Western Union at a glance
- Maximum transfer: $50,000
- Minimum transfer: $1
- Transfer speed: In minutes if using a debit or credit card for cash pickup
- Transaction fee: Typically around 4-5% of the transfer
Money transfer services offer some of the fastest ways to send money to someone in cash or for direct deposit in an emergency - but which provider you should use depends on how much you're sending and how quickly you need it to arrive.
There may be occasions where you need to get money to friends or family in an emergency. In most cases, the fastest way to send money internationally is using an online money transfer company.
Some money transfer services allow you to send funds almost instantly, with the recipient able to collect in cash or via a bank deposit. Apart from the speed, another advantage of using online transfer services is that you can easily compare fees and exchange rates and choose the most favourable for your transaction. To learn more about how exchange rates are calculated, take a look at exchange rates explained.
Western Union has 500,000 agent locations in 200 countries, making it the largest provider of international money transfers in the world. As with MoneyGram, your fastest option is to pay by debit or credit card for cash pickup.
You'll receive a unique Money Transfer Control Number with your confirmation. You can track your transfer online with this number. If you have any problem, contact customer service 24/7 at 800-325-6000 or through the online form on Western Union's site.
WorldRemit is entirely online, which means you can access it from the convenience of your computer or via its app. Your fastest option would be to use mobile money (if available) or cash pickup at a WorldRemit agent location. If you need to find a cash pickup location for WorldRemit you can check out our locations guide.
You'll need to sign up for a free account with WorldRemit. You'll also need to provide your personal information, the transaction details and your payment information.
WorldRemit will confirm the transaction with both you and your recipient by email or text and notify you when the funds are received or picked up. If you have any problems, you can contact customer service 24/7 at 888-772-7771 or online through live chat.
MoneyGram is the second-largest provider of international money transfers in the world. It has an extensive network of 350,000 agent locations in more than 200 countries. Your fastest option is to pay with a credit or debit card (or with cash at an agent location) and choose the cash pickup option. In some countries, you could even use the mobile wallet option.
Once the money transfer is complete, the receiver can visit their nearest MoneyGram location to collect it. Remind them to bring along their reference number (which is included in the confirmation emails for online transfer) and ID for pickup. If you have a problem, contact customer service through the site or toll-free at 800-666-3947.
There are several factors that can affect how fast your intended recipient receives their transfer, and they are worth keeping in mind if you need to send money in an emergency.
Fees for emergency transfers will vary among banks and money transfer services. Before you make your transfer, try to compare the following:
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