7 Best International Money Transfers

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The variety of challenger banks has increased over the past few years. Customers how many options they can choose from depending on which one has the best fees and features for their use.

Online banks have become a crucial tool for businesses and people that regularly send and receive money abroad, providing a better, cheaper and more effective platform than traditional banks. Remitly and Wise are two such options. Understanding each offer’s features and how they can benefit you and cut your money transfer costs is crucial.



Remitly is a US-based company that allows customers in the US, Canada, UK, Eurozone and Australia to send money to over 40 countries worldwide. Its online platform is extremely efficient, fast and more affordable than most of its competitors. Remitly helps customers send money using their phone, tablet, or online platform.


Wise is a UK-based online bank that was originally called TransferWise before changing its name to Wise. As an international money transfer service, it enables customers to send money to more than 70 countries.

It’s known for its great exchange rates that beat banks and competitors and for facilitating easy transfers to bank accounts. Wise has quickly become a popular choice for customers sending money overseas. Like Remitly, users can send money using their phone, the website or a tablet. 

How Each Provider Works

Both providers provide the same services but have different ways of sending the money across. Depending on the service, how you send money might look slightly different.


You need to create an account on Remitly before you can send money. The signup process is easy to follow using the screen prompts. In line with US laws, you will need to provide verification documents when setting up the account. Once you set up the account, you can make transfers in a few simple steps;

  • Sign into the account through the webpage or Remitly app
  • Select Send Money or Get Started
  • Enter the amount you want to send and your preferred delivery method
  • Add the recipient’s bank account details for bank transfer or name and personal details for cash pick up
  • Complete your profile, adding your name and personal details
  • Connect your preferred payment method, bank account or card
  • Review and when ready, click Send Money
  • You’ll see a confirmation screen once the payment is finalised


Wise also requires customers to create an online account before sending money, but the recipient doesn’t need to have one. You will need to provide some sort of identification for the verification process depending on the transfer type you’re making.

Once the account is up and running, you can make payments and send money easily using the Wise app by following the steps below;

  • Log into the account
  • Type in how much you want to transfer or how much you want the recipient to get
  • Enter the recipient’s details, bank account number, or email
  • Confirm the details
  • Fund your payment using a card or bank transfer
  • Hit confirm, and your money will be on its way

Payment and Transfer Methods

With each service provider, you need to pay for the transfer. There are different ways of doing this depending on the service.


Remitly users can fund their transfer through various channels like;

  • Bank transfer
  • Credit card
  • debit card

There’s a daily limit for Remitly users of $999 CAD. You can waive this limit by deciding to provide Remitly with additional verification information. This can be by providing the reason for the transfer or proof of how the transfer is being funded.

Recipients can get the money through a deposit into their bank account, a deposit into a digital wallet or picking up the cash at nearby partner money transfer facilities. Remitly has an “Express” option that provides instant money transfers, which is worth considering if the transfer is urgent.


You have four available methods to fund your Wise transfer;

  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Bank account transfer
  • Wire transfer

Wise has one of the highest daily sending limits in the online money transfer industry. You can send up to $1 million per day for both business and personal accounts. For ACH transfers, customers are limited to up to $15,000 per day. Credit card users have a limit of $2,000 per day or $8,000 per week.

If you’re sending money to an address in Nevada, Hawaii, the Virgin Islands, or Guam, your transfer is limited to $50,000 per day. When sending the money through an ACH transfer, your limit decreases to $10,000 per day.

Wise offers recurring transactions through the app and allows customers to send money to other countries automatically.

Fees and Exchange Rates 

Traditionally, sending money across the border has been an expensive affair. Between the low exchange rates and the exorbitant rates charged by high street banks, a significant chunk of the transfer ends in the fees and exchange rates. Challenger banks offer a better and cheaper solution. But the fees and exchange rates will vary depending on the money transfer service you use.


Remitly’s transfer fees depend on how much you send and your chosen transfer method. Express instant delivery is the fastest and the most expensive. There’s also the economy which attracts low fees but takes 3 to 5 working days.

As for the exchange rate, Remitly will add a margin of between 0.5% to 3.0% above the mid-market exchange rate, depending on the currency pair. Therefore, the amount your transfer ends up costing will depend on which currencies are involved.  


Wise has a more elaborate fee structure comprising fixed and variable fee components. For instance, when sending $200 to the Philippines, you will incur $7.93, for which $6.80 is a fixed fee and $1.13 is a variable fee.

Wise converts currencies at the mid-market rate. This is the rate you use on Reuters and Google. It’s the most attractive rate and the one that banks use to trade among themselves. This is one of the most attractive features of the company’s platform.


Wise is an outright favourite as far as fees and exchange rates are concerned. Its mid-market exchange rate is the most lucrative among its competitors.


Security among challenger banks is a sensitive issue, particularly considering how vulnerable online systems can be when not secured properly. Challenger banks have solved this by having extensive safety and security features attached to their online platforms and apps.


Remitly is well-known for its secure and reliable online money transfer services. It is a fully licensed money transmitter and is registered with the Money Services Business with the United States Department of Treasury. Being registered means Remitly has met and satisfied all the legal and security obligations required by the government.

