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Western Union vs. WorldRemit

We compare a tried-and-true company with a newer digital provider to help you learn who’s best for your next transfer overseas.

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At some point, you’ll have a need for fast and easy international money transfers. You’ve certainly heard of Western Union, which has been around for more than a century. But online companies like WorldRemit are establishing a name for themselves with many unique benefits that help you save money.

Western UnionWorldRemit Logos
FeesFees start at $5$3.99 (for most countries)
Exchange ratesUp to 6% above the mid-market rateLess than 1% above the mid-market rate
SpeedVaries from minutes to 5+ daysVaries from minutes to 3 days
Max Transfer AmountVaries by method and paymentVaries by country and method of payment
Read reviewRead review

Western Union and WorldRemit: How they work

Western Union and WorldRemit both offer ways to transfer your money online.

Western Union

To use Western Union, go to its site, enter how much you’re transferring and to where, and see how much you’ll pay for the exchange. (You also have the option of visiting an office, calling or using a mobile app to initiate a transfer.) Once complete, Western Union converts and delivers your money to a bank account or for cash pickup at locations worldwide.


Read review: Western Union

WorldRemit

With WorldRemit, you go to its site, enter how much money you’ll be transferring and then send your funds to WorldRemit. When creating your transfer, you provide a mobile number for both yourself and your recipient, as well as a copy of your personal ID. Once approved, WorldRemit converts your currency and sends it to your recipient, who collects it via bank transfer, cash pickup or Mobile Money.

Read review: WorldRemit

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Which offers lower fees?

Western Union

Fees vary depending on 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. When sending money to high-traffic countries such as Mexico or India, some agents offer fee-free transfer options.

WorldRemit

Transfer fees for WorldRemit can vary slightly depending on where you’re sending you’re money, but the fee for most countries is $3.99. The method you use to send money will depend on the country to which you’re sending.

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Winner: WorldRemit

Although you’re limited somewhat on how you can send and receive money using WorldRemit, it has a clear leg up on Western Union when it comes to transfer fees.

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Compare other transfer services

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 1,000 1 day USD 0.00 0.84 EUR 4,199 No-maximum limit transfers with competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies. Go to site Show details
GBP 1,000 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 0.84 EUR 4,199 Exclusive: Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally $5,000).
For larger transfers, get no transaction fees and no maximum send limits.
Go to site Show details
USD 1 Same day USD 0.00 0.845 EUR 4,223 Offering no maximum and no minimum limit transfers with $0 fees. Go to site Show details
USD 2,000 1 day USD 0.00 0.84 EUR 4,199 $0 transfer fees with rates at never more than a 2% markup. Go to site Show details
USD 0 1 - 2 days USD 1.99 0.831 EUR 4,155 Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Quick, affordable transfers around the world with both express and economy options.
Go to site Show details
USD 1 1 - 2 days USD 40.00 0.848 EUR
4,208
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 0.845 EUR 4,221 Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Send to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up. Go to site Show details
USD 50 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 0.843 EUR 4,216 InstaReM offers quick and simple international money transfers with the ability to earn loyalty points. Go to site Show details

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.

We’ll look at the rates that Western Union and WorldRemit offer compared to the mid-market rate.

Western Union

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 that goes straight into Western Union’s pocket.

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

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 USD = 0.96 EUR
  • Western Union’s exchange rate might be 1 USD = 0.88 EUR

WorldRemit

WorldRemit takes a smaller margin than Western Union — sometimes less than 1% above the mid-market rate.

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

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

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Winner: WorldRemit

Competitive exchange rates make WorldRemit the clear winner. Send $500 to France with WorldRemit instead of Western Union would give your recipient nearly 20 more euros to play with.

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Which is faster?

Western Union

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.

WorldRemit

Sending money via bank transfer typically takes one to three business days to most banks, although a few banks offer instant transfers. Sending cash via Mobile Money or airtime top-up are available immediately.

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Winner: WorldRemit

While transfer speeds can vary for both Western Union and WorldRemit depending on transfer method and your recipient’s country, WorldRemit edges out Western Union in bank-to-bank transfer speeds and costs.

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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
WorldRemitBank account,credit or debit card$1 minimum; maximum varies by country and method of paymentBank transfer,cash pickup,Mobile Money,airtime top-upVaries from minutes to 3 days100+ countries
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Case study:$1,000 to France

Say you want to send $1,000 to you godchild in France. Here’s what an online bank-to-bank transfer would like with Western Union and WorldRemit.

Western UnionWorldRemit
Transfer fee$5$3.99
Exchange rate1 USD = 0.88 EUR1 USD = 0.92 EUR
Transfer speed6 days3 days
Total received888 EUR920 EUR

MoneyGram takes out Travelex in this example. The exchange rate and the fee are better, getting Erin’s mom $60 pesos more and costing Erin $5 less. However, with Travelex’s International Payments Price Promise, you may be able to swing a lower rate and fee if you notify the company of MoneyGram’s lower offer.

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Bottom line

Western Union offers more flexibility in terms of transfer methods, but WorldRemit comes out on top when comparing nearly every other aspect of your money transfer. If low fees, competitive exchange rates and quick transfers are your top priorities, WorldRemit is the clear choice.

Of course, it’s can be help to compare your options to find the service that best fits your individual needs.

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