How To Use Western Union In 6 Steps
If you need to send money abroad, you have a number of different options.
Using a bank may mean a steep fee, and theres a high chance your transfer will be processed using the SWIFT network, which can mean extra charges, too. Alternatively, choose an alternative provider, such as PayPal, Western Union or Wise.
If youre thinking of making an international transfer with Western Union, heres all you need to know.
|Table of Contents|
What Are The Best Reasons To Use Western Union
Here we will provide a list of the best reasons for business or personal clients to use Western Union for their next money transfer:
- Payment management- The WU EDGE platform allows you to import vendor invoices from your accounting system to the platform for payment. This solution helps in managing international payments
- Risk management- The team of experts at Western Union can help you formulate a risk management plan that suits your business
- Receive business payments from local and international clients in your local currency
- Pay international employees on time through a streamlined payroll service
- Pay bills using the bill payment service
- Pay mortgages and other loans
How Can I Avoid Western Union Fees
If you pay online by bank transfer or by card, youll usually avoid paying Western Unions transfer fee. By paying online youll usually get a better exchange rate too. If your recipient is happy to receive the funds direct to their account, rather than picking up cash, that can also help you to access the best exchange rates Western Union offers.
Western Union also now accepts payent through Klarna. Looking at Western Unions own calculator, we found that the rates and fees when paying with Klarna were most closely aligned with the rates and fees for paying by bank transfer.
Don’t Miss: Parkside Credit Union Missoula Montana
How Long Does A Western Union Money Transfer Take
You can send your transfer a few different ways, depending on the amount of fees you want to pay and how quickly you need it to arrive.
Fastest option as little as 10 minutes
Pay for your transfer with a credit or debit card and have it sent for cash pickup. When using a credit or debit card, youll typically pay a higher fee, but your money can arrive in as little as 10 minutes. However, your credit card may charge a cash advance fee, further increasing the cost of your total transfer.
Cheapest option up to 5 business days
Using a bank account to pay for your transfer is typically the cheapest way to send money, but is also almost always the slowest. Depending on verification needs, you may have to wait longer while Western Union confirms you own the registered bank account.
How To Send Money Through Western Union: Step By Step
Making an international transfer with Western Union is fairly straightforward. You can go to a local location to process the transaction if you need some help and want to deal with someone face to face².
The costs and fees vary, depending on both how you pay for the transfer and how you want it to be received.
Don’t Miss: State Farm Union City Tn
Is Western Union Safe To Use
Western Union uses policies and procedures like photo identification and tracking number verification to help make sure your money is sent to the right person. It also educates its agents and customers on how to protect themselves from fraud and scams.
Typical scams through Western Union include:
- Payment requests. Someone online offers to sell you something and asks that you pay through Western Union. They pick up the cash that you sent to a Western Union agent location, and you never hear from them again.
- Overpayment scam. You receive a check that appears to be valid for a new job, a service or a product you are offering. The check amount is more than you earned, so the sender requests you return the extra amount by money transfer. After sending the money transfer, youll learn that the check bounced, and there is no way to reverse the money transfer.
- Tax scam. You are contacted by someone claiming to be from a government agency, stating that you owe taxes and they must be paid immediately. They will claim the fastest way to send money and avoid penalties is through a money transfer.
To combat these types of scams, Western Union provides clear warnings on their website before a user sends a money transfer. This popup warning requires users to choose Accept before sending their transfers.
Can I trust Western Union?
How Are Western Unions Exchange Rates
Western Union makes money by adding a margin to the exchange rate in addition to any fees charged. It applies different exchange rates to different transfer types.
It also uses stronger or weaker exchange rates based on the currency you are transferring. Use Western Unions price estimator tool to see what exchange rate you would be offered on your transfer.
Its best to compare the displayed rate on Western Union with the current mid-market rate to work out the size of the margin charged. Then, use the interbank rate as a benchmark for comparing the rates of other money transfer providers.
Don’t Miss: Houston Police Federal Credit Union
Be Wary Of Fraudsters And Scams
Before we begin, its important to know that there are many scams which ask people to send money via Western Union. Make sure youre confident that youre sending money to the right person, and for a genuine reason.
For example, if a third party contacts you to say that a friend or family member has had an emergency and needs cash quickly, you should always verify the details directly with the person involved.
Similarly, Western Union isnt intended for online shopping like a service such as PayPal, and so it doesnt have the same levels of buyer or seller protection as a service specialized in this area.
