Review: Western Union UK international money transfers
Min. Transfer Amount
Max. Transfer Amount
|Product Name||Western Union International Money Transfers|
|Min. Transfer Amount||GBP 1|
|Max. Transfer Amount||GBP 5,000|
|Transfer Methods||Online, Phone, Agent|
Minimum transfer time
|Customer Service||Phone, Email, Branch|
|Available Currencies||AED, AFN, ALL, AMD, ANG, AOA, ARS, AUD, AWG, AZN, BBD, BDT, BGN, BHD, BIF, BMD, BND, BOB, BRL, BSD, BTN, BWP, BZD, CAD, CDF, CHF, CLP, CNY, COP, CRC, CUC, CVE, CZK, DJF, DKK, DOP, DZD, EGP, ERN, ETB, EUR, FJD, FKP, GBP, GEL, GHS, GIP, GMD, GNF, GTQ, GYD, HKD, HNL, HRK, HTG, HUF, IDR, ILS, INR, IQD, IRR, ISK, JMD, JOD, JPY, KES, KGS, KHR, KMF, KRW, KWD, KYD, KZT, LAK, LBP, LKR, LRD, LSL, LTL, LVL, LYD, MAD, MDL, MGA, MKD, MMK, MNT, MOP, MRO, MUR, MVR, MWK, MXN, MYR, MZN, NAD, NGN, NIO, NOK, NPR, NZD, OMR, PEN, PGK, PHP, PKR, PLN, PYG, QAR, RON, RSD, RUB, RWF, SAR, SBD, SCR, SDG, SEK, SGD, SHP, SLL, SOS, SRD, STD, SVC, SYP, SZL, THB, TMT, TND, TOP, TRY, TTD, TWD, TZS, UAH, UGX, USD, UYU, UZS, VEF, VND, VUV, WST, XAF, XCD, XOF, XPF, YER, ZAR, ZMW|
|Online Transfer Fee||9.9%|
|Exchange Rate Updates||Real time|
What's in this guide?
- Western Union exchange rates and fees
- Available currencies
- What types of transfers can you make with Western Union?
- How long does a transfer with Western Union take?
- What payment methods does Western Union accept?
- Is Western Union safe to use?
- How to register for an account
- How do I make an online money transfer with Western Union?
- What is Western Union?
- In a nutshell
- How does Western Union compare to other providers?
- Frequently asked questions
Western Union exchange rates and fees
Western Union’s exchange rates fluctuate frequently in line with the mid-market rate. However, 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, but 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. Western Union offers a “Price Estimator” tool on its website which you can use to check the exchange rate and fee for your specific transaction before you proceed.
Calculate how much sending money overseas would cost with Western Union by using our tool below. You can also check out the real-time exchange rate Western Union offers and if there are any additional fees.
Western Union offers transfers to 200 countries and territories around the world, so you can send funds in a wide range of currencies including:
- EUR Euro
- AUD Australian dollar
- CNY Chinese yuan
- CAD Canadian dollar
- INR Indian rupee
- JPY Japanese yen
- PHP Philippine peso
- 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 UK:
- Submit your transfer online through the Western Union website or mobile app
- Submit a transfer in person at your nearest Western Union branch
There are also three 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 525,000+ agent locations around the world.
- Bank account transfers. You can transfer money directly to your recipient’s overseas bank account. However, this service is only available when sending money to select countries.
- Mobile wallet transfers. If the recipient has a mobile wallet you can send money directly to them – but this service is only available in select countries.
How long does a transfer with Western Union take?
If you’re sending a cash pick-up transfer, the funds you send should 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 3 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 India typically take 1 business day, transfers to Australia can take 3 business days.
Transfers typically arrive
What payment methods does Western Union accept?
In the UK, you can pay for your Western Union transfer using the following methods:
- Credit card
- Debit card
- Bank transfer to Western Union’s bank account
- Cash (when sending money in person)
Is Western Union safe to use?
- Regulation: Limited regulation by the UK Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority
- Established: 1851
- Number of customers: Moved more than US$300 billion around the world in 2018
- Reviews: TrustScore of 4.1/5* from 17,100+ reviews on Trustpilot
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. In the UK, the company is under limited regulation by the UK Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority.
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 make an online money transfer with Western Union?
To send a transfer online, complete the following steps:
- Log into your Western Union account.
- Choose your transfer destination, the amount you want to send and how your beneficiary will receive the cash. If sending to a bank account, you’ll also need to provide your recipient’s bank account details.
- Choose your payment method.
- Review the total cost of your transaction and submit your transfer.
- 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.
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.
- Payment options. Western Union accepts payment via cash, bank transfer, credit card, debit card or prepaid card.
- 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.
- Not suitable for large transfers. The maximum daily online transfer limit is £5,000, so Western Union isn’t a good choice if you need to send a larger amount.
How does Western Union compare to other providers?
Input your transaction details into the calculator below to compare the exchange rates and fees offered by a range of money transfer services.