Remitly vs Wise [2023 Updated]: Full comparison
If you want to send or receive an international payment, or if you’re looking for easy ways to manage your money across currencies, and spend with a linked payment card, you might have heard of both Remitly and Wise.
Remitly and Wise are both safe and reliable options for international payments. But their services, exchange rates, features and fees do vary somewhat.
This guide will help you navigate whether Remitly or Wise might be the best option for you, looking at international transfers, accounts and card options.
Summary: Wise and Remitly have some overlapping services for international payments, but their focus and their product range vary significantly. Remitly payments can be made from around 30 developed countries, to 170+ countries globally, to allow people working abroad to send money home to loved ones. Wise offers business and personal payments from a broad range of countries, to 160+ destinations, and has multi-currency accounts and debit cards to hold 40+ currencies.
Remitly vs Wise: side by side
|Send payments to||170+ countries||160+ countries, 50+ currencies|
|Multi-currency accounts||No||Yes, available with 40+ currencies|
|Debit card available||No||Yes|
|Pay to bank accounts||Yes||Yes|
|Cash payout available||Yes||No|
|Pay to mobile money account||Yes||No|
|Fully licensed and regulated||Yes||Yes|
|Open a business account||No||Yes|
- Wise is available for sending payments in many countries globally, with Remitly you can send from around 30 major countries
- Wise offers multi-currency accounts and cards, which Remitly does not
- Remitly lets you send to 170+ countries in 100+ currencies, Wise supports payments to 160+ countries, in 40+ currencies
- Remitly supports payments to bank and mobile money accounts, and for cash collection – Wise payments are usually deposited in a bank account
- Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate, while Remitly adds a markup to the rates available
- Both services are fully licensed and regulated for the services they offer
- Wise offers business accounts, while Remitly is for personal use only
The important bits
|Rates||Exchange rates include a markup||Mid-market exchange rate|
|Fees||Money transfer fees vary by destination, and often include both an Express and an Economy service option||Money transfer: From 0.43%|
Accounts: Free to spend currencies you hold, with no monthly charges. Transaction fees apply
|Speed||Express payments can be instant, Economy payments can take several days||50% instant, 90% same day|
|Service||Online, Desktop browser and mobile app||Online, Desktop browser and mobile app|
|Safety||Fully regulated and licensed||Fully regulated and licensed|
|Reviews (TrustPilot)||4.1, Great, 42,000+ reviews||4.2, Great, 195,000+ reviews|
- Rates: Remitly uses an exchange rate with a markup added, whereas Wise uses the mid-market rate
- Fees: Wise accounts are free for personal customers to open, and have no monthly fees. Wise money transfer costs start from 0.43%. Remitly doesn’t offer accounts, and has variable fees for international transfers, which can include different prices based on speed
- Speed: Remitly Express transfers can arrive instantly, while Economy transfers could take 3 – 5 days, while Wise transfers may arrive instantly, and 90% arrive in 24 hours
- Service: Both providers have online and in-app service
- Safetly: Both providers are fully regulated and licensed
- Reviews: Wise has a Great rating on Trustpilot from 195,000+ reviews, Remitly has a Great rating on Trustpilot from 42,000+ reviews
Pros and cons
|✅Send payments to 170+ countries and territories|
✅Send for cash collection, to bank and mobile money accounts
|✅Payments to 160+ countries|
✅Multi-currency accounts to hold 40+ currencies
✅ Local receiving account details for 9 currencies
✅ Payment cards for use in 150+ countries
✅ Mid-market exchange rates
|❌ Exchange rates include a markup|
❌ Limited selection of sending countries
|❌ Some service fees apply|
❌ No physical location for face to face services
Remitly vs Wise: The verdict
Remitly offers an important service to customers who want to send money home on popular remittance routes, especially if they’re looking for cash collection or mobile money pay-outs.
Wise on the other hand is a specialist in transfers direct to bank accounts, and offers the mid-market exchange rate with low, transparent fees. Wise also has a multi-currency account with a linked Wise international debit card.
If Wise supports payments to the country you’re sending to, and you want your transfer to be delivered to a bank account, it’s worth checking out the fees for your specific payment from both providers. And for payments to be collected in cash, Remitly is worth considering thanks to its broad reach and extensive agent network.
About Remitly and Wise
Remitly launched in 2011 with a mission to make it easier and cheaper to send money home to loved ones. All Remitly payments are arranged online or in-app, and you can choose pay out options including cash collection and deposit to bank and mobile money accounts, depending on your specific needs.
You can send payments with Remitly from the US, to over 170 countries in 100+ currencies.
Wise has been around since 2011 and launched with a focus on cross border transfers. Over time, Wise services have grown to include multi-currency accounts, debit cards and business products. Today, Wise has over 16 million customers globally. All Wise services are delivered online and in app, with transparent fees and low overall costs.
