Western Union vs Ria
Take a look at well-known Western Union and growing international money transfer service Ria side by side.
Western Union is a well-known, established money transfer service with an extensive network across the globe. Meanwhile, Ria is a relative newcomer to the market but offers 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.
Compare Western Union vs Ria
How they work
Western Union and Ria work in similar ways. They both offer diverse money transfer options including bank transfers and sending money for cash pickup. Western Union is the more established of the two, so can offer an extensive network and fast delivery speeds. But Ria is not far behind, with agent locations in over 165 countries.
The fees and rates used in this comparison are accurate as of 26 April 2022.
Which has lower fees?
Western Union's fees vary depending on how much you're transferring, how you're sending it and where you're sending it to. Agent location fees aren't typically posted online, but Western Union's online fees are different for nearly every country it sends to. You can use its "Price Estimator" tool on its website to check the exchange rate and fee for your specific transaction.
For new customers, transfers are fee-free. If you are already a customer, Ria charges a flat $2.89 fee for online transfers to any country, any amount. However, keep in mind that fees vary between online and agent locations.
With its flat transfer fee for any country, 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
|Exchange rate||AUD$1 = NZD$1.0651||AUD$1 = NZD$1.07|
|Total dollars received||NZD$319.53||NZD$321.03|
|Receiver gets||NZD$1.50 less||NZD$1.50 more|
Sending $4,000 to New Zealand
|Exchange rate||AUD$1 = NZD$1.0760||AUD$1 = NZD$1.08|
|Total dollars received||NZD$4,303.83||NZD$4,326.10|
|Receiver gets||NZD$22.27 less||NZD$22.27 more|
For both of these transfers, you end up with more money at the end with Ria. Ria's fee may be higher, but the better exchange rate makes up for this in the end.
Which offers better exchange rates?
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.
- Mid-market rate: AUD$1 = PHP37.56
- Western Union's exchange rate: AUD$1 = PHP37.4726
This is a margin of 0.23%.
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 = PHP37.56
- Ria's exchange rate: AUD$1 = PHP37.41
This is a margin of 0.39%.
It depends on which currency you are sending as to what exchange rate markup you can expect. In our example above, both providers are pretty evenly matched.
Which is faster?
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's transfer speeds also depend on how you want to send the money. When you use your credit or debit card, or pay by PayID, your money should arrive in real-time. Cheaper transfers from your bank account can take up to four days.
Both Ria and Western Union offer an instant transfer option as well as a slower, cheaper option.
|Payment methods||Receiving options||Minimum and maximum transfers||Transfer speeds||Currencies|
|Western Union||Minimum: $1|
|Within minutes||138 currencies|
|Within minutes||95 currencies|
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, mobile wallet or for cash pickup at locations worldwide.
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.
Is Ria better than Western Union?
Western Union and Ria are pretty evenly matched, but you typically end up saving money with Ria's flat transfer fee and lower exchange rates.
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