Remitly vs Western Union

We compare Remitly and Western Union to see which money transfer service comes out on top.

Updated

Fact checked

Western Union is one of the most well-known international transfer services in the world, but let's see how it compares to Remitly, an up-and-coming provider, to see which transfer service can take your dollar further.

The fees and rates used in this comparison are accurate as of 11 March 2019.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
AUD 0 Same day AUD 2.99 0.685 USD
3,425
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
AUD 1 Same day AUD 30.00 0.669 USD
3,327
Send money online to friends and family around the world with Western Union. Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

The "Rate" and "Amount Received" displayed are indicative rates that have been supplied by each brand or gathered by Finder.

Exchange rates are volatile and change often. As a result, the exchange rate listed on Finder may vary to the actual exchange rate quoted for the brand. Please confirm the actual exchange rate and mention "Finder" before you commit to a brand.

Which has lower fees?

Remitly

Remitly's fees are as low as $0 but go up as high as $99.99, depending on the currency, how much you're transferring and the speed of the transfer. Higher fees are applied on "express" transfers.

If you're sending through the slower option, the fees are generally between $2 and $4 and can even be free in some cases.

Western Union

Western Union's fees for an online money transfer vary greatly currency to currency and can either be a flat fee or calculated based on a percentage, so it's vital to check the currency you're exchanging using the Western Union price estimator.

Trophy icon
Winner: Remitly

Although there is a lot of variety with both, Remitly often has lower flat fees for slower transfers than Western Union.

Let's crunch the numbers: Sending $100 and $1,000 to the Philippines

To see how these two services stack up, let's compare how Western Union and Remitly fare for two different transfer amounts to the Philippines. Keep in mind, rates vary for other countries.

In this example, we'll be using the quickest transfer possible. This means Remitly's "express" option and cash pick-up with Western Union.

Sending $100 to the Philippines
RemitlyWestern Union
Transfer fee$3.99$5
Exchange rate1 AUD = 36.65 PHP1 AUD = 36.28 PHP
Transfer speedMinutesMinutes
Total pesos receivedPHP₱3,518.77PHP₱3,446.6
Receiver getsPHP₱72.17 morePHP₱72.17 less
Sending $1,000 to the Philippines
RemitlyWestern Union
Transfer fee$3.99$7
Exchange rate1 AUD = 36.65 PHP1 AUD = 36.8 PHP
Transfer speedMinutesMinutes
Total pesos receivedPHP₱36,503.77PHP₱36,542.40
Receiver getsPHP₱38.63 morePHP₱38.63 less

In both cases, Remitly ends up giving your receiver a few extra pesos in their pocket. The exchange rates are quite close, but it's Remitly's lower fees that win out in the end.

Which offers better exchange rates?

Remitly

Remitly will normally add a margin to the exchange rates which varies for each currency. The margin normally sits between 0.4% and 2.5%.

For example, if you want to send money to Brazil:

  • Mid-market rate: 1 AUD = 2.717 BRL
  • Remitly's exchange rate: 1 AUD = 2.67 BRL

Making it a margin of 1.7%.

Remitly often runs promotions which offer an exchange rate better than the mid-market rate for your first transfer on certain currencies.

Western Union

Western Union also adds a margin, but it tends to be quite a bit higher, ranging from 1% to 6%.

For example, if you want to send money to Brazil:

  • Mid-market rate: 1 AUD = 2.717 BRL
  • Western Union's exchange rate: 1 AUD = 2.577 BRL

Making it a margin of 5.1%.

Trophy icon
Winner: Remitly

Remitly will often offer much better exchange rates than Western Union with a smaller margin added on.

Which is faster?

Remitly

Remitly offers an "express" option which will get your money to the destination near instantly, but it does come with a higher fee. If you opt for the cheaper "economy" option, you're looking at a transfer time of two to five business days.

Western Union

Some Western Union transfers arrive the same day, while some take up to five business days. It also depends on the transfer and receiving method but in general, bank account to bank account transfers will take the longest and be the cheapest.

