Remitly vs Wise: Comparing fees, limits, cash pickup & more

Money know-how
27 May 2024
12 mins read
Written by Riona lye

Key Takeaway

Remitly

Pros

Cons

 

Users can receive money via bank account, mobile device, cash pickup or home delivery

Fees may not be upfront, and exchange rates may have markups.

 

Easy to use with a user-friendly website and mobile application

Lower daily and monthly limits, especially for unverified users.

 

Receive real-time notifications via text message, keeping you and your recipient in the loop about the transfer status.

 

 

Wise

Pros

Cons

 

Transparent pricing with a mid-market rate, potentially saving you money.

No cash pickup for recipients

 

Higher limits, especially for verified users.

Does not offer personal and business account management

 

Topnotch security measures like a dedicated fraud team, real-time security alerts and multi-factor authentication.

 

 

In this post, we’ll explore Remitly and Wise’s transfer speeds, fees, exchange rates, safety and more. Find out which service suits your preferences and We’ll help you pick the perfect service for your needs and make sure your money transfer goes off without a hitch!

Remitly vs Wise: An Overview

Let’s take a look at what Remitly and Wise are all about before we get into how they differ. We’ll explore their history, how they started and their fundamentals below:

Remitly

With various offerings like bank transfers, mobile wallet services and home delivery in select areas, Remitly has become one of the major players in the international money transfer market. It is a cross-border remittance provider founded in 2011, serving over five million customers worldwide.

 

Remitly focuses on customers who send money abroad to support their loved ones. They primarily serve expatriates and immigrants in need of a dependable money transfer service to send funds back to their home countries.

Wise

Formerly known as TransferWise, Wise was founded in 2011 focusing on international money transfers. Since then, they have expanded their services to include business products, debit cards and multi-currency accounts. More than 16 million customers use Wise globally, allowing them to send money to over 70 countries.

 

Wise stands out for its competitive exchange rates, which means customers get the most out of their money with no surprise fees. This transparent pricing structure makes Wise attractive to personal and business users who regularly send money internationally and prioritise affordability.

Remitly vs Wise: Fees and Exchange Rates

One of the main features to consider when it comes to international money transfers is the fees. Let’s see how Remitly and Wise compare on this front.

Remitly Fees and Exchange Rates

The transfer fee structure of Remitly can vary depending on where you’re sending money, how you want it delivered (cash pickup, bank transfer, etc.) and how you pay for the transfer (debit card, bank transfer, etc.).

 

There are typically three fees to consider:

 

  • Transfer fee: This is a flat fee Remitly charges for the service.

  • Exchange rate markup: This varies depending on the currencies being exchanged. The markup can range from 0.5% to 3.0% above the mid-market rate. Meaning, that the final cost of your transfer will heavily depend on the specific currencies involved.

  • Third-party fees: These are any additional charges from your bank or credit card issuer, like cash advance fees for using a credit card.

 

Moreover, Remitly lets you choose between two transfer methods:

 

  • Express Transfer – Funded by debit or credit card, you can expect the transfer to arrive quickly (usually within minutes).

  • Economy Transfer – Funded by bank transfer, the transfer takes several days to arrive but typically comes with lower fees.
Wise Fees and Exchange Rates

Wise keeps its fees clear and upfront. The amount you pay can depend on:

 

  • How much money you’re sending.

  • Where the money is going.

  • How the recipient receives the money (bank deposit, cash pickup, etc.).

 

They also break down their fees into three parts, making them easy to understand:

 

  • Service fee: This is a small fee, typically starting around 0.35% of the amount you’re sending. It is significantly lower than what banks often charge. You can use Wise’s calculator to see the exact fee for your specific transfer.

  • Mid-market rate: Wise uses the real exchange rate. This means you get a good deal on the exchange rates, with no hidden fees built into the rate.

  • Transfer fees: Wise tries to minimise these fees by using local bank accounts in many countries. However, there may be a small fee depending on how the recipient receives the money. Using a credit or debit card for the transfer can also add a small fee.

 

While the exact fees may vary, Wise prides itself on transparency. You’ll always see the total cost before finalising your transfer.

Verdict: Wise Wins

Wise has a competitive edge over Remitly due to its lower fees and transparency. Here’s what makes Wise stand out:

 

  • Transparency: Wise shows the total cost upfront, including any fees, before you finalise the transfer.

  • Exchange Rates: Wise uses the mid-market rate; the most favourable rate available. Remitly adds a markup on top of this rate.

