It can be painful seeing your money disappear in fees as you send it family or friends.
Fortunately services like Wise and Remitly can save significantly compared to banks and even well known services like Western Union.
That’s not be the best bit. 😊
Remitly and Wise can do more than save you a small fortune and provide a simple stress free experience…
They can make it easier to get the money to where it really needs to be.
But they are different. Let’s dive in.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and savings on transfers if you use some of the links! For more information, see my disclosures here.
Both Remilty and Wise have low fees which means more money will arrive. However, both have different fees based on the amount and countries you are sending between.
So when it comes to fees, the first thing you should do is compare them directly.
Use the calculator for Wise (opens new tab) as a base line.
Beyond fees, there are some BIG things to consider.
Remitly is focused on sending money home from these 17 countries: UK, US, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Singapore and Sweden to over 100+ countries worldwide.
Remitly has some great flexibility and important limitations.
For a start, you can send money by Express or Economy.
You can also choose Bank delivery, Cash pickup, Mobile money and in some countries even Home delivery.
But Remitly there are also limits on the amount you can send in 24 hours, 30 days and 180 days.
In comparison, Wise is focused on bank-to-bank transfers but you can send money to bank accounts anywhere in the world and there are basically no limits on the amounts you can send. For some currencies and countries – transfers are automatically “Express” with no extra fee.
Both of these could be game changers.
- Low and transparent fees which you can get before you sign up
- No limits on amounts you can send
- Rates guarantee (2 – 72 hours) depending on country
- Multi-currency account and MasterCard debit card (optional)
- Available for both personal and business
- “Excellent” reviews from other users with 4.6/5 on Trustpilot on over 150,000 reviews.
- Bank-to-bank and card-to-bank transfers only
- Economy and Express (for a small fee) speed options, depending on budget and urgency
- Payout methods (Bank delivery, Cash pickup, Mobile wallets and in some countries even Home delivery)
- Easy tracking for both senders and recipients
- Guaranteed delivery (on time or fees back)
- Send money to 100+ countries worldwide
- Sending Limits
- Possible decline in customer service based on Trustpilot reviews. Was 4.7/5 when they had 20,000 reviews (when we last reviewed them). Now 4.1/5 based on 34,000 reviews.
- Fees accessed by signing up first
- Fees can be relatively expensive compared to Wise but still many other options
1. Real Fees & HIDDEN Fees
- Transfers at the mid-market or interbank rate with no fee built into the rate.
- Service fee starts from 0.35% of the amount – this is extremely low and can be 8x cheaper than banks. The percentage fee depends on the currency and amount – check using the Wise, widget (opens in a new tab)
- Removes (as much as possible) hidden fees like the receiving fees by having local bank accounts in supported areas
- Credit or debit card transfers are faster but also add a small fee.
- Remitly’s fees depend on how much you send, the funding method, and the transfer speed.
- Fixed Fee: Remitly refers to this as the fee.
- Exchange Rate Margin: The exchange rate (or FX Rate) offered is different to the mid-market or interbank rate. This difference or margin is often the largest fee to consider.
- “Express” Fee: An additional fee is added for Express transfers compared to Economy transfers.
Wise wins this round for their affordability and transparency.
However Remitly maybe a better option because (for a fee) they do have the express option and there are more ways to get money where it needs to be.
2. Are They Safe?
- Wise is regulated by, authorities such as Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (USA), the UK Financial Conduct Authority (UK), National Bank of Belgium (Europe) as an Authorised Payment Institution, the Australia Securities and Investments Commission (Australia), Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (Canada) and Financial Customs and Excise Department (Hong Kong). It is also regulated in India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the UAE.
- Keeps users’ funds separate from operating funds (usually in trusted banks like JP Morgan and Barclays, depending on your location) to meet the regulatory requirements of governing institutions
- Dedicated fraud and theft detection tea
- Wise is regularly audited by IT authorities for security compliance
- 256-bit SSL, two-factor authentication, and real-time notification to keep your data and money safe
- Remitly is a licensed financial services provider in the 16 sender countries and over 50 receiver countries. Remitly is licensed by the FCA (UK), the Central Bank of Ireland (Europe), and ASIC (Australia). They’re also licensed to conduct business in all 50 states of the US as well as Canada.
- Verifies all transaction to prevent theft and fraud
- 256-bit SSL encryption and two-factor authentication on website and app to protect your data and money
- Cash is only disbursed to recipients with a valid government-issued ID and transfer reference number
- Limitations of amounts you can send may limit possible problems.
As far as we can tell, Both Wise and Remitly are safe options for your international money transfers.
Because Remity deals with cash they need to have an additional layer of protections (like govt-issued ID for those collecting the cash), but ultimately cash is a favourite for scammers.
3. Ease of Use – Some BIG Differences
- Online focus: bank-to-bank or card-to-bank
- Transfers at the mid-market rate, with small transparent fee.
