Western Union Alternatives

About Author: Hi, I’m Quinn Askeland. In 2014, I started Transumo after experiencing expensive, slow, and frustrating international money transfers and payments through banks. Once I discovered how to manage my own international currencies much better, I became driven to help others improve their transfers and payments. Fortunately, today, there are many excellent options. See My Full Bio.

There are many Western Union alternatives that may offer better exchange rates, lower fees, faster delivery, or more convenience.

A group of people doing thumbs up hand gestures with the text Western Union Alternatives
  • For convenient cash transfers, MoneyGram is the best alternative to Western Union. You can find MoneyGram kiosks all over the world and they score 4.5/5 compared to 4/5 which means they can be a whole lot better to use.
  • If you need cash pick-up, you can choose WorldRemit or Panda Remit instead of Western Union. Both WorldRemit and PandaRemit have a range of payment options often with lower fees and better exchange rates than Western Union.
  • For inexpensive small bank transfers, Wise, Revolut, and PaySend are better alternatives. Wise offers the mid-market exchange rate with a small variable fee, while Revolut and PaySend add a small margin and usually beat Western Union.
  • For business transfers, Instarem can be a better alternative. If you want to send money directly to a bank account, Instarem can help you get more value for your money transfer.

But the key here is to make it easy for you to choose the best alternative to Western Union.

Let’s get started!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and savings on transfers if you use some of the links! For more information, see my disclosures here.

1. Quick Look

Based on over 58,000+ reviews on Trustpilot, Western Union has a “Great” rating of 4/5. 63% of these reviews were 5 stars, with customers complimenting Western Union for its convenience, ease of use, and speedy transfer abroad.

Which Western Union alternative is right for you?

Before you dive deeper, check out our quick snapshot.

moneygram logoWorldRemit LogoWise logoInstarem logoRevolut logoPaysend logo
Trustpilot Score4.5/54.1/54.3/54.4/54.3/54.0/54.3/5
💸 FeesFees depend on the target currency, the amount being sent, and the funding methodStarts at just $1.99 USD, and can vary based on currency, amount, funding method, and payout method.Transfers at the mid-market rate, low service feeLow service fees and other feesFees based on account tiers, exchange rate markup on weekendsLow service fees and other feesService fees, card issuer fees, cash withdrawals, and other fees
🏆 Best forSmall cash transfers below $7000 USDSmall cash transfers below $7000 USDAffordable bank-to-bank transfers below $7000 USDAffordable bank-to-bank transfers below $7000 USDTransfers in the SEPA region, local Revolut to Revolut transfersVery good for transfers to India and ChinaCard-to-card transfers
The GoodWide presence in the United StatesMany payout methods, widely available, easy online-only processAffordable, available widely, multi-currency account, debit card, business accountPersonal and business transfers, affordable bank-to-bank transfers, global reachLicensed bank in some parts of EU but not in the UK, many subscription tiers, no-fee SEPA and local transfersSpecializing in transfers to Asian and European countries up to €2,500 EUR / £2,500 GBP / $2,999 USD or equivalentLow fees and near-instant card-to-card transfers
The BadCan be expensiveCan’t choose transfer speedNo cash transfersNo cash transfersNo cash transfersNo cash transfers, limited support for countries in Africa, South America, and the Middle EastNot set up for large transfers, card fees
👍 Why better?Higher limit than Western Union, better user ratings.Lower fees than Western UnionCheaper for bank transfers, multi-currency accountCheaper for bank-to-bank transfersOpen banking and money transfers in one appCheaper for bank transfersCan be cheaper for small transfers
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2. When Western Union Works and When It Doesn’t

2.1 When it Works

Fast transfers to anywhere in the world: Western Union is available for registration anywhere in the world and lets you send money to anywhere in the world in 130+ currencies. 

They have over 500,000 agent locations for cash transfers and also support bank and mobile wallet transfers. 

