Remitly vs Xoom vs Wise (Transferwise) SHOWDOWN: Which is better?

graphic that says remitly vs xoom vs wise showdown

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Trying to compare Remitly vs Xoom vs Wise to determine which service is best? You’ve come to the right place. 

We’ve all been there. 

You need to send (or receive) money internationally but don’t want to get ripped off. 

Who has the lowest fees? Which offers the widest coverage? And how safe are they?

There are so many apps and websites out there, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out where to start.

Well, start right here!

In this guide, we’ll compare three of the best international money transfer services in an ultimate Remitly vs Xoom vs Wise showdown

After scanning through our handy tables, charts, and examples—you’ll know exactly how to determine which service is best for you.

Let’s get to work.

TL;DR: Remitly vs Xoom vs Wise—Which Is Best For You? 

The best international money transfer service for you depends on your unique situation (countries, amounts, whether you’re sending or receiving, etc.). 

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, so read this guide carefully to determine which makes the most sense.

That said, generally speaking…

Wise (formerly TransferWise) is best for those who want to send or receive payments internationally directly into a bank account for the lowest cost possible.

Remitly is best for sending or receiving money via cash pick-up or delivery. Sometimes it’s also cheaper than Wise for bank-to-bank transfers.

Xoom is best for sending or receiving money via cash pick-up or delivery if the currency you need isn’t offered by Remitly.

As you’ll see shortly, there are several exceptions to these rules.

Alright, let’s start with a quick overview of each service, then we’ll compare the heck out of them.

What is Remitly?

remitly logo

Remitly started in Idaho as ‘Beamlt Mobile’ back in 2010—serving U.S. citizens wanting an alternative to traditional banks for their transactions.

Since then, Remitly has expanded all over the world, serving millions of customers every month.

Their service is fast, cheap, and simplifies the process of sending money internationally. With a bilingual website and mobile app, Remitly makes it easy to send money across the world, even if you don’t speak English.

With Remitly, you can send money using bank transfers, debit cards, credit cards, home delivery, or pickup. 

They regularly introduce new features such as Passbook (Remitly’s take on neo-banking) to match the growing needs of their audience – primarily immigrants who need to send money back home.

What services does Remitly offer?

Remitly offers two types of money transfer services: Economy and Express. 

The Economy service sends money within 3 to 5 business days. Fees are lower, and it’s perfect for non-urgent transfers. 

Express service comes with higher fees but arrives immediately.

Remitly also offers several ways to receive funds. 

You can deposit your funds directly into a bank account or onto a debit card. You can also send money to be collected from one of Remitly’s global retail partners such as HSBC, Chinabank, or BPI. Lastly, if the recipient is feeling lazy, they’ll even deliver funds straight to their address.  

What is Xoom?

xoom logo

When Xoom launched in 2001, it marketed itself as a newer, modern alternative to Western Union. 

You can use it to move funds instantly and transfer cash internationally while bypassing traditional wire services. In 2015, PayPal purchased Xoom and has since taken over the reins. 

With Xoom, you can send money to 150 countries around the world from a PayPal or bank account. They also offer additional services in 54 countries (and growing).

What services does Xoom offer?

Xoom offers a few unique services that make it the perfect app for sending money to friends and family abroad. 

In addition to sending cash, they also allow you to reload prepaid mobile phones and pay household bills (such as gas and electricity) for family members around the globe.

They offer cash pickup in foreign countries as well. That means if the receiver doesn’t have a local bank account (or doesn’t want to use it), they can pick up their transfer at one of Xoom’s partner locations. These include certain travel agents, Variety Cash and Carry, Walmart, and more. 

For even more convenience, you can also have money delivered directly to the recipient’s door.

What is Wise?

wise logo

Wise (formerly Transferwise) provides people with the most transparent and cost-efficient way to send money overseas.

In fact, Wise saves customers more than £3 million in bank fees every day.

They can offer lower fees thanks to the unique money transferring strategy they use.

Instead of sending money across borders (which is where most fees come from), they shift money around domestically.

So, for example, if Frank wants to send money from the U.S. to England, Wise might find another person, Anne, who wants to send money from England to the U.S. 

That way, instead of sending expensive tranfers across borders…

diagram showing an international money transfer

…Wise essentially moves money from Frank’s U.S. account to Anne’s U.S. account, and from Anne’s England account to Frank’s England account. 

diagram showing how wise transfers money

It sounds complicated, but this process happens automatically, and in many cases, instantly.

Wise is also known for being the most transparent money-transfer service on earth. They even allow you to compare transfer prices with the competition. If your transfer would be cheaper somewhere else, they tell you.

