We compare a popular provider with a digital giant to see which is better for overseas transfers.
Western Union is nearly synonymous with international money transfers. And then there’s electronic payment giant, which also allows you to send money overseas. Which is cheaper and faster for sending funds to friends, family and businesses outside the US?
Western Union and PayPal: How they work
MoneyGram and PayPal both offer easy online processes to exchange and send money around the world.Back to top
Who offers lower fees?
Winner: It depends
If you’re sending smaller amounts, you could pay minimal fees with PayPal — again, depending on where you’re sending it. For larger amounts, Western Union may be a more ideal provider.
For instance, sending $100 using Western Union can cost you as much as 10%, while PayPal transfers can come at 3% to 6%.
Sites like Paypal for international money transfers
Who offers better exchange rates?
To understand who offers better exchange rates, you’ll need to first look at the mid-market rate. This is the true exchange rate that averages the buying and selling rate of a global currency — and the rate banks and transfer services use when they trade among themselves.
For your typical overseas transfer, you’ll get a stronger exchange rate with PayPal.
Case study: Sending $1,000 to Germany
Kendra wants to send $1,000 to her friend in Munich ahead of Oktoberfest. With so many locations worldwide, she thought she’d give Western Union a try. Then her friend suggested she look into PayPal.
Here’s what it’d look like to send a $1,000 bank-to-bank transfer with Western Union and MoneyGram.
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 0.8652 EUR||1 USD = 0.9451 EUR|
|Transfer speed||6 business days||1 business day|
|Total received||865.20 EUR||945.10 EUR|
Kendra will pay a fee of $15 to transfer her money from her PayPal account. But even with the higher fee, the stronger exchange rate it offers will allow her to send about 80 more euro to her friend. That’s a few more steins of bier to enjoy.
Whichever way you send your money, it’ll get to your recipient more quickly with PayPal. For deposits to an account, up to four days sooner.
Is Western Union safe?
Who offers more options?
|Payment methods||Minimum and maximum transfers||Delivery methods||Transfer speeds||Countries and currencies|
|Western Union||Bank transfer, credit or debit card, cash||Minimum and maximum varies by country||Bank transfer, cash pickup, e-wallet||Varies from minutes to 5+ days||200+ countries|
|PayPal||Bank transfer, credit or debit card, PayPal credit||Minimum varies by country (about $0.02); maximum $10,000 per transfer||PayPal transfer, bank transfer||Varies from minutes to 1 business day||202 countries|
That you’ll get stronger exchange rates with PayPal is clear-cut. But depending on how much you’re sending, you could pay higher transfer fees with PayPal. Then if your recipient doesn’t have a bank account, Western Union’s cash pickup may be your best option.
Ultimately, you’ll want to compare money transfer specialists to find a provider that’s right for your situation.
Compare international money transfer services
Save money on your personal or business international money transfer today. Fill in the form and you’ll be contacted by a foreign exchange expert to have an obligation-free discussion about your options. With over 17 years of foreign exchange expertise and over $100 billion transferred, OFX can help with all your currency exchange needs, including:
Save money on your personal or business international money transfer today. Fill in the form and you’ll be contacted by a foreign exchange expert to have an obligation-free discussion about your options.
With over 17 years of foreign exchange expertise and over $100 billion transferred, OFX can help with all your currency exchange needs, including: