WorldRemit and Western Union may seem quite similar on the surface.
This is because they both can help you send cash in minutes to almost every country around the world.
But after digging deeper, we found a number of important differences which should make it clearer which one is better for you.
In the next 5 minutes or so you’ll learn everything you need to know about WorldRemit and Western Union.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and savings on transfers if you use some of the links! For more information, see my disclosures here.
Quick Comparison: The Lowdown on Differences
WorldRemit is known for their online-focused service that makes personal cash transfers (as well as bank and mobile wallet transfers) affordable. In many situations WorldRemit is a clear leader and you can save more using the code ‘4FREE‘*
In others Western Union may be better including near-instant cash transfers and overseas bank transfers for personal and business to practically every corner of the planet.
* Offer available in US, UK, Australia, Belgium, Netherlands, South Africa, Sweden, New Zealand, and Norway only.
- Online-focused service means potentially cheaper personal cash transfers
- Supports registrations from 50 countries (including the UK, US, including the UK, US, Canada, Australia, and Eurozone)
- Wide coverage: Send cash, bank, and mobile wallet transfers to 130 countries in 70+ currencies
- Mobile airtime transfers also supported
- Fast transfers in most cases
- Sign up here and get 4FREE* for an account on their website or by downloading the app.
- Personal transfers only
- Incomplete initial verification (see “Reviews (inc. Negative Ones)” for details)
Western Union Likes:
- Wide coverage (send money to 200+ countries) with physical kiosks to send cash
- Near-instant cash transfers with their “Money in Minutes” service
- Also send money to bank accounts and mobile wallets
- Both online and offline transfers supported
- Available for personal and business
Western Union Dislikes:
- Not the cheapest in many cases
- Online customer service representatives are not always available
1. Real Fees & Hidden Costs – Is One Cheaper Than The Other?
- Service fees vary by location. For example, bank transfers to African countries cost $0.99 USD and cash transfers cost $1.99 USD, while transfers to Asia and other supported countries range between $1.99 USD to $3.99 USD.
- Margin on the exchange rate applicable (varies by currency and amount and usually between 1% and 1.5% but can be more)
- Good news: No agent fees for sending and receiving cash transfers
- Other fees: Withdrawing mobile money (for example transfers to Coins.ph or PayMaya in the Philippines) at a third-party location will attract fees
- Fees are variable and depend on currency, amount, and service (based on Transfer Speed – see below)
- Margin on the exchange rate can be very high – more even than banks (but they do offer a service that does not require bank accounts but does require agents to assist)
- Complex fees: In the fine print you will find numerous fees which requires more than a little work to figure out.
As an online-focused service, WorldRemit is a good deal more affordable than Western Union in most cases as they rule out agent fees – even for the receiver. Their fixed fees are reasonable and their margin on the exchange rate is lower as well.
Western Union keeps their rates premium as a legacy money transfer service, flexibility of setting up transfers offline and online, and because they let you send money instantly to pretty much anywhere in the world with a time guarantee.
Though WorldRemit has a wide coverage too, sometimes you may need to send money to a country they don’t support or if you feel more comfortable setting up a transfer offline. In these cases, we recommend paying Western Union’s higher fees to meet your unique needs.
Another reason to try WorldRemit is that you can get 4FREE* transfers! (*click the link to see if you qualify)
* T’s & C’s: 4Free applies to the below send/receive countries
- Send: US, AU, CA, UK & FR
- Receive: PH, FJ, ZW, NP, GH, KE, CM, MA, CI & CD
2. Which is Safer? – Equally Safe in Most Cases
- Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (UK), Financial Service Providers Register (New Zealand), and Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre in Australia.
- Has regional offices in the Philippines, the United States, Nigeria, Poland, and Cameroon
- Customer funds are held separately from the company’s operating funds according to regulatory standards
- All communications between the customer and the app and the customer and the website are encrypted to protect your money and data
- Transfers are regularly audited to investigate red flags and for regulatory compliance
- Cash is only disbursed at pre-specified and user-selected agent locations and the recipient must carry valid ID
- Western Union is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (UK), Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (USA) Financial Market Authority (Europe). They’re also regulated in many other countries they operate in.
- Offers a time guarantee for their Money in Minutes service (fast cash transfers)
- One of the oldest and most trusted money transfer companies with physical presence and agent locations (500,000+ kiosks) in 200+ countries.
- Customer service follows up to verify unusual account activity to
- State of the art encryption (TLS – Transport Layer Security) on their website and app as well as strong anti-fraud and anti-theft policies keep your money and data safe
- ID check is mandatory cash recipients
Both WorldRemit and Western Union are regulated money transfer services that let you send money abroad safely.
They have measures in place to prevent theft and fraud for both cash collection and online transfers with audits, ID checks, and industry-leading encryption protocols.
3. Ease of Use – Quite Different
- Online-focused transfers on their website and mobile app (available for both Android and iOS)
- 24×7 customer service
- Flexible transfers and customer support: online and offline
- Offline transfers are processed at agent locations (over 500,000 across the world). In the US, they’re integrated at Walmart.
- Easily set up online transfers on Western Union’s mobile app (available for both Android and iOs) and country-specific website
WorldRemit is a great option if you’re comfortable doing everything online. But if you need a bit more support or prefer flexibility, Western Union can be a great choice.
Overall both services have efficient apps and websites, and Western Union is known for their helpful agents offline.
4. Reviews (inc. Negative Ones) — What Others Are Saying
WorldRemit is rated 4.0/5 on Trustpilot with over 54,581 reviews, which is considered “Great.”
