Xoom vs Western Union

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.

In my quest to find fast, easy, and affordable ways to send money abroad, Xoom and Western Union are top of my list especially because Xoom is owned by PayPal.

xoom vs western union
  • Western Union has over 500,000 agent locations worldwide and can send money to bank accounts or for cash pickup.
  • Xoom, a digital-only service, provides convenience and quick transfers through online platforms. With options for bank account deposits, cash pickup, and even door-to-door delivery.

So, which one is better for you?

In this article, we will compare Xoom and Western Union in terms of coverage, payment methods, transfer speeds and the customer feedback they receive. So you will have a clear picture of which service is more suitable for your situation.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which may save you and do not cost any more. For more information, see my disclaimers here.

1. Quick Overview

Xoom and Western Union are both leading money transfer companies but have different Trustpilot scores. Xoom has a 2.5/5 rating, while Western Union is 3.9/5 rating with 75% positive reviews. Both provide speedy transfers, but Western Union offers wider coverage.

XoomWestern Union
TrustAverage – Low Trust pilot score but they are a Better Business Bureau memberHigh – Good Trust pilot score and regulated in all US states
FeesDepends on the Service chosen, amount, currency pair, and funding method

You can estimate how much you’ll pay in fees on their fees and exchange rate calculator.
Depends on Service chosen, amount, currency pair, and funding method

You can estimate how much you’ll pay in fees on their price estimator.
SpeedInstant (cash), 2-5 business days (bank transfer)Ten minutes (Guaranteed), 24 Hours (cash and bank), 2-5 business days (bank)
Trustpilot Rating“Average” – 2.5/5 with over 22,500 reviews (July 2023)“Great”- 3.9/5 with over 50,000 reviews (July 2023)
Full ReviewXoom (review)Western Union (review)
Official websiteXoom.comWesternUnion.com

Winner: Western Union

Overall, Western Union has a higher Trustpilot rating and more options (transfer speeds) to send money abroad. 
 
However, Xoom is owned by PayPal and registered with the Better Business Bureau, which makes them a trustworthy service too.

2. Xoom vs Western Union: Top Features

XoomWestern Union
Countries and CurrenciesSend money to 130+ countriesSend money to 200+ countries in 130+ currencies
Bank TransferYesYes
Cash TransferYesYes
Personal or BusinessPersonalBusiness and Personal
Physical PresenceNoYes
Transfer GuaranteeNoYes
Instant TransferYesYes
Bill PaymentYesYes
Mobile Top UpYesYes

Winner: Western Union

Even though Xoom and Western Union are at par on most aspects, Western Union has a slight edge because they support even more countries and currencies