As you can imagine, these low, transparent fees make Wise one of the best banking options for digital nomads, freelancers, and frequent travelers. Best of all, everything can be managed directly from the Wise iOS and Android apps. 

What services does Wise offer?

Wise allows you to transfer money from 43 countries and receive it in 71.

They are one of the few money-transfer companies offering true mid-market exchange rates and transparent fees. When you compare Wise vs Xoom vs Remitly, Wise is the only one that offers this level of clarity on these numbers.

In some countries, you can even get a Wise debit card, allowing you to spend your balance or withdraw directly from ATMs. This bypasses the need to transfer your funds to an ordinary bank account, which involves a small fee. 

You can hold funds in over 55 currencies and transfer cash quickly—usually the same day. If you purchase their debit card for a few bucks (depending on where you live), you can essentially use Wise as your everyday checking account.

Lastly, Wise gives you your own banking details for over 10 popular currencies. If someone wants to send you money in any of those currencies, you can give them your banking details for that country, and it will be as if they are performing a simple domestic bank transfer.

Remitly vs Xoom vs Wise: What’s the difference?

Here’s a quick table to help you compare the main differences between Remitly, Xoom, and Transferwise:

table comparing the difference between remitly and xoom and wise
Info subject to change over time

Xoom vs Wise vs Remitly Real-Life Example

So far, we’ve dealt in the hypothetical realm. Let’s look at a real-world example.

Here’s how Remitly, Xoom, and Transferwise perform with a simple $1000 USD transfer to Thailand (these numbers will vary based on the current exchange rate). 

Xoom – Xoom charges a set $4.99 fee if paying via a bank transfer—the cheapest payment method. They also apply a 4.15% currency conversion spread to the exchange rate. This means, in addition to their flat fee, Xoom is slipping another 1,244 baht into their pockets as well. They do not advertise this additional charge, you have to research the true exchange rate and calculate it yourself.

After all fees and exchanges, the receiver ends up with 29,946 baht with Xoom.

Remitly – Remitly charges a $0.99 flat fee with a currency conversion spread of 2.13%. So, in addition to the $0.99 fee, they are also taking an additional 650 baht. Again, you would never know this extra 650 baht is being taken if you don’t research the true exchange rate.

In this transfer, the receiver gets 30,510 baht with Remitly.

(Note: Remitly often offers small fee and exchange rate discounts for your very first transfer).

Wise – Wise charges a set fee of $12.74 and uses the mid-market exchange rate. That means, unlike Xoom and Remitly, what you see is what you get—the total cost of the transfer is $12.74.

With Wise, the receiver ends up with 30,793 baht.

Figures calculated using the rates on the day of writing

As you can see, Wise is the winner this time.

But this isn’t always the case.

When transferring between certain countries, Wise’s transparent fee may end up being more than the total cost of Xoom or Remitly (including their hidden conversion spreads). 

Taking an extra two minutes to simulate this could save you (or the receiver) quite a bit of money—especially on larger transfers.

Wise vs Remitly vs Xoom: Who has the best reviews?

On Trustpilot, Remitly received an overall 4.4 out of 5 stars, with 83% of the 32,670+ reviewers leaving 5 stars. 9% of reviewers rated Remitly’s service at 1 or 2 stars.

Xoom’s is rated 4.2 out of 5 stars. Over 22,130 customers have reviewed their services—86% gave 5 stars, while 7% gave them 1 or 2 stars. 

Wise has the most impressive reviews of the three companies—rated 4.6 out of 5 with 85% 5-star reviews. They have a whopping 116,000 reviews (and counting) and just 5% of them are 1 or 2 stars.

Data subject to change over time

How are they similar?

Now that we’ve dissected the differences between Remitly, Xoom, and Wise, let’s quickly look at what they have in common:

  • All three have mobile apps for both Android and iOS.
  • All offer free account set-up and a variety of ways to send funds.
  • All allow you to send funds directly to an international bank account.
  • None require human interaction at any stage during a transaction.
  • All three offer a great customer service helpline including a phone number, online chat, or email.

To effectively choose between the three, you need to first determine which services are available in the countries you’re interested in. 

Fro there, match your needs with the strengths of each platform.

What’s better about Remitly?

With Remitly, there are many ways to receive a payment, including cash pickup at over 140,000 locations. These locations include participating banks in over 140 countries around the world. 

They also offer special rates for first-time transfers, along with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. This means if you’re not happy with any aspect of your experience, they’ll refund all transaction fees in full.

Remitly vs Wise: Pros & Cons

Here’s how Remitly stacks up directly to Wise.

PROS

✅ Remitly allows receivers to collect cash in over 140,000 locations.
✅ Remitly offers home delivery. 
✅ Remitly offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
✅ Remitly is cheaper in certain countries where Wise has higher fees.
✅ Remitly offers discounts for your first transfer.

