Sending money abroad online is now easier than ever, but how simple is it really? 

During the past few months, we analyzed hours and hours of recordings that traced users trying to send money online with a variety of different money transfer providers. We conducted this study with a specific goal: We wanted to evaluate the process and user experience of sending money online and analyze what elements made the process easy and clear. We also wanted to take note of issues that were confusing or problematic for the user.

For the last in our 10-part series, we selected one of the leading and most innovative money transfer companies from the United States: Remitly.

If you’d like to obtain all the insights of our study (created in conjunction with the user-testing tool Userbrain), you can read the full report The User Experience of Sending Money Online”.



Read the full report – it’s  free

For all our previous tests, we asked our users to make a £250 transfer from the UK to France. While Remitly recently opened some routes from the UK, France is not one of them, which is why we asked our panel of testers to make a transfer of $250 dollars from the US to Mexico, one of the biggest corridors served by Remitly. We used the remote user-testing tool Userbrain to record the users’ screens and oral commentary.

A solid first impression 😃

Remitly boasts a sharp headline (“The best way to send money online”) and a modern look and feel which made a strong impression with most of our testers.

“Basically, you can send money online within minutes, with great rates and low fees.”

“It has a very user-friendly interface, with modern graphics. There are excellent reviews of customers, which makes me trust Remitly, I would trust this website because it just seems very straightforward.”

The background is a world map and conveys the idea of a global service, although Remitly is available to send money from three countries (the US, Canada and the UK) to nine countries in South America and three in Asia.


Some confusion around finding and changing countries 🤨 😬

The list of countries is immediately visible to the users landing on Remitly’s website. Selecting the receiving country is intended as the first step users should take, but, some of our testers were confused at first. They thought they were actually selecting the country they were sending money FROM but couldn’t find the US in the list. A clearer heading before the list of countries would help here.

“So is this the country from where the money is being sent or the country where I am sending money to?”

Probably in order to save their potential customers a step, Remitly automatically redirect users to specific country pages based on their geolocalization and/or language. Unfortunately, this caused some confusion for one of our users who landed on the “Send money to India” page, as it was very hard for him to find out how to change the country.

“It was hard for me to change the selection from the country that I am currently in – I’m in India and it auto-selected India – to the country I want to send money to in this test [Mexico]. I had to go to the settings of my account and edit the “sending to” country […] I would have liked to be able to change that from the first screen of the transfer process.”

Another user was redirected to the “Send money to Mexico” page directly, which she found quite confusing. The headline “Hundreds of thousands of Mexicans trust Remitly” wasn’t describing the actual service being offered, and it took her sometimes to understand it was about sending money online.

“It doesn’t seem very clear to me what this website is offering, with the exchange rate I would think it’s for converting money. “


Signing up with Remitly is straightforward 😁

All the testers in our panel found that signing up with Remitly was “very easy”, as these two users summarize:  

“It was so easy to fill out my information, I entered my name, my phone number and my address with the auto-complete function, that’s super convenient.”

“It was straightforward to sign up, an email and a password, that’s it. Maybe a sign-up with Facebook or Google would be even easier.”

The sign-up form is integrated at the top of the “Send money to Mexico” page from where most of our users signed up, or from the top navigation. Once users click on “Join”, they are redirected to the first step of the transfer process:

The clean interface, the “100% satisfaction guaranteed” badge and the live chat all built the confidence of our users and encouraged them to continue:

“It’s very easy to enter my information, if I had any question, there would be a live chat, there’s a 100% satisfaction on the fees back, I would definitely use this website because it’s trustworthy and easy to use.”

One of our testers actually used the live chat to ask a question and got an immediate answer, allowing him to move forward directly.

“I’m extremely happy with the chat support, it was so fast. This makes the site feel very trustworthy.”

Several great user experiences, but not in every section

Small details are often what differentiates a good user experience from a great user experience.  Remitly really nailed some small interactions and managed to delight some of our testers. An example? The amount field can be incremented using the keyboard arrows, with the received amount in Mexican pesos automatically updating. This is quite useful in some cases and in the words of one of our first-time users this is “a very neat feature.”

In contrast to that, two of our users had issues when entering their birthdate, as they didn’t follow the US convention and entered the day before the month, with no labels or explanations allowing them to understand their mistake.