Flexible transfer speeds: Want to send cash instantly? Check out their Money in Minutes service. Want next-day bank transfers? You got that too. 

Western Union has dedicated services that let you choose when you want your money to arrive. 

Personal and business payments: You’re not limited to personal payments with Western Union – if you want to pay your vendors and contractors abroad, Western Union has got you covered. 

Online and Offline transfers: Western Union offers both online transfers via their app and website as well as offline transfers with cash at agent locations. 

Wide presence in the United States: Western Union is integrated into pretty much every Walmart in the United States (look for a Western Union money services center) for easy local transfers in the US, Canada, or abroad.

Many payout methods: Send cash, bank transfers, and mobile wallet transfers to anywhere in the world. You can even pay utility bills at home and abroad with Western Union.

a comparison table of when Western Union service works and when it doesn't

2.2 When it Doesn’t Work

Savings on fees: Western Union has long been in the crosshairs of competition and for very good reason. Western Union has a complex array of fees and charges a premium for all the flexibility they offer – many payout methods, flexible transfer speed, and support for major and exotic currencies. 

A combination of sending and receiving bank fees, Western Union’s margin on the exchange rate + variable service fees, agent fees, etc. can add up and increase the cost of the transfer. 

Large transfers: You can send up to $3000 USD/€5000 EUR per transfer and this varies by location. 

If verified, you can send up to $50,000 USD but Western Union’s fee structure will likely make these transfers very expensive relative to other services designed for larger amounts.

Handling multiple currencies: Considering Western Union’s reach and support for transfers with 130+ currencies, they could have made handling multiple currencies easiest with a multi-currency account. However, that feature is missing from the money transfer giant’s service portfolio.

3. MoneyGram – Best Alternative to Western Union for Cash

About: 

The best alternative to Western Union, MoneyGram is our top pick if you need to send cash.

Why? MoneyGram is the second-largest money transfer company in the world. This means its easy to find a kiosk and you can send money to over 200 countries in all major currencies and several exotic currencies. 

Best features:

Integrated Presence:They’re seamlessly integrated into many Walmarts in the US.
High Cash Transfer Limit:Send up to $10,000 USD per transfer, trumping Western Union’s $3,000 USD.
Many Payout Methods:Whether you’re looking at cash, bank transfers, mobile wallet payments, or bill payments, MoneyGram has got you covered.

Fees:

MoneyGram’s fees can vary based on the target currency, the amount being sent, and the funding method you choose. 

The good news is that MoneyGram has a fee calculator.

Just like Western Union, they charge a margin on the exchange rate, which can be relatively high. Added to this are other charges like agent fees or MoneyGram’s specific transfer fee, all depending on various factors. 

If you’re planning to fund your transfer with a credit or debit card, there are likely to be additional charges. 

You can get a clearer picture of what you’ll be paying on MoneyGram’s website.

Support: Email, live chat, offline support at agent kiosks

Verdict: How does MoneyGram stack up to Western Union?

For us, the most telling sign of a company’s reliability often lies in 3rd party user reviews. 

And here, MoneyGram shines brighter with a rating of 4.5/5 on Trustpilot compared to Western Union’s 4/5

This points towards fewer transfer issues and a generally better customer experience with MoneyGram.

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In short, choose MoneyGram if you’re looking for a top Western Union competition with better user reviews, higher transfer limits, and convenient access.

4. WorldRemit – Cheaper Alternative to Western Union

About: 

What makes WorldRemit the cheapest alternative to Western Union?

WorldRemit does not allow you to send cash but they do allow for cash pickup amongst many other options. By doing this, they reduce their costs substantially and pass on the difference to you. So you just do everything online on their website or app.

Learn more about transferring money abroad with WorldRemit in our in-depth review: WorldRemit (review)

Best features:

Hassle-free Online Process:No need to go out – manage your transfers online.
Send Money Anywhere:Send money to 130+ countries across 70+ diverse currencies.
Many Payout Methods:Cash pick-up, bank-to-bank, mobile wallets, and even Airtime top-ups – the choice is vast.

