Wise (formerly TransferWise) Vs Remitly

Not sure whether to use TransferWise or Remitly for your next international payment? This TransferWise Vs Remitly review is here to help. We’ll cover:

  • A full side by side feature comparison
  • Which provider is cheaper?
  • Which is faster?
  • Which is safer?
  • Which gets better customer reviews?

Summary: Transferwise and Remitly exist to meet different customer needs. Remitly helps immigrants cut the costs of remittances, and supports more countries and payout options than TransferWise (now known as Wise). However, Wise is a specialist in low cost digital transfers to bank accounts. If Wise covers your destination and you’re sending to a bank account they may offer cheaper overall fees which are more transparent. Both providers are licensed by the FCA.

Wise Vs Remitly: side by side

FeatureWiseRemitly
Send payments to

80+ countries, 50+ currencies

90+ countries and currencies from the UK
Send to bank accounts Y Y
Send for cash collection or home delivery N Y
Send to mobile money accounts N Y
Multi-currency accounts Available for 54 currencies N
Debit card available Y N
Fully licensed and regulated Y Y
Open a business account Y N

So, to summarise:

  • Remitly supports more countries and pay out options compared to Wise
  • Wise has a multi-currency account and international debit card to support 50+ currencies, while Remitly
  • Wise offers business account services - Remitly does not
  • Both providers are fully regulated by the FCA in the UK

Wise was built for fast, efficient, low cost payments to bank accounts, and also offers multi-currency accounts to allow individuals and businesses to hold and exchange foreign currencies. Remitly was created to improve the options available to immigrants sending money home on popular currency routes, and offers more destination countries and pay out options compared to Wise. If you need a transfer for cash collection or delivery, or to a mobile money account, Remitly can help. But if you want to send money online or in-app, to a bank account, Wise will probably be cheaper.

The important bits

WiseRemitly
RatesMid-market exchange rate with no markup Exchange rates include a markup
FeesLow fees, varies by destination Fees vary by destination and delivery option selected[6]
Speed40% of payments are instant, 80% arrive in 24 hours

Express delivery can be immediate, Economy payments take 3 - 5 business days

ServiceOnline, in app and by phone Online, in app and by phone
SafetyFully regulated and licensed Fully regulated and licensed
Reviews (TrustPilot)

4.6 star, Excellent, 134,000+ reviews

4.2 star, Great, 33,000+ reviews

Rates: Wise uses the mid-market rate, whereas Remitly adds a markup

Fees: Both providers have variable fees which are based on the destination country; with Remitly you can also select either an Economy or an Express service depending on whether speed or cost is more important to you

Speed: Wise payments can be instant. Remitly payments depend on the service you select - Express transfers can be instant, but Economy payments may take 3 - 5 business days

Service: Both providers offer multilingual service in a range of languages, online, in-app and by phone

Safety: Both providers are fully licensed and regulated

Reviews: Wise gets Excellent review ratings on Trustpilot - Remitly gets a lower Great rating

Pros and cons

WiseRemitly
Pros

Mid-market exchange rates + low fees

Transparent pricing

Send to 80+ countries

International accounts for personal and business customers

Hold and manage 54 currencies

Send to a broad range of countries and currencies - around 90 from the UK

Strong range of pay out options

Choose a faster Express transfer, or a cheaper Economy option
Cons

Online and mobile payments only - no branches

No option for cash payments

Transfer fees vary by destination country

Multi-currency accounts are not interest bearing

Exchange rates include a markup

No option to fund payments in cash

Service availability varies by destination country

Wise Vs Remitly: The verdict

While Wise and Remitly both offer international payments, they have different features to serve the needs of different customers.

Wise is a specialist in transfers direct to bank accounts, and offers the mid-market exchange rate with low, transparent fees. Wise also offers business services, and a multi-currency account with a linked international debit card.

Remitly on the other hand was set up to help immigrants sending money home on popular payment routes. They have a great range of pay out options including cash collection or home delivery, so you can get money to people without bank accounts, even in rural or underserved areas. You can also send to mobile money accounts.

Wise doesn’t offer the same suite of pay out options compared to Remitly. However, Wise international transfers to bank accounts typically come with better rates and lower overall costs compared to Remitly. If Wise supports payments to the country you’re sending to, and you want your transfer to be delivered to a bank account, they may be your best bet.

About Wise and Remitly

Wise was launched as TransferWise back in 2011 as a low-cost international payment provider[8]. These days, Wise has upwards of 10 million customers, and also offers personal and business accounts to hold and manage currencies, accept payments and spend using a linked debit card.

With Wise you can send payments to 80+ countries, in 50+ currencies.

Remitly was founded in 2011 with a vision of making remittance payments faster and cheaper for immigrants living overseas and sending money home[9]. As a mission-driven business, Remitly also invests in charitable organisations which support immigrant communities around the world.

You can send payments with Remitly from 17 larger developed countries, to over 100 countries.

How do they work?

To use Wise you’ll need to create an account, and depending on the type of payment you want to make you might need to provide some ID for verification.

Once your account is all set up, you can make payments online and in the Wise app:

  1. Log into your account
  2. Type in how much you want to transfer, or how much you need the recipient to get
  3. Enter the recipient’s details - bank account number or email
  4. Check over the details
  5. Fund your payment using a card or bank transfer
  6. Confirm and your money will be on the move

Wise transfers are made through their own network of local bank accounts, so payments arrive faster and don’t incur intermediary fees. When you want to pay for your transfer in pounds you’ll send the money to the UK Wise account. Then Wise will make a payment of the equivalent amount in your preferred currency, from their account in the destination country. No money actually moves across borders, so it’s faster and cheaper than traditional international payments.

To get started with Remitly, you’ll need to create an account online or in the app. You can do that with just your name and email address - but depending on the value of payment you want to make you may also need to provide documents for verification. Once you’re up and running, you can make a transfer by taking the following steps[11]:

  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

Wise Vs Remitly Fees

Remitly fees vary by destination. In most destination countries you also have the option of either Express or Economy delivery times. Express will often cost more but can mean your money is available immediately. Economy is usually cheaper, but can take 3 - 5 business days to arrive.

If you want to make an Express payment you’ll need to fund the transfer with a card; Economy payments can be made using a bank transfer.

Whether you choose Express or Economy, you’ll also pay an exchange rate markup - a fee added into the exchange rate being offered. That’s very common, but can make it harder to work out the true cost of your payment.

Wise doesn’t hide any fees in the exchange rates used, but instead has a couple of different transparent costs:

  • Fixed fee: covering the fixed costs associated with the transaction. For major currencies this can be in the region of £0.20 - £0.40
  • Variable fee: covering the cost of the currency exchange. For major currencies this can be in the region of 0.35% to 0.45% of the transfer value

Wise Vs Remitly: which is cheaper?

Choosing an international payment specialist is almost certainly cheaper than sending money using your bank. However, as fees and rates do vary, it still pays to compare a few providers before you pick.

To see how much your payment will cost with Wise, simply enter your payment details into the Wise online pricing page, or in the app. You can enter how much you want to send, or how much you need your recipient to get, and see an instant quote.

To model your payment costs with Remitly, head to the Remitly homepage or app, and enter your destination country to check the payment delivery options and fees.

It’s worth noting that Remitly’s core purpose is to help immigrants sending money home on popular payment routes. You can send money from 17 large developed countries on over 100 payment routes - but you can’t send money between these send countries. Double check that Remitly covers your payment route before you get started.

Wise Vs Remitly: which is faster?

Remitly offers 2 delivery speeds, depending on how you want to fund the payment. If you choose an Express delivery, and pay by card, your money may be available instantly. However, if you prefer to pay a lower fee you can select the Economy service, in which case you’ll pay by bank transfer, and your money will arrive in 3 - 5 days.

40% of Wise payments get to their destination instantly, and 80% arrive in 24 hours. However, the exact delivery time will depend on where you’re sending money to, and how you want to pay. You’ll see an estimated arrival time when you set up your payment.

Safety

Both Wise and Remitly are fully licensed and regulated, and use both smart technology and dedicated service teams to keep customer money safe.

Wise is regulated by the FCA in the UK, FinCEN in the US, and other global regulatory bodies around the world.

Remitly is also FCA regulated in the UK, making it a secure provider.

Ease of use

  • Creating an account: Create your account online or in app with both Wise and Remitly
  • Making a transfer: Both providers allow customers to fund payments with a bank transfer or card. Wise also allows Apple Pay payments
  • Ways to send money: Send payments to your recipient’s bank account directly with both Wise and Remitly. Remitly also offers pay outs for cash collection or delivery, and transfers to mobile money accounts
  • Languages: Wise services are available in 15 languages - Remitly offers 14 languages. Both providers also offer multi-lingual support services
  • Minimum & maximum amounts: Wise ending limits can vary by destination country. Remitly limits are based on your account tier - to send high value payments you’ll need to submit some documents for verification

Supported currencies

Globally, Remitly supports around 100 major payment routes - from the UK you can send to 90+ countries and currencies. Wise supports 50+ currencies, and lets you send payments to over 80 countries.

Conclusion

Wise and Remitly are both great providers, but they exist to serve different customer needs.

Remitly is on a mission to make life easier for immigrants sending money home. Their services focus around common remittance routes and smart ways to get money quickly into the hands of people who may not be able to access a bank account easily. Pay by card for an Express transfer and your money could arrive almost instantly, for a lower fee than using a bank.

Wise also has a mission - to make international payments to bank accounts cheaper and more transparent. You won’t get the same range of pay out options with Wise as you will with Remitly - but if you want to send a transfer direct to a bank account, Wise may offer you a lower overall fee as there’s no markup on the exchange rate used.

Finally, Wise has a smart international account to let customers spend while they travel, make ATM withdrawals and cut out foreign transaction fees. If you need a way to hold and exchange multiple currencies, this could be the solution for you.

FAQs

Is Wise or Remitly cheaper?

For transfers to bank accounts Wise is cheaper, as it offers the real exchange rate with no markup, and low transfer fees.

However, Wise doesn’t offer payments for cash collection or delivery, or to mobile money accounts - for these you may prefer to use Remitly.

Is Wise or Remitly faster?

Both Wise and Remitly payments can be instant. If you want a fast transfer with Remitly, you’ll need to pay by card and choose the Express service to make sure your money gets to where it’s going as soon as possible.

How many currencies do Wise and Remitly support?

Wise supports 50+ currencies and Remitly supports payouts in a broad range of currencies to around 90 countries from the UK.

By Ileana Ionescu
Updated 2 February 2022