This means its not usually a good choice for online shopping or buying products through a service like Craigslist.
How Long Will It Take To Receive Money Using Western Union
Transfers processed through Western Union can take anywhere from minutes to a couple of days depending on the following factors.
- Pay-out method: Customers opting for the cash pickup or mobile wallet pay-out option, will typically see funds arrive within minutes, albeit for a fee. On the other hand, bank deposits may take up to 2 days to be delivered due to the corresponding banks involved in processing the payment.
- Payment method: Paying for your transfer using a debit or credit card will result in faster delivery times than payment via bank transfer
- Destination: The country you send money to will determine the transfer turnaround the more remote the country and currency pairing, the longer a transfer may take
Read Also: Hyatt San Francisco Union Square
Western Union Fees For Sending Money In Person
With 500,000 agents around the world, the changes are that theres one somewhere near you if you want to arrange your payment in person. Visiting a Western Union office means you can deal face to face with a customer service agent and pay in cash. However, you may find that the overall costs of your payment are higher when using this service.
Youll see from the example above that sending your payment in cash comes with a fixed fee – in our example, this is USD9. However, the exchange rate applied to this transfer is the lowest of the three on offer. This means your recipient gets less in the end, no matter whether your payment is collected in cash or sent to their bank account.
How Much Does Western Union Charge
Lets get started with a look at Western Union fees.
The cost of your payment will depend on a number of factors, including where youre sending money to, how you pay for the transfer, and how you want your recipient to get the money.
Its worth knowing that Western union fees for sending money in person can vary significantly compared with Western Union fees to send money by wire transfer. Typically, Western Union international fees also go up if you want the payment to be received in cash rather than direct to a bank account – although cash collection is normally a quicker way to get your payment to its destination.
The key fees youll pay are the transfer fee and any costs wrapped up in the exchange rate applied. However, there are also a couple of other potential charges to know about, including admin costs if your payment is not collected, and third party charges if your transfer is made by wire.
Recommended Reading: Security Service Federal Credit Union Address
How Long Does An International Transfer With Western Union Take
Send your transfer a few different ways, which will determine how quickly your transfer is sent and how much it will cost.
If you pay for your transfer with a credit or debit card and have it sent for cash pickup youll typically pay a higher fee but your money can arrive in as little as 10 minutes. However, your credit card may charge a cash advance fee, further increasing the cost of your total transfer.
The cheaper, but slower option, would be to make a bank transfer. This can take up to five business days. Depending on verification needs, you may have to wait longer while Western Union confirms you own the registered bank account.
Transfers typically take
Research Exchange Rates Or Convert Before The Transfer
Many financial institutions use a marked-up exchange rate as part of their service fees. Because of this, some banks offer lower fees if you let them convert the funds before transferring, or if you provide the currency already converted. Contact your financial institution to see if this option is available.
Also Check: Used Auto Loan Rates Credit Union
Wise Vs Western Union: Is Wise Better Than Western Union For You
In most cases, the experts at Monito recommend Wise over Western Union, especially for international bank account transfers. Wise will show you every fee that is calculated into the final sending amount upfront and will send your money in a matter of days and even hours.
We only recommend using Western Union over Wise for cash pick up, which is a service that Wise does not provide. If youd like to learn more, then we recommend reading our in-depth review on Western Union and our review on Wise.
For certain countries and at certain times in the year, companies can change their fee schedules. Therefore, we recommend comparing money transfer providers on Monito’s real-time comparison engine to find the best deal for your transfer in real-time.
Send Money With Western Union
Deciphering the different types of money transfer fees can be confusing, but Western Union makes it easy with convenient ways to send and receive money. Send money online, with our money transfer app, or from hundreds of thousands of agent locations globally. Register online to get started today.
* Data valid as of March 11, 2021.
1 Service and funds availability depends on certain factors including the Service selected, the selection of delayed delivery options, special terms applicable to each Service, amount sent, destination country, currency availability, regulatory issues, consumer protection issues, identification requirements, delivery restrictions, agent location hours, and differences in time zones .
Also Check: Mission Federal Credit Union Auto Loan Rates
Western Union Conversion Rate Vs Bank
The exchange rates used by both Western Union and traditional banks typically include a markup on the real exchange rate. However, the amount of this markup varies depending on the currency pairing involved.
That means that a good way to check which is the best value is to call into your bank to get their rates and then compare them online with the rate for your currency pairing offered on Western Union.
