We compare Western Union and bank transfers to see which is cheaper and easier for sending money overseas.
Western Union is one of the oldest names in the money transfer business and everyone has a bank account. But which one do you use when you want to send someone money internationally? The answer: it depends. Both bank transfers or Western Union transfers let you send money next door or over the other side of the world. Each method has pros and cons and has different advantages. We take a look at these two options in more detail in this guide.
Use the table below to enter your transfer amount and destination to see options that are best suited for you.
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Sending money within Australia
It’s an obvious choice if you want to send money to another bank account in Australia. Bank to bank transfers within Australia are free. Western Union charge a fee for sending money, but there are more collection options if you want to send cash. Both services can make the funds available to the recipient almost immediately if the sender initiates the transfer in person.
Sending money overseas
Sending money overseas is a little less straightforward. International bank transfers are expensive. Financial institutions charge a flat fee for sending money to an international account. Western Union also charge a flat fee, but this fee depends on how you plan on sending the money. For example, sending money from a debit or credit account is going to cost you a comparable amount to an international bank transfer. Initiating a Western Union international transfer from a bank account is cheaper than an international bank transfer; however, it may take a few extra days before the funds are made available. Sending money overseas with Western Union so the money can be collected in minutes can be expensive too. But there are times when it’s more important for the funds to be ready on the same day than to save on fees. In this Western Union vs. bank transfer analysis, we put the two money transfer options side by side.
Western Union vs bank transfer exchange rates
|AUD||Western Union||Bank Transfer|
|USD||1 AUD = 0.7555 USD||1 AUD = 0.7417 USD|
|EUR||1 AUD = 0.6342 EUR||1 AUD = 0.6434 EUR|
|JPY||1 AUD = 84.5022 JPY||1 AUD = 82.9200 JPY|
|GBP||1 AUD = 0.5647 GBP||1 AUD = 0.5639 GBP|
|CHF||1 AUD = 0.7147 CHF||1 AUD = 0.7127 CHF|
|CAD||1 AUD = 0.9336 CAD||1 AUD = 0.9370 CAD|
|HKD||1 AUD = 5.9845 HKD||1 AUD = 5.7726 HKD|
|BRL||1 AUD = 2.3811 BRL||N/A|
|CNY||1 AUD = 5.2262 CNY||1 AUD = 5.0822 CNY|
|CLP||1 AUD = 497.9618 CLP||N/A|
- All rates correct as of 17 July 2017. The bank rates are referencing exchange rates offered by The Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and should not be reflective of all banks' exchange rates. Always source a quote for current rates and fees.
As you can see, Banks and Western Union offer similar rates for a range of currencies. However, looking at the above table, Western Union offers more competitive rates on whole. While the difference is some of the rates may seem tiny, if you're sending a large sum of money, the cost can certainly add up.
Western Union make a small margin on the exchange rate offered; however, the rates are still slightly better than what you may be able to get from the bank. Western Union also offer a different rate depending on the method of collection. The bank transfer and cash collection rates are different.
Western Union vs Bank Transfer – which is cheaper?
The answer: it depends where you’re sending the money and how you plan on paying. Bank to bank transfers to accounts in Australia are free. There’s a fee for International bank transfers. The fee for sending money via a branch is different for the fee for sending money overseas via internet banking and the receiving bank may charge fees as well. Western Union is upfront about international transfer fees. Western Union charge a service fee for each transfer as well as applying a small margin to the foreign exchange rate. Some Western Union transfers can be expensive. Transfer fees depend on how the money is sent. The ways money can be sent to the recipient vary depending where the money is going. For example, a international transfer to Colombia allows payment by credit or debit card and cash pickup only. This method of international payment is more expensive than sending the funds from a bank account. Using Western Union transfer to send money to a bank account in France and paying with a debit or credit card is cheaper than a bank transfer.
Western Union vs bank transfer fees
Fees vary depending on the recipient's country, how the money is send and collected.
|Provider||Western Union Transfer Fees||Bank Transfer Fee (Commonwealth Bank)|
|In person||Cash pickup and paid by credit or debit card: $20.00 AUD||$67.00*|
- Sending USD to US
- * This figure includes the correspondence fee. The charge from intermediaries and receiving banks.
- ** Additional fees and charges apply. The correspondence fee can not be paid by the sender when international money transfers are initiated online.
What’s the difference between Western Union and bank transfer?
The main differences between Western Union and bank transfers are as follows: The price of the transfer, the length of time before the recipient can collect the money, the method of collection, available destinations and transfer limits. Western Union can send money to more countries and offers more collection options. Western Union can also make funds available within minutes after the transaction has been payed for and processed. Registration is required to send money too, it’s free to become a member.Back to top
Western Union and bank transfer pick up options
Bank transfers are simple. The money must be sent to a personal or business account either in the same country or internationally. Once the funds clear in the recipient’s account, the funds can be withdrawn or transferred to another account of their choosing. Western Union gives more options for receiving money. Funds can be made available as a cash pickup from a Western Union agent, deposited to a mobile wallet or the recipient's bank account.
|Western Union pickup option||Availability|
|Bank account||Money can be made available within 1 - 2 business days.|
|Cash||Money is available within minutes.|
|Mobile Wallet||Money is available within minutes.|