Western Union: A review of the international money transfer service

Send a quick and secure money transfer to more than 200 countries and territories with Western Union.

Western Union is the world’s largest provider of international cash transfers. With more than 500,000 transfer branches around the globe, it allows you to send funds to more than 200 countries and territories. This allows you to quickly and safely send money to friends and family overseas, with the cash you send usually ready to be accessed within minutes.

It allows you to send funds in person by visiting a branch, online through its website or mobile app, and over the phone. In certain countries, the money you send can also be deposited into your recipient’s bank account or mobile wallet, offering extra flexibility. Continue reading our review to find out if Western Union’s services are right for you.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Send money with Azimo

  • Make the first THREE transfers for free using code AZ-FIND
  • Send money to bank accounts, phones or cash pick-up locations
  • Most transfers take less than a day
  • Send money to 195 countries in 60 different currencies
Promoted

Western Union exchange rates

As exchange rates for different currency pairs fluctuate, so too do the rates Western Union offers to its customers. A quick comparison reveals that Western Union’s rates regularly compare quite favourably to those offered by the major banks, although it’s important to remember that you’ll also need to take transfer fees into account when calculating the full cost of a transaction.

To determine the exchange rate that will apply to your transaction, you will need to use the ‘Calculate price’ feature on the Western Union website.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details

Compare up to 4 providers

Compare all international money transfer providers

Back to top

How much does it cost to transfer money with Western Union?

The fees you’ll need to pay for your Western Transfer will vary depending on where you are sending the money, how much you are sending, how you pay for the transaction and how your recipient will access the money you transfer. The best way to determine how much your transaction will cost is to use the ‘Price Calculator’ on the Western Union website.

As an example, sending £500 to an Australian bank account from your credit or debit card will incur a fee of £2.90, while sending the same amount to Nigeria for cash pickup and paying with your credit or debit card will incur a fee of £34.90.

To better estimate the fees for your transfer, have a look at our Western Union Fees page.

Back to top

Minimum transfer amount and available countries

Transfer limits vary depending on the transfer method you select. If you’re sending funds online, you can send up to £800 within a 12-month period without being required to prove your identity. But if you complete the process to verify your identity you can send up to £4,000 per online transfer. If sending funds from an agent location you can send as much money as you would like, as long as you don’t break any laws or regulations.

As mentioned above, Western Union offers transfers to more than 200 countries and territories. These include but do not limit to:

