Western Union money transfers review January 2019 | finder.com

Western Union money transfer review

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An easy way to send cash overseas — even if the recipient doesn’t have a bank account.

finder.com’s rating: 3.25 / 5.0

★★★★★

How’d we get our score?

Fees & rates: 2.0 / 5.0
Speed: 5.0 / 5.0
Services: 4.0 / 5.0
User experience: 2.0 / 5.0

Western Union operates one of the world’s largest money transfer networks by with more than 500,000 agent locations around the world, but unfavorable exchange rates mean you’ll have to pay for the convenience.

Product NameWestern Union Money Transfers
Min. Transfer AmountUSD 1
Max. Transfer AmountUSD 5,000
Transfer Methods
Online, Phone, Agent, , International Money Order, ...
Transfer Options
Regular payments, One off payments
Transfer Speed
Minimum transfer time
3 - 5 days
Customer Service
Phone, Chat, Email, Branch, ...
Available CurrenciesAED, AFN, ALL, AMD, ANG, AOA, ARS, AUD, AWG, AZN, BAM, BBD, BDT, BGN, BHD, BIF, BMD, BND, BOB, BRL, BSD, BTN, BWP, BYR, BZD, CAD, CDF, CHF, CLP, CNY, COP, CRC, CUC, CUP, CVE, CZK, DJF, DKK, DOP, DZD, EGP, ERN, ETB, EUR, FJD, FKP, GBP, GEL, GGP, GHS, GIP, GMD, GNF, GTQ, GYD, HKD, HNL, HRK, HTG, HUF, IDR, ILS, IMP, INR, IQD, IRR, ISK, JEP, JMD, JOD, JPY, KES, KGS, KHR, KMF, KPW, 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, PAB, PEN, PGK, PHP, PKR, PLN, PYG, QAR, RON, RSD, RUB, RWF, SAR, SBD, SCR, SDG, SEK, SGD, SHP, SLL, SOS, SPL, SRD, STD, SVC, SYP, SZL, THB, TJS, TMT, TND, TOP, TRY, TTD, TVD, TWD, TZS, UAH, UGX, USD, UYU, UZS, VEF, VND, VUV, WST, XAF, XCD, XDR, XOF, XPF, YER, ZAR, ZMW, ZWD
Exchange Rate UpdatesReal time

Pros

  • Low minimum transfer amount of $1.00
  • Option to send money in minutes
  • Transfer to a wide range of countries

Cons

  • Not the cheapest option depending on transfer location

Western Union provides a variety of options

Western Union helps individuals and businesses transfer money around the globe and right here in our own country. You’ll find many options for transferring and collecting funds, like cash pickup, mobile wallet deposits and more. You can even transfer money to an inmate in a correctional facility. And you can make your transfer online, through WU’s mobile app, in person or over the phone. The variety of options Western Union offers is unusual in today’s mostly online-based money transfer providers.

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

International money transfer fees vary depending on the transfer method you use. The best way to learn how much you’ll pay is to input your transfer details into the price estimator on Western Union’s website.

To give you an idea of transfer fees, here’s what you’d pay to send $1,000 to Mexico:

Location Fee
Cash pickup at an agent location $4 from a bank account; $15 with a credit or debit card
Deposit into a bank account $14

Sending the same amount to the UK would attract different fees, such as a fee of $2.99 for a transfer between bank accounts or $81 for a Money in Minutes transaction paid for with your credit or debit card.

Western Union exchange rates

You’ll need to take the exchange rate into account when sending money overseas. Western Union’s rates are updated regularly based on the market, and you can find out the rate that applies to your specific transaction by clicking Estimate Price at the top of the Western Union website.

Our experience transferring money with Western Union

Here’s what we found when we sent live transfers to Mexico and France through Western Union.

  • finder money transfer awards 2017 bannerWestern Union would not accept our recipient’s Mexican bank account, resulting in an incomplete transfer.
  • Our funds were deposited into our recipient’s French bank account in a speedy 24 hours.
  • Western Union’s easy-to-use website allowed us to sign up and initiate a transfer in an impressive 3 minutes.
  • Through its Business Solutions, Western Union offers the flexibility of rate locks, forward contracts and recurring transfers.

We recognize Western Union as a winner of three categories in the finder.com Money Transfer Awards 2017: Best User Experience, Most Convenient and Fastest Transfer.

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

There are multiple ways you can send money overseas with Western Union, starting with the ease and convenience of online transfers. The next option is to initiate a transfer by phone, although you can also visit one of Western Union’s 70,000 North American locations for a face-to-face transaction using cash or a debit card.

