Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.

Xoom vs Western Union

See whether Xoom or Western Union is better for your next money transfer.

Xoom is an international money transfer app from PayPal while Western Union is one of the world’s oldest money transfer services.

We look at their fees, exchange rates and additional features side by side to see which of the two is best for your next money transfer.

The fees and rates used in this comparison are accurate as of 27 July 2019.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
CAD 1 Same day CAD 20.00 0.764 USD
748
Western Union sends money online to friends and family in 200+ countries around the world. Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

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

Which has lower fees?

Xoom

Xoom’s transaction fees vary depending on your payment method, how much you’re sending, the destination and the currency. Based on these factors, fees can range from a couple of dollars to over $200.

Western Union

Western Union’s transaction fees also vary based on payment method, amount sent, destination and currency. They start at around $10 and can potentially run up to $100+ for very large transfers. Fees can sometimes be lowered by submitting transfers at an agent location or by sending directly to/from a bank account.

Trophy icon
Winner: Tie

Both Xoom and Western Union fees start low but can get very high in certain situations, but generally sit within a similar range.

Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending $500 and $5,000 to Mexico

The table below shows how much it costs in fees and exchange rates to send money from Canada to Mexico with Xoom and Western Union. It both cases it assumes you’re taking the cheapest transfer option available.

Sending $500 to Mexico
XoomWestern Union
Transfer fee$4.99
(pay online by bank transfer; cash pickup or direct deposit into recipient’s bank account)
$5.00
(in-store transfer; cash pickup)
Exchange rate1 CAD = 14.2552 MXN1 CAD = 13.9718 MXN
Transfer speedUp to 4 business daysMinutes (in-store transfer, not online)
Total Mexican pesos receivedMXN$7,056.47MXN$6,916.04
Receiver getsMXN$140.43 moreMXN$140.43 less
Sending $5,000 to Mexico
XoomWestern Union
Transfer fee$0.00
(pay online by bank transfer; cash pickup or direct deposit into recipient’s bank account)
$75
(in-store transfer; cash pickup)
Exchange rate1 CAD = 14.3268 MXN1 CAD = 13.9718 MXN
Transfer speedUp to 4 business daysMinutes
Total Mexican pesos receivedMXN$71,634MXN$68,811.12
Receiver getsMXN$2,822.88 moreMXN$2,822.88 less

In both cases Xoom is a more cost-effective option than Western Union, thanks to its more favourable exchange rates and cheaper fees.

When sending $500, your loved ones will get around MXN$140 more (roughly $10 CAD) by sending with Xoom instead of Western Union, and when sending $5,000, they’ll get around MXN$2,800 more (roughly $195 CAD) with Xoom than Western Union.

Which offers better exchange rates?

Xoom

Xoom adds a margin to the exchange rates it offers customers. This varies depending on currencies and other factors and can range from less than 1% to over 3%.

Here’s an example of CAD to EUR:

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 CAD = 0.6820 EUR
  • Xoom’s exchange rate might be 1 CAD = 0.6752 EUR

This ends up being a margin of 1.00%.

Western Union

Western Union’s margins on international transfers also vary widely and can range from around 1% to more than 5%, depending on the situation.

Here’s an example of CAD to EUR (Euros):

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 CAD = 0.6820 EUR
  • Western Union’s exchange rate might be 1 CAD = 0.6385 EUR

This ends up being a margin of 6.38%.

On the other hand, the exchange rate for CAD to INR (Indian rupees) could be as follows:

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 CAD = 52.3059 INR
  • Western Union’s exchange rate might be 1 CAD = 51.1807 INR

This ends up being a margin of 2.15%.

Trophy icon
Winner: Tie

Both Xoom and Western Union have varying margins, and neither is consistently better than the other.

Which is faster?

Xoom

Xoom transfers vary depending on the location, and might be processed by the same or next day in some cases, while taking up to 4 business days in others. Transfers of $10,000 will also take an additional 2-3 days on top of the norm.

Western Union

Western Union bank transfers can take around 3 days on either end, adding up to 6 business days if you both send money through a bank transfer, and the recipient receives it the same way. It offers consistent express options for cash pick-ups around the world though.

Trophy icon
Winner: Western Union

Western Union can consistently offer transfers within minutes for cash pick-ups all around the world. Meanwhile, Xoom transfer times vary widely and are dependent on making a deposit early enough in the day.

General features

Payment methodsReceiving optionsMaximum and minimum transfersTransfer speedsCurrencies
XoomBank transfer, credit card, debit cardCash pick-up, bank transferMinimum: $10

Maximum: $10,000

2-3 business days20+ currencies
Western UnionBank transfer, credit card, debit card, cashCash pick-up, bank transferMinimum: $1

Maximum: $7,500

Same day100+ currencies

Xoom

To send money with Xoom, you’ll need a US or Canadian bank account. With that, you can sign up for an account online or by downloading the Xoom app. You can also log in with a PayPal account, but you won’t be able to draw on your PayPal account balance for Xoom transfers.

Once you’re signed in, you can send money online through Xoom.

Western Union

You’ll need to create an account if you want to send money online through Western Union, but you won’t need to if you’d rather go to a Western Union branch or make a payment over the phone.

In all cases, you will need to have the recipient’s details on hand and be able to make a payment before you can send money overseas.

Bottom line

It’s neck and neck! Whether Xoom or Western Union is better for your needs depends on the situation. Neither will always be faster or more cost-effective than the other, so it’s worth getting a quote from each to see which comes out on top.

Looking for more options?

It’s worth comparing a wide range of options beyond Xoom and Western Union to see if you can save money on your next transfer.

The calculator below can make it much easier. Just enter the details of your transfer below, and it will crunch the numbers to see how much different providers may cost.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
CAD 1 Same day CAD 0.00 0.786 USD
786
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 0.782 USD
780
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 0 Within an hour CAD 3.99 0.787 USD
784
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Go to site Show details
CAD 1 1 - 2 days CAD 9.00 0.79 USD
783
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.

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Go to site