  • Afghanistan (AFN)
  • Albania (ALL)
  • Algeria (DZD)
  • Argentina (ARS)
  • Australia (AUD)
  • Austria (EUR)
  • Azerbaijan (AZN)
  • Bahrain (BHD)
  • Bangladesh (BDT)
  • Belarus (BYR)
  • Belgium (EUR)
  • Bermuda (BMD)
  • Bolivia (BOB)
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina (BAM)
  • Botswana (BWP)
  • Brazil (BRL)
  • Bulgaria (BGN)
  • Burundi (BIF)
  • Cambodia (KHR)
  • Canada (CAD)
  • China (CNY)
  • Colombia (COP)
  • Costa Rica (CRC)
  • Côte d’Ivoire (XOF)
  • Croatia (HRK)
  • Cyprus (EUR)
  • Czech Republic (CZK)
  • Denmark (DKK)
  • Dominican Republic (DOP)
  • Ecuador (USD)
  • Egypt (EGP)
  • El Salvador (USD)
  • Estonia (EUR)
  • Ethiopia (ETB)
  • Fiji (FJD)
  • Finland (EUR)
  • France (EUR)
  • French Polynesia (XPF)
  • Gambia (GMD)
  • Georgia (GEL)
  • Germany (EUR)
  • Ghana (GHS)
  • Greece (EUR)
  • Guatemala (GTQ)
  • Honduras (HNL)
  • Hong Kong (HKD)
  • Hungary (HUF)
  • Iceland (ISK)
  • India (INR)
  • Indonesia (IDR)
  • Iraq (IQD)
  • Ireland (EUR)
  • Israel (ILS)
  • Italy (EUR)
  • Jamaica (JMD)
  • Japan (JPY)
  • Jordan (JOD)
  • Kenya (KES)
  • Kiribati (KID)
  • Korea (KRW)
  • Kuwait (KWD)
  • Kyrgz Republic (KGS)
  • Laos (LAK)
  • Latvia (LVL)
  • Lebanon (LBP)
  • Lesotho (LSL)
  • Liberia (LRD)
  • Lithuania (EUR)
  • Luxemborg (EUR)
  • Macedonia FYR (MKD)
  • Madagascar (MGA)
  • Malaysia (MYR)
  • Maldives (MVR)
  • Malta (EUR)
  • Mauritius (MUR)
  • Mexico (MXN)
  • Moldova (MDL)
  • Mongolia (MNT)
  • Montenegro (EUR)
  • Morocco (MAD)
  • Mozambique (MZN)
  • Myanmar (MMK)
  • Nepal (NPR)
  • Netherlands (EUR)
  • New Caledonia (CFP)
  • New Zealand (NZD)
  • Nicaragua (NIO)
  • Nigeria (NGN)
  • Norway (NOK)
  • Oman (OMR)
  • Pakistan (PRK)
  • Panama (USD)
  • Papua New Guinea (PGK)
  • Peru (PEN)
  • Philippines (PHP)
  • Poland (PLN)
  • Portugal (EUR)
  • Puerto Rico (USD)
  • Qatar (QAR)
  • Romania (RON)
  • Russia (RUB)
  • Rwanda (RWF)
  • Samoa (WST)
  • Saudi Arabia (SAR)
  • Senegal (XOF)
  • Serbia (RSD)
  • Seychelles (SCR)
  • Sierra Leone (SLL)
  • Singapore (SGD)
  • Slovak Republic (EUR)
  • Slovenia (EUR)
  • Solomon Islands (SBD)
  • South Africa (ZAR)
  • Spain (EUR)
  • Sri Lanka (LKR)
  • Sudan (SDG)
  • Sweden (SEK)
  • Switzerland (CHF)
  • Syrian Arab Republic (SYP)
  • Taiwan (TWD)
  • Tajikistan (TJS)
  • Tanzania (TZS)
  • Thailand (THB)
  • Timor-Leste (USD)
  • Togo (CFA)
  • Tonga (TOP)
  • Trinidad and Tobago (TTD)
  • Tunisia (TND)
  • Turkey (TRY)
  • Uganda (UGX)
  • Ukraine (EUR)
  • United Arab Emirates UAE (AED)
  • United Kingdom (GBP)
  • Uruguay (UYU)
  • USA (USD)
  • Vanuatu (VUV)
  • Venezuela (VEF)
  • Vietnam (VND)
  • Yemen (YER)
  • Zambia (ZMK)
  • Zimbabwe (USD)
Back to top

What types of transfers can you carry out with Western Union?

Western Union offers several options for one-off transfers. You can send money:

  • Online through the Western Union website
  • Using the Western Union mobile app
  • Over the phone
  • By visiting a Western Union branch

The funds you transfer can then be accessed in the following ways:

  • Picked up in cash from a Western Union branch
  • Deposited into the recipient’s bank account
  • Deposited into your recipient’s mobile wallet

If you ever need help or have a question about a transfer, you can always visit your nearest Western Union agent for assistance. The company also offers a useful online support centre with several frequently asked questions, while phone and email support are both offered as well.

Western Union locations in London

We have put together a map with all the locations of Western Union Agents in London – find it here.

Back to top

The registration and transfer process

Western Union’s transfer process varies depending on the sending and receiving options you select. To send money online, you’ll need to enter the details of the amount you’d like to transfer and where you’d like the money to be sent. You will then receive a quote that details the exchange rate and fee that will apply to your transaction. If you’re happy with the quote, you can provide your name and contact details, register for an account and then send your funds.

For bank account deposits you will also have to provide the name of your recipient’s bank, their bank code (for example a SWIFT code) as well as their account name and number.

If you’d prefer to send a transfer by visiting a Western Union branch, you’ll need to complete a ‘To Send Money’ form and then pay the necessary cash to the branch attendant. The transaction will be processed immediately and the funds sent to your recipient, with the cash typically available for collection within minutes.

Back to top

What are the pros and cons of using Western Union?