CONS

❌ Remitly takes a cut of the exchange rate, Wise does not.
❌ Remitly supports fewer currencies than Wise.
❌ Remitly is more expensive than Wise in many countries.
❌ Remitly has a lower daily sending limit ($2999).
❌ Remitly’s Economy transfers take longer—typically 3-5 business days 

Remitly vs Xoom: Pros & Cons

And here’s how Remitly goes head-to-head with Xoom.

PROS

✅ Remitly supports more currencies than Xoom
✅ Remitly offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee, while Xoom only guarantees you’re money will arrive.
✅ Remitly’s exchange rates are often better than Xoom’s.
✅ Remitly offers discounts for your first transfer.

CONS

❌ Although Xoom’s fixed fee can be higher, it varies and can be cheaper in some circumstances
❌ Remitly doesn’t allow you to send to as many countries as Xoom.
❌ Remitly doesn’t connect to Paypal as Xoom does.
❌ In some situations, Remitly charges more fees than Xoom.

Who should use Remitly (and why)?

Depending on the country you’re sending to/from, your payment method, and your transfer amount, Remitly can end up being cheaper than both Xoom and Wise.

If this is the case, go with Remitly.

If you need cash pick-up or home delivery, Remitly is often the best option. That said, unless you opt for the more expensive Express service, it can take several days to arrive. 

Lastly, since Remitly offers discounts on first-time transfers, it is often the cheapest of the three methods if you’re a new customer. 

What’s better about Xoom?

Xoom is part of PayPal, which brings in a certain level of trust by association. Depending on who you are transferring money to, this name-brand trust may be important.

Xoom is similar to Remitly in many aspects. So, when deciding between the two, it often comes down to the fees and exchange rates for the particular country you’re interested in.

That said, Xoom offers additional services that aren’t available with Remitly or Wise—such as non-cash remittances, topping up mobile phones, and pay household bills for family and friends abroad. 

Xoom also allows you to send to over 150 countries—significantly more than the other two services.

Xoom vs Wise: Pros & Cons

Here’s a breakdown of how Xoom compares to Wise.

PROS

✅ Xoom gives many options for cash pick up and delivery, Wise does not offer this service.
✅ Xoom links directly to your PayPal account.
✅ Xoom allows you to reload mobile phones, pay household bills, and send other non-cash remittances abroad.
✅ Xoom transfers can be received in more than twice as many countries as Wise.
✅ In certain scenarios, Xoom is cheaper.

CONS

❌ Xoom marks up their exchange rate but doesn’t state how much their mark-up is costing you.
❌ Xoom has lower daily transfer limits than Wise.
❌ Xoom transfers can take a few days, while Wise is often instant.
❌ Xoom supports fewer currencies than Wise.

Xoom vs Remitly: Pros & Cons

And here’s how Xoom looks compared to Remitly.

PROS

✅ Xoom can integrate directly with your PayPal account and is better known.
✅ Xoom can send to 50+ more countries than Remitly.
✅ Xoom offers a mobile phone reload and household bills feature.
✅ In certain scenarios, Xoom is cheaper.

CONS

❌ Xoom’s exchange rate is often worse than Remitly’s
❌ Xoom supports fewer currencies than Remitly.
❌ Xoom doesn’t offer SMS reminder alerts for when cash is being transferred.
❌ Xoom satisfaction guarantee isn’t as comprehensive as Remitly’s.
❌ Xoom does not offer discounts for first-time transfers.

Who should use Xoom (and why)?

First of all, Xoom allows you to send to 50+ more countries than the other two services. So, depending on where you want to send money, Xoom might be your only option. 

Second, if you want to send non-cash remittances, Xoom is the only one to offer these services.

Third, if you’re a heavy PayPal user, Xoom will be super convenient for you, and depending on where you’re sending, may be worth the extra cost.

Speaking of which, while Xoom is famous for offering the worst exchange rates, in some cases, it still ends up being the cheapest. For example, in some countries, Xoom does not charge a fixed fee if you pay via bank transfer. So, even if the exchange rate is worse, the final cost of the transaction may be better.

The only way to know if this is the case for your transfer destination is to set up a test run.

What’s better about Wise?

The number one draw to Wise is its transparency.

Nobody likes wondering if they secretly got shafted on the exchange rate, so Wise decided to use the true exchange rate. They bundle all charges into their transparent fee, so you know exactly how much the transfer will cost upfront.

Since they strategically set up their transfer system to avoid sending money across borders, there are usually fewer fees involved. 

Wise is also much more than just a money transfer service. If you pick up one of their debit cards, you can use Wise as a virtual bank account, with the ability to hold up to 40 currencies at once in their Borderless account.

