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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Henderson

Western Union Money Transfer, Too Expensive and Limiting?

Updated: Dec 23, 2020

Is Western Union the Best Way to Send Money Online? Is there an easier, less expensive and faster way to transfer money abroad?

Western Union:

  • At one time, Western Union was the world’s most recognized and biggest money transfer company in the industry, well known for their cash pay-in and payout options.

Western Union fees for transfers from USA

What are the real cost savings when using TransferWise vs. Western Union?


The mid-market rate is the real, current, point-in-time exchange rate that averages the buying and selling rate of a given global currency — it is also the rate banks and transfer services use when they trade among themselves.

  • With TransferWise, the maximum you can send per transaction depends upon your bank's daily limit. It is mobile, fast, secure and extremely convenient.

  • TransferWise is also more cost effective because they don't charge you extra on top of the inter-bank (real) exchange rate at the time of your transfer.

Western Union: Depending on the country, expect to pay 3.5-6.2% on top of the real exchange rate at the time of transfer, depending on the country. If you’re sending a large chunk overseas, this means a sizeable amount goes to Western Union before the transfer is completed.


One of the key differences is that TransferWise locks in and guarantees exchange rates that exactly match the mid-market rate, based on the minute that you initiate a transfer. As long as you send your money to them within 24 hours, you are assured that same mid-market rate as when you started your transfer.

For example, if you are sending US Dollars to Thailand and the mid-market rate is $1USD = 31.15THB (Thai Baht), then it's precisely the rate you can expect from TransferWise.

Who's Faster:

Western Union allows the recipient to collect the funds within 3 bank business days - And.. this option is only available in the U.S. Or can transfer your money (limit is up to USD$2,500 per transaction) within minutes if you opt for recipient cash pickup. But, for transfers to banks, you will be charged about 4% which is higher than a direct bank-to-bank transfer.

Unless you need physical, cash pickup options, TransferWise is clear and away the next generation of sending and receiving money across the globe, in almost every currency, all online. Western Union is about 4% more expensive than TransferWise for money transfers to banks.

When you are ready to download the App or create a free account - Register Now!

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