Remitly vs Wise: International Transfer Limits 

When sending money abroad, how much you can transfer is just as important as fees. Here’s a breakdown of how Remitly and Wise compare in terms of transfer limits:

Remitly International Transfer Limits

Remitly doesn’t follow a single daily limit. Instead, it uses a tiered system with limits based on how long you’ve been a customer and your verification status. These limits apply to the total amount you can transfer within 24 hours, a 30-day period and a 180-day period.

 

 

Tier 1

Tier 2

Tier 3

24 Hours

US$2,999

US$6,000

US$10,000

30 Days

US$10,000

US$20,000

US$30,000

180 Days

US$18,000

US$36,000

US$60,000

 

To potentially increase your transfer limits, you need to provide additional information about your transfer, such as the purpose and funding source.

Wise International Transfer Limits 

Compared to Remitly, Wise offers higher transfer limits, especially for verified users. Here’s a general overview:

 

Payment Type

Per Transfer

Daily (every 24 hours)

Weekly

Wire Transfer

US$1,000,000

ACH Payment

US$15,000

US$15,000

Debit/Credit Card

US$2,000

US$2,000

US$8,000

 

The good news is, that Wise is very transparent about its limits. You can easily check the maximum amount you can transfer for your specific situation using their calculator before initiating a transfer.

Verdict: Wise Wins

For high-value transfers, Wise wins with its significantly higher limits. However, Remitly’s transfer limits might be sufficient if typically send smaller amounts.

Remitly vs Wise: Pickup Locations

When choosing a money transfer service, accessibility for your recipient is key, especially if they don’t have a bank account. Cash pickup offers a convenient way for them to receive the money in person. Let’s see how Remitly and Wise compare in terms of cash pickup locations:

Remitly Pickup Locations

Remitly doesn’t have aphysical branch, but it partners with supermarkets, convenience stores and banks for cash pickup. The number of locations depends on the country. Luckily, you can find the closest one for your recipient using Remitly’s locator tool.

 

Remember that cash pickup is only available in some countries Remitly serves. You’ll need to check during the transfer process to see if it’s an option for your recipient’s location.

 

Some of these countries include:

 

  • India
  • Colombia
  • Mexico
  • Philippines
  • Guatemala
  • Dominican Republic
Wise Pickup Locations

Unfortunately, Wise doesn’t offer cash pickup. They focus on bank transfers and digital wallets for a more streamlined experience.

Verdict: Remitly Wins 

If cash pickup is important for your recipient, Remitly is the winner. For added convenience, you can choose their home delivery service when sending money to recipients in the Dominican Republic, Philippines or Vietnam.

Remitly vs Wise: Accessibility and Ease of Use 

A user-friendly platform and accessible features are just as important as fees and exchange rates when sending money internationally. How do Remitly and Wise compare in terms of accessibility and ease of use?

 

Let’s discuss below:

Remitly Accessibility and Ease of Use

Remitly offers a mobile app and web platform with a clean and intuitive interface. They cater to a global audience with the platform available in multiple languages such as Dutch, French, German, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese and Thai, among many others.

 

When it comes to ease of use, Remitly’s transfer process is straightforward. They guide you step-by-step, making it easy to choose between delivery options (cash pickup or bank deposit) and speed (express or economy).

 

Moreover, Remitly’s mobile app lets you easily share transfer details with your recipient. Aside from the transfer information, you can even translate the message to their language and add a personalised note for an extra touch.

Wise Accessibility and Ease of Use

Similar to Remitly, Wise prioritises a user-friendly platform, clear fees and a streamlined transfer process. Their mobile app—which is available on both iOS and Android—has a clean and intuitive interface, making it easy to navigate even for first-time users. They also support a wide range of languages including Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian and more.

 

Wise also simplifies the transfer process with clear steps for entering recipient information, selecting the amount you’d like to send and reviewing the details of your transfer.

 

Once Wise receives the money, they will keep you informed. You’ll get confirmation through email or the app, and both you and your recipient will be notified when the transfer is underway. For easy tracking, your payments will show up under ‘Transactions’ on the main screen. You can organise them by using the category dropdown next to the amount.

Verdict: It’s a Tie 

Both Remitly and Wise prioritise user-friendliness with intuitive interfaces, streamlined transfer processes and language support. Plus, you can easily track your transfer status and see live exchange rates, all in one place.

Remitly vs Wise: Security

According to the Social Market Foundation, an estimated 228 million people fell victim to fraud in the past few years. What is even more alarming is that scammers are increasingly looking to exploit money transfer services.

 

That’s why when choosing an international money transfer service, security is paramount. You want to ensure your hard-earned money reaches your recipient safely and securely. Here’s a breakdown of how Remitly and Wise compare in terms of security measures:

Remitly Security

With a presence in 28 sending countries and reaching over 170 countries, Remitly focuses on safety by meeting the specific regulatory requirements of each location they serve.

