8 Best Western Union Alternatives
Are you tired of paying crazy high fees or waiting days for your money to reach its intended destination?
Let’s be clear, Western Union does have many options for sending money including “Money in Minutes” and many ways to send your money.
However over the years, a few excellent competitors have emerged. Some have rock bottom fees while others have instant transfers.
Innovative services can offer faster, more affordable, and more enjoyable ways to send money.
According to third-party review sites like Trustpilot, these alternatives are outshining many Western Union too.
Say goodbye to high fees and hello to a more convenient and speedy ways to send money.
Read on to discover the top Western Union alternatives that are revolutionizing the way we transfer money.
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Quick Comparison: 8 Best Western Union Alternatives
|Why we think they are better||Cash and bank transfers up to $10,000 per transaction||Low cost bank-to-bank and card-to-bank transfers at the mid-market rate||Extremely good exchange rates possible with low fees.||Affordable bank-to-cash transfers||Affordable and near instant bank-to-cash transfers||Fast international transfers. PayPal to PayPal||Online with 24/7 phone support which is great for larger transfers over $7000 USD||Best customer service for large international transfers above $7000|
|Business or Personal||Personal||Both||Both||Personal||Personal||Both||Both||Both|
|Regulation||Regulated in the US||Regulated in Europe, USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Singapore and Hong Kong||Ireland, Australia, United Kingdom, Singapore and Hong Kong||Regulated in the UK, the US, Australia, and New Zealand||Regulated in the the UK, the US, Canada, Europe, Australia||Regulated in the US, the UK, Europe, Australia, Canada, and most other countries they operate in||Regulated in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Europe, Singapore||TorFX:|
Regulated in the United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore, Europeg
Regulated in the UK, the US, Canada, China, Australia, Spain, India, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland
|Pros||Online and offline transfer set up|
Supports 48 currencies
Send up to $10,000 USD per transfer
|Affordable bank-to-bank transfers at the mid-market rate|
Supports 70+ currencies
Multi-currency account and MaterCard debit card
|Very low exchange rates for small bank-to-bank transfers|
Dedicated business account
Multi-currency account for personal and business
|Set up transfer online – keeps fees for cash transfers cheaper|
Many payout methods – bank, cash, mobile wallet transfer
|Focused on needs of immigrants in developed countries|
Send money to 130 countries
Near instant cash transfers
|Very easy to use|
Fast PayPal to PayPal transfers
Available worldwide for business and personal payments
|Publicly listed company|
Very competitive exchange rates for large international transfers above $7000 USD
Send money to 190 countries in 55+ currences
24×7 customer service
|Personal Account Manager|
Negotiate better rates and set up transfers on the phone
Low fees for large transfers
|Cons||Not always the cheapest||Not our favourite for large amounts over $7000 USD||Very few currencies supported||Not for large transfers above $7000 USD||No transfers between sending countries||Very few currencies supported (27)|
Not always the cheapest
Not for large transfers $7000 US
|No cash pick up|
Sending smaller amounts can be expensive
|No cash transfers|
|Fees||Complex fee structure – Fees depend on target currency, the amount, and the funding method||Depends on many factors – on average 0.61% of the total amount||Exchange rate margin + small fixed fee||Transfer fees ($0.99 USD to $5.99 USD) and exchange rate margin (typically 1% – 1.5%) – Very competitive||Low fixed fees. Margin on the exchange rate is very competitive.||5% of the amount (minimum fee: $0.99 USD; maximum fee $4.99 USD)||Flat $15 fixed fee for transfers below $10,000 USD; Margin on the exchange decreases as the amount increases (as low as 0.5% of the amount)||No flat fee, margin on the exchange rate applicable – goes down as the amount increases|
|Trustpilot Rating||“Excellent” – 4.4/5 on Trustpilot with over 24,000 reviews (January 2023)||“Excellent” – 4.5/5 from over 184,000 reviews on TrustPilot (January 2023)||“Excellent” – 4.4/5 from 6,400+ reviews on TrustPilot (January 2023)||“Great” – 4/5 on Trustpilot with over 66,000+ reviews (January 2023)||“Great” – 4.1/5 on Trustpilot with over 37,000+ reviews (January 2023)||“Bad” – 1.3/5 on Trustpilot with over 24,000 reviews (January 2023)||“Great” – 4.1/5 on Trustpilot with 5400+ reviews (January 2023)||TorFX:|
“Excellent” – 4.9/5 on Trustpilot with almost 6000 reviews (January 2023)
“Excellent” – 4.4/5 from 6,000+ reviews on TrustPilot (November 2022)
|Official Website||Visit Moneygram||Visit Wise||Visit Currencyfair||Visit Worldremit||Visit Remitly||Visit PayPal||Visit OFX||Visit TorFX – Aus/NZ/Asia or UK/EU|
Visit CurrenciesDirect – USA/South Africa
Why Choose other Western Union Alternatives?