Trophy icon
Winner: Tie

Both Remitly and Western Union can transfer your money quickly, but they also take up to five business days for some transfers.

General features

Payment methodsReceiving optionsMaximum and minimum transfersTransfer speedsCurrencies
RemitlyBank transfer, debit card, credit cardBank account, cash pick-upMinimum: $0

Maximum: $20,000

Same day30+ currencies
Western UnionBank transfer, cash transfer, POLi, debit card, credit cardBank account, cash pick-up, mobile walletMinimum: $1

Maximum: $50,000

Same day95+ currencies

Remitly

Once you have an account with Remitly, you log in on either the website or through the app, then enter the amount, currency, recipient's information and your payment information. After that, Remitly will convert and transfer.

Western Union

After registration, open your profile and choose the "send money" option. After you've entered your receiver's details, which includes bank name and code as well as their bank account number if a bank transfer, you choose your payment method. Once you've paid, Western Union will transfer the funds. You also have the option to send money in-store at an agent location.

Bottom line

Remitly offers both lower fees and better exchange rates, with the option to send money just as fast as Western Union. However, it doesn't offer as many currencies as Western Union and this could be the deciding factor.

It's a good idea to compare a range of international money transfer services before committing to any provider to make sure you're getting the best deal possible.

Looking for more options?

Use our calculator below to compare additional providers and see if you can get a better rate elsewhere.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.69 USD
3,451
TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. Conditions apply.
Send money overseas in 30+ currencies with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Go to site Show details
AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.69 USD
3,451
SendFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. T&Cs apply.
Fee-free transfers in 30+ currencies to over 200 countries.
Go to site Show details
AUD 250 1 - 2 days AUD 15.00 0.69 USD
3,441
$0 transfer fees for Finder customers.
No-maximum limit transfers with competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies. No transfer fee over AUD$10,000.
Go to site Show details
AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.69 USD
3,451
Better exchange rates for Finder customers.
Send 60+ currencies at competitive rates and no fees. If you find a better eligible quote, WorldFirst will beat it.
Go to site Show details
AUD 1 1 day AUD 26.00 0.693 USD
3,447
Pay no fees on your first two transfers, up to $3,000.
SingX offers the real exchange rate every time you make a transfer and can help you send money across the world.
Go to site Show details
AUD 0 Same day AUD 2.99 0.685 USD
3,425
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
AUD 1 1 day AUD 0.00 0.689 USD
3,447
Get fast transfers with no fees and a range of foreign currency tools. Go to site Show details
AUD 5 1 - 2 days EUR 3.00 0.686 USD
3,429
Special offer: Zero fees on your first 10 transfers.
Get bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Go to site Show details
AUD 1 Same day AUD 3.99 0.685 USD
3,420
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.
An online money transfer service with cash pick-up, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available.
Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers


The "Rate" and "Amount Received" displayed are indicative rates that have been supplied by each brand or gathered by Finder.

Exchange rates are volatile and change often. As a result, the exchange rate listed on Finder may vary to the actual exchange rate quoted for the brand. Please confirm the actual exchange rate and mention "Finder" before you commit to a brand.

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Important Information*
Logo for TorFX International Money Transfers
TorFX International Money Transfers

TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. Conditions apply.
Send money overseas in 30+ currencies with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.

Logo for SendFX International Money Transfers
SendFX International Money Transfers

SendFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. T&Cs apply.
Fee-free transfers in 30+ currencies to over 200 countries.

Logo for OFX (Ozforex) International Money Transfers
OFX (Ozforex) International Money Transfers

$0 transfer fees for Finder customers.
No-maximum limit transfers with competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies. No transfer fee over AUD$10,000.

Logo for WorldFirst International Money Transfers
WorldFirst International Money Transfers

Better exchange rates for Finder customers.
Send 60+ currencies at competitive rates and no fees. If you find a better eligible quote, WorldFirst will beat it.

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