- Fast and efficient transfers
- Thorough and safe service
- Competitive exchange rates
Quick and easy to get authorized and verified. Very thorough checks to ensure money is going where it should in amounts authorized. Very fast once verified. Best way to send money.”– Joseph A. Carmody on Trustpilot
“Fastest and easiest way to send money around the world with good exchange rate. Easy to sign up and create account.”– Prashant on Trustpilot
- Delayed/ lost transfers
Your transfers on WorldRemit can be delayed and it seems in some cases lost. Unfortunately some people were scammed (by others) but also issues with ID can also be a cause for delays as WorldRemit tries to ensure money gets to the correct place.
- Incomplete verification/ account frozen
It’s generally easy to get verified on WorldRemit when you sign up, but they may ask for more information (such as transfer purpose, relation to receiver). Also if a red flag is spotted (too frequent transfers, larger transfers, etc.) to protect your money and data the account can be frozen.
Western Union is rated 3.4/5 on Trustpilot with over 21,000 reviews, which is considered “Average.”
- Flexible service: Both online and offline transfers
- Consistently good service
- Fast and safe transfers
“I feel comfortable using Western Union to transfer funds more than other companies. Huge plus is that it’s instant no matter where you send in most cases. Big plus you can do so in the comfort of your home and are advised when funds received. If you need to do a transfer they are the company to use.”– Toby Mendelsohn on Trustpilot
“The service I receive is excellent at the place where I usually go to. The Agents are welcoming and fast. The 2nd place – Walgreens – is self-service, but when I need any kind of help, they help very clearly and fast. Also, my recipient/s have never had any problems at the destinations. I have NO reason not to use Western Union. Thank you.”– Martha Kimani on Trustpilot
“I use Western Union at least once a month, sometimes more. It’s convenient and very secure. On larger transfers (500-1000) I normally get called by western union representatives checking to see if it’s really me sending the money. Again, normally the money is received within 12 hours. I trust them.”– Stephen Tuohy on Trustpilot
- Online customer service
According to the bulk of user reviews we sampled on Trustpilot, Western Union’s customer service online can be difficult. We think this is partially because they try and help everyone and this in turn opens them up to more issues like needing to decline transfers for more people where they are worried about fraud. The good news, their customer support is generally strong at their kiosk locations (agent offices – 500,000+ locations around the world).
In our view, both WorldRemit and Western Union are strong options for sending small cash, bank, and mobile wallet transfers to a wide variety of locations.
Just based on the reviews though, there seems to be a clear difference.
If you go beyond the review numbers (4/5 for World Remit and 3.4/5 for Western Union), World Remit is a better bet especially if you can fund the transfer online. However where cash is involved it looks like the Western Union service is better than the numbers show.
5. Transfer Speeds – One May Be Faster Than The Other
- WorldRemit’s transfer speed varies by service, amount, and location.
- On average, 90% of their transfers are completed within minutes for popular destinations.
- Transfers to more exotic locations (especially bank transfers) may take 3-7 days.
Here’s a quick break down of WorldRemit’s transfer speed by service.
- Within minutes at selected banks. Timings may also depend on:
- The bank
- Day of the week
- Transaction creation time
- Available to collect instantly
- Within minutes
Airtime Top up
- Within minutes
- Western Union’s transfer speed is determined by the services you choose. The three services that determine the transfer speed
- -In Minutes
- -Three Day
- -Next Day
- Cash transfers to 200+ countries can be completed in minutes with their Money In Minutes service (comes with a service guarantee)
- Bank transfers are completed within 3-7 days depending on the chosen service, currency, and amount
Winner: Western Union
As one of the oldest money transfer companies in the world, Western Union clearly knows their customers’ needs, which is reflected in the flexible transfer speeds they offer.
The Money In Minutes is ideal for you if you need to send cash instantly and don’t mind paying a premium (this one can only be funded with a credit card, which makes it more expensive). This service also comes with a time guarantee.
The other two are more affordable, but still more expensive than WorldRemit and other similar services.
WorldRemit’s speed is also pretty good, but Western Union wins this round with their categorized services which set the right expectations.
6. Customer Service and Support — Both Are Good but in Different Ways
- Country-specific phone numbers and live chat
- Phone support is available 24/7 in 6 different languages
- FAQs for common queries and transfer fine print
- Great offline support at agent locations (500,000+ locations)
- Live chat and email support also available (slower)
- Country-specific website and FAQs
Both WorldRemit and Western Union have optimized their customer service to complement their strengths.
As an online-focused service, WorldRemit earns their customers’ trust and makes them feel confident about their transfers with 24×7 online support.
As a traditionally offline-focused service that is known for their instant cash transfers, Western Union makes sure their customers feel supported at their agent locations with hands-on customer service.
With one win for WorldRemit, one for Western Union, and four ties, it can be difficult to say whether one service is better than the other.
No doubt both are safe, efficient, and reliable for your smaller international transfers below below $7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/AUD (especially cash transfers), but they’re not substitutes for each other.
WorldRemit is ideal for you if you need to send personal transfers only (cash, bank, or mobile wallet transfers) worldwide to 150+ countries in 70+ currencies and feel comfortable doing everything online.
Another reason to try WorldRemit is that you can get 4FREE* transfers! (*click the link to see if you qualify) *
T’s & C’s: 4Free applies to the below send/receive countries
- Send: US, AU, CA, UK & FR
- Receive: PH, FJ, ZW, NP, GH, KE, CM, MA, CI & CD
Western Union may be a great choice if you want to send both personal and business transfers worldwide (to 200+ countries) and feel more comfortable setting up your transfer with hands-on support.
So it ultimately depends on your needs.