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Services like Western Union

Need a cheaper alternative for sending cash transfers?

Western Union has tons of locations and a convenient cash pickup option, but it’s not the cheapest option out there. Learn how you can save on fees and exchange rates when you compare services.

Around for more than 160 years, Western Union is one of the oldest and most recognizable names in money transfers. Available in 200 countries and territories across the globe and with more than 500,000 agent locations worldwide, money pickups are easy and accessible.

Pros

  • Offers services to over 200 countries
  • 500,000 agent locations for cash pickup
  • Wide range of transfer options available

Cons

  • Significant amount of transfer fees apply for some countries
  • Not the best exchange rate
Alternatives to Western union (click to jump to section)

ofx logo

1. OFX

Like Western Union, OFX offers money transfers to many countries in a variety of currencies. But with higher maximum transfer amounts and no fees, OFX could be better if you’re looking to do business or pay for exports overseas.

Pros

  • Offer services to over 200 countries
  • Wide range of transfer options available
  • Android and iOS apps available for mobile transfer and tracking.

Cons

  • Significant amount of transfer fees apply for some countries
  • Not the best exchange rate
  • No cash payment or pickup, only bank deposits.
  • Transfer minimum of $250.
  • Limited currency options
  • Not compatible with all online marketplaces yet

2. World First

Like Western Union, World First can transfer money to almost anywhere around the world. Additionally, World First charges no fees on private client international payments or business currency transactions. It also allows for large transfers with rates closer to the mid-market rate than Western Union. World First is a good choice for overseas business transactions.

Pros

  • Competitive exchange rate
  • Spot contracts, forward contracts and hedging options available
  • Weekly updates on market exchange rates
  • Low fees

Cons

  • Small number of currencies available

Wise logo

3. Wise

Wise charges fees depending on how much money you’re sending and where you’re sending it to. Sending money to the US will cost you a fixed fee of $5.69 and 0.5% of the amount you send + a flat fee of $0.75. But with exchange rates that follow mid-market rates, Wise could save you money. This peer-to-peer money transfer company allows individuals and businesses to send as much as $1,000,000 per transaction.

Pros

  • Easily sign up to start transferring money in minutes.
  • Transfer from $1 to $1,000,000 or more, depending on your account.
  • No hidden commissions or unexpected fees
  • Uses the mid-market exchange rate to give you the best possible deal

Cons

  • Not all currencies supported
  • No cash pick up

XE Money Transfer logo

4. XE

XE offers competitive exchange rates, particularly for transfers over $10,000. There are no transaction fees on transfers of CAD $500 or more (transfers under CAD $500 cost a flat fee of $4). Combined with no commissions and a simple registration process, XE is a great option for high volume money transfers up to $500,000.

Pros

  • Great rates & no fees on transfers at, or over, CAD $500
  • Secure & reliable
  • Trade in 60 world currencies

Cons

  • Not available for certain countries including Indonesia and Bangladesh.
  • No cash pick up

torfx logo

5. TorFX

TorFX makes money transfers in more than 60 currencies in as little as a day. Unlike Western Union and some other competitors, TorFX doesn’t charge fees for exchanges and offers competitive exchange rates. But you can only make bank-to-bank transfers and can’t send less than $200 to take advantage of its services.

Pros

  • Competitive exchange rates, generally up to 3% better than banks.
  • No fees or commissions
  • Good customer service and reliable transfer speed

Cons

  • Only allows bank-to-bank transfers.
  • Not as many currencies on offer as other companies.

WorldRemit

6. WorldRemit

Millions of people trust WorldRemit to transfer money internationally. WorldRemit allows you to send money in a variety of ways almost instantly, although some transfers can take up to a day. Recipients can get money in the mobile wallets, go to a physical location to pick up cash, receive bank transfers, have their Airtime prepaid plans topped up, or even have their cash delivered straight to their door! (Options may vary by location.) Fees can vary, but many transactions only cost around $3.99. The company’s exchange rates are very competitive and are updated on a daily basis.

