Alternatives to Western Union

Need a cheaper alternative for sending cash transfers?

Around for more than 160 years, Western Union is one of the oldest and most recognisable names in money transfers. Available in 200 countries and territories across the globe and with more than 500,000 agent locations worldwide, money pickups are easy and accessible.

Pros

  • Low minimum transfer of £1
  • Send money in minutes
  • Transfer to a wide range of countries
  • Cash pick-up

Cons

  • Can be more expensive than other transfer companies
  • High fees and unfavourable exchange rates can take a bite out of your money transfer

Western Union has tons of locations and a convenient cash pick-up option, but it’s not the cheapest option out there and you may be better off using a different money transfer company. Here are some other options to consider.

Alternatives to Western Union

1. TorFX

TorFX is a money exchange and transfer company that focuses on getting your funds where they need to go quickly. Unlike other services, it requires funds to be cleared by individuals who hold TorFX accounts. The money must be sent in advance before the transaction can be performed.

Pros

  • Competitive exchange rates
  • Free market news
  • Price match guarantee

Cons

  • Less competitive rates for transfers under £2,000
  • Can only send from bank accounts, to bank accounts

2. WorldRemit

WorldRemit provides a variety of transfer options, letting you send money from over 50 countries, and to more than 120 countries. It offers online, bank-to-bank and cash transfers. Similar to Western Union, the fees vary by country and situation.

Pros

  • Flexible payment options
  • Quick transfer process
  • Transfers to mobile wallet accounts
  • Cash pickup available
  • Mobile airtime account transfers

Cons

  • Fees vary widely and can sometimes be high

3. OFX

Like Western Union, OFX offers money transfers to many countries in a variety of currencies. But with higher maximum transfer amounts and no fees, OFX could be better if you’re looking to do business or pay for exports overseas.

Pros

  • Offer services to over 200 countries
  • Wide range of transfer options available
  • Android and iOS apps available for mobile transfer and tracking

Cons

  • Significant amount of transfer fee applies for some countries
  • Not the best exchange rate
  • No cash payment or pickup, only bank deposits
  • Transfer minimum of £2,500
  • Limited currency options
  • Not compatible with all online marketplaces yet

4. WorldFirst

WorldFirst charges no fees on private client international payments or business currency transactions. It also allows for large transfers with rates closer to the mid-market rate than Western Union. There’s an option for WorldFirst to help your business with its overseas payments, as well.

Pros

  • Competitive exchange rates
  • Spot contracts, forward contracts and hedging options available
  • Weekly updates on market exchange rates
  • Low fees

Cons

  • Small number of currencies available

5. XE Money Transfer

XE Money Transfer is a service designed to help you transfer your funds to a bank in a foreign currency, send cash to your family, make investments overseas or facilitate international business transfers. It charges £2 for transfers under £250 and nothing for transfers over that amount, instead profiting from currency spreads.

Pros

  • A trusted and established name in money transfers
  • Low, or no, fees and competitive exchange rates
  • Offers limit orders, forward contracts and other features

Cons

  • Not available in as many countries or currencies as Western Union

6. Wise

Wise is a money transfer site focused on value for money. Uniquely, it offers mid-market exchange rates. However, it also charges fees of a fraction of a percent of the total transfer plus a flat amount.

Pros

  • Offers mid-market exchange rates
  • Apps for both iOS and Android
  • Straightforward fees

Cons

  • Transfers to bank accounts only. No cash pick-up option
  • High fees can offset the benefits of mid-market exchange rates

Travelex logo

7. Travelex

Around since 1976, Travelex is an international money transfer service in around 200 countries worldwide. In addition to money transfer services, it offers a range of travel solutions such as foreign currency sales and travel cards.

Pros

  • Forward contracts and other options can get more favourable rates
  • Will be competitor prices with a valid quote
  • No fee for transfers of £10,000 or more
  • Exchange to more than 45 different currencies

Cons

  • Exchange rates not always the most competitive

RIA Logo

8. Ria

Ria is the world’s third-largest money transfer service, with more than 240,000 agent locations in 130 countries. It’s known for its simple transfers, and aims to offer competitive fees and exchange rates.

Pros

  • Wide variety of transfer options
  • Good rates and minimal fees
  • Online price calculator simplifies money conversion

Cons

  • Cost-effectiveness varies depending on where you send money
  • Maximum transfer limits may be too small for your needs

Moneygram logo

9. MoneyGram

As the second-largest international money transfer service in the world, MoneyGram is one of Western Union’s biggest contenders. Its transfers and exchanges currencies in over 200 countries and territories around the world to more than 350,000 agent locations worldwide.

Pros

  • Extensive global network of 350,000 agent locations
  • Secure and reliable
  • Fast transfers, with same-day service in many locations

Cons

  • Maximum online transfer amounts may be too low for your needs
  • Fees can be high depending on payment type and transfer destination
  • Exchange rates vary and may not always be the most competitive

PayPal Logo

10. PayPal

In addition to payment support for online purchases, PayPal also offers overseas transfers to more than 200 countries and territories. While PayPal is like a digital banking service, its rates are competitive compared with most banks and financial institutions.

Pros

  • Available worldwide
  • Offers recurring payments
  • Exchange rates fixed at 2.5% above mid-market rates
  • Clear transfer fees

Cons

  • Fees increase with amount transferred
  • Credit card payments incur fees of a percentage of the total transfer
  • Recipient also needs a PayPal account

Still looking for the right money transfer provider? Compare more options below

Table: sorted by promoted deals first
Our table below lets you compare the services you can use to send money abroad. Choose if you want to send under or over £10,000, and you’ll be shown a list of services that can help you.

Alternatively, learn more about Western Union in our review.

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