Fees:

WorldRemit’s fees can depend on various factors, including the payout method, how you’re funding the transfer, the amount, and the currency. 

Starting at just $1.99 USD for bank transfers (which is among their cheapest options), they offer competitive rates. 

But remember, they also apply a margin on the exchange rate. And if you’re thinking of using a credit or debit card to fund your transfer, the fees will likely be higher. 

Using WorldRemit’s online calculator (opens a new tab), you can check the cost of your money transfer – no sign-up is required.

Support: Country-specific phone numbers, FAQs, email

Verdict: Why consider WorldRemit when looking for cheaper alternatives to Western Union?

Cost, convenience, and coverage – these are areas where WorldRemit shines. Their online approach brings down costs, making them a more affordable alternative.

Plus, with safety features like mandatory photo ID for cash pickups, you can be sure that your money’s reaching the right person.

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Use WorldRemit when you want to send cash fast worldwide affordably without compromising on speed and convenience.

5. Wise – Affordable Bank Transfers and More

About: 

Wise (formerly known as TransferWise) is not just another player in the money transfer game.

They bring the best of both worlds – affordable bank-to-bank transfers at the mid-market rate and a feature-rich multi-currency account for both personal and business (comes with a debit card that can be used globally). 

Wise lets you send money to 160+ countries in 40+ currencies and is available almost anywhere. 

Learn more about  Wise (review) and Wise Multi-currency Account (review).

Best features:

Transparent Fees:No sneaky exchange rate markups –  what you see is what you get.
Multi-Currency Account:Manage, hold, and convert between 40 currencies and get a Mastercard debit card.
Dedicated Business account:Manage payroll, integrate with accounting software, manage business expenses, pay overseas vendors and suppliers  – you can do it all.
Wise Calculator:Let you see the cost of your next transfer. No hidden cost – just a dependable money transfer

Fees:

They charge a small percentage service fee (on average  0.66% of your transfer and often much lower for common currencies). 

But good news – no surprise fees from sending or receiving banks because they have local accounts pretty much everywhere. 

Just watch out for some minor fees if you’re hitting the ATM too often at home and abroad. 

Support: Email support

There is more to Wise than money transfers. Learn about all the features and products that Wise provides by watching this ultimate guide video.

Verdict: Why is Wise a great alternative to Western Union?

Whether you’re a traveler, freelancer, a business or just someone sending money abroad, Wise can be pretty awesome. Their multi-currency account, paired with a global debit card, is extremely versatile. 

Plus you can’t beat their fees. 

But hey no one’s perfect. They don’t do cash transfers and don’t support as many currencies as Western Union.

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Choose Wise when you need to send affordable bank-to-bank transfers with no surprise fees or want a versatile multi-currency account for managing your international money.

6. InstaRem – Low-cost business and personal transfers

About: 

Instarem is available almost anywhere and supports transfers to 55+ countries in many global currencies. They’re known for their affordable bank transfers and serve both personal and business users. 

If you run a business, check out their global receiving accounts for easy payments. 

Dive deeper into Instarem with our comprehensive review – Instarem (review).

Best features:

Global Reach:Transfer money to 55+ countries.
Versatile:Suits both personal and business needs.

Fees:

Instarem’s affordability comes from its competitive fee structure:

Instarem’s Send Fee: is around 0.25% to 1.0% of the transfer amount.

Margin on the Exchange Rate: A low margin on the exchange rate.

Other Fees: Expect potential bank fees, card issuer fees, and others. 

Note: Card fees might be higher, but can expedite the transfer process.

Pro tip:  Sending in your recipient’s local currency is cheaper, especially considering Instarem’s flat fee for USD to USD transfers.

Support: 24/7 chat and email support

Verdict: How does Instarem stack up against Western Union?

