Migrant remittances have received unprecedented attention over the past decade and scholars have interpreted remittance flows from a range of vantage points. In this article, we explore the meaning of remittances from three perspectives – (1) as an ingredient of terrorism and crime; (2) as a contribution to development; and (3) as an obstacle to integration. We explore these perspectives through an analysis of eight years of public debate in Norway and a review of the academic literature. Our analysis shows that remittances are open to public scrutiny, often within a strongly normative framework. Such public scrutiny is at odds with the private nature of remittances and affects migrants' everyday lives both structurally and emotionally. This scrutiny of remittances also suggests underlying assumptions about migrants' legitimate loyalties and belonging that fail to take adequate account of their multiple attachments.