You can send payments with Wise from the US, to over 160 countries in 40+ currencies.
How do they work?
Before you can make a Remitly payment, you’ll need to create an account online or in the app. This is straightforward to do by following the on-screen prompts. However, to keep your money safe and comply with US law you may also need to provide documents for verification. When your account is set up you can make transfers in just a few steps:
- Sign in on the webpage or open the Remitly app
- Select Get started or Send money
- Enter the amount you want to send and the delivery method
- Add recipient information – bank account details for a bank transfer, or name and personal details for cash pickup
- Complete your profile, adding your name and personal details
- Connect your preferred payment method – bank account or card
- Review, and when you’re ready, hit Send money
- You’ll see a confirmation screen once the payment is finalized
Wise also requires customers to open a Wise account online. You might need to provide some ID for verification, depending on the transfer type you’re making.
Once your account up all up and running you can make payments easily online and in the Wise app:
- Log into your account
- Type in how much you want to transfer, or how much you need the recipient to get
- Enter the recipient’s details – bank account number or email
- Check over the details
- Fund your payment using a card or bank transfer
- Confirm and your money will be on the move
Find out more about how Wise works in this full guide.
Remitly vs Wise fees
Remitly’s exchange rates and fees depend on where you’re sending money to, the specific service you require, and how you’ll pay. Fees include:
- Transfer fee
- Exchange rate markup
- Third party fees
Often you can choose from 2 different payment types – Express and Economy.
Express payments are funded by debit or credit card, and can arrive quickly. Economy payments are funded with a bank transfer but can take several days to arrive. If you use a credit card to pay for your Remitly transfer you may also pay a cash advance fee to the card issuer.
Wise doesn’t charge an exchange rate markup. Instead there’s a transparent fee which will depend on the value of your payment and the way you pay for it. All costs are clearly shown when you calculate your payment.
You can also open a Wise account to hold and exchange 50+ currencies. Personal accounts are free to open, and there’s a 31 USD one off charge for a full business account. Linked debit cards are available for personal account holders, at a one off fee of 9 USD. Learn all about Wise fees here.
Here’s a summary:
|Fee type||Remitly fee||Wise fee|
|Open account||No fee||No fee for personal customers; 31 USD one time charge for business customers|
|Monthly fees||No fee||No fee|
|Debit card fee||Not available||9 USD for personal customers; no fee for the first card ordered by business customers|
|Send international payment||Variable fees based on destination and payment type|
You can often choose either a cheaper Economy payment – which will take a few days to arrive – or a faster Express payment. Express transfers could be available in minutes – but may come with higher fees
|Variable fees from 0.43% based on destination and payment type|
|Currency conversion||Markup applies to the exchange rate used||Mid-market exchange rate|
Remitly vs Wise: which is cheaper?
Choosing an international payment specialist can be cheap and convenient. However, as fees and rates do vary, it still pays to compare a few providers before you pick.
Let’s look at how a couple of different payments from Remitly and Wise work out. This table looks at how much will be received if you send a payment to a friend in EUR. Payments are funded by bank transfer and delivered to the recipient’s bank account:
|Amount & Currency||With Wise recipient gets:||With Remitly recipient gets:||Which is cheaper?|
|1000 USD> EUR||932.30 EUR||932.35 EUR||Remitly|
|5000 USD> EUR||4,663.94 EUR||4,661.74 EUR||Wise|
*Fees and exchange rates correct at time of research – 22 September 2023
As you can see, in our comparison both providers offered quite similar overall value, with Remitly is a few cents cheaper on the smaller transfer, and Wise slightly cheaper on the higher value payment. As the fees and rates vary according to the currency route, it’s well worth comparing both before you choose the right one for your payment.
Remitly vs Wise exchange rates
We mentioned earlier that one of the fees you’ll pay with Remitly is an exchange rate markup – that’s a charge added to the rate used for currency exchange. Remitly often offers a promotional rate for new customers, which can be better than the exchange rate offered to people who’ve sent money with them before.
Remitly exchane rate: While Remitly uses a fairly low markup, it’s useful to know that with some providers, the highest of all of the fees you pay for an international transfer is in the exchange rate markup. And as markups are applied as a percentage of the transfer value, they quickly mount up if you’re sending a large amount.
Wise exchange rate: Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate with no hidden costs. That means you’ll get the rate you see for your currency pair on Google, and the fee you pay is split out to make it easy to check and compare.
Remitly vs Wise: which is faster?
Remitly Express payments may be processed in minutes. Economy transfers can take 3 – 5 business days to arrive.
Wise payments can arrive in seconds on some currency routes, and most transfers arrive within a day. You’ll see the estimated delivery time when you set up your transfer, and can always track it online or in the Wise app.
