Remitly to shutter digital banking platform Passbook


Dive Brief:

  • Remitly is closing Passbook, the immigrant-focused digital banking platform it launched in 2020, CEO and co-founder Matt Oppenheimer announced during the fintech’s fourth-quarter earnings call last week, citing the firm’s mission to narrow its focus on core customers. 
  • The remittance-focused fintech is no longer accepting new Passbook accounts and will stop services for the neobank May 1, according to a post on Remitly’s website
  • The move comes as the Seattle-based firm is bolstering its global money-transfer presence. The firm announced Thursday it has expanded into the Middle East by opening a new Dubai office.

Dive Insight:

While Passbook was gaining traction with customers, the product was outside the fintech’s core customer segment, Oppenheimer told analysts last week.

“We believe it makes sense to redeploy our resources to higher returning investments, targeted at our core remittance customer,” said Oppenheimer, who co-founded the company in 2011. “We are taking the best of learnings from Passbook and integrating them into products or features to deliver greater value through innovative solutions that are directly relevant to our customers’ remittance needs. And we are uniquely equipped to deliver.”

It’s not clear how many accounts Passbook accrued in the three years since its launch. The company, which partners with St. Paul, Minnesota-based Sunrise Banks to offer the accounts, did not immediately respond to Banking Dive’s request for comment.

Remitly, which caters to the immigrant community with its money-transfer services, launched Passbook with the goal of making banking more accessible and affordable for that same demographic. 

The product, however, didn’t garner significant overlap with Remitly’s existing customers, Oppenheimer said.

“The product wasn’t going to achieve the scale necessary fast enough to contribute to meaningful returns because it was just a different segment from Remitly customers,” Oppenheimer said. “We didn’t get that synergy.”

While the fintech pulls back its neobank ambitions, it continues to scale its global money-transfer network.

The firm announced Thursday it launched its outbound remittance product in the United Arab Emirates, a country where immigrants comprise nearly 90% of the population, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

Remitly said the UAE marks its 30th send country, contributing to its more than 4,300 corridors overall.


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