Remitly Taps Immigrant Market With New Passbook Banking Service

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Seattle global remittance startup Remitly is rolling out a new banking product created especially for immigrants, the company announced Monday (Feb. 3).

North America’s biggest independent digital remittance company is introducing Passbook for immigrants, to help them bypass the typical barriers of opening a bank account. The new banking solution offers secure international money transfer benefits without fees.

This new product for immigrants is the first time Remitly is moving beyond remittances and launching a new banking service.

“Our vision has always been much larger than remittances,” Matt Oppenheimer, Remitly co-founder and CEO told GeekWire. “We want to bring peace of mind to immigrants with a suite of financial services that work for them and that they can trust.”

Every Remitly Passbook customer gets a Visa debit card. No Social Security number is necessary to open a Passbook account. Remitly verifies a person’s identity digitally and accepts forms of ID immigrants have — Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, passports and foreign government-issued documentation, such as the Matricula Consular ID. Oppenheimer said Remitly offers the only digital banking product that can be opened with these forms of identification.

“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,” Oppenheimer said in a statement. “Passbook was born from countless hours listening to customers’ experiences navigating financial services not built for them. Our team has a unique ability to deliver industry-changing products for immigrants. We’re going to change banking like we changed remittances.”

There are over 44 million first-generation adult immigrants in the U.S. that collectively make in excess of $1.3 trillion with $900 billion in spending power. Immigrants represent 1 in every 6 workers, Remitly said.

In July, Remitly raised a $135 million equity and debt round at a valuation of almost $1 billion. In March, Visa announced that it would power real-time P2P for Remitly via its Visa Direct instant push payments platform.