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Review: Western Union Philippines international money transfers

Send money abroad from 12,000+ agent locations in the Philippines.

  • 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.

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Western Union's coronavirus response

If 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.

Western Union exchange rates and fees

Western Union’s exchange rates fluctuate frequently in line with the mid-market rate. 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. As of January 2020, the minimum transfer fee is pegged at PHP400. 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.

Available currencies

Western Union offers transfers to 200 countries and territories around the world, so you can send funds in a wide range of currencies including:

  • CAD Canadian dollar
  • CNY Chinese yuan
  • EUR Euro
  • GBP British pound
  • INR Indian rupee
  • JPY Japanese yen
  • AUD Australian dollar
  • 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 two different ways to send a transfer with Western Union in the Philippines:

  • Start your transfer online through the Western Union website, then pay cash in-store
  • Submit a transfer in person at your nearest Western Union branch

There are also two 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. This option is not yet available through the Western Union website, so you will need to submit your transfer in person at an agent location. Moreover, this service is only available when sending money to select countries.

How long does a transfer with Western Union take?

If you’re sending a cash pick-up transfer, the funds you send will be available for your recipient to collect within minutes.

If you’re transferring money direct to your recipient’s bank account, allow between 1 and 5 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 1-2 business days, transfers to China can take 2-5 business days.

Transfers typically arriveClock icon for transfer speed

Same day

What payment methods does Western Union accept?

At this time, Western Union in the Philippines only accepts cash payments in-store for transfers made in person or initiated through the website.

How to receive money in the Philippines using Western Union

There are three ways:

  • Cash pick up. Your receipient can pick up funds from a Western Union agent location or a remittance partner such as:
    • LBC
    • M Lhuillier
    • SM Malls
    • Robinsons Bank
    • USSC Service Stores
    • Villarica Pawnshop
    • Palawan Pawnshop
    • RD Pawnshop
  • Bank transfer. The banks below accept transfers from Western Union.
    • BDO
    • BPI
    • Landbank of the Philippines
  • Mobile wallet. Provided your recipient has a verified account, you can send money directly to the mobile wallets below.

Is Western Union safe to use?

  • Regulation: Regulated in the Philippines by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)
  • 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
*According to Western Union and Trustpilot on 29 May 2019.

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. It is regulated in the Philippines by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Western Union is a globally recognised 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 start an online money transfer with Western Union?

To initiate a transfer online, complete the following steps:

  1. Log into your Western Union account using your phone number.
  2. Choose your transfer destination and the amount you want to send.
  3. Review the total cost of your transaction and submit your transfer.
  4. Go the nearest Western Union agent location within 24 hours and bring a photo ID, phone number, and cash to pay for your transfer.
  5. 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.
  6. Your beneficiary will receive the cash at an agent location.

How to send money from a Western Union agent location in the Philippines

  1. Search for a Western Union agent located near you.
  2. Fill out the Send Money form. You will need to provide your residential address.
  3. Present the completed form to the agent, along with a valid ID, money you wish to send, and the transfer fee.
  4. Once your transfer has been completed, keep the receipt and take note of the tracking number issued.
  5. Notify your recipient of the tracking number and amount transferred.
  6. Track your transfer online. Though funds availability can be affected by factors such as agent location hours, funds are typically available for your recipient to pick up within minutes.

Maximum transfer amounts when sending money from an agent location

Transfer destinationMaximum amount
US South West Border States (includes California, Texas, and New Mexico)PHP equivalent of USD$7,500
All other countriesPHP equivalent of USD$15,000

If you wish to transfer more, you can visit an agent location where you will be asked to fill out a Large Principal Money Transfer (LPMT) form which will be subject to approval.

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 or deposit funds in your recipient’s bank account.
  • 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.
  • Limited payment options. Western Union in the Philippines only accepts cash payments at agent locations.
  • Need to go to an agent location to complete online money transfers. You can only initiate money transfers from the Western Union’s website, but you still need to pay cash in-store.

How does Western Union compare to other providers?

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Frequently asked questions

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