Western Union money transfer review
Send cash pick-up and bank transfers to 200 countries and territories around the world
- Good for sending money to just about everywhere, with options for those without bank accounts.
- Watch out for fees that can add up and poor exchange rates.
Min. Transfer Amount
Max. Transfer Amount
|Product Name||Western Union International Money Transfers|
|Min. Transfer Amount||CAD 1|
|Max. Transfer Amount||CAD 7,500|
|Transfer Methods||Online, Phone, Agent, Bank Account to Bank Account, Cash Transfer, International Money Order|
|Transfer Options||One off payments|
Minimum transfer time
|Customer Service||Phone, Email|
|Available Currencies||AED, AFN, ALL, ANG, AOA, ARS, AUD, AWG, AZN, BAM, BBD, BDT, BGN, BHD, BIF, BND, BOB, BRL, BSD, BTN, BWP, BZD, CAD, CHF, CLP, CNY, COP, CRC, CUC, CVE, CZK, DJF, DKK, DOP, DZD, EGP, ERN, EUR, FJD, FKP, GBP, GHS, GIP, GMD, GNF, GTQ, GYD, HKD, HNL, HRK, HUF, IDR, INR, IQD, ISK, JMD, JOD, JPY, KES, KGS, KMF, KWD, KZT, LAK, LKR, MAD, MGA, MKD, MMK, MNT, MOP, MRO, MUR, MVR, MWK, MXN, MYR, MZN, NGN, NOK, NPR, NZD, OMR, PEN, PGK, PHP, PKR, PLN, PYG, QAR, RON, RUB, RWF, SAR, SBD, SEK, SGD, SLL, STD, THB, TND, TOP, TTD, TZS, UGX, USD, UYU, UZS, VND, VUV, WST, XAF, XCD, XOF, XPF, YER, ZMW|
|Online Transfer Fee||5.00%|
|Exchange Rate Updates||Real time|
- Offer services to over 200 countries
- 500,000 agent locations for cash pickup
- Wide range of transfer options available
- Significant amount of transfer fee applies for some countries
- Not the best exchange rate
Western Union's coronavirus responseIf you’re used to sending money in person and can no longer access brick-and-mortar stores due to lockdown, WU has launched the Digital Location program. We understand this can be a complicated shift in your money sending routine, so please refer to the Digital Location section of this guide for more information on where to find a Digital Location and how to use it.
What's in this guide?
- Western Union exchange rates and fees
- Available currencies
- What types of transfers can you make with Western Union?
- How long does a transfer with Western Union take?
- What payment methods does Western Union accept?
- Is Western Union safe to use?
- How to register for an account
- How do I make an online money transfer with Western Union?
- What is Western Union?
- In a nutshell
- How does Western Union compare to other providers?
- Frequently asked questions
Western Union exchange rates and fees
Western Union’s exchange rates fluctuate frequently in line with the mid-market rate. However, the rate you get for your transaction will include a margin added on by Western Union, so there could be a difference of up to 5% (or even higher in some cases) depending on the currency you send.
Fees also apply to Western Union transfers, but the amount you’ll be charged will vary depending on how much money you send, the country you send it to, how you pay for your transaction and how your beneficiary will receive the money. Western Union offers a “Price Estimator” tool on its website which you can use to check the exchange rate and fee for your specific transaction before you proceed.
Calculate how much sending money overseas would cost with Western Union by using our tool below. You can also check out the real-time exchange rate Western Union offers and if there are any additional fees.
Western Union offers transfers to 200 countries and territories around the world, so you can send funds in a wide range of currencies including:
- PKY Pakistan rupee
- CNY Chinese yuan
- EUR Euro
- GBP British pound
- INR Indian rupee
- JPY Japanese yen
- PHP Philippine peso
- USD US dollar
You can check out the full list of supported currencies above.
What types of transfers can you make with Western Union?
There are 3 different ways to send a transfer with Western Union in Canada:
- Submit your transfer online through the Western Union website or mobile app (Scotiabank customers can also submit transfers through their Scotia Online accounts or by using Scotiabank’s mobile app)
- Submit a transfer in person at your nearest Western Union branch
- Set up a transfer online to lock in the exchange rate and fee, and then visit a Western Union agent location within 24 hours to pay for the transfer and complete the transaction.