With Western Union, your recipient can collect the cash you send by:

  • Cash pickup. Cash transfers sent online, by phone or in person are available for pickup within minutes at any number of agent locations worldwide. Transfers from your bank account can take one to three days to arrive.
  • Mobile wallet deposit. Funds sent online or from an agent location are deposited in minutes.
  • Bank account deposit. Expect to wait one to three days for funds to arrive if you pay with a credit or debit card online, while transactions from your own bank account online or by cash at an agent location take two to five days.
  • Prepaid card. In select markets you can have the money transfer loaded onto a Western Union branded prepaid card.

Pros and cons of using Western Union

Pros

  • Trusted provider. Western Union has managed domestic and international money transfers since 1871.
  • Huge network. More than 500,000 agent locations around the world.
  • Flexible transfer options. Whether you pay with your credit or debit card or a bank account for cash pickup or a bank deposit, Western Union can take care of your transaction.

Cons

  • Weak exchange rates. With weak exchange rates that can be nearly 5% more than the mid-market rate, you have cheaper online options.
  • High fees. Where some companies offer free transfers or low-fee transfers, expect to pay more in fees to transfer with Western Union.

How does Western Union compare to other services?

I want to send

to

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 0 3 - 5 days USD 0.00 0.872 EUR 4,360 Transfer up to $500,000 with no minimums and no fees. Go to site Show details
USD 1,000 1 day USD 0.00 0.872 EUR 4,358 No maximum limit, no fees and competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies. Go to site Show details
USD 1 1 - 2 days USD 7.00 0.872 EUR
4,356
Enjoy high maximum transfers into more than 20 currencies while saving up to 90% over local banks. Go to site Show details
USD 1 Within an hour USD 3.99 0.871 EUR 4,350 Use promo code FINDER to send your first transfer with no fee.
Send to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up.
Go to site Show details
GBP 5,000 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 0.87 EUR 4,349 Get live quotes on exchange rates and take advantage of no transaction fees with no limits on transfers. Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Shopping for an alternative? See a list of other sites like Western Union for sending money.

How do I use Western Union?

Western Union offers several ways for you to send your money. You’ll need:

  • A Western Union account. It’s easy to set up a free account as part of your transfer.
  • Valid payment method. You can pay by debit card for Western Union’s fastest and cheapest transfer or use a credit card or bank account.
  • Your recipient’s name and contact information. If sending to a bank account, you’ll need the bank name and account number. If you’re sending a prepaid card for home delivery, you’ll need the address and phone number.
  • Your contact and payment information. The card number or account number and security information for the account you’re transferring from.

If your recipient is picking up cash in person, let them know to bring along a required ID.

The registration and transfer process

You’ll need to create a Western Union online profile before you can send funds online. It’s free to register with your personal contact information and details about your linked bank account or credit or debit card.

You can also initiate a transfer by phone through Western Union’s toll free number, providing the details of your transaction and your payment information.

If you prefer the security of a face-to-face transaction, visit one of Western Union’s 70,000 North American locations to transfer funds using cash or a debit card.

Steps to transfer your money online

Money transfer locations near me

Bottom line

Western Union offers plenty of useful transfer and cash pickup options when you need to send money overseas. Before you commit to sending your hard-earned dough, of course, you should always make sure to compare all the available options and find the best deal.

Frequently asked questions

Methodology

Our team analyzes money transfer providers offering services in the US — from big names to digital upstarts. We rank rates and fees, speed, services and user experience for:

  • TransferWise
  • World First
  • XE
  • OFX
  • WorldRemit
  • Currencies Direct
  • Western Union
  • RIA Money Transfer
  • MoneyGram
  • Remitly
  • Payoneer
  • Remit2India
  • Xoom
  • PayPal

Learn the details of our methodology and scoring.

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Kelly Waggoner

Kelly Waggoner is a senior editor with finder.com. She's worked with publishers, magazines and nonprofits throughout New York City, including ghostwriting a how-to on copyediting for the Dummies series. Between projects, she toys with words, flips through style guides and fantasizes about the serial comma's world domination.

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US International Money Transfers Offers

Important Information*
XE Money Transfer

Transfer up to $500,000 with no minimums and no fees.

WorldRemit International Money Transfers

Use promo code FINDER to send your first transfer with no fee.
Send to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up.

World First

No maximum limit, no fees and competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies.

TransferWise

Enjoy high maximum transfers into more than 20 currencies while saving up to 90% over local banks.

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131 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    JohnDecember 23, 2018

    How many times in a month can I send money?

    • finder Customer Care
      JoshuaDecember 24, 2018Staff

      Hi John,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      You can send as many as you want provided that you don’t exceed your monthly limit. The maximum amount of money you can send within a month varies from one country to another. Generally, the limit may range from $300 to $2,500. You would need to directly get in touch with Western Union to confirm.

