We compare a tried-and-true money transfer company with a newer service of the world’s largest retailer.
Although Western Union remains one of the largest international money transfer companies, it’s by no means your only option when sending money overseas. In fact, Walmart now offers Walmart-2-Walmart, a service powered by Ria, whereby customers transfer money from one store location to another.
Overall, Walmart-2-Walmart offers competitive transfer costs and exchange rates, while Western Union provides a few more options.
|Fees||Fees start at $5||$4.50 for transfers of up to $50
$9.50 for transfers of $51 to $900
|Exchange rates||Up to 6% above the mid-market rate||Exchange rates not applicable, domestic transfers only|
|Speed||Varies from minutes to 5+ days||In minutes|
|Max Transfer Amount||Varies by method and payment||$900|
Western Union and Walmart-2-Walmart: How they work
While Western Union allows for online transfers to anywhere in the world, Walmart-2-Walmart is a domestic service that transfers money from store to store only.
To transfer money online with Western Union, you visit its site and enter how much you’re transferring and to which country. You’re able to see the exchange rate and select a transfer options and associated fees. Once you confirm, Western Union converts and delivers your money to a bank account or for cash pickup at locations worldwide. You also have the option of initiating a transfer by phone or in person at an agent location.
Walmart has been in the international money transfer business awhile now through a partnership with MoneyGram. But Walmart-2-Walmart is an entirely separate service with the backing of Ria money transfers service. With Walmart-2-Walmart, you can send money from one Walmart to another Walmart. That’s right: You walk into your local Walmart, specify the amount you’d like to send and to which US state, and hand over your cash or debit card for payment. Within minutes, it’s available for pickup at any Walmart store within the state you’ve specified. You can also use Walmart’s app to pay your bills to over 3,000 merchants or to send money internationally through its Walmart-2-World service.
Who offers lower fees?
How much you’ll pay varies by how much you’re transferring, how you’re sending it and where you’re sending it to. Fees start at $5 but can soar to up to $45 when paying by credit or debit card for cash pickup in certain countries.
Walmart-2-Walmart offers a fee structure with two transparent pricing tiers:
- $4.50 for transfers of up to $50
- $9.50 for transfers of $51 to $900
Ultimately, who’s best depends on your circumstances. Given its clear pricing structure, you’ll definitely save with Walmart-2-Walmart. But you’re limited to in-person store-to-store transfers of $900 or less. With Western Union, you’ll pay more — though how much more depends on many factors, but you can send money online and worldwide.
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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.
We’ll look at the rates Western Union and World First offer compared to the mid-market rate.
Depending on the country you’re sending money to, a typical exchange rate at Western Union could be up to 6% above the mid-market rate. If you’re sending a large amount overseas, this means hundreds of dollars goes straight into Western Union’s pocket.
Let’s use the example of a transfer to euros (EUR):
- If the mid-market rate is 1 USD = 0.95 EUR
- Western Union’s exchange rate might be 1 USD = 0.88 EUR
With Walmart-2-Walmart, there’s no worries about exchange rates — because you can only send domestically.
Winner: Western Union
This one’s a default.
Delivery speed varies with 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.
No matter how you pay, your transfer is delivered from your Walmart to any Walmart in your recipient’s state in minutes.
While both Western Union and Walmart-2-Walmart offer instant delivery for certain situations, Walmart-2-Walmart will get your money where it needs to go faster than Western Union every time.
Western Union & Walmart-2-Walmart head to head
|Payment Methods||Minimum and maximum transfers||Delivery methods||Transfer speeds||Countries and currencies|
|Western Union||Bank account, credit or debit card, cash||$1 minimum; maximum varies by method and payment||Bank transfer, cash pickup, e-wallet||Varies from minutes to 5+ days||200+ countries|
||Cash or debit card||$1 minimum; $900 maximum||Walmart store pickup only||In minutes||US only|
Walmart-2-Walmart can save you time and money with transfers in minutes, but you’re limited to sending to Walmart store locations in the United States. Western Union will send your money to any of its more than 500,000 agent locations globally.
Ultimately, you’ll want to compare your options to find a service that’s right for your situation.