Digital remittance outfit Remitly is entering the banking business, launching an online account for US-based immigrants.
Remitly has established itself as a rival to old-school providers such as MoneyGram and Western Union in the multi-billion dollar global remittance market.
The firm's proprietary global money transfer network is used to move over $6 billion in annualised volume from people in the west to friends and relatives in Africa, Asia, Central Europe and South America.
Having closed out a $135 million funding round last summer, the company is now launching a banking service, called Passbook, aimed at the 44 million first generation adult immigrants in the US.
To open an account, customers can get verified digitally, using ID that is common to immigrants, such as an ITIN or passport. No social security number is needed.
The account is designed to be used globally and comes with a Visa debit card (that can be customised with a national flag), no foreign transaction fees and no account fees. Funds are FDIC-insured thanks to an agreement with Sunrise Banks.
“Passbook is the next step in Remitly’s mission to transform the lives of the millions of immigrants around the world who make the huge sacrifice of leaving their families behind to live and work in another country,” says Matt Oppenheimer, Remitly CEO.