Financial development is commonly identified as an important condition for fostering investment and economic growth. It is also believed that migrants’ remittances stimulate financial development in the receiving economy, contributing indirectly to economic growth. We explore the relationship between remittances and financial development using macro- and micro-level data. From cross-country panel data, we find evidence of a negative relationship between remittances and financial deepening in developing countries. Using household survey data from a study of migrants’ remittances in two CIS countries, Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan, we also investigate the relationship between remittances, financial intermediation and ‘financial literacy’ among remittance-receiving households. While we find some evidence of a positive, albeit weak, relationship for Kyrgyzstan, in Azerbaijan, the relatively more financially developed economy, we uncover a strong perverse relationship. Remittances appear to deter bank intermediation and use of formal banking services. Possible reasons are explored and areas for further investigation identified.