Remitly is also permitted to operate throughout Canada, the UK and Ireland. Besides the government requirements, Remitly has implemented numerous measures to protect the customer’s information and money. These include verifying accounts, using manual and automated fraud detection techniques, requiring customers to prove their identity with the right documents and protecting all transactions using online security measures like 256-bit SSL encryption with a 2048-bit signature.

The company is used and well-known by millions of customers each year. Their popularity and financial strength have attracted investors throughout the globe that have invested in Remitly.


Wise is also secure and reliable. It’s a service that is fully licensed and regulated by various global watchdog agencies that monitor and track its activities to ensure transparency.

Wise is regulated by different authorities depending on its location of operation. These include the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network in the US, the UK Financial Conduct Authority, The National Bank of Belgium, the Australia Securities and Investments Commission, and the Financial Customers and Excise Department in Hong Kong. Wise is also regulated in India, Japan, Malaysia, UAE, New Zealand and Singapore.

In addition to government regulations, Wise has in-house safety and security measures in place to protect clients and their money.

For instance, it keeps the users’ funds separate from operating funds, usually in trusted banks like JP Morgan and Barclays, depending on the location. This is to meet regulatory requirements.

It also has a dedicated fraud and theft detection team and is regularly audited by IT authorities for security compliance.

Customer information is protected under two-factor authentication, 256-bit SSL and real-time notifications. 


This is a tie. Regarding security and safety, Wise and Remitly have gone to great lengths to provide a safe and secure environment for their customers.

Transfer Speeds     

Online banks have made a name for themselves by providing quick and reliable money transfers. On average they are faster than bank transfers.


Remitly has two transfer options with different transfer speeds. There’s the Economy option which is slower. It takes 3-5 days to deliver a transfer. Then there’s the express transfer which takes minutes to arrive and is mostly instant.


Wise takes 2-3 working days to deliver your funds. The timing of the transaction is often affected by the recipient’s bank processing speed as well as how you pay for your transfer.

You can save more time by paying for your transfer through a debit or credit card instead of paying for it through the bank.


If your transfers are time sensitive, you have better chances of getting them across using Remitly. There are other faster options like Pay iO, but with the Express option on Remitly, you can get relatively good speeds.

Ease of Use and Accessibility

Using online financial platforms can be challenging for many customers. Even with the right features and fees, if the interface and apps are not easy can impact your experience negatively.


Remitly has a lot of good things going for it and is dedicated to providing an easy-to-use and accessible platform. This includes providing up to 11 languages for its users, which include English, Spanish, French, Korean, German, Romanian, Polish, Italian, Chinese and Turkish. 

The platform is available 24/7, and you can reach out to customer support on live chat round the clock and on the phone from 5.00 am to 11.00 pm Pacific Time.

The Remitly mobile app is available for free download on the App Store and Play Store. Once installed, you can use different payment methods to fund your transfers, including bank and card transfers.


Wise is available in 12 languages, one more than Remitly. Available languages are Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, Romanian, Portuguese, Turkish, Japanese, Hungarian, Polish and English.

Customer support on Wise is available through email and phone. Wise’s mobile app is available on Play Store and App Store as a free download.

Customers get several payment options on Wise, like bank and card payments, Android Pay and Apple Pay.


Wise and Remitly have excellent accessibility and ease-of-use features. There’s no way to pick a definitive winner between the two, but going solely by the features offered and the User Interface, Wise has an edge over Remitly. However, this is based on personal preference, as some users might find the Remitly interface easier to use.

Additional Features

Challenger banks have developed a customer-centric approach to their services. They have a keen eye and ear for their customers’ needs. They are constantly making additions that give them an edge and attract more customers by offering additional features.


Wise has many additional features like the multi-currency account, this is an account that supports over 50 currency wallets that you can easily swap depending on your needs and location.

The debit Mastercard also functions like your normal ATM card for making payments and withdrawals. The debit card gives you access to thousands of ATMs and stores across the globe.

For customers that make regular transfers, Wise has an excellent feature that helps you minimise errors every time you make a payment. You can set up regular transfers on Wise for recurring payments. You don’t have to input the information every time you send money, which saves you from making costly mistakes.


Unfortunately, Remitly doesn’t have any additional features besides the basic features of transferring money at competitive rates.

Who Is Better?

Clearly, there’s no clear winner. Remitly has perfected some categories, while Wise has perfected others. The better option boils down to what you’re looking for.


Remitly doesn’t support domestic payments. It only supports overseas payments to about 50 countries. Remitly doesn’t have a business account, it only supports personal payment without any daily spending insights.

The company doesn’t provide large transfers because of the $10,000 and $30,000 per month limit, but it is quite appropriate for small transfers.


Wise supports both domestic and international payments. It supports over 65 countries where you can send money listed on its website.

Also, Wise has a special service dedicated to business payments. The service is packed with resourceful features for businesses.

Daily spending features are available on Wise. You can withdraw from local ATMs, spend on online stores and transfer money from one account to the other.

Wise is suited for large transactions because its upper limit stretches up to $1 million. It can also be used for smaller transfers but works best with large transfers.

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