- Use the mobile app to track rates and set up transfers
- Can also use money in the multi-currency wallet to fund transfers, which reduces costs
- The Multi-currency account lets users hold manage and convert between 50+ currencies
- Best of both worlds: online and offline agents for cash and bank transfers
- Set up and track transfers on the app on both sides.
- Tiered services (Express and Economy) to cater to different needs and budgets
Wise has built their business around simplicity, transparency and low fees.
Remitly has improved the way old school remitters function with their highly useful services and competitive rates.
4. Reviews (inc. Negative Ones) — What Others Are Saying
Wise is rated 4.6/5 on Trustpilot with over 140,000 reviews, which is considered “Excellent.”
- Affordable rates
- Great for managing international money
- Fast transfers
- Good customer service
“Best international transfer service I have found. Good exchange rates, low fees, process funds very very quick. Have used multiple times, both for private and business, and have never had a problem. The money value it says will be at other end is correct, no extra fees drop out on the way like other services I used to use. Very happy with their service.”– Linda on Trustpilot
“Quick easy transactions– Nicola Keen on Trustpilot
Safe place for money when travelling abroad”
- Too many compliance checks
Some users were dissatisfied when they were asked to provide documentation for their transfers as this delayed the process.
However, as a licensed money transfer service, Wise needs to regularly audit transfers and ask for supporting proof like bank statements, relation to the provider, etc. if a transfer is red flagged.
Remitly is rated 4.1/5 on Trustpilot with over 34,000 reviews, which is considered “Great.”
- Efficient service
- Fast transfers
- Competitive rates
“Remitly remittance service set the standards of quality and reliability really high. All praises and none whatsoever negative feedback that I can think of.”– Michael Sarmiento on Trustpilot
“Fast and easy, comparatively good rates and reliable service. Have been using their services for 4 years without any hassle. Would definitely recommend it.”– Ciana Fernandes on Trustpilot
- Possible extra fees
There are some fees you can’t avoid on Remitly like if you’re using their Express service or the cash advance fee (charged by your credit card issuer) as well as the receiving agent fee if you’re sending cash. While Remitly does tell you there will be some fees involved it is hard for Remitly to be as transparent as Wise simply because it gets way more complex when you start working with cash and agents etc.
- Strict rules for operating accounts
Remitly can only be used for sending money home to your family and “limited support for business transfers sent from the U.S., but we don’t currently support business transfers sent from any other country.” Some users had difficult with this.
Other limitations include: no transfers between ther 17 sender countries and limitations on the amount you can send in certain timeframes.
According to their Trustpilot ratings, both services have solid ratings based on Trustpilot reviews.
But, Wise scores better.
Also in our last review we did for Remitly in April 2020, they scored 4.7/5 on just over 20,000 reviews. This suggests the “Poor” and “Bad” reviews they are receiving in the past two years have been on the increase.
That said, 4.1/5 is quite respectable and should be taken in context of what they offer (which involves cash and can be far more problematic compared to bank-to-bank transfers which Wise focuses on).
5. Transfer Speeds
- Popular currencies like USD, GBP, AUD, SGD, etc. are processed anywhere between a few hours to a day.
- Transfers funded by a credit card (with a small fee) are available within a few minutes or at least on the same day.
- Bank transfers and transfers with exotic currencies can take longer (3-5 days).
- Transfers with the Express service (with a small fee) are fulfilled within minutes to a few hours (usually cash transfers or mobile wallet transfers)
- Economy transfers (bank-to-bank transfers) can take 3-5 days, longer if exotic currencies are involved
Both Wise and Remitly keep their transfer speeds competitive, although the speed can vary by the amount, the target currency, and the funding method. Usually, transfers funded by cards are faster (but more expensive).
Your transfer speed will also depend on when you set up your transfer – avoid setting one up outside banking hours or on holidays and weekends.
6. Customer Service and Support
- Multilingual phone support
- Customer service can also be reached by email and chat
- Extensive FAQs
- 24×7 phone support in English and Spanish
- 24×7 live chat in English, French, and Spanish
- FAQs in 14 languages
Both Wise and Remitly are great at resolving their customers’ problems, but Remitly could be better for some people because of their 24×7 multilingual support on multiple platforms, which is very reassuring for an international audience.
For english speakers, because Wise scores a little better on Trustpilot, you might feel more confident using them.
For sending money to a bank account, Wise is a winner in almost every way against any competition.
However Remitly may be better especially if you are an immigrant sending money home. Remitly sends money to more countries and their service goes way beyond bank accounts (which your family or friends may not have).
Then compare this with Wise by opening the Wise widget (opens in a new tab) which does not require sign up.
Remitly often has better exchange rates and removes the fixed fee for first time users.
If you only need to send cash to your family from the UK, US, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Singapore and Sweden and want to avoid the hefty fees charged by traditional remitters like WesternUnion, Ria, and MoneyGram, Remitly is most likely a great option.
So ultimately, it depends on your unique needs.