Sending money across countries is a common practice among a lot of people, including expats. Whether it’s to support their dear families, lend a hand to...
Remitly¹ is a mission driven business which was set up to support people living and working in around 30 larger developed economies to send money back home to loved ones². Instarem³ was also created with a purpose - to make it easier and cheaper to send money around the world⁴.
Both Remitly and Instarem offer some overlapping services, including international transfers you can set up online and in-app, to be deposited into bank accounts globally. However the features, fees and exchange rates do vary, so comparing Remitly vs Instarem before you set up your transfer makes good sense.
So, which is better, Remitly or Instarem? This guide covers all you need to know - plus we’ll introduce Wise as a smart alternative which uses the mid-market exchange rate, and lets you send, spend, hold and receive foreign currencies easily and with low, transparent fees.
We’ll answer the key question - is Remitly better than Instarem - in more detail in just a moment, splitting out features and comparing Instarem vs Remitly head to head. First, let’s look at a comparison of the services and fees you can expect from both Remitly and Instarem as an overview:
|Feature and fee||Remitly||Instarem|
|Send from||Around 30 developed countries||The UK, US, EEA, Australia, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Hong Kong|
|Send to||145+ countries||Broad range of countries, based on the pay out method you choose|
|Pay in options||Bank transfer, credit or debit card||Bank transfer or debit card|
|Pay out options||Bank deposit, cash collection, mobile money account deposit, cash home delivery (select markets only)⁵||Bank deposit, cash collection (Philippines only)|
|Service fees||Variable fees - usually you can choose a cheaper Economy payment, or a faster Express payment⁶||Variable fees⁸ - transfer fees may apply based on how you pay, plus a currency exchange markup which is on average 0.25% - 1% of the transfer value⁹|
|Limits||5,000 GBP to 25,000 GBP every 24 hours, depending on account tier. Limits also apply to payments made in a 30 day and 180 day time period⁷||10,000 GBP when sending with a debit card, bank transfers are unlimited¹⁰|
Whenever you send money overseas, the full price you pay will include one or more fees, including a transfer fee and an exchange rate markup or conversion fee.
The transfer fee is usually very easy to see when you set up a payment. However, the exchange rate markup can be a bit trickier to spot. That’s because it’s added into the rate used to convert your pounds to the currency you need, so to calculate the cost you’ll need to compare the rate you’re quoted against the mid-market rate that you can find on Google.
The mid-market rate is important because it’s the rate that banks and providers like Remitly and Instarem get when they buy and sell currencies on global markets. But it’s not usually the rate that you get when you send a payment - as providers may add in their own charge as a percentage onto the rate they offer you for your transfer.
Both Instarem and Remitly offer varied pay out options depending on where you’re sending money to. You can choose to send a payment to be deposited to a bank account with both services.
Remitly also offers cash collection in many countries worldwide and home delivery of cash in the Dominican Republic, Philippines or Vietnam. That can be handy if you’re sending a payment to someone in a more rural location who may struggle to get to an agent to collect their cash in person.
Instarem offers cash collection services in the Philippines only.
If you’re having cash collected by your recipient, you’ll need to nominate an agent or cash collection partner close to your recipient at the time you set up your payment. Your options will depend on the provider you select and the country you’re sending to.
Remitly offers cash collection services many countries, cash collection options can be seen on the sending page with a number of partners and there are handy online tools to find convenient collection locations in a number of destinations¹².
Instarem offers cash collection services in the Philippines, through a broad network of partner banks. You can get a full list of all participating institutions on the Instarem website, or in the app when you set up your transfer¹³.
Transfer times with Remitly and Instarem can vary quite a bit depending on the specific service you select.
With Remitly you’ll often get a choice of sending an Express payment or an Economy payment. Express transfers can be delivered within minutes, depending on the destination. However, they come with higher fees. As an alternative, you can pick a cheaper Economy transfer which will take 3 to 5 days to arrive.
Instarem delivery times depend on where you’re sending a payment to, and the pay out option you pick. In many cases, money will be deposited in 30 minutes - but transfers could be held up if additional verification needs to take place. If you’re sending a payment for cash collection it may take 2 or 3 days to be processed.
Both Instarem and Remitly are trusted providers which are regulated in the UK by the FCA, and in the countries they offer services in by the relevant authorities there.
You can get more details about how each provider is regulated and how they keep your money safe, online. Remitly has its licensing information on its main desktop site, and Instarem’s full FCA detail is available in their general terms and conditions document¹⁴.
Instarem and Remitly both have 24/7 customer service options. With Instarem you can chat on the desktop site, or log into your account and get personalised help there. Remitly has multi-lingual support online, and also offers English and Spanish phone services, plus English, Spanish and French chat support.
Use the Instarem or Remitly website to register an account, review the services available, or browse FAQ and support topics. Instarem also offers instant quotes which don’t need you to register in advance for an account. Remitly may publish the promotional exchange rate available for your transfer, but won’t always offer a complete quote for the transaction without you having a live account.
For convenience, both Remitly and Instarem have Apple and Android apps you can use to send payments, track the progress of a live transfer, and chat with support teams.
Sending your payment using nothing more than your phone is convenient. But only if the apps available are easy to use and intuitive. The good news is that both Remitly and Instarem are fairly well rated across both the Apple and Android app versions - here’s the lowdown at the time of writing.
- App store - Remitly scores 4.9 out of 5 from over 1 million reviews¹⁵
- App store - Instarem scores 4.1 out of 5 from over 700,000 reviews¹⁶
- Google Play - Remitly scores 4.8 out of 5 from over 580,000 reviews¹⁷
- Google Play - Instarem scores 4.3 out of 5 from over 7,000 reviews¹⁸
If making mobile payments is important to you, you might also be interested in the handy and convenient money transfer app from Wise. Wise payments can be made to 70+ countries, in 40+ currencies, and always use the mid-market exchange rate so there are no hidden fees and no surprises. And the Wise app is also pretty popular - for low cost money transfers you can make on the move:
- **App store **- Wise scores 4.6 out of 5¹⁹
- Google Play - Wise scores 4.2 out of 5²⁰
Comparing a few different options before you make an international payment is the best way to make sure you get a fair exchange rate and a low fee. Which service is best for you will depend on where you’re sending money to, and how you want the recipient to get their cash. Take a look at the fees and rates on offer for both Remitly and Instarem for your specific transfer - and if you’re sending to a bank account, check out Wise too.
Wise transfers use the mid-market rate with no markup, and low, transparent fees you can check and compare before you get started¹¹. 50% of Wise transfers arrive instantly, with 90% getting to your recipient’s account within 24 hours²¹. No hassles and no hidden fees - just fast and easy payments around the world, right from your phone or laptop.
- Remitly UK
- Remitly - about us
- Instarem UK
- Instarem - about us
- Remitly - guide to GBP payments
- Remitly - How much does Remitly cost?
- Remitly limits
- Instarem send money
- Instarem - how much does Instarem cost?
- Instarem limits
- Remitly cash collection locator
- Instarem cash collection options
- Instarem terms and conditions
- App store - Remitly
- App store - Instarem
- Google Play - Remitly
- Google Play - Instarem
- App store - Wise
- Google Play - Wise
- Speed: Transaction speed claimed depends on funds availability, approval by Wise’s proprietary verification system and systems availability of our partners’ banking system, and may not be available for all transactions.
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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