Remitly Review: Fees, Rates and Alternatives 2022

Remitly has a mission - to make life easier for immigrants sending money home to those they love. Remitly’s founders want to help encourage upward mobility by making remittances cheaper and more accessible, and allow payments from 17 countries, to around 100 countries globally. From Canada you can send money to 50+ countries with Remitly, in a range of currencies.

If you’re interested in using Remitly’s remittance services, check out this full Remitly review, including fees, payment options, whether it’s safe to use, and how to register and use your account.

Remitly: Key points

Key features:

  • Send payments from 17 countries, on 100 popular remittance routes

  • Payments available for bank transfer, cash collection, mobile money transfer and home delivery - options vary by destination country

  • Choose a fast express service for a higher fee, or a cheaper Economy service if you’re not in a rush

  • Available online and via apps for both Apple and Android phones

Key stats:

  • Founded in 2011, based in Seattle, with offices around the world

  • Active customer base of 2.1 million people

  • Customer service is available in 14 languages

  • Member of Pledge 1%[2]

    • corporate philanthropy movement

Pros:

  • Extensive coverage across popular remittance routes

  • Choose different payment options - Express and Economy - and a range of payout options including bank transfers and cash collection

  • Multiple payment methods supported

  • Easy to use online and with the Remitly app

  • Customer support 24/7, in 14 languages

  • Licensed and registered with FINTRAC

Cons:

  • May not be the cheapest available option for bank transfer payments

  • Exchange rates may include a markup on the mid-market rate

  • Remitly may not be available to residents of all Canadian provinces and territories

  • Not all payout methods are available in all areas

Overall: 

Remitly is a mission driven business which aims to help immigrants who have moved away from home to seek better opportunities. It’s a mobile first service, which means the apps are easy to use when sending payments. Because Remitly really knows its customer base it offers many useful and targeted features, including currency and country coverage, varied transfer delivery options, and a choice of transfer fees. 

Remitly is definitely worth considering if you’re sending money to one of their supported payment routes for cash collection or home delivery. However it’s useful to note that some popular currency routes - like sending CAD to USD accounts in America - are not supported.

About Remitly

Remitly was founded in 2011 with a mission to make remittance payments faster and cheaper for immigrants living overseas and sending money home[3]. 

From Canada you can send payments to a broad range of 50+ countries in a number of different currencies[4]. However, as the services on offer vary based on destination country you’ll need to check the full details for your payment before getting started.

International remittances to bank accounts

Sending money direct to a recipient’s bank account can be the most convenient option for some people. Simply set up the payment online or in the mobile app and the money will arrive in the recipient’s normal bank account. There’s no need for your recipient to have a Remitly account themselves[5].

Great for: sending money conveniently to a bank account based in one of Remitly’s supported countries.

International remittances for cash collection or delivery

In some destination countries you can select cash collection or home delivery as payout options. When your recipient gets money for cash collection they’ll simply need to visit an agent near them and show their ID documents, to get the payment in cash. This can be a fast option when you send using the Express service.

In some countries it’s possible to get payments delivered in cash to the recipient’s home. This takes longer but can be more convenient in some cases.

Great for: sending money to people who do not have easy access to a bank account. Cash can be made available quickly wherever it’s needed.

International remittances to mobile money accounts

If your recipient has a mobile money account, it might be possible to send them money with just their phone number. This delivery method isn’t available in all countries.

Great for: sending fast payments to recipients who use mobile money accounts.

How does Remitly work?

You can send payments with Remitly from 17 larger developed countries to over 100 countries around the world. Payment routes have been selected to support people sending money on common remittance routes.

Where you can send money to will depend a little on where in the world you are - and the payout options also vary by destination country. From Canada you can send Remitly payments to 50+ countries - although payments to the US, UK and several other large developed economies are not supported.

Remitly payments can be delivered to a recipient bank or mobile money account, or collected in cash from an agent location locally. In a few destination countries you can also have money sent for cash home delivery.

Is Remitly safe?

Remitly is registered with FINTRAC in Canada, and other global regulatory bodies around the world. That means Remitly complies with all relevant regulations to keep customer money safe.