Customer experience is very important when it comes to sending money, so all the Western Union competitors we found score 4/5 or higher.
Western Union scores, 3.9/5 which to be fair is considered “Great” but 20% of reviews are 1 or 2 stars which is a concern.
Just better as some things
Head to head, Western Union’s Competitors usually can’t do everything Western Union does. However they can do some things much better. The key is to know what you want and find the service to match.
Look for “The big difference” at the end of each alternative.
1. MoneyGram – Send higher amounts in cash
It might surprise you to see MoneyGram in this list because in many way they are very similar.
With MoneyGram (review), you can send cash and bank transfers abroad (personal transfers) in 48 currencies and these transfers can be set up online on their website, offline at an agent office, and on their mobile app.
You can also set up bill payments and mobile wallet transfers with MoneyGram.
So why should you choose MoneyGram over Western Union?
The big difference:
For a start, Moneygram scores 4.4/5 on Trustpilot which is quite a lot better than 3.9/5. Western Union also limits cash transfers to $2,500 USD per transfer, whereas you can send up to $10,000 USD per transfer or every rolling month with MoneyGram.
2. Wise – Send small bank transfers affordably (personal and business)
Wise (review) specializes in bank-to-bank and card-to-bank transfers at the mid-market rate in 70+ currencies.
They only charge a small service fee (a percentage of the amount) and do not include a margin on the exchange rate.
They also minimize or remove hidden fees by having local bank accounts in all the countries they operate in.
Another cool thing about Wise: They offer multi-currency accounts for personal and business use that let you hold, manage, and convert between 50+ currencies.
You can also set up local receiving accounts in 10 major currencies: USD, CAD, GBP, EUR, AUD, NZD, SGD (Singapore dollars), TRY (Turkish lira), RON (Romanian lei), and HUF (Hungarian Forint).
This helps frequent travelers, freelancers, and growing global businesses accept payments from friends, family, and clients like a local without currency conversion fees.
The multi-currency account also comes with a MasterCard debit card that can be used globally.
The big difference
If you can send you money bank-to-bank or card-to-bank, Wise is extremely transparent with very low fees and great online service. You can also lock-in an exchange rate and their online calculator shows exactly what is going to arrive. Wise can also be highly useful with their multi-currency account for personal or business use.
3. CurrencyFair – Lowest exchange rates for small bank-to-bank transfers
CurrencyFair (review) is available in 62 countries (including the US, Canada, the UK, EEA countries, Australia, New Zealand, etc.) and lets you send money to 150 currencies in 20 currencies.
You can get the lowest exchange rate for international money transfers on their peer-to-peer marketplace if another user is transferring money in the opposite direction.
However, if there’s no match, CurrencyFair steps in to complete the transfer and you still get a very competitive exchange rate (0.45% more, but much better than traditional banks or competitors).
They also offer multi-currency accounts for personal and business so you can send and receive money without conversion fees, pay bills abroad, etc.
The big difference
If you can send money bank-to-bank and you want the most money possible to arrive, CurrencyFair can be a great Western Union alternative. CurrencyFair’s Peer-to-Peer service means you can get the best exchange rates! And you can get your first 10 transfers “fee-free”.
4. WorldRemit – Cheaper cash transfers in small amounts
WorldRemit (review) has a wide base of receiving countries, supports many currencies (70+), and many payout methods (cash, bank transfer, mobile wallet payment, bill payment, etc.)
So what does WorldRemit do differently?
WorldRemit keeps cash transfers more affordable than Western Union, Ria, or MoneyGram by letting their users set up transfers online.
This eliminates the extra fees charged by agents at one end, which drives down the cost of the transfer.
The big difference
WorldRemit allows you to fund the transfer with a bank account or card and then for your recipient to receive the money in a variety of ways very inexpensively including cash, airtime top-up and mobile money. WorldRemit also has a promotion for many countries and get 3FREE* (click on the link for details and restrictions)
5. Remitly – Affordable and fast cash transfers for small amounts
Remitly (review) focuses on making money transfers (cash as well as bank and mobile wallet transfers) fast, affordable, and easy for immigrants working in 28 developed countries.
