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Remitly vs. TransferWise
We take a look at two money transfer services to see which one will get your money there cheaper and faster.
Updated . What changed?
Remitly tends to offer lower fees, but TransferWise uses the mid-market exchange rate on all transfers. Both Remitly and TransferWise offers fast transfers, but Remitly’s cash delivery options make it a bit more diverse of a service. Overall, which company is best depends on the size of your transfer and your delivery needs.
The fees and rates used in this comparison are accurate as of July 29, 2019.
Which has lower fees?
Fees with Remitly depend on the currency, country, how much you’re transferring and if you want an economy or an express transfer. The faster express transfers will always cost more and can range from $3 to $99.99, while the slower economy option often only costs $2 to $4.
TransferWise charges two fees – a percentage of the transfer and a small flat fee that’s normally only a few dollars. The percentage fee ranges from 0.45% to 1.5% and can make the fee add up on larger transfers.
Although it’s a close call, Remitly’s transfers tend to be cheaper across the board, especially for economy transfers. This doesn’t necessarily mean your transfer will be cheaper with Remitly – each provider offers different exchange rates, which we’ll go into below.
Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending $1,000 and $10,000 to the Philippines
Let’s put both providers to the test. We’ll look at sending $1,000 and $10,000 to the Philippines to see whether Remitly or TransferWise gives you a better deal.
For the purpose of this comparison, we’ll look at sending the money via an economy transfer with Remitly, which is the slower but cheaper option.
Sending $1,000 to the Philippines
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 49.59 PHP||1 USD = 51.01 PHP|
|Transfer speed||3-5 days||1 day|
|Total Philippine pesos received||PHP₱49,590.00||PHP₱50,466.74|
|Receiver gets||PHP₱876.74 less||PHP₱876.74 more|
Sending $5,000 to the Philippines
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 49.59 PHP||1 USD = 51.01 PHP|
|Transfer speed||3-5 days||1-2 days|
|Total Philippine pesos received||PHP₱246,710.75||PHP₱252,925.43|
|Receiver gets||PHP₱6,214.68 less||PHP₱6,214.68 more|
TransferWise is the clear winner, offering better rates and faster transfers. While Remitly offers a lower fee, it still costs more in the end.
Which offers better exchange rates?
Remitly doesn’t have a standard rate rule, meaning its exchange rates can vary a lot. The margin normally ends up being 1% to 2% added to the exchange rate. For example, these are the rates for a transfer to Argentina:
- Mid-market rate: 1 USD = 43.7451 ARS
- Remitly’s exchange rate: 1 USD = 43.23 ARS
This is a margin of 1.93%.
TransferWise converts money at the mid-market rate, meaning it never adds an additional margin on top. This means that, using the same example, if the mid-market rate is 1 USD =43.7451 ARS, that’s the rate you’ll get.
Both TransferWise and Remitly offer competitive exchange rates, but TransferWise guarantees the mid-market rate on all currencies. Remitly’s exchange rates vary currency to currency.
Remitly often offers deals for first-time users with exchange rates that are slightly better than the mid-market rate, so it’s good to keep an eye out for that. In general, however, TransferWise has the best exchange rates. That won’t necessarily mean it’s best overall – fees have to be considered too.
Which is faster?
Remitly offers two transfer options: economy or express. Express gets your transfer there on the same day, often in a matter of minutes, but you pay a higher fee. Economy transfers typically take two to five business days, but it’s cheaper.
The speed of TransferWise transfers depends heavily on the currency and the payment method. If you pay with a card, your money often arrives immediately. However, if transferring via a bank transfer, it can take up to four business days.
There isn’t a clear winner as there are too many variables. Both services can get your money there within hours, depending on the payment method and the fees you’re willing to pay.
|Payment methods||Receiving options||Maximum and minimum transfers||Transfer speeds||Currencies|
|Remitly||Bank transfer, debit card, credit card||Bank account, cash pickup||Minimum: $0|
|1 - 2 days||30+ currencies|
|Bank account||Minimum: $1|
|1 - 2 days||20+ currencies|
Once you’ve signed up for a free account, you just enter the amount you want to send, your recipient’s information and your payment information. You can do all of this using either the website or the Remitly app.
TransferWise also has a simple process. After you’ve created a free account, you input the transfer amount, send TransferWise the money, then TransferWise converts it and sends it to the recipient’s bank account.
Remitly and TransferWise are neck and neck in most categories, with TransferWise winning out when it comes to exchange rates, while Remitly has slightly lower fees. It’s always worth checking both providers, and depending on the currency, the fees and the amount, you may want to use either.
But be aware that the currencies Remitly offer are more exotic than most transfer services, so check whether Remitly has the currency you need.
Looking for more options?
If you want to see how Remitly and TransferWise stack up against other providers, use our calculator below or compare money transfer providers.
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