Some confusion about the cost of the transfer 😕

At the end of the test, none of our testers could answer with confidence that they understood what the total cost of their transfer would be.

“I wasn’t able to figure out how much it costs, somewhere it said it was free, then I saw a fee of$3.99…”

“At this point I wasn’t able to figure out exactly how much it would cost, I received a lot of different information, like the exchange rate, the additional 3% fees for using a credit card, there’s this$3.99 fees, but is it taking this fee from me or from the recipient? that wasn’t very clear.”

“Unless you want to do the math, you can’t understand how much you need to pay.”

Some users visited the “fees & rates” explanation page, but left more confused than they arrived.

This confusion is due to some communication errors and somewhat misleading and/or confusing content from Remitly as well as a complicated cost structure.

Why the cost structure is complicated and confusing

Basically, here is how the cost structure breaks down. The total cost of a transfer with Remitly is comprised of transfer fees (which for Mexico are $3.99 for a transfer below $500 and $0.00 for transfer above $500) and the margin taken by Remitly on the exchange rate. This margin is different depending on which service you select (Economy or Express), except for your first transfer where you get the same preferential exchange rate regardless of the type of service you select. Still following?

Most of our testers weren’t, and to be fair, there are some reasons to be confused. On the landing page, Remitly compares themselves to some of their competitors indicating that they charge zero fees, without taking the exchange rate into account in the comparison.  

On their “Fees & rate” page that some of our testers visited to understand how much they were gonna be charged for their transfers, Remitly states that “sending with us is FREE on transfers over $500”, again ignoring the impact of the exchange rate on the cost.

“I am on this “rates and fees” page, but it only talks about the fees. Maybe the exchange rate will make some difference in addition to the fees…”

Remitly uses different exchange rate for different services, as well as for the first transfer for which a promotional rate is offered. By playing with different exchange rates rather than different fees, it made it more complicated for our users to understand what the difference in dollars was.

The promotional rate offered for the first transaction (up to $500 and regardless of the type of service) is very attractive, as it is actually above the mid-market rate.  But this promotion confused our users because it made the difference between the Economy and Express service more complicated to understand.

Most users would like a clear breakdown of costs and amounts sent and received before the payment step

The last complaint we heard from our testers was that there was no breakdown of numbers to review prior to completing the transaction. For example, there was no fee summary, no clear indication of the total amount due to be paid nor total amount received by the recipient before entering the payment information.

“What’s missing on the Payment Info page is how much I will be debited. When I enter my card details, I want to know how much money is going deducted. I know there will be a confirmation at the next step, but when it comes to payment, I want to be cautious.

While we wished Remitly made it easier for our tester to understand how much their transfer would cost, some still found it was sufficiently transparent:

“I like that it’s transparent, I can see how much I send ($250) and see how much the recipient get (MEX$ 5125.00), and that there is a $3.99 fees.

Final thoughts 💱 💭🤔

When we asked our panel of testers to judge their overall experience with Remitly, we received contrasting answers.

Some were very enthusiastic:

“The website was super easy to understand, the 5 steps will take maybe 2 minutes to complete! It would be easy to send money. I would definitely use Remitly, for sure.”

“I would rate Remitly as a 9/10, because it was very very easy, there were no minor issues, I would leave the website like it is.”

Other less so:

“I would give Remitly a 6/10, it wasn’t very easy, it was easy enough but it did take a while. I would have to spend at least 30 minutes to figure this out.”

“I would give Remitly a 7/10 note, it was easy to understand how it works, but it was frustrating that I couldn’t change the receiving country at the start of the transfer process.”

“When I send money online, I usually use PayPal, it’s very efficient. I would give PayPal a 10/10, but this was  kind of complicated, I don’t know very much about currency rates and transactions, and I didn’t get a sense of how much I would pay, I would rate Remitly a 4/10..”

But even the less pleased testers agreed that Remitly looks like a trustworthy and legitimate website, that they would trust for their transfers.

“The website is trustworthy for sure.”

“Remitly it’s definitely trustworthy, it’s secure with https and it looks trustworthy.”


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Get the detailed analysis of the Remitly user experience and nine other leading online money transfer companies in our full report:


Read the full report – it’s  free

We would like to thank Userbrain for providing us with the panel of testers for this analysis of Remitly’s website. If you would like to start testing your website and receive a constant stream of feedback, give UserBrain a try!