Xoom vs Western Union

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

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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 20 March 2019.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
NZD 1 Same day NZD 20.00 0.605 USD
593
Send money online to friends and family around the world with Western Union. Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

The “Rate” and “Amount Received” displayed are indicative rates that have been supplied by each brand or gathered by Finder.

Exchange rates are volatile and change often. As a result, the exchange rate listed on Finder may vary to the actual exchange rate quoted for the brand. Please confirm the actual exchange rate and mention “Finder” before you commit to a brand.

Xoom is not available in New Zealand

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to sign up for an account in New Zealand unless you have a bank account in the United States or Canada.

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 also start at a few dollars and can potentially run up to hundreds of dollars.

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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 US$500 and US$5,000 to Mexico

The table below shows how much it costs in fees and exchange rates to send money to Mexico with Xoom and Western Union.

It both cases it assumes you’re taking the slower but cheaper option of using bank transfers only, rather than paying with card or requesting a cash pick-up.

Sending $500 to Mexico
Xoom Western Union
Transfer fee $4.99 $2.99
Exchange rate USD$1 = MXN$18.4242 USD$1 = MXN$18.8148
Transfer speed Up to 4 business days 6 business days
Total Mexican pesos received MXN$9,120 MXN$9,351
Receiver gets MXN$231 less MXN$231 more
Sending $5,000 to Mexico
Xoom Western Union
Transfer fee $4.99 $15
Exchange rate USD$1 = MXN$18.4242 USD$1 = MXN$18.8148
Transfer speed Up to 4 business days 6 business days
Total Mexican pesos received MXN$92,029 MXN$93,791
Receiver gets MXN$1,762 less MXN$1,762 more

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

Your recipient will get MXN$231 more with Western Union than Xoom when sending $500 and MXN$1,762 more with Western Union than Xoom when sending $5,000.

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 USD to EUR:

  • If the mid-market rate is USD$1 = EUR€0.8811
  • Xoom’s exchange rate might be USD$1 = EUR€0.8734

This ends up being a margin of 0.87%.

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 USD to EUR:

  • If the mid-market rate is USD$1 = EUR€0.8811
  • Western Union’s exchange rate might be USD$1 = EUR€0.8634

This ends up being a margin of 2%.

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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 four business days in others. Transfers of $10,000 will also take an additional two to three days on top of the norm.

Western Union

Western Union bank transfers can take around three days on either end, adding up to six 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.

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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 methods Receiving options Maximum and minimum transfers Transfer speeds Currencies
Xoom Bank transfer, credit card, debit card Cash pick-up, bank transfer Minimum: $10

Maximum: $10,000

2–3 business days 20+ currencies
Western Union Bank transfer, credit card, debit card, cash Cash pick-up, bank transfer Minimum: $1

Maximum: $5,000

Same day 100+ 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.

Bear in mind that you cannot use Xoom unless you have a bank account in the United States or Canada.

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
NZD 250 1 day AUD 0.00 0.672 USD
6,719
SendFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. T&Cs apply.
Fee-free transfers in 30+ currencies to over 200 countries.
Go to site Show details
NZD 0 1 day AUD 0.00 0.672 USD
6,719
Send money in more than 60 currencies. Fee-free international money transfers with a global brand. Go to site Show details
NZD 2,000 2 days AUD 0.00 0.672 USD
6,719
Exclusive offer: $0 transfer fee and discounted exchange rates for your first trade only.
A higher exchange rate applies to non-finder customers. Send money in more than 130 currencies.
Go to site Show details
NZD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.672 USD
6,719
TorFX guarantee to beat any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction. Conditions apply. Go to site Show details
NZD 1 Within an hour AUD 3.99 0.671 USD
6,706
An online money transfer service with cash pickup, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available. Go to site Show details
AUD 250 1 - 2 days NZD 15.00 0.672 USD
6,712
A higher exchange rate applies to non-finder customers. Send money in 45 currencies. No fee if you transfer over AUD$10,000. Go to site Show details
NZD 1 1 - 2 days AUD 80.00 0.675 USD
6,692
Make online transfers with transparent exchange rates, low fees and low minimum amounts. Go to site Show details
NZD 5 1 - 2 days EUR 3.00 0.669 USD
6,692
Go to site Show details
NZD 10,000 1 - 2 days AUD 0.00 0.669 USD
6,692
Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers


The “Rate” and “Amount Received” displayed are indicative rates that have been supplied by each brand or gathered by Finder.

Exchange rates are volatile and change often. As a result, the exchange rate listed on Finder may vary to the actual exchange rate quoted for the brand. Please confirm the actual exchange rate and mention “Finder” before you commit to a brand.

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