Remitly pricing

Remitly has different pricing structures and options depending on the country you’re sending money to[6]. 

You’ll usually find there will be a flat fee based on whether you select a fast Express payment or the cheaper Economy option. 

You may also find that you can choose to send payments in different currencies to your destination. For example, if you need to send money to someone in Vietnam you could choose to have it delivered in VND or USD. Fees may vary according to the currency you’d rather use.

To see which options you have for your destination, you can start to set up your payment on Remitly’s app or desktop site.

Remitly exchange rate

Remitly offers a competitive exchange rate which varies by destination country. You’ll see the rates on offer when you select the country and currency you’re sending to.

Exchange rates may include a markup on the mid-market rate. Promotional offers and rates apply from time to time.

How long does Remitly take

You’ll see your payment options when you start to set up your Remitly transfer, and will also be able to see how long different payment types take. Often there’s the choice of an Economy or Express payment. 

Economy payments are funded by bank transfers, and usually cheaper - but can take 3 - 5 business days. Express payments are paid for using a bank card, and are usually available in minutes. Express transfers are often more expensive than the Economy service.

Remitly Pros

  • Express and Economy payment options, depending on whether speed or transfer cost is more important

  • Payout options including bank transfers and cash collection

  • Easy to use online and with the Remitly app

  • Customer support 24/7, in 14 languages

  • Fully regulated and registered with FINTRAC

Remitly Cons

  • Price - there may be cheaper alternatives for bank transfer payments

  • Exchange rates may include a markup on the mid-market rate

  • Payout methods vary by destination country

  • Availability limited in some major countries 

How to use Remitly

Once you have an account registered with Remitly you can make a transfer by taking the following steps[7]:

  1. Sign in on the webpage or open the Remitly app

  2. Select Get started or Send money

  3. Enter the amount you want to send and the delivery method

  4. Add recipient information - bank account details for a bank transfer, or name and personal details for cash pickup

  5. Complete your profile, adding your name and personal details

  6. Connect your preferred payment method - bank account or card

  7. Review, and when you’re ready, hit Send money

  8. You’ll see a confirmation screen once the payment is finalised

Funding methods

You can pay for transfers with remitly by:

  • Bank transfer for Economy payments

  • Credit, debit or prepaid card for Express payments

Some Interac cards - if they’re co-branded with Visa or Mastercard - can be used to make a Remitly payment. You’ll need to have a card with an expiry date and CVV. If these details aren’t available you’ll have to choose a different card to pay with.

Payout methods

Payout methods depend on where you’re sending money to, but usually include:

  • Bank transfer

  • Cash pickup at a local agent

  • Mobile money

  • Home delivery

How to create an account

Creating an account with Remitly is simple and can be done on the desktop site or within the Remitly app[8].

To join on the desktop site:

  1. Select Join Now

  2. Enter your email address and password

  3. Select Join

To use the app:

  1. Download the Remitly app

  2. Enter the country you're Sending from, where you're Sending to

  3. Tap Next

  4. Enter your email address

  5. Enter a password

  6. Select Join Remitly

You may be able to start sending transfers right away, depending on the value and destination of payments. Or you might be asked to provide identity documents to upgrade your account to a different tier - more on that next.

What documents you'll need

The documents you need for verification will depend on the type of payment you want to make. In all cases you’ll have to provide:

  • Your full name

  • Your residential address

  • Your date of birth

  • Your reason for sending funds

To send higher value payments - or for some destination countries, you’ll also have to submit images of documents for verification purposes. You’ll be notified when you need to do this by Remitly, or you can upload your paperwork in advance to save time.

When submitting documents you’ll need to provide proof of identity and proof of your residential address. Acceptable documents include[9]:

Proof of identity: Passport, visa or residence card. Photo ID issued by your province or territory, and driving licences may also be accepted. 

Proof of address: Utility bill in your name, bank, credit card or mortgage statement.

How long does verification take?

If your account can be verified electronically it should be done quickly - within an hour or so. However, if more information is needed it’ll take longer. You’ll get a notification from Remitly confirming what needs to happen if your account verification is delayed.

