The pandemic has affected daily life in so many ways, from employment to entertainment to travel. For many immigrants, it’s also had a significant impact on how they send money home to loved ones.
Earlier this year, banks began closing their branches in locations across the U.S., for instance. Not only that, but physical locations for sending money abroad have sometimes cut hours, closed up shop, or otherwise been difficult to visit due to quarantine restrictions.
Haris A., an immigrant from Pakistan, switched to using Remitly for this reason.
As an Uber Eats driver in New York City, he watched the city start to close up due COVID-19 restrictions. One day, he went to a Western Union counter as usual, only to find it closed.
“How was I supposed to get the money to my family, who needed it?” He said in a recent interview.
Haris thought it might be the moment to try a money transfer app. He’d heard that apps like Remitly had good fees and rates. Still, he wasn’t sure what to expect.
We spoke to Haris and another Remitly customer, Mario F., to find out why they switched to sending money with an app and what’s been like for them since.
When Your Family Is Depending on You
For Haris, the pandemic has upended his entire life—he ended up leaving NYC and moving to Phoenix, AZ in pursuit of work. He supports his parents and siblings in Pakistan with everyday expenses like groceries.
Fortunately, he’s been able to earn more in Phoenix to continue this support, even as he studies data science in the evenings.
Remitly’s ease of use impressed him. “You don’t have to stand in the line, and the rates are good, the fees are good.”
But he worried that his family might be affected by the change. “My parents are old, they can’t work, and they’re stuck over there because of the pandemic,” he explained.
To his relief, his family didn’t notice any changes after he started using Remitly. They’re able to go to their usual bank and, he said, they get the money more quickly.
Haris hopes that he’ll be able to return to New York and finish his studies soon. He supports five people in Pakistan: “for food, for medicine, for daily life.”
Learning to Trust Money Transfer Technology
Mario F. switched to Remitly after he tried a couple of other apps. The ranch manager from Guatemala is pretty tech-savvy and comfortable with online banking.
“As soon as I got a card set up, I was ready to send online,” he told Remitly.
He likes being able to send money quickly and from home. He sends money to support his family with daily living expenses and to help with a new ecommerce venture.
He acknowledges that many of his fellow immigrants, however, aren’t as comfortable with money transfer apps.
“They don’t have bank accounts in the U.S. and so they get charged a lot of money by physical locations, to send money home,” he said in his interview.
Mario believes that some immigrants have a natural distrust of online banking, and they don’t like to give their personal information over. However, he thinks this could change with experience.
For example, he views Remitly’s identity verification process as straightforward. He also likes that with Remitly, he only had to verify his identity once, and now it just works for him.
“I see it as very safe and secure, and I think that more people will too, if they try it,” he added.
How to Sign Up for Remitly
Are you interested in sending money internationally with an app? First, download Remitly. Then sign up for an account right in the app:
- Enter the country you’re sending from, where you’re sending to, and select Next
- Enter your email address
- Enter a password
- Select Join Remitly
Once you’re set up, you’re ready to send.
Tips for Sending Money with an App
So what’s the best way to use Remitly? Check out this advice from Remitly customers like Haris and Mario.
Send a test amount when you’re starting out. Many customers start with $100 or less when they’re sending with a new app, just to make sure they’re confident about its security. Haris said that by sending with a smaller amount at first, he wasn’t as worried about whether it got lost.
Have your Information Ready
Like any bank, Remitly will verify your identity at first. This is totally normal. It ensures that your money and your personal information are safe. For more about Remitly’s security process, check out how Remitly keeps you safe.
You’ll need to verify your name, date of birth, and current address. Remitly accepts many types of ID, from a passport to driver’s license to a Residence Permit or Mexican Matricula Consular. For more on identification that Remitly accepts, see this page.
You also must know:
- Your recipient’s name and address, exactly as they appear on their ID
- Your recipient’s phone number
- Your recipient’s bank details, including the bank’s name and their account number (if sending via bank deposit)
Fortunately, as Mauricio says, you only need to verify your identity once.
Keep Checking the Remitly App
If you’re unsure about your transfer, log into the app. You’ll be able to see its status easily.
You can also chat with a Remitly customer service agent right there in the app.
Talk to Your Loved Ones
Because you can send to thousands of locations, it’s likely that you’ll be able to send money to a bank or cash pickup spot that your loved ones are familiar with.
You may even find that your family and friends have a faster, easier experience when you start using Remitly. That was true for Haris, whose family in Pakistan approved of the switch.
“They said to me, this is a good method. Keep using it.”
He promised that he would.
The Bottom Line
Now more than ever, you want to support your loved ones back home. Remitly is here to help.