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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Henderson

Best Remittance Company - TransferWise or Western Union?

Updated: Dec 23, 2020

Transferwise VS Western Union: Which is the better remittance company for anyone sending money back home to friends and/or family?

Using Western Union to send money online is a popular and well known process, especially for people who are not aware that there is another safe, simple and easy online remittance company offering a mobile App with similar services as Western Union but with much lower fees.

multi currency bills and coins

Housing costs, getting health insurance, work and adjusting to a new culture and other expat-related concerns are some of the things you need to think about when residing outside your native country. One important consideration is to ensure you are financially independent enough and are able to cost-effectively send money back to family and friends in your home country.

Today, almost anything can be done online including transferring money overseas. But, not all online remittance companies are created equal. Some, like Western Union, MoneyGram and PayPal are household names operating globally and helping people quickly send money online. But, with just a few clicks, you can quickly transfer money to your loved ones and friends in India or to more than 60 other countries with TransferWise.

Sounds good to be true? What if we tell you that TransferWise lets you remit money to India or to family and friends in over sixty other countries in their own, respective currencies. That's right, there's no catch! Unlike Western Union who charges higher fees for transferring money online, TransferWise only charges as little as 3% and they are transparent with their fees.

TransferWise is an online remittance company that has helped over 8 million customers transfer money overseas. They offer you over 50 different currencies and you can transfer to 60+ countries, not just to India.

Today, almost anything can be done online including transferring money overseas. With just a few clicks, you can easily send money to your loved ones residing in other parts of the world. An online remittance company like TransferWise does this exceptionally well. They are already a household name as the company has been providing money transfer services for 10 years now. They operate globally; you can send money to almost any country wherever you are located in the world.

Trying to send money online using Western Union was popular years ago, especially for people who do not know that there is another, safe, super simple, online remittance company Website and App that offers the same service with incredibly low fees. And there's no catch! It's also completely free.

Have you heard of TransferWise? Does it ring a bell? Like Western Union, they let you send money internationally the smart way, all online via their website or mobile App. TransferWise is a London-based company that has helped over 8 million customers easily transfer money overseas. They hold over 50 currencies and you can transfer to 60+ countries.

Why is TransferWise Different and Better Than Western Union When Sending Money Overseas?

What makes TransferWise stand out and better than Western Union is their safe, simple, smart and easy way of sending money online. They can help you transfer funds to a family member or friend's bank account in India or to 60+ other countries with lower fees. In addition, TransferWise does not charge a markup on the exchange rate and Western Union does.

There are no hidden fees at all. With Western Union, you won't really know the exact amount as the fees on the website are just estimates. It would still depend on the actual exchange rates plus they also charge a margin. Expect to pay higher when you send money through Western Union.

When you send money online through TransferWise, you will know exactly how much the fees are. There are no other charges too. With Western Union, you will only be given estimates, not the exact amount for fees. It would depend on the actual exchange rates plus they also charge a margin. Expect higher fees when you send money through Western Union.

If you constantly send money abroad to family and/or friends, you definitely can save tons with TransferWise over Western Union. That is a guarantee. The latter is more expensive simply because it's very well known and highly established in the market. But it doesn't mean that they offer the best service.

TransferWise only charges approximately 3% while Western Union charges 6% - which is maximum markup on the exchange rate plus other fees. Think smart and choose a remittance company that will let you pay lesser fees when sending money back home.

This is why is transferwise is different and better than Western Union when transferring money abroad\remittance company, sending money online.

In comparison, here are the main features and benefits of both Western Union and TransferWise.

Western Union:

  • Supports money transfers to 200 countries and available in 130 currencies You can transfer to a bank account or have the recipient pick up the money via a physical location.

  • Offers instant transfers and a prepaid debit card to its users - prepaid card are only available in certain countries.

  • You can fund your money transfer with debit cards, credit cards, bank account, wire transfer and cash (as in a physical store).

  • Support several payout methods such as bank transfers, pickups, prepaid cards, mobile wallet and bill payments.

  • You can contact an agent either online or by going to a physical store In some countries, users can set up transfers via a phone call or video assistance.


  • Supports transfers to over 60 countries Affordable fees and no hidden costs.

  • Offers both multi-currency and business accounts.

  • Offers Mastercard debit with their borderless online payments - available only in certain countries such as the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand and some countries in Europe.

  • Available now in over 50 countries.

  • No minimum balance or inactivity fees.

  • You can fund with your credit card, debit card, SWIFT payments, SOFORT, iDeal and of course bank transfers.

  • Offers customer support via email, phone and live chat online.

  • Offers comprehensive resources to its users.

  • While TransferWise do not offer instant transfers, they do process money transfers quickly (within the same day). Only bank to bank transfers are available with TransferWise. Although Western Union offers cash pickup, they charge a lot of fees to you which is a major disadvantage especially to those people who want to save money while abroad. 

Benefits of TransferWise Over Western Union:

This service is an international, cross currency money transfer remittance type service and mobile App that exceeds the capabilities of Western union in many ways. They have excellent customer service which is also one of the reasons whyTransferWise is different and better than Western Union when transferring money abroad. Apart from their incredibly low fees, more than 80% of their users have had a good experience with them via Trustpilot while Western Union only has about 60% of users who had a good experience. Out of 17,000 reviews from Western Union, about a tenth have had issues while only 3% out of over 80,000 reviews from TransferWise have had bad reviews and they were able to resolve them.

Western Union is hugely popular in developing nations only because they are extremely established and have been in the market for over 100 years. But their added fees and other charges are one of the biggest reasons why you need the latest and best remittance company like TransferWise. TransferWise should be the best option for you. You are assured that you get lower fees and exceptional service. Should you encounter a problem, it will be resolved in a timely manner. 

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Unless your recipient wants to pick up the cash, TransferWise will not be able to help. You can only send to bank accounts but you will get low transfer fees for it compared to transferring money with Western Union.

  • With Western Union, you won't know how much you are really paying for the fees or other charges. It may be expensive and definitely not ideal especially when you are always sending money overseas. 

  • Western Union is known globally. TransferWise may be a new player but they have established themselves as a good remittance company by consistently providing exceptional customer service to its users. With their lower fees, you sure can save a lot of money with TransferWise. 

  • Both have a mobile app that you can use for transferring money online. 

  • Western Union may take up to 20% profit for sending money online. TransferWise has a standard, mid-market rate. 

The Verdict:

According to our research, TransferWise is the better online remmitance company for ease of use, transfer speed and lowest fees, especially when you do bank to bank transfers internationally back home to friends and family - Sign up for Free Now with TransferWise!

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