There are also 3 types of transfers you can send:
- Cash pick-up transfers. When you send this type of transfer, your recipient can collect the cash you send from one of Western Union’s 550,000 agent locations around the world.
- Bank account transfers. The second option is to transfer money directly to your recipient’s overseas bank account. However, this service is only available when sending money to select countries.
- Deposits to mobile phone. You can send to your recipient’s mobile wallet, but only if your recipient lives in a participating country and is using one of Western Union’s partner mobile phone operators in that country (see the list of approved countries and phone operators below).
- El Salvador
How long does a transfer with Western Union take?
Online transfers are the fastest. If you’re sending a cash pick-up transfer, the funds you send will be available for your recipient to collect within minutes. Transfers to a mobile wallet may happen just as soon, but could take up to 3 business days, depending on the type of transfer.
If you’re transferring money direct to your recipient’s bank account, allow around 2 business days. The time it takes for the transaction to be completed varies depending on where you’re sending the money. For example, while transfers to the UK typically take up to 1 business day, transfers to China can take up to 3 business days.
Transfers typically arrive
What payment methods does Western Union accept?
In Canada, you can pay for your Western Union transfer using the following methods:
- Credit card
- Debit card
- Visa Debit, Mastercard Debit
- Cash (when sending money in person)
Is Western Union safe to use?*According to Western Union and Trustpilot on 29 May 2019.
- Regulation: Regulated in Canada by provincial/territorial consumer affairs offices
- Established: 1851
- Number of customers: Moved more than US$300 billion around the world in 2018
- Reviews: TrustScore of 7.8/10* from 13,800+ reviews on Trustpilot
As a global money transfer company, Western Union must comply with all the relevant laws and regulations in the countries in which it operates. As it’s based in the US, it is primarily regulated by FinCEN, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. In Canada, the company is regulated by provincial/territorial consumer affairs offices.
Western Union is a globally recognized name in the remittance business and has been offering money transfer services for more than 145 years. It also claims to use SSL technology and a variety of other techniques to protect customer information.
How does Western Union make money?
Western Union makes money by charging transaction fees and by adding a margin on top of the mid-market exchange rate. The mid-market rate is the “real” exchange rate – use Google to check the current mid-market rate for your chosen currency pair.
How to register for an account
If you want to send an online transfer with Western Union, you’ll need to register for a free online account first. You can do so by completing the following steps.
How do I make an online money transfer with Western Union?
To send a transfer online, complete the following steps:
- Log into your Western Union account.
- Choose your transfer destination, the amount you want to send and how your beneficiary will receive the cash. If sending to a bank account, you’ll also need to provide your recipient’s bank account details.
- Choose your payment method.
- Review the total cost of your transaction and submit your transfer.
- After paying for your transfer, you’ll be emailed a Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) which you can use to track the progress of your transaction.
What is Western Union?
Western Union is the world’s largest money transfer service. Founded in the United States in 1851 as a telegraph company, Western Union now has over 550,000 locations in 200 countries and territories around the world. Its headquarters are located in Meridian, Colorado.
In a nutshell
- Huge global network. With 550,000 agent locations in 200 countries and territories, Western Union lets you send money just about anywhere.
- Transfer options. You can send a cash pick-up transfer, deposit funds in your recipient’s bank account, or have funds sent to your recipient’s mobile wallet. (Note that mobile wallet deposit is only available certain mobile phone operators operating in select countries.)
- Payment options. Western Union accepts payment via cash, credit card or debit card.
- Fast transfers. If you’re sending a cash transfer, in many cases the funds you send will be available for your recipient to collect within minutes.
- No need for your recipient to have a bank account. The availability of cash pick-up transfers means you can send money to someone who doesn’t have a bank account.
- High fees. Fees vary depending on your transfer amount and destination, but Western Union’s fees are often higher than those of other transfer providers.
- Disappointing exchange rates. Western Union adds margins approaching 5% on top of the mid-market exchange rate, so you’ll be able to find better rates from other online transfer services.
- Not suitable for large transfers. The maximum daily online transfer limit is CAD 7,500 for online transfers, so Western Union isn’t a good choice if you need to send a larger amount.
How does Western Union compare to other providers?
Input your transaction details into the calculator below to compare the exchange rates and fees offered by a range of money transfer services.Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.
Want to compare Western Union with other services side-by-side?
Frequently asked questions