients within minutes if you use a debit card.

  • Free and/or cheap delivery options. The Remitly Economy option allows you to send money for fees as low as $3.99 or send over $1,000 for $0 to some countries.

  • Promotional rates. First-time users of Remitly will get a significantly cheaper promotional rate for a limited amount of money, depending on the receiving country. (Expiration dates on these promotions can be changed by Remitly at any time.)

  • Robust customer service. Phone service is available 24/7 in English and Spanish, and live chat is also available 24/7 in English, Spanish and French. Remitly’s FAQ section of its website has a clear list of common questions sorted by category and is available in 11 languages.

  • Strong mobile experience. Remitly's mobile apps offer a resoundingly positive experience, earning a 4.9-star rating for iOS users and 4.8 stars for Android users, both on a 5-star scale.

Remitly cons

  • Low sending limits. At $2,999 to $10,000 (depending on how much information you provide to confirm your identity), sending limits are much lower than some competitors’, some of which don’t put a cap on how much you can send.

  • Credit card fees. Funding transfers with a credit card costs an extra 3% of the transaction amount, which is similar to what some competitors charge and less than others.

  • Long delivery times for Economy option. Cheaper transfers, using your bank account, take three to five business days for delivery.

» Looking for more options to transfer funds worldwide? Check out the best ways to send money internationally

Remitly transfer methods and options

Remitly offers several ways to transfer money. Here’s a breakdown of the options:

  • Sending channels: Remitly’s website and mobile app.

  • Payment options: U.S. bank account, debit card and credit card — standard for many online providers. You can also pay by prepaid debit card.

  • Delivery options: Bank deposit at the recipient’s bank; cash pickup at participating stores, pharmacies or banks; mobile account deposit or home delivery.

  • Transfer limits: Generally, $2,999 within 24 hours when you first register with Remitly. This can be increased to $6,000 if you provide additional information to confirm your identity or source of funds, or to $10,000 if you also provide information on your use of Remitly. The amount you can send within a month is capped at $30,000. Some providers don’t place a limit on the amount you can send.

» Want to compare transfer options? See the best ways to send money

General advice for international money transfers

1. Compare transfer costs across multiple providers. There are two types of costs: upfront fee and exchange rate markup. Find the provider that has the cheapest combination of a low fee amount and the best exchange rate you can get. Usually online nonbank providers offer cheaper transfers than banks.

2. Know how exchange rates work (and how to find the best). An exchange rate is the price of one currency in relation to another currency. For example, if you want to convert U.S. dollars to euros, you would check what one U.S. dollar is worth in euros. Most transfer providers won’t give you the exchange rate you’d find on a currency exchange platform like the one at bloomberg.com (or when you Google exchange rates), but a currency platform can be a helpful starting point to know what the best rate looks like this minute. When you check the exchange rate for an international transfer with services like Western Union, focus on the foreign currency amount. The higher it is, the more money your recipient receives.

3. Avoid paying with a credit card. It’s an option for some providers, but there might be a higher upfront fee and your credit card issuer may tack on costs such as interest and cash advance fees. If you need money delivered quickly, use a debit card instead. A transfer paid directly by bank account tends to be a much slower transfer.

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