A new partnership with Cross River Bank will allow Seattle-based Remitly's customers to receive disbursements in near-real time over international debit card networks, the digital remittance company said.
Fort Lee, New Jersey-based Cross River Bank, which recently expanded its push-to-card transaction capabilities internationally, will serve as the settlement bank for Remitly's clients.
"We're super excited to offer to our customers the ability to send funds via Visa Direct to their loved ones back home," Matt Oppenheimer, Remitly CEO and co-founder, told Banking Dive. "That means instead of sending to a cash pickup location or instead of entering in their recipient’s bank account number, they can enter in their recipient's 16-digit debit card number in the country they're sending to, and the funds are available in real time."
Cross River's expansion into the international arena will "fundamentally change cross-border transactions," Gilles Gade, founder, president and CEO of Cross River, said Wednesday in a statement.
"With the current shift to online transactions, and limiting of human-to-human touch, today, more than ever, having a secure and reliable way of sending and receiving money is an integral part of daily life," he said.
As the coronavirus pandemic limits access to brick-and-mortar locations across the globe, Oppenheimer said the partnership provides its customers with more choices when it comes to sending money internationally.
More than 70% of remittances are sent to brick-and-mortar locations, Oppenheimer said.
"Now people are adhering to the stay-at-home orders and don't feel safe going to physical cash locations, so it's critical that we unlock additional channels to fulfill our vision and mission to increase financial services for immigrants around the globe," he said.
Transactions at the company grew 40% from February to March, a trend that has continued into April and May, Oppenheimer said.
"We're seeing a lot of growth in the business," he said. "It's really fueled by the fact that our services are essential and that people need reliable, secure and digital options to be able to get money."
Remitly expanded into the digital banking space in February, with the launch of Passbook, a bank account aimed at immigrants. The startup is partnering with St. Paul, Minnesota-based Sunrise Banks to offer the FDIC-insured deposits.
"[Immigrants] are providing so many essential services that we all enjoy," Oppenheimer said. "The huge impact that the remittances that they send home make on their families’ lives is so paramount in a global recession. ... It's a scary time to be an immigrant for a lot of reasons, and I think it's important now, more than ever, that we support them."