Remitly limits 

How much you can send with Remitly will depend on information including your destination country and payout method[10]. Limits apply on how much you can send in 24 hours, 30 days and 180 days. 

You can request an increase to your sending limits on the Remitly website or using the app. When you log into your account you’ll see what additional information or documents are needed to increase the amount you’re able to send. Upload images of these documents for verification, and your limits will increase after approval from the Remitly team.

Supported currencies

Remitly supports payments to over 50 countries from Canada. In some countries it’s possible to send payments for receipt in more than one currency. 

Remitly regularly updates the countries and currencies available - check here for the most up to date available information.

Remitly reviews

Remitly scores an average of 4.2 stars on Trustpilot, from a total of over 33,000 listed reviews at the time of writing. That’s a Great rating.

Happy customers focus on how quick and easy it is to send money with Remitly. Here are a few comments made by Remitly users:

“Absolutely awesome, quick, easy and effortless way to send money...I recommend Remitly to everyone I know”

“The process is very simple and fast. The app is very simple to use and the customer service is excellent as well. I am very happy using Remitly.”

While a pretty impressive 83% of reviews at the time of research gave the highest possible Trustpilot score, naturally there are also some which are not so positive. 8% of reviewers gave the lowest available Bad score, mainly due to payment issues and delays. However, Remitly’s responses on Trustpilot are up to date, suggesting that problems which do show up are then picked up by the customer care team.

Remitly accessibility

Use Remitly via the desktop site, or download the Remitly app on Apple and Android phones. You can also access 24/7 customer support, which is offered in 14 languages.

Remitly customer service

Remitly has a 24/7 customer support service, and can offer 14 different languages. You can call or get chat support - here’s what you need to know.

Customer support channel

Remitly availability

Phone support

(844) 6040924

Chat support

In app and via the desktop site

Remitly alternatives

  • Wise - if you’re sending a payment to a bank account directly, Wise may offer a better exchange rate compared to Remitly. You can also open an online multi-currency account for simple payments around the world. However, cash collections and deliveries are not available. 

  • Western Union - Western Union offers similar pay out as Remitly, making it a good provider to compare against Remitly for your specific transfer. With Western Union you can also pay in cash via an agent, which is a service not available through Remitly. 

  • PayPal or Xoom - send instant payments at home and abroad - convenient and quick, but not always the cheapest. With PayPal your recipient will also need to set up an account to get their money.

Conclusion

Remitly is pretty clear on who their key customers are, and what their needs are likely to be. If you’re remitting money home from one of the 17 send countries, Remitly offers a convenient service. The fact you can send payments for cash collection or home delivery is also a differentiator - not all international payment providers can offer that option.

Remitly may not be the cheapest service available if you want to transfer money to a bank account directly - but their range of payout options makes them a service worth checking out and comparing with other alternative providers.

FAQ

How much does Remitly cost?

Remitly fees vary by destination and may include an exchange rate margin as well as a transfer fee. You can often choose to pay more for a faster transfer, or opt for a cheaper payment which takes a little longer.

How long does Remitly take to transfer funds?

Remitly transfers are often offered on either an Express or Economy basis. Express payments are usually more expensive - but faster, while Economy transfers are a cheaper option which can take longer.

Is Remitly safe?

Remitly is safe. The company is registered with FINTRAC in Canada like most other international transfer providers.

How does Remitly apply exchange rates?

You’ll see the available exchange rate for your currency and transfer type when you set up the payment. The exchange rate may include a margin.

Does Remitly have a mobile app?

Get the Remitly app on both Apple and Android phones.

How does Remitly work?

Remitly offers international remittances from 17 large, developed countries on popular currency routes. Payments can be made to a range of countries - usually delivered as bank transfers or for cash pickup.

How many currencies does it support?

The currencies available depend on where you are, and the country you’re sending to. You can send on select payment routes from Canada with 50+ countries covered.

General advice: The information on this site is of a general nature only. It does not take your specific needs or circumstances into consideration. You should look at your own personal situation and requirements before making any financial decisions. We compare currency exchange and money transfer services in over 200 countries and territories worldwide. We only display reputable companies which we have researched and approved.

By Ileana Ionescu
Updated May 17, 2022