Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.
Western Union is nearly synonymous with international money transfers, and if your recipient needs cash pickup, it might be the way to go. But depending on the currency, PayPal may offer a better exchange rate and fast transfer speeds. We compare Western Union and PayPal to help you pick the best option for your transfer.
Go to the Western Union site, enter how much you’re transferring and confirm how you’re sending it and how it should be received. You also have the option of visiting or calling an agent.
Once you’ve approved the exchange rate and fees you’ll pay, Western Union converts and delivers your money to your recipient’s bank account or for cash pickups at locations worldwide.
To transfer money through PayPal, you’ll need to create a free PayPal account. You then send a transfer to your recipient’s PayPal account, funding the transfer with your PayPal balance, bank account, credit or debit card or PayPal Credit. After your recipient receives the money, they can either keep the funds in their PayPal account or withdraw the money to their bank account.
Figuring out much you’ll pay to transfer money internationally with Western Union can be muddied. Sending directly to your recipient’s bank account is free for transfers to most countries. When sending money for cash pickup, most fees start at $5, although they can be as much as $100+ when sending large amounts, assuming you’re paying by credit or debit card.
How much it costs depends on how much money you send, where you send it and how you pay for the transfer.
When you pay for an international transfer using your PayPal balance or linked bank account, you’ll pay a fee of either $2.99 or $4.99 — the fee is waived if you’re sending to within Canada. If you’re sending to certain countries and paying by credit or debit instead of your paypal balance, you’ll have to pay an additional 2.90% fee plus a small fixed fee (usually around CAD$0.50).
Winner: Western Union
For most countries, you pay $0 transfer fees with Western Union if you send money directly to your recipient’s bank account. With PayPal, sending large amounts to many regions in the world could cost you a flat fee + a percentage fee + a fixed fee, which can add up really quickly as the transfer amount increases. Western Union is our winner here.
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
To understand who offers better exchange rates, you’ll need to first look at the mid-market rate. This is the true exchange rate that averages the buying and selling rate of a global currency — and the rate banks and transfer services use when they trade among themselves.
Depending on the country you’re sending money to, a typical exchange rate at Western Union could be up to 6% above the mid-market rate. If you’re sending a large amount overseas, this means hundreds of dollars straight into Western Union’s coffers.
To calculate the exchange rate it offers to customers, PayPal takes the wholesale rate it gets from its bank and adds a 3% or 4% margin. PayPal updates this rate twice a day.
But because you can’t know what PayPal’s wholesale rate is, it’s difficult to determine on your own what exchange rate you’ll get. The best way to find accurate exchange rates is by using PayPal’s currency exchange calculator, which you can find after you log in to your account.
For your typical overseas transfer, you’ll get a stronger exchange rate with PayPal.
Delivery speeds vary with transfer options. Your transfer could take minutes if you send money online (and pay by credit or debit), at an agent location or by phone. Although this could come with higher costs. Your cheapest options could take up to 3 business days, depending on the country.
With PayPal, transferring among existing PayPal accounts is instantaneous. Payments from your PayPal account to another bank account are delivered by the next business day.
Whichever way you send your money, it’ll get to your recipient faster with PayPal. For some transfers, this could be up to 3 business days sooner than Western Union.
|Money Transfer Service||Payment Methods||Minimum and maximum transfers||Delivery methods||Transfer speeds||Countries and currencies|
|Credit card, debit card, cash||Minimum is $1.00|
Maximum is $7,500 for cash pickups or $999 for direct deposit to a bank account
|Deposit to bank account, cash pickup, e-wallet||Varies from minutes up to 3 days, depending on the types of transaction||200+ countries|
|Credit card, debit card, PayPal credit||Minimum varies by country (about $0.02)|
Maximum is unlimited for Verified accounts, though anywhere from $10,000-$60,000 can be sent in a single transaction. Unverified account limits vary.
|PayPal transfer (can be deposited into bank account afterwards)||Almost immediately or up to several minutes||200+ countries|
That you’ll get stronger exchange rates with PayPal is clear-cut. But depending on how much you’re sending, you could pay higher transfer fees with PayPal. Then if your recipient doesn’t have a bank account, Western Union’s cash pickup may be your best option.
Ultimately, you’ll want to compare money transfer specialists to find a provider that’s right for your situation.
From personal and payday loans to lines of credit, compare loans for bad credit in Edmonton.
This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to buy Sui, lists some exchanges where you can get it and provides daily price data on (SUI).
This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to buy Pepe, lists some exchanges where you can get it and provides daily price data on (PEPE).
This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to buy Arbitrum, lists some exchanges where you can get it and provides daily price data on (ARB).
This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to buy SSV Network, lists some exchanges where you can get it and provides daily price data on (SSV).
This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to buy USDD, lists some exchanges where you can get it and provides daily price data on (USDD).
This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to buy Blur, lists some exchanges where you can get it and provides daily price data on (BLUR).
This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to buy FLOKI Inu, lists some exchanges where you can get it and provides daily price data on (FLOKI).
This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to buy Aptos, lists some exchanges where you can get it and provides daily price data on (APT).
This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to buy EthereumPoW, lists some exchanges where you can get it and provides daily price data on (ETHW).
You must be logged in to post a comment.
finder.com is an independent comparison platform and information service that aims to provide you with the tools you need to make better decisions. While we are independent, the offers that appear on this site are from companies from which finder.com receives compensation. We may receive compensation from our partners for placement of their products or services. We may also receive compensation if you click on certain links posted on our site. While compensation arrangements may affect the order, position or placement of product information, it doesn't influence our assessment of those products. Please don't interpret the order in which products appear on our Site as any endorsement or recommendation from us. finder.com compares a wide range of products, providers and services but we don't provide information on all available products, providers or services. Please appreciate that there may be other options available to you than the products, providers or services covered by our service.