While Western Union has been a household name for ages, Instarem’s competitive rates make it a go-to choice for many, especially in the US, UK, Australia, and Europe.

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Choose Instarem if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to Western Union for bank-to-bank transfers (personal and business use).

7. Revolut – No-fee local transfers

About:

Revolut has a bank licensed in some parts of the EU but not in the UK. They not only offer seamless transfers but also a host of other features tailored for individuals, businesses, and freelancers.

You can sign up for Revolut in the UK, US, European Economic Area (EEA), Singapore, Australia, Japan, and Switzerland and lets you send money abroad in 29 currencies. 

Learn more about Revolut in our in-depth review – Revolut (review).

Best features:

Cost Efficiency:Get a no-fee local Revolut to Revolut transfers and no-fee SEPA transfers
Licensed:With a banking license in some EU countries (not in the UK), your money is safeguarded with deposit protection up to €100,000 EUR if you are in the list of covered areas.
Many cool features:From multi-currency business accounts and globally accepted debit cards to investment options, Revolut offers a wide spectrum of services.

Fees:

Revolut’s fee depends on the service tiers you choose (they have dedicated tiers for personal users, business users, and freelancers). 

But overall, these are the transfer fees:

International Transfer Fees: Enjoy transfers at a competitive exchange rate. Premium, Metal, and Ultra users can enjoy international transfers without fair usage fees. 

Card Fees: A delivery fee and replacement fee may apply depending on your plan subscription. ATM withdrawals come with their own fee structure, and currency conversion fees can be applicable abroad.

Pro tip: Transfer during the weekdays to avoid the exchange rate markup during weekends.

Support: In-app chat or phone support depending on your plan subscription

Verdict: What makes Revolut a worthy alternative to Western Union?

Revolut brings open banking and money transfers under one roof. Their strong presence in multiple countries, along with deposit protection in 10 EU nations (not the UK) means you’re not only getting a money transfer service but a comprehensive financial tool.

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Choose Revolut when you’re in the UK, US, EU, Australia, and New Zealand and want no-fee local transfers as well as cool open banking features in one app.

8. PaySend – Affordable card-to-card transfers

About: 

PaySend bundles speed and affordability with their near-instant card-to-card transfers. 

You can sign up for Paysend in 50+ currencies and send money to over 170 countries. 

Get the low down here in our detailed review – PaySend (review).

Best features:

Versatile:Catering to both personal and business needs, Paysend offers ultra-fast card-to-card payments
Multi-currency account:Business accounts in UK and EEA residents get a multi-currency account

Fees:

Flat Service Fees: Depending on your location, you’ll be charged a flat fee for your transfers.

Exchange Rate Markup: There’s a margin of 0.5-2% on the exchange rate. Check out the PaySend calculator here.

Other Fees: These range from debit and credit card fees, and possible bank charges, to specifics like ATM withdrawals and card delivery costs.

Support: Email and chat support (on the website)

Verdict: What makes Paysend a great cheaper alternative to Western Union?

Paysend’s strength lies in facilitating fast transfers, especially in smaller amounts (typically below $999 USD). This makes them a top choice for expats and immigrants seeking to send money home both affordably and promptly.

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Use PaySend when you need to send small money transfers home during an emergency without breaking the bank.

9. Panda Remit – Easy Transfers to Asia and Europe

bout: 

Hong Kong-based Fintech company PandaRemit is backed by Sequoia Capital (an investor of Apple and Google) and already making waves in the money transfer space. 

Panda Remit makes it easy and affordable to send money to most Asian and European countries from the UK, US, Australia, etc.

You can send money to 40+ countries in 20+ currencies. 

Get the lowdown on PandaRemit in our in-depth review – Panda Remit Review

Best features:

Fast and affordable transfers to Asia and Europe 

Fees:

Service Fee: For every transaction, Panda Remit charges a service fee between $1.99-5.99 USD / £5.99 GBP / $18-30 HKD / $ 3- 5.99 AUD depending on the currency and amount. 