Dont forget to compare both rates with the mid-market rate, too. And if you dont think they offer a fair deal, try a different provider entirely, like Wise.
Western Union Sending Money Limit
There are limits to how much you can send with Western Union. These limits are set according to your account history, where you and your recipient are located, and the type of payment youre making. When you log into your Western Union account and model the payment using the online fee calculator, youll be able to see the limits which apply to your chosen transfer.
Recommended Reading: Filer Credit Union Online Banking
How Much Does It Cost To Use The Western Union App
When it comes to sending money internationally, Western Union fees are considerably higher than other international money transfer providers. However, due to their solid reputation, many customers are happy to pay for these fees, comforted by the familiarity of the Western Union brand.
Costs are determined by the type of transfer, the location it is being sent and how it will be received. There is a limit of up to £2,500 per transaction. As outlined in the earlier section, payment options include cash, bank transfer, debit or credit card and there is a fee for each of these methods which ranges from $5 20.
In addition to these upfront costs, Western Union also adds a mark-up to the mid-market rate. Again, the percentage of this mark-up is contained within the exchange rate and determined by destination country, but it ranges from 2 to 20%.
How Much Does It Cost To Send Money Abroad With Western Union
The cost of international money transfers with Western Union will depend on where you are sending money from and to. Check our comparison table above to find a price for your money transfer.
Your chosen payment method can also come with extra costs. Bank transfer is usually the cheapest option, especially compared to payment with credit or debit card. In our comparison, we compare the costs using the bank transfer method.
This doesnt show the whole picture, however. Unlike Wise, many banks advertise low fees, while adding hidden costs to the exchange rate. Often without telling you.
Compare Western Union to Wise to see how much you can save.
Also Check: Consumers Credit Union Customer Service
A Straightforward Way To Send Money Overseas With Multiple Transfer Options
- First ten transfers free when you sign up through Finder
- Find the best rate on the CurrencyFair marketplace
- App available for both Apple and Andriod users
Western Union has a gigantic global network of agent locations and bank connections that makes it easy to send money to almost anywhere. Transfer money fast for higher fees, or a bit slower for lower fees, depending on your needs and resources.
However, given Western Unions history of customer complaints and lawsuits, maybe consider looking at smaller money transfer providers who have a better track record and also offer better exchange rates and lower fees. Having said that, Western Union will almost always be a cheaper option than your bank, especially when sending one-off transfers or to remote destinations.
Why should I consider Western Union?
What to be aware of
Western Union Or Moneygram
Western Union and MoneyGram provide similar services that allow you to transfer money to a different city, state, or country. They charge a flat rate for the transfer that is based on the speed of the transfer, the location you’re sending money to, and the amount of money being sent. If you’re doing an overseas or international transfer, you’ll also be charged an exchange rate. These money transfer services don’t generally offer a very competitive exchange rate, which results in a hidden charge if you transfer money internationally. However, one of the major benefits of these services is that they tend to be both highly dependable and convenient.
As an example of fees, a $200 transfer through Western Union to a location within the United States or Canada will cost you around $12 for a rapid transfer and $8 for a next-day transfer. A transfer to the United Kingdom will cost around $22 if done through an agent of Western Union and $15 if done online. Fees can change at any time.
New fintech startups that provide international money transfers are Transferwise and Payoneerwhich serves over 150 countries.
Recommended Reading: State Employees Credit Union Cars For Sale
Who Can Send Money With The Western Union App
This service is available to customers all over the world. Simply download the app on iOS or Android, free of charge, and set up an account.
Most customers seek out the services of Western Union due to their cash pay-out option which is available to customers worldwide, with collection points at over 500,000 branches in 200 locations around the globe.
Bank Drafts Money Orders And Cashier’s Checks
When it comes to physical transfers that are being sent in foreign currencies, you can purchase bank drafts and money orders in the currency of the location you’re sending money to. Inexpensive money orders can be purchased through many post office branches. These money orders will often be less expensive than those purchased through a financial institution, running anywhere between $3 and $9. Money orders purchased through a bank often cost about $10.
Money orders are typically used for smaller amounts than bank drafts. Because of this, the cost of purchasing a bank draft is often higher than for purchasing a money order. Though these forms of money transfer may take more time, they tend to be a more economical choice than services like wire transfersand they are traceable in case they don’t arrive at their destination.
Also Check: First Community Credit Union Texas