Remitly vs Wise international transfer limits
Remitly sending limits depend on the tier of account you hold. Upgrade to a higher tier by providing more ID documents and personal information.
Wise has limits on some currencies, but they’re usually set very high – at around the equivalent of 1 million GBP – so people can transact freely. Learn more here: Wise limits
Here’s what you need to know:
|Remitly limits||Wise limits|
|Tier 1 accounts:|
24 hour limit – 2,999 USD
30 day limit – 10,000 USD
180 day limit – 18,000 USD
Tier 2 accounts:
24 hour limit – 6,000 USD
30 day limit – 20,000 USD
180 day limit – 36,000 USD
Tier 3 accounts:
24 hour limit – 10,000 USD
30 day limit – 30,000 USD
180 day limit – 60,000 USD
|If you’re sending in USD and your address is in a Wise licensed state, the following limits apply:|
Remitly vs Wise: Payment methods
With Remitly you can pay for a transfer by bank transfer, credit or debit card.
With Wise you can pay for a transfer by:
- bank debit (ACH)
- wire transfer
- debit/credit card
- Wise Account balance
Remitly vs Wise business
Remitly is for personal use only – you cannot make business payments or set up an account in your business name.
Wise offers business payments and accounts. Here are some key features of Wise Business accounts and payments.
Ease of use
- Creating an account: Wise and Remitly accounts are opened and operated online or using the provider app.
- Making a transfer: Remitly and Wise international payments can be made online or in the provider app.
- Ways to send money: Wise and Remitly both offer transfers funded by bank transfer, credit or debit card.
- Languages: Remitly and Wise offer global support in a range of languages, online, using the app, and by phone.
- Minimum & maximum amounts: Remitly has sending limits which apply every 24 hours, 30 days and 180 days. These limits vary depending on the specific services you use. You can increase your limit by providing additional verification documents. Wise limits depend on which currencies you send to and from, and how you pay. However, you can make several smaller transfers if your ideal transfer amount exceeds the limit for the specific payment.
- ATM withdrawals: Wise personal account holders can get a linked debit card to make ATM withdrawals globally. Remitly doesn’t offer this service.
- Receive money: Wise payments are usually delivered into the recipient’s bank account for convenience. Remitly transfers can be sent to bank accounts, for cash collection or delivery, or to mobile money accounts, depending on the destination country.
From the US you can send money to over 170 countries in 100 currencies with Remitly. With Wise you can send money to 160+ countries and hold and convert 40+ currencies in your Wise account.
Remitly is licensed to transmit money in all US states and Washington, D.C.
Wise is registered with FinCEN and licensed as a money transmitter in most US states. In some states Wise operates as a service provider to Community Federal Savings Bank.
Remitly vs Wise customer service
Remitly customer service is offered by phone and through an in-app and online chat. If you want to call, you can get the right number over on the Remitly website, based on the issue and the language you want help in – English and Spanish support is available 24/7. You can also open an in-app chat any time of day, and get help in English, Spanish or French.
The easiest way to get in touch with Wise is by logging into your account and opening an in-app chat.
Conclusion: Comparing Remitly and Wise
If you need to send a payment for cash collection you’ll want to pick Remitly. However, Remitly’s service does have limitations, and the rates and fees may not be the very best out there.
For low cost international payments to a bank account it’s worth comparing the fees and delivery times for both providers, as they’re relatively evenly matched on cost. Finally, if what you need is a multi-currency account or a card to spend with when you’re abroad or shopping online with international retailers, Wise could be a fit.
Wise vs Remitly FAQ
What is the difference between Wise and Remitly?
Wise is a specialist in sending global payments to bank accounts directly. Remitly on the other hand offers a range of payment types on common remittance routes, meaning with Remitly you may be able to send money for cash collection, home delivery or to a mobile money account for example.
Which is better – Remitly or Wise?
Remitly and Wise have similar services when it comes to overseas payments, but there are some important differences too. Which is best for you depends on the service you need. While Remitly has a great range of payout methods, to suit people working overseas sending payments to loved ones, Wise has a broader product range, including personal and business transfers, and digital accounts you can use to hold and exchange 40+ countries and spend with a linked payment card.
Is Wise or Remitly cheaper?
In our comparison, the overall costs for Wise and Remitly were quite similar, making it worth getting quotes from each provider before you choose the right one for you.
Is Wise or Remitly faster?
Wise payments can arrive instantly, with most being delivered within 24 hours. Remitly Express payments may be processed in minutes. Economy transfers can take 3 – 5 business days to arrive.
How many currencies do Wise and Remitly support?
From the US you can send money to over 170 countries with Remitly. Wise customers can send payments to 160+ countries, and hold and manage 40+ in their Wise accounts.
Can I open a business account with Wise or Remitly?
Wise business accounts are available to US residents, and can hold and exchange 50+ currencies. Remitly payments and accounts are intended for personal use only.