Western Union vs WorldRemit
We compare a tried-and-true company with a newer digital provider to help you learn who's best for your next transfer overseas.
Western Union and WorldRemit are both reputable money transfer providers and the best option will depend on your needs. We've compared them on fees, exchange rates and transfer speeds to help make your decision a bit easier.
Western Union and WorldRemit: How they work
Western Union and WorldRemit both offer flexible ways to transfer your money online.
To use Western Union, go to its site, enter how much you're transferring and to where, and see how much you'll pay for the exchange. You also have the option of visiting an office, calling or using a mobile app to initiate a transfer. Once complete, Western Union converts and delivers your money to a bank account or makes it available for cash pickup at locations worldwide.
With WorldRemit, you go to its site, enter how much money you'll be transferring and then send your funds to WorldRemit. When setting up your transfer, you provide a mobile number for both yourself and your recipient, as well as a copy of your personal ID. Once approved, WorldRemit converts your currency and sends it to your recipient, who collects it via bank transfer, cash pickup or Mobile Money.
Which has lower fees?
Western Union's remittance fees depend on how much money you're sending, where you're sending it and the payment method. It uses a tiered fee structure, so transfer fees increase at round numbers as the amount you send increases. Despite this, in recent years Western Union has become more competitive and offers discounts to new customers.
When sending money from Australia via bank transfer, fees start from $0. Western Union offers a "Price Estimator" tool on its website which you can use to check the exchange rate and transfer fee before proceeding.
Similar to Western Union, WorldRemit's transfer fees will vary depending on where you're sending money. WorldRemit's bank transfer fees start from $0.99 and charge a fixed-rate transfer fee. Whether you're sending $1,000 or $10,000 the transfer fee will be the same.
In many cases, WorldRemit's fees will be lower than Western Union's, especially because its fees don't rise as you send more money.
Let's crunch the numbers: Sending $1,000 and $10,000 from Australia to the US
Let's see how Western Union and WorldRemit compare when sending two different amounts from Australia to the United States.
Sending $1,000 to the United States
|Exchange rate||1 AUD = 0.666 USD||1 AUD = 0.665 USD|
|Total US dollars received||$666.30||$665.60|
|Receiver gets||$0.70 more||$0.70 less|
Sending $10,000 to the United States
|Exchange rate||1 AUD = 0.6848 USD||1 AUD = 0.714 USD|
|Total US dollars received||$6662.95||$6,655.98|
|Receiver gets||$6.97 more||$6.97 less|
Based on transfer fees and exchange rates taken from their websites on July 12th 2023, surprisingly Western Union is slightly cheaper than World Remit when sending money to USA via bank transfer.
Which offers better exchange rates?
Western Union's exchange rate markup typically ranges between 1.5% to 5%. When we checked rates for converting $2,000 AUD to USD, they added a markup of 1.76% to the exchange rate. Western Union offer strong rates for USD but added a markup 4.55% to AUD/GBP and 3.88% to AUD/Euro.
WorldRemit's exchange rates are around 1% to 2% above the mid-market rates for major currency pairs. For AUD/USD, WorldRemit adds a markup of 1.27%. Currently, WorldRemit doesn't support AUD/Euro.
WorldRemit wins, coming out with more favourable exchange rates than Western Union will typically offer customers.
Which is faster?
The speed of your transfer will depend on the delivery method. Some transfers might take a day or two, while the fastest transfers can arrive at their destination in just minutes, although sometimes these will cost more.
The slowest are typically bank transfers, which can take up to five business days.
WorldRemit's transfer speeds also depend on your transfer method. Cash pick-ups, mobile money and airtime top-ups (when you top up someone's mobile phone airtime) can arrive instantly.
Bank transfers and cash home delivery are slower though. Home deliveries can take up to seven days depending on the location, while bank transfers can take several days depending on where the money is going and what day of the week it is.
Both Western Union and WorldRemit offer similar transfer speeds and options.
In both cases, the faster choices can arrive in a few minutes, while the slower ones can take up to a week.
|Payment methods||Receiving options||Minimum and maximum transfers||Transfer speeds||Currencies|
|Western Union||Minimum: $1|
|Within minutes||138 currencies|
|Within minutes||61 currencies|
Western Union locations can be found all over the world, making it relatively easy to drop in and make a cash transfer. You can also send funds over the phone or at Western Union online.
You can track your remittance and receive confirmation that it has arrived at the other end via email or SMS.
You'll need to add a recipient phone number when making WorldRemit transfers. This is to ensure they're automatically updated on the progress of their transfer.
Both senders and recipients will be notified when a transfer is sent and again when it's received.
Western Union offers more flexibility in terms of transfer methods and coverage, but WorldRemit typically has lower transfer fees and better exchange rates for remittance countries. One big downside for WorldRemit is they don't currently support AUD to Euro transfers.
If low fees, competitive exchange rates and quick transfers are your main priorities, WorldRemit is the better choice. It's also worth noting, Western Union offers discounts for new customers so they could be cheaper if you're making one-off transfers.
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