Lastly, Wise lets you essentially open up pseudo bank accounts in 10 different countries. You receive an actual bank address and numbers abroad, so if someone from one of those countries wants to send you money (or vice versa), you can set it up as a normal domestic transfer.

Wise vs Xoom: Pros & Cons

Here’s how Wise fairs compared to Xoom. 

PROS

✅ Wise uses the true exchange rate, so there are no “hidden” fees like Xoom.
✅ Thanks to Wise’s unique structure and exchange rate, it is often the cheapest option.
✅ Wise supports more currencies than Xoom.
✅ Wise offers a debit card that allows you to use them as your virtual bank account with the ability to hold many currencies.
✅ Wise has more (and better) reviews than Xoom.

CONS

❌ Wise does not offer cash pickup and delivery like Xoom. 
❌ Wise does not integrate with PayPal like Xoom. 
❌ Wise does not allow you to send money to as many countries as Xoom (less than half). 
❌ Wise does not offer services to top up phones, pay bills, or send other non-cash remittances. 
❌ In some countries, Wise is more expensive than Xoom. 

Wise vs Remitly: Pros & Cons

And here’s how Wise stands up to Remitly.

PROS

✅ Wise uses the real exchange rate, meaning there are no hidden costs.
✅ Wise is available in more currencies than Remitly.
✅ Wise has fewer limits on how much you can transfer.
✅ Wise offers a debit card and virtual bank account, unlike Remitly.
✅ Wise is cheaper in many countries.
✅ Wise has more (and better) reviews than Remitly.

CONS

❌ Wise does not offer cash pickup or delivery, whereas Remitly has 140,000 pickup locations worldwide.
❌ Wise does not offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
❌ Wise does not offer first-time transfer discounts.
❌ In some countries, Wise’s transparent fee is high, making it costlier than Remitly.

Who should use Wise (and why)?

Wise is best for those who don’t want to wonder if they’re getting ripped off on the exchange rate.

It’s also the best option if you need to transfer large sums.

Lastly, since you can hold in multiple currencies, get your own bank information in multiple countries, and even connect your balance to a debit card—Wise is the most convenient option for digital nomads and freelancers who frequently send and receive money overseas. 

How to choose the best international money transfer service for you

If your brain is exploding with information, let me simplify it for you.

As you can see, there is no clear-cut winner.

Each service has advantages and disadvantages. To decide which is best for your situation, you’ll have to run some tests.

Step 1.) Open up Remitly, Xoom, and Wise in three separate tabs.

Step 2.) Start to make a transfer with each service.

Step 3.) Select the currency you’re sending from, the currency your sending to, your payment method, and your transfer amount.

Step 4.) Each service should tell you how much the recipient would receive if you continue the transfer. This is the only number that matters. 

Step 5.) Choose whichever service offers the highest amount to the recipient. Keep in mind that, with Wise, the recipient may have to pay another small fee to transfer the money to their normal bank account (if they aren’t using the Wise debit card). 

And there you have it! 

You are now officially an international money transferring expert. Happy money sending!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Remitly better than Wise?

Remitly is better than Wise when transferring money to countries that are either unsupported by Wise or countries where Wise charges high fees. There are many countries where Wise is cheaper than Remitly, so It depends on which country you are sending money to.

Is Remitly better than Xoom?

Remitly is better than Xoom when sending or receiving money to countries where Xoom charges high fees and poor exchange rates. That said, Remitly can send money to far fewer countries than Xoom, and in some countries, Remitly ends up costing more than Xoom.

Which is better Xoom or Remitly?

The choice between Xoom and Remitly depends on your specific needs. Xoom allows you to transfer money to a wider range of countries and lets you top up cell phones and pay bills from abroad. Remitly, on the other hand, often offers lower fees and slightly better exchange rates. 

How are Wise fees calculated?

Wise calculator their fees based on a percentage of your total transfer. These percentages depend on which currencies you are transferring to and from. Since Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate, the fee listed is the total cost you pay. 

Is Wise safe for large amounts?

Yes, it is safe to transfer large amounts with Wise. Wise safeguards your money in well-established banks around the world. This means the money you deposit is kept separate from the funds used to operate the company. If the company has financial problems, your money is not affected.

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Booking.com - Book accommodation without adding your credit card (in case you need to cancel).
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Trusted House Sitters - Take care of pets in exchange for free (sometimes luxury) accommodation.
Flexjobs - Find remote jobs without having to sift through crappy ones.
Skillshare - Free trial to take unlimited classes that teach digital nomad skills.
Anytime Mailbox - Virtual mail service that can handle your mail while you’re away.
Wise - Send and receive money abroad cheaply (great for freelancers).

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