Pros

  • Worldwide access. Western Union operates more than 500,000 transfer locations, making it the world’s largest provider of international money transfers.
  • Sending and receiving options. From in-person transfers to online transactions and bank deposits to cash pickups, there are multiple options to choose from when you send money overseas with Western Union.
  • Trusted provider. With a history dating back more than 160 years, Western Union has plenty of experience moving money around the world.

Cons

  • Fees apply. Fees apply to most transfer options with Western Union and can be quite expensive in some cases.
Back to top

What other products and services does Western Union offer?

  • Prepaid cards. Western Union offers a range of reloadable cards to allow quick and easy access to your money all around the world.
  • Business solutions. Western Union also offers a range of services to help UK businesses manage their international payments and their foreign exchange needs.

Frequently asked questions

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.

14 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    MarcJune 8, 2019

    I am having difficulties receiving cash from Western Union. I was due to get around £800 sent from Brazil to the UK. However, Western Union called the sender (a family friend) and blocked the cash and sent it back over. Is there any reason for this?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaJune 10, 2019Staff

      Hi Marc,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t receive your money.

      The common reason that this happens is due to security. Another reason is if Western Union suspects malicious activities.

      Best is for you or your sender to check with Western Union. They can further explain the reason why the money was blocked.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  2. Default Gravatar
    TedMay 17, 2019

    Hi. When the do a bank transfer on Western union it tells me I have 14 days to complete the transaction by going to my bank and transferring the money to them. If I don’t do that within 14 days the transaction will cancel

    My question is, if I made the transaction say 7 days on, and the exchange rate has become much worse, do I still get the exchange rate agreed at the time? Or is it adjusted to what it is at the time I compete the transaction?
    Thanks
    Ted

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoMay 18, 2019Staff

      Hi Ted,

      Thanks for your inquiry! The wire transfer is just a notice of movement of funds – there are no rates attached to it because the transfer happens in one of the major trading currencies. This means the actual wire transfer is done in the same currency – USD to USD or EUR to EUR. However, if say you transfer EUR to USD, the rate will be what the bank will sell dollars to you, which will be the amount deducted from your account. This rate is usually the mid-market rate, and it is the rate posted on your bank’s website or available through their normal channels.Hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to message us back if you have more questions.

      Regards,
      Nikki

  3. Default Gravatar
    AlisonFebruary 6, 2019

    How do I send money to a friend in Lanzarote. It is not coming up on the country list?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniFebruary 10, 2019Staff

      Hi Alison,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      You may send money to Lanzarote via Western Union. Upon checking on Western Union’s official page, it is considered as part of Spain. There are a few agent locations in Arrecife City and the rest of the area. Kindly check out WU’s official page to get the complete list.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  4. Default Gravatar
    LynnJanuary 11, 2019

    Can charities use this service?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniJanuary 12, 2019Staff

      Hi Lynn,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      Yes. Western Union can service charities. Kindly visit Western Union business solutions page then click on the Speak with a NGO Specialist to contact an NGO specialist and discuss your options.

      I hope this helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  5. Default Gravatar
    FrankJuly 21, 2017

    Why does the currency calculator not work!!?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      AnndyJuly 23, 2017Staff

      Hi Frank,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Western Union real-time calculation is available on their website. Kindly click the “go to site” button above to get a quote from the Western Union.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  6. Default Gravatar
    CathyJune 23, 2017

    What’s the maximum time western union online sending takes when sending for the first time

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      AnndyJuly 21, 2017Staff

      Hi Cathy,

      Thanks for your question.

      With Western Union, the processing times vary depending on your mode of transfer and where you will be sending the funds. Most cash transfers are available for collection or cash pickup within minutes. However, in some circumstances, bank account deposits can take multiple business days.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

      • Default Gravatar
        FoziaApril 18, 2018

        Can i send money to Pakistan

        • Avatarfinder Customer Care
          joelmarceloApril 20, 2018Staff

          Hi Fozia,

          Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

          Yes you can send money to Pakistan via the Western Union app or in store locations. If you would still like to check out other money transfer services who can send to Pakistan, please go HERE.

          Cheers,
          Joel

Related Posts

Go to site