Exchange Rate Margin: While they offer rates close to the mid-market or interbank rate, a slight margin (ranging from 0.1% to 2% of the transferred amount) is added. 

Other fees: Watch out for additional fees such as those by banks on either end or debit card charges, which can go up to 3% of the amount.

Support:  Country-specific phone support and email

Verdict: What makes Panda Remit a great alternative to Western Union?

If you live or work in the UK, US, Australia, etc.  Panda Remit is a great choice for sending small amounts (up to €2,500 EUR /  £2,500 GBP / $2,999 USD  or its equivalent) to Asian and European countries. 

Note: Transfer support to many countries in North and South America, Africa, and the Middle East is limited.

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Fast and affordable bank-to-bank transfers to countries in Europe and Asia – especially India and China.

Verdict

Western Union is a well-known money transfer service that offers a variety of features, including fast cash transfers, a wide range of payout methods, and support for major and exotic currencies. 

However, it can be expensive, and there are a number of alternatives available that also offer similar services without the premium fees.

MoneyGram is a good alternative to Western Union if you are looking for a better money transfer service with potentially lower fees and a high transfer limit. It has a wide network of agents and a wide range of payout options, similar to Western Union. (Read more reviews above)

MoneyGram is currently offering a promotion for your first online money transfer: $0 Fees*! No promo code is needed. Just create your online profile and pay with a debit card or bank account to unlock this offer. Visit their website (opens a new tab) to learn more.

WorldRemit is a great option for sending money home fast and affordably. They have low fees and high convenience for international money transfers. Their online service reduces costs, making them a more affordable alternative for sending cash to the receiver. (Read more reviews above)

Wise can be the best alternative if your recipient has a bank account. They offer the real mid-market rate that you can see on Google and charge lower fees compared to Western Union. 

Using the Wise calculator (opens new tab) you can see the fees and the amount your recipient will receive right now. No sign-up required, no surprise charges – just confident transfers. 

You can also track your transfer with the Wise app or website, and get email or SMS updates. (Read more reviews above)

Instarem is a usually far less expensive alternative to Western Union for bank-to-bank transfers in the US, UK, Australia, and Europe. You can save much on fees and get better exchange rates with Instarem. (Read more reviews above)

Revolut is a good option if you are in the UK, US, EU, Australia, or New Zealand and want a no-cost local transfer, cool open banking features, and international money transfers all under one roof. With Revolut, you are not only getting a reliable money transfer service, but a comprehensive financial tool as well. (Read more reviews above)

PaySend is a suitable alternative to Western Union’s money in minutes if you are transferring money to a card. PaySend excels at fast transfers, especially for lower amounts (typically below $999 USD). Use PaySend when you need to send small amounts of money home for an emergency without paying too much. (Read more reviews above)

Panda Remit is a noteworthy alternative that specializes in remittances to Asian countries, providing competitive exchange rates and low fees. The platform’s user-friendly interface and efficient transfer process make it an attractive option for individuals sending money to or from Asia. (Read more reviews above)

To sum up, Western Union may have been a trusted choice for many years, but these alternatives offer some compelling reasons to consider switching. Each alternative has its own unique features and benefits (above) that cater to different needs. You can compare them and find the one that meets your requirements.

Happy transfers!

*Terms and condition applies and varies by location. A currency exchange rate may also apply.

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What is the best alternative to Western Union?

MoneyGram, WorldRemit, Wise, Instarem, Revolut, Panda Remit, and Paysend are some of the alternatives to Western Union. Each service has its own pros and cons. What is best depends on your unique needs and preferences.

Is MoneyGram or Ria better than Western Union?

MoneyGram and Ria both score higher on popular 3rd party review sites like Trustpilot compared to Western Union. This can mean transfers are likely far smoother and often cheaper too.

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