Pros

  • Competitive exchange rates
  • Great for small transfers
  • Transfers quickly
  • Good for sending money to a mobile wallet or as cash

Cons

  • Not great for sending very large amounts of money (you can’t send more that $4,000 CAD at once and no more than $40,000 CAD during a 24 hour period if you pay with Interac, debit, credit, prepaid cards, Apply Pay or Android Pay)
  • No live chat customer service option; you have to call or fill out an e-form and wait for customer service to respond

7. CurrencyFair

CurrencyFair is great for keeping exchange rate losses low. The company charges a small fee (around 3 EUR or $4.50 CAD) and, like most money transfer companies, adds a margin on top of the exchange rate to make a profit. CurrencyFair’s margin is typically a lot smaller than margins charged by banks and exchange brokers, and you even have the option of transfering money to your CurrencyFair account and keep it there until the exchange rate for the currency you wish to send is more favourable. The minimum sending amount per transfer is 8 EUR or about $12 CAD.

Pros

  • Low margin on top of exchange rates
  • Low transaction fees
  • Good for minimizing losses due to poor exchange rates

Cons

  • Cannot verify your identity online; you have to send in documentation to verify who you are and where you live for manual review
  • Longer processing time; you must send finds to your CurrencyFair account first (approx. 1-2 business days) and then transfer the money elsewhere (another 1-2 business days)
  • Cannot send less than 8 EUR or about $12 CAD

CurrencyTransfer logo

8. CurrencyTransfer

CurrencyTransfer is all about transparency and offers very competitive exchange rates for large money transfers. Performing an online money transfer is convenient and gives you the opportunity to choose the best exchange rate – all you have to do is submit the details for the transfer you want to make, and then get a quote from CurrencyTransfer using the latest exchange rate. The exchange rate comes from the company’s live exchange rate monitor, unlike many other forex companies, which update their rates once a day. Business and private clients alike are assigned a Personal Currency Concierge to help them with anything they need. There is no maximum transfer limit.

Pros

  • Great for high-value transactions (especially transactions over $9,000 CAD)
  • No transaction fees
  • Exchange rates are reliable (based on Tier-1 currency suppliers authorized by the FCA, the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK)
  • Fast. Can perform same-day, spot contract transfers
  • Wide range of transfer options: book forward contract transfers up to 12 months in advance, book a series of fixed-price transfers or arrange market orders that will trigger a money transfer when a specific exchange rate is reached

Cons

  • Not good for small transactions (little/no value for customers sending less than 5,000 GBP or around $9,000 CAD)
  • Typical money transfer customer may find CurrencyTransfer’s exchange rate system and transfer options hard to follow (website states that the company was built for business people and financial professionals with “foreign currency exposure.”)
  • Not all currencies supported (though over 140 are)

RationalFX money transfer service logo Image: FinderRationalFX logo

9. RationalFX

RationalFX money transfer services have sent billions of dollars to over 170 countries around the world. The company’s exchange rates are competitive and there are no fees for transfers over 4,000 GBP or about $7,000 CAD. RationalFX supports one-time spot contract transfers, recurring transfers, forward contract transfers up to 2 years in advance and limit orders in which exchange rates will be monitored 24/7 until your preferred rate is reached, at which point RationalFX will automatically transfer your funds. Concierge-style service is available for clients who have a high net worth and businesses can even integrate custom-designed RationalFX payment platforms into their own IT systems to make sending and receiving overseas payments easier.

Pros

  • Competitive exchange rates
  • No transfer fees for high-value transfers over 4,000 GBP or roughly $7,000 CAD
  • Large network allows you to send money nearly everywhere in the world

Cons

  • There is no in-person Canadian customer support (RationalFX only has offices in England, France and Spain, so getting in touch with a real person for help may be challenging – especially given the differences in time zones)
  • No instant transfers; usually takes 1-2 days


Still looking for other options?

Compare lenders side-by-side in the table below. See how much it will take to send money to different countries using our exchange calculator. Alternatively, learn more about Western Union in our review.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
CAD 1 Same day CAD 0.00 0.805 USD
4,026
XE has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools. Go to site Show details
CAD 10 Within an hour CAD 1.99 0.8 USD
4,001
Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
Go to site Show details
CAD 1 1 - 2 days CAD 45.00 0.809 USD
4,010
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies. Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

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