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Western Union vs. Ria: How do they compare?

We compare the well-known Western Union with Ria, a growing international money transfer service that could save you money.

When you need to transfer money overseas, you now have many options to choose from. Western Union is perhaps the most well-known international money transfer service, but newer companies like Ria offer competitive rates to save you money.

Western UnionRia Logos
FeesStarts from $3.50Starts from $3
Exchange ratesUp to 6% above the midmarket rateCan be less than 1% on the midmarket rate
SpeedMinutes up to 5 days or more15 minutes up to 4 days
Max Transfer AmountVaries by country$2,999 a day or $7,999 a month maximum
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Western Union and Ria: How they work

Western Union and Ria both offer online and in-person transfers.

Western Union

To transfer money online with Western Union, visit its site, enter the amount you’re transferring and to where, and confirm how much to pay for the exchange. Once complete, Western Union converts and delivers your money to a bank account or for cash pickup at locations worldwide.

Ria

To transfer money online with Ria, go to its site, enter the amount you’d like to transfer and to which country, and choose your payment and pay-out methods. On the same page, you’ll see the exchange rate and transfer fee for your particular exchange.

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Which offers lower fees?

Western Union

Western Union’s fees vary depending on how much you’re transferring, how you’re sending it and where you’re sending it to. Most transfer fees start at $5, but they can skyrocket to $45 or more if you’re paying by credit or debit card or for cash pickup in certain countries. However, some transfers to high-traffic countries such as Mexico or India offer no-fee transfer options.

Ria

Money transfer fees with Ria also vary by payment method, country and the amount you’re sending. The cheapest way to send money is by bank transfer, with a typical fee that’s lower than $5. However, fees for credit card payments can be as high as $45.

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Winner: Tie
Western Union and Ria offer similar transfer fee options. Although if you’re planning to pay by bank transfer, Ria may have a slight edge.

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Compare other transfer services

Our table lets you compare the services you can use to send money abroad. Compare services on transfer speeds and fees, then click Go to site when you're ready to send.
Name Product Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer) Learn More
OFX
24 hours
$0

View details
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies.
Dunbridge Financial
Dunbridge Financial
24 hours
$0

View details
Dunbridge Financial offers competitive exchange rates and zero fees on transfers to more than 120 countries.
CurrencyTransfer
24 hours
$0
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally £5,000)

View details
Exclusive: Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally $5,000).
CurrencyTransfer lets you shop around for the best exchange rate on its online marketplace.
XE
Within minutes
$3

View details
XE has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
WorldRemit
Within an hour
From $1.99

View details
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Wise (TransferWise)
Within an hour
From $2.26

View details
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies.
Instarem
Within an hour
$1

View details
Exclusive: Use code GET60 and save $30 on each transaction over $200. Valid for the first two transactions. T&Cs apply.
Instarem offers zero transfer fees on all transfers.
Remitly
Within minutes
From $0
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers

View details
Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
Western Union
Within an hour
From $0

View details
Western Union sends money online to friends and family in 200+ countries around the world.
MoneyGram
Within an hour
From $0

View details
MoneyGram has fast cash pick-up transfers to more than 350,000 agent locations worldwide.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Which 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. Let’s take a look at the rates that Western Union and Ria offer compared to the midmarket rate.

Western Union

Depending on the country you’re sending money to, a typical exchange rate at Western Union can be up to 6% above the midmarket rate. This means that If you’re sending a large amount overseas, hundreds of dollars go straight into Western Union’s pocket.

We’ll use the example of a transfer to euros (EUR):

  • If the midmarket rate is 1 USD = 0.96 EUR
  • Western Union’s exchange rate might be 1 USD = 0.86 EUR

Ria

Ria takes a much smaller margin than Western Union, with rates that can be less than 1% on the midmarket rate.

Using the same example of a transfer to euros (EUR):

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 USD = 0.96 EUR
  • Ria’s exchange rate might be 1 USD = 0.92 EUR

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Winner: Ria
Ria’s competitive exchange rates make it the clear winner here.

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Which is faster?

Western Union

Western Union’s delivery speeds vary, depending on your transfer options. At an agent location or by phone, your transfer could be delivered in minutes (at higher costs). Your cheapest options could take five days or longer, depending on the country.

Ria

Ria’s transfer speed also depends on the method that you choose to send your money. When you use your credit or debit card, the exchange typically takes 15 minutes or less. Transfers from your bank account can take up to four days.

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Winner: Ria

Although Western Union and Ria have similar delivery options, most transfers with Ria using your bank account will be delivered in four days or less without having to pay extra for faster service, giving Ria a leg up.

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Which offers more options?

Payment MethodsMinimum and maximum transfersDelivery methodsTransfer speedsCountries and currencies
Western UnionBank account, credit or debit card, cash$1 minimum; maximum varies by method and paymentBank transfer, cash pickup, e-walletVaries from minutes to 5+ days200+ countries
RiaBank account,credit or debit card,cash$1 minimum; $2,999 a day or $7,999 a month maximumBank transfer, cash pickup15 minutes to 4 business days144 countries
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Case study: $1,000 to Italy

Imagine that you’re sending $1,000 to your aunt who has recently moved to Italy. Here’s what an online bank-to-bank transfer would be with Western Union and Ria.

Western UnionRia
Transfer fee$5$5
Exchange rate1 USD = 0.86 EUR1 USD = 0.92 EUR
Transfer speed6 days4 days or less
Total received864.81 EUR920.60 EUR

With Ria, you get a stronger exchange rate, and your aunt gets 55 euros more — and at least two days sooner.

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Bottom line

Western Union and Ria offer similar options, but you save money with Ria’s competitive exchange rates and faster delivery speeds.

Of course, you’ll want to compare your options to find the service that best fits your individual needs.

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