 

They are a registered Money Services Business with the US Department of Treasury, hold licenses in all Canadian provinces and are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the United Kingdom.

 

To protect their users from fraud, they use strong security measures to protect your data when you use their mobile app and website. This includes encryption to protect your information, using the latest methods like AES256 and 2048-bit RSA. They will also lock your account after multiple failed payment attempts to avoid unauthorised access.

 

Additionally, Remitly conducts account verification to prevent money laundering. They will ask for a valid ID and proof of address if your recipient receives the transfer from a cash pickup location.

Wise Security 

Like Remitly, Wise is a licensed money transfer service, operating under regulations set by various financial authorities worldwide. This includes the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the Central Bank of Brazil, the Customs and Excise Department (CCE) of Hong Kong and more.

 

Here’s how Wise protects you from fraud and hacking attempts:

 

  • Dedicated fraud team: Wise goes further by employing a dedicated fraud prevention team that works around the clock to protect user accounts and money from even the most sophisticated threats.

  • Real-time security alerts: You’ll get real-time notifications on your device whenever you use your Wise card, keeping you informed about your account activity.

  • Multi-factor authentication: Using two-factor authentication (2FA), they add an extra layer of security for logins and transactions. This ensures that only you, the authorised user, can access your money.
Verdict: It’s a Tie 

Sending money shouldn’t feel like a gamble. That’s why Remitly and Wise are dedicated to ensuring secure and trustworthy transactions on a global scale. They use the best verification processes and the latest security technology to keep your money safe, whether you’re transferring online or picking up cash.

Final Verdict: Remitly vs Wise—Which is Right For You?

While Remitly and Wise are both solid options, Wise may be considered the stronger choice if we take all the information above into account. It offers a higher transfer limit and a mid-market rate for currency exchange, saving you money on international transfers.

 

However, the choice will always depend on your specific needs and priorities. Here’s a quick recap to help you decide:

Choose Remitly When

Cash pickup is necessary: Remitly has an extensive network of cash pickup locations, ideal for recipients without bank accounts.

 

You’re sending smaller transfer amounts and don’t mind potentially higher fees: Remitly might be a suitable option if you’re sending smaller amounts. Their fee structure can be suitable for smaller transfers, especially if you choose the economy transfer option.

Choose Wise When

Low fees and transparent pricing are your top concerns: Wise uses the mid-market rate and displays all fees upfront, ensuring you get the most out of your transfer.

 

You need to send larger amounts: Wise offers significantly higher transfer limits compared to Remitly, especially for verified users.

 

Remember, it all boils down to what matters most to you. Consider the fees, transfer speed, transfer limit and pickup locations before making your decision.

 

Fortunately, you don’t have to feel limited by just a few options. There’s a wider selection of money transfer services available out there, including Instarem. Instarem offers a currency conversion feature to show you the cost upfront—no hidden fees, no unexpected charges.

 

At Instarem, international money transfers are fast, secure and low-cost. Download the app or sign up today!

FAQs 

Which is better, Remitly or Wise?

Wise generally comes out on top due to its lower fees, transparent pricing and higher transfer limits. However, Remitly might be preferable if you need cash pickup or are sending smaller amounts.

Should I use Remitly or Wise?

Here’s a quick breakdown to help you decide:

 

Choose Wise if:

 

  • You want the most competitive fees and transparent pricing.

  • You need to send larger amounts of money.

 

Choose Remitly if:

 

  • Your recipient needs to pick up cash.

  • You’re sending a smaller amount of money and are willing to pay a bit more for convenience.
Are there other money transfer services available?

Yes, there are other options besides Remitly and Wise. Consider Instarem, which offers upfront cost breakdowns and competitive exchange rates.

 

*Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. All details are accurate at the time of publishing. Instarem has no affiliation or relationship with products.

About Instarem

Instarem stands at the forefront of international money transfer services, facilitating fast and secure transactions for both individuals and businesses. Our platform offers competitive exchange rates for popular currency pairs like USD to INR, SGD to INR, and AUD to INR. If you're looking to send money to India or transfer funds to any of 60+ global destinations, Instarem makes it easy for you. We are dedicated to simplifying cross-border payments, providing cutting-edge technology that support individuals and businesses alike in overcoming traditional fiscal barriers normally associated with banks. As a trusted and regulated brand under the umbrella of the Fintech Unicorn Nium Pte. Ltd., and its international subsidiaries, Instarem is your go-to for reliable global financial exchanges. Learn more about Instarem.