      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
    JchevereDecember 16, 2018

    I want to send saudi riyals from New York to Saudi Arabia
    Can I do this

    • finder Customer Care
      ValDecember 18, 2018Staff

      Hi Jchevere,

      Yes you can. One of the accepted currencies of Western Union is SAR or the Saudi Riyal.
      You’ll need to take the exchange rate into account when sending money overseas. Western Union’s rates are updated regularly based on the market, and you can find out the rate that applies to your specific transaction by clicking Estimate Price at the top of the Western Union website.

      Hope this helps!

      Regards,
      Val

  3. Default Gravatar
    RaychelleDecember 11, 2018

    I would like to ask if how many IDs to claim a money.

    • finder Customer Care
      JoyceDecember 13, 2018Staff

      Hi Raychelle,

      Thanks for leaving a question. You only need to bring one valid government issued ID or any government and private employment ID. Western Union also has a list of IDs you may present when you claim your money transfer.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers!

      Joyce

  4. Default Gravatar
    SamentoDecember 4, 2018

    How much is the maximum amount one can receive from western union here in Nigeria.. I heard it 1000$ how true please

    • finder Customer Care
      JoshuaDecember 9, 2018Staff

      Hi Samento,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      Upon checking, you can not exceed $1,000 Naira equivalent per customer per quarter. This is a rule stipulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria. To confirm, you can also directly ask Western Union.

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

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  5. Default Gravatar
    LeonDecember 4, 2018

    I’ve come on holiday without a bank card and have nearly run out of money, my mum has said she could send me some through western union, she plans on sending £250 from England to Lanzarote, how long will it take before I could pick cash up from a branch?

    • finder Customer Care
      JoshuaDecember 9, 2018Staff

      Hi Leon,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      The transfer speed would depend on how your mother will send the money. If the transfer was made online, by phone or in person, you can pick the money up within minutes. However, bank transfers may take up to 3 days while using a credit card may take up to 5 days.

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

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  6. finder Customer Care
    nikkiangcoDecember 3, 2018Staff

    Hi Terebo!

    Thanks for getting in touch! It is advisable to call Western Union and check the current balance on the account. It’s helpful to know that we don’t have access to Western Union’s system, therefore, wouldn’t be able to check and give you feedback on your inquiry at the moment. Hope this clarifies!

    Best,
    Nikki

  7. Default Gravatar
    KristenDecember 1, 2018

    Where to i find the seciirty question answer when sending money through the app

    • finder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoDecember 4, 2018Staff

      Hi Kristen,

      Thanks for reaching out! The security answer is private information you chose when you first created your account. You can go to the website of Western Union and check Security Center then Security Q&A to read up on this and you can also go to your profile to check if you can change this.

      Hope this helps!

      Best,
      Nikki

  8. Default Gravatar
    adalNovember 28, 2018

    Wat is charges 300 pataca mucachina To pakistan

    • finder Customer Care
      BellaNovember 28, 2018Staff

      Hi Adal,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      The fees apply to money transfers vary depending on the amount of money you’re sending, where you’re sending it to and the method you use to pay for your transaction. You may visit nearest WU agent location to check their fees and other charges.

      I hope this helps.

      Kind regards,
      Bella

  9. Default Gravatar
    RonilymNovember 12, 2018

    Hmm i already receive an MTCN from my sender but sinche he choose the economy service .. is it true that i can get the money after 72 hours?

    • finder Customer Care
      AshNovember 12, 2018Staff

      Hi Ronilym,

      Thank you for reaching out to us.

      The time frame on when you will receive the Money Transfer will depend on how the Sender paid the transfer. If the money was sent through an Agent Location and paid by cash, you can claim the money within minutes. But if its paid through Debit/ Credit Card or Bank Account, it will take 3-5 business days before you receive it even if you have the Reference Number (MTCN).

      I hope this helps.

      Please do not hesitate to reach out again to us if you have additional questions that you may need our assistance.

      Cheers,
      Ash

  10. Default Gravatar
    TrishaOctober 29, 2018

    Someone has sent me 1000 Dinar and sent me a receipt that he sent. How will I know if the receipt is legit or not fake?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynOctober 30, 2018Staff

      Hello Trisha,

      Thank you for your comment.

      The Western Union receipt contains the MTCN number which you can use to verify if it’s a valid MTCN or not. To validate, you may track the status of the payment using the MTCN through the Western Union’s website or by contacting their support.

      Should you wish to have real-time answers to your questions, try our chat box on the lower right corner of our page.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

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