Like Western Union, you can choose your preferred transfer speed for Remitly transfers – Express (funded by a credit or debit card – thus more expensive) and Economy (funded by a bank transfer – thus more affordable).
And just like WorldRemit, Remitly keeps their costs for cash transfers low by letting their users set up the transfer online.
The big difference
Remitly has slimmed down, efficient service for those those who need to send money back home to friends and family. If you want the flexibility of speed and reduced fees with cash pickup, bank deposit or mobile money, Remitly is a winner.
6. PayPal – Easiest way to send small personal and business transfers
If you already have a PayPal account, it’s very easy to send and receive money from friends, family, and global clients.
Getting a new one is also a fairly simple process.
Once your account is set up, you can send the money you hold in your PayPal wallet to your recipient’s bank account (this saves some fees).
The other option is to fund the transfer with your linked bank account or card (more expensive).
You can typically send up to 10,000 USD if you have a verified PayPal account.
The big difference
PayPal international transfers can be expensive – so why should you choose them over Western Union?
PayPal to PayPal is practically instantaneous and if your recipient already has a PayPal account this can be a very straight forward, hassle free way to send money.
7. OFX – Affordable large international transfers (above $7000 USD)
OFX (review) makes it easy and affordable to send large bank-to-bank transfers from US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Hong Kong to 190 countries in 55 currencies.
They offer 24×7 phone support where you can talk to a human in case you run into a snag with your transfer.
They have physical presence (offices) in most of the countries they operate and charge a flag $15 USD fee for all transfers below $10,000 USD.
The flat fee is waived over that limit and the margin on the exchange rate also decreases as the amount increases.
OFX is available for personal and business use and they offer a multi-currency account for businesses.
The big difference
Western Union is not equipped to handle large international transfers above $7000 USD, but OFX is designed to do large ones and can also do smaller transfers bank-to-bank (no cash). OFX sometimes add a $15 fee (below $10,000) however we organised to have this fee removed (opens a new tab) so you can avoid this fees all together – if applicable.
8. TorFX/Currencies Direct – Best customer service for large international transfers (above $7000 USD)
TorFX (review) and Currencies Direct (review) are owned by the same people but they operate in different regions.
TorFX serves recipients in the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia, while Currencies Direct is for users in the USA, Canada, India or South Africa.
Both TorFX and Currencies Direct are known for their award-winning customer service because you can pick up the phone and talk to your Personal Account Manager for pretty much anything – from questions about your transfer to strategies for saving on fees in the long-term.
TorFX doesn’t charge a flat fee but they include a margin on the exchange rate, which goes down as the amount increases.
The big difference
Choose TorFX or Currencies Direct if you’re new to sending large international transfers and you want to speak to someone. You can not only get your queries answered on the phone, your Personal Account Manager can help you set up a transfer.
9. What should you look for in an international money transfer company?
Not all money transfer companies are made equal and you can have a smoother experience while saving on your fees if you consider the following factors:
Availability: Check whether the money transfer company is available in your country, supports the currencies you want to exchange, and offers the payout methods you’re looking for (cash, bank transfer, mobile wallet transfer, bill payments, etc.)
Specialized service: Have a look for services that best meet you needs. In general, there are services designed to send cash while others save you money on fees by using bank accounts. Also look for services which seem to be designed for small or large amounts. Regulations mean that some services are designed for smaller amounts, usually below about $7000, while others are better for larger amounts.
Transfer Speed: Consider how quickly the transfer company can send and deliver the funds to the recipient. Some companies offer fast transfers for an additional fee, while others may take longer.
Funding methods: Determine which funding options are available for the sender, such as bank transfer, credit or debit card, or cash because this affects the transfer speed and fees.
For example, a transfer funded by a credit card may be processed faster but you will be charged a cash advance fee by your card issuer.
Customer Service: Make sure the transfer company offers adequate customer support, such as a phone helpline or online chat, in case you need assistance with your transfer.
This is especially important for large transfers.
User reviews: You can read both positive and negative reviews from companies you’ve shortlisted on a review site like Trustpilot to make sure you can avoid potential pitfalls. Alternately read our review where we analyse the reviews for you to make the best choice.
Even though Western Union may seem top of mind for international money transfers, they may not always be the best choice (unless you’re open to paying a premium for all the options they offer).
We recommend choosing a specialist money transfer company that meets your specific needs (amount, currencies supported, location, etc.) to ensure you have a smooth experience, while saving on fees.
The list we’ve shared above is a good place to start. And once you’ve shortlisted a few options, use the categories above to figure out what works best for you.