Western Union vs Ria

We compare the well-known Western Union with Ria, a growing international money transfer service that could save you money.

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Western Union is perhaps the most well-known international money transfer service, but newer companies like Ria offer competitive rates to save you money. We compare what the two look like next to each other in terms of delivery speed, fees and exchange rates.

The fees and rates used in this comparison are accurate as of 9 January 2019.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
AUD 2 1 - 2 days AUD 15.00 0.665 USD
655
Show details
AUD 1 Same day AUD 20.00 0.662 USD
649
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?

Western Union

Western Union's fees vary depending on how much you're transferring, how you're sending it and where you're sending it to. Most transfer fees start at $5, but they can skyrocket up to $45 or more if you're paying by credit or debit card or for cash pickup in certain countries.

While the fee is different for each currency, here's an example of what a $500 transfer to a cash pick-up location would look like:

  • To India: $9 ($15 if you pay by card)
  • To Mexico: $7 ($35 if you pay by card)

Ria

The fees with Ria also change from currency to currency. The cheapest way to send money is through a bank transfer, with credit cards racking up higher fees. Here is what the same $500 transfer at Ria would look like:

  • To India: $5 ($9 if you pay by card)
  • To Mexico: $4 ($18 if you pay by card)

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Winner: Ria

Although both have higher fees if you pay by card, Ria's fees are generally cheaper across the board.

Let's crunch the numbers: Sending $300 and $4,000 to New Zealand

Let's look at an example to put this into context better. We're going to go through what two different transfers look like with Ria and Western Union. In this scenario, we're going to pay with a credit card (which means higher fees than with a bank transfer), and we're going to send the money to a cash pick-up location.

Keep in mind that other currencies will have different fees and transfer times.

Sending $300 to New Zealand
Western Union Ria
Transfer fee $15 $18
Exchange rate AUD$1 = NZD$1.0244 AUD$1 = NZD$1.0352
Transfer speed Instant Instant
Total dollars received NZD$307.33 NZD$310.56
Receiver gets NZD$3.23 less NZD$3.23 more
Sending $4,000 to New Zealand
Western Union Ria
Transfer fee $30 $18
Exchange rate AUD$1 = NZD$1.0244 AUD$1 = NZD$1.0352
Transfer speed Instant Instant
Total dollars received NZD$4,097.77 NZD$4,140.80
Receiver gets NZD$43.03 less NZD$43.03 more

For both of these transfers, you end up with more money at the end with Ria. Ria's fee may be more for the smaller $300 transfer, but the better exchange rate makes up for this in the end.

Which offers better exchange rates?

Western Union

Depending on the country you're sending money to, a typical exchange rate at Western Union can be up to 6% above the mid-market rate. This means that if you're sending a large amount overseas, you're losing out on hundreds of dollars.

For example:

  • Mid-market rate: AUD$1 = SGD$0.97
  • Western Union's exchange rate: AUD$1 = SGD$0.935

This is a margin of 3.59%.

Ria

Ria also adds a margin to the exchange rate, ranging between 0.3% and 4%. The same example of sending money to Singapore looks like this:

  • Mid-market rate: AUD$1 = SGD$0.97
  • Ria's exchange rate: AUD$1 = SGD$0.944

This ends up being a margin of 2.71%.

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Winner: Ria

Ria tends to add a smaller margin to the mid-market rate than Western Union, making it a better choice for fairer exchange rates. This means that your recipient will end up getting more money with Ria's exchange rates than with Western Union's.

Which is faster?

Western Union

Western Union's delivery speeds vary, depending on your 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.

Ria

Ria's transfer speeds also depend on how you want to send the money. When you use your credit or debit card, the exchange typically takes 15 minutes or less. Cheaper transfers from your bank account can take up to four days.

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Winner: Tie

Both Ria and Western Union offer an instant transfer option as well as a slower, cheaper option.

General features

Payment methods Receiving options Minimum and maximum transfers Transfer speeds Currencies
Western Union Bank transfer, credit card, debit card, cash Bank account, cash pick-up location Minimum: $1

Maximum: $5,000

Same day 95+ currencies
Ria Bank transfer, credit card, debit card, cash Bank account, cash pick-up, door delivery Minimum: $2

Maximum: $4,999

1 - 2 days 95+ currencies

Western Union

To transfer money online with Western Union, visit its site, enter the amount you're transferring and to where, and then confirm how much you need to pay for the exchange. Once complete, Western Union converts and delivers your money to a bank account or for cash pickup at locations worldwide.

Ria

To transfer money online with Ria, go to its site, enter the amount you'd like to transfer and to which country, and choose your payment and payout methods. On the same page, you'll see the exchange rate and transfer fee for your particular exchange.

Bottom line

Western Union and Ria offer similar options, but you end up saving more money with Ria's lower fees and lower exchange rates.

Looking for more options?

Check out what fees and exchange rates some other money transfer services are offering with our calculator below.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
AUD 1 2 days AUD 9.00 0.664 USD
3,314
Transfer to over 99 countries via online banking, phone banking or through an ANZ bank branch. Go to site Show details
AUD 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.683 USD
3,414
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 3,000 1 day GBP 20.00 0.679 USD
3,384
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 0.683 USD
3,414
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 2,000 1 day AUD 0.00 0.683 USD
3,414
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 0.683 USD
3,403
$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 0.683 USD
3,414
BFX can help you send fee-free transfers to 30+ currencies. Go to site Show details
AUD 5 1 - 2 days EUR 3.00 0.679 USD
3,392
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 0.677 USD
3,383
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 0.68 USD
3,400
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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Important Information*
Logo for ANZ International Money Transfer
ANZ International Money Transfer

Transfer to over 99 countries via online banking, phone banking or through an ANZ bank branch.

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 Global Reach (formerly FC Exchange) International Money Transfers
Global Reach (formerly FC Exchange) International Money Transfers

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.

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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