Western Union vs InstaReM

Compare one of the world's oldest and one of the world's newest money transfer services side by side.

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Western Union is the world's oldest money transfer service, with its telegram wires turning into a money transfer network over the decades. But InstaReM was built in a digital age, founded in 2014 to move money online.

See what a difference this makes to fees, exchange rates and transfer speeds by comparing Western Union and InstaReM side by side.

The fees and rates used in this comparison are accurate as of 18 March 2019.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
AUD 200 1 - 2 days AUD 50.00 0.675 USD
6,715
Exclusive: Finder customers receive $15 off their first transaction. T&Cs apply.
Quick and simple international money transfers with zero-margin exchange rates. There's a flat 0.5% transfer fee for most transfers. Earn loyalty points on sign up, referral and every transaction.
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.

Which has lower fees?

Western Union

Western Union fees start at $4, but can run up to over $10 for standard transfers. In certain situations, such as when paying for a large transfer to certain destinations with a credit card, the fees could even exceed $100.

InstaReM

InstaReM simply charges 0.5% on international money transfers. Smaller transfers have smaller fees, while the amount paid increases considerably for larger transfers.

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Winner: InstaReM

InstaReM's 0.5% fee will remain lower than Western Union's fees across almost all transfers.

Let's crunch the numbers: Sending $500 and $5,000 to Indonesia

Here's how much it may cost to send $500 and $5,000 to Indonesia with Western Union and InstaReM. The Western Union fees and rates assume you're paying slightly more to send for a cash pick-up within minutes, rather than a slower transfer which can take up to two business days.

Sending $500 to Indonesia
Western Union InstaReM
Transfer fee $9 $2.50
Exchange rate 1 AUD = 9,765 IDR 1 AUD = 10,130 IDR
Transfer speed Within minutes 1-2 business days
Total rupiah received IDR4,794,615 IDR5,039,675
Receiver gets IDR245,060 less IDR245,060 more
Sending $5,000 to Indonesia
Western Union InstaReM
Transfer fee $27 $25
Exchange rate 1 AUD = 9,765 IDR 1 AUD = 10,130 IDR
Transfer speed Within minutes 1-2 business days
Total rupiah received IDR48,561,345 IDR50,396,750
Receiver gets IDR1,835,405 less IDR1,835,405 more

Across both transfer sizes, InstaReM has lower fees and far better rates. On a transfer of $500, you'd end up getting almost IDR250,000 more with InstaReM, equivalent to around $25. On a $5,000 transfer, this grows to around a $180 equivalent difference.

InstaReM remains much more cost-effective, even if you choose to pay less for a slower Western Union transfer instead.

Which offers better exchange rates?

Western Union

Western Union's exchange rate margins vary widely depending on the currency, but can range from about 1% to over 10% in some situations.

Here's an example of AUD to GBP:

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 AUD = 0.535 GBP
  • Western Union's exchange rate might be 1 AUD = 0.5072 GBP

This ends up being a margin of 5.2%.

InstaReM

InstaReM carries out transfers at mid-market rates with no margins on any transfers.

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 AUD = 0.535 GBP
  • InstaReM's exchange rate is also 1 AUD = 0.535 GBP

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Winner: InstaReM

InstaReM offers transfers at mid-market rates, while Western Union's margins are high even by the standards of most other money transfer services.

Which is faster?

Western Union

Western Union can offer transfers within minutes when you pay a little bit extra for a cash pick-up on the recipient's end. Otherwise, it usually takes 1-2 business days for a bank transfer.

InstaReM

InstaReM aims to consistently offer 1-2 day speeds for its transfers.

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Winner: Western Union

Cheaper transfers are equally fast with both Western Union and InstaReM, but Western Union's express transfer options allow your money to arrive within minutes.

General features

Payment methods Receiving options Minimum and maximum transfers Transfer speeds Currencies
Western Union Cash payment, credit card, debit card, bank transfer Cash pick-up, bank transfer, mobile wallet Minimum: $1

Maximum: $5,000

Same day 95+ currencies
InstaReM Bank transfer Bank transfer Minimum: $200

Maximum: No limit

1 - 2 days 15+ currencies

Western Union

To send money online with Western Union, sign up for an account and then follow the steps to send your money. You can skip getting an account by visiting one of the many Western Union branches all over the world or paying over the phone.

InstaReM

You can only send money online with InstaReM, which requires creating an account. Once you create an account you can enter the recipient's details and then send your money by making a bank transfer.

Bottom line

Western Union can get your money to its destination faster, albeit at extra cost. It also has many more currencies and countries available, and InstaRem might simply not be available in your area.

But if it is available, InstaReM offers exceptionally good value for money.

Looking for more options?

Use the calculator below to find providers in your area, and see how much it could cost to use each. Enter the details of your transfer to get started.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
AUD 3,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.673 USD
6,726
Global Reach will match any competitor's exchange rates. Conditions apply.
No transfer fee when transferring more than £10,000 or equivalent. Send money in over 130 currencies. No maximum transfer amount.
Go to site Show details
AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.672 USD
6,724
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 250 1 day AUD 0.00 0.672 USD
6,723
Sign up through Finder and get a $50 Myer gift card when you send $10,000 or more. T&Cs apply.
SendFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. Fee-free transfers in 30+ currencies to over 200 countries.
Go to site Show details
AUD 250 1 - 2 days AUD 0.00 0.672 USD
6,723
$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 200 1 day AUD 0.00 0.672 USD
6,719
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 200 1 - 2 days AUD 50.00 0.675 USD
6,715
Exclusive: Finder customers receive $15 off their first transaction. T&Cs apply.
Quick and simple international money transfers with zero-margin exchange rates. There's a flat 0.5% transfer fee for most transfers. Earn loyalty points on sign up, referral and every transaction.
Go to site Show details
AUD 1 1 day AUD 0.00 0.669 USD
6,686
With global payments provider XE, enjoy fast and secure transfers and a range of foreign currency tools and calculators while benefiting from $0 transfer fees. Go to site Show details
AUD 5 1 - 2 days EUR 3.00 0.669 USD
6,684
Special offer: Pay zero fees on your first 5 transfers.
Get bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Go to site Show details
AUD 1 Within an hour AUD 3.99 0.667 USD
6,669
An online money transfer service with cash pickup, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available. Go to site Show details
AUD 200 1 day AUD 0.00 0.67 USD
6,699
Low minimum transfer amount of just AU$200, with no set-up fees or transfer fees. 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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Global Reach will match any competitor's exchange rates. Conditions apply.
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WorldFirst International Money Transfers

Better exchange rates for Finder customers.
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Sign up through Finder and get a $50 Myer gift card when you send $10,000 or more. T&Cs apply.
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