How to build a service like Remitly and Wise

4 mins
February 1, 2024
How to build a service like Remitly and Wise | Machnet California

Remitly and Wise stand as two of the world's leading cross-border money remittance providers, both renowned for providing fast and cost-effective international money transfers worldwide since their inception in 2011. 

Both companies have millions of customers globally, with transaction volume reaching millions of dollars. These platforms have solidified their presence in the remittance industry. Their success isn't a stroke of luck; it's a testament to the growing demand for digital remittance services.

68% of the world population owned a smartphone in early 2023. The worldwide transaction value of digital payments is projected to reach US$14.78tn by 2027, and more importantly, the digital remittances segment is projected to reach a transaction value of US$174.50bn by 2027

Despite the presence of established players like Remitly and Wise, ample opportunity remains for new entrants. Below, we explore their critical offerings to their customers, which provide insights into how you can compete with them.

Understanding the key offerings of Remitly and Wise

Location coverage

  • Remitly operates in 17 countries, facilitating transfers to over 50 nations.
  • Wise enables seamless money transfers to and from 65 countries.

Payment and payout options:

  • Remitly accepts bank transfers and cash payments and offers various payout options, including deposit to bank accounts, mobile wallets, cash pickup, and home delivery.
  • Wise accepts cards and bank transfers, primarily focusing on bank-to-bank transfers.

Low cost

  • Remitly charges flat fees based on the transfer amount and speed of delivery. They add a margin to the mid-market rate on currency exchange rates. 
  • Wise employs a varied fee structure depending on the transferred amount and uses the mid-market exchange rate for currency exchange. 


  • Remitly offers economy and express transfer options, with economy transfers taking 3-5 days and express transfers completed in a few minutes.
  • Wise generally takes 2-3 days for transfers.

Security and support: 

  • Both Remitly and Wise prioritize security with encryption protocols and 2FA authentication systems.
  • They also offer robust customer support via email and phone.

Building a remittance service: Behind the scenes

Now that we have some insights into the basics, you need to cover your customers. Then, there are those things behind the scenes of building a remittance your customer needs to see, including securing banking and payment processing partners, acquiring necessary licenses, and building robust tech infrastructure. 

You would need to build all of this. Likewise, making a robust remittance service may seem challenging, especially when faced with established players like Remitly and Wise. Moreover, it's essential to recognize the transformative shift of financial services into the online realm.

Navigating the barriers to entry may appear daunting, considering the extensive experience and financial resources of industry giants. However, by embracing the evolving landscape of financial services transition to the online realm, new solutions and applications emerge, which creates room for innovative players. 

Here is how you can compete: 

Start small 

You don't need to begin by offering services across 70 countries with Remity and Wise; identify your target market and start with one. The United States represents the largest remittance sender globally, offering a substantial market to explore. 

Hyperlocalise your services 

Understand the unique needs, challenges, and aspirations of your target audience. Build your service tailored to them, contrasting the one-size-fits-all approach of Remitly and Wise. Tailored remittance services have their business benefits and are the way to stand out among such remittance giants. 

Create an app in your target market's language and offer bonuses and rewards that resonate with the community. Provide customer support in their language for a personalized touch. 

Start smart: Leverage RaaS providers

Seek a partner capable of handling all behind-the-scenes facets for you — regulatory compliance, banking, and partnerships. You don't need to match the resources of Remitly or Wise or wait years to establish partnerships. Utilize Remittance-as-a-Service (RaaS) providers and their existing networks to leap into the industry. They are leveraging their speed and expertise. 

A remittance-as-a-service provider such as Machnet will handle banking, partnerships, and regulatory requirements and offer technology infrastructure on which you can build features that rival those of Remitly and Wise. 

  • Payment and payout: Using Machnet's infrastructure, you can collect remittances from banks and cards. Offer multiple payout options - bank transfers, card payments, and cash pickup. 
  • Low cost: Create a service with minimal transfer costs and compete head-on.
  • Security: Our robust tech infrastructure ensures data security and encryption to protect customer information. We offer 2FA for enhanced security. You can build a mobile app and web platform.

While building a money transfer service like Remitly and Wise may seem challenging, it is achievable. Start small, move quickly, leverage RaaS providers, and customize your offerings. The digital remittances industry is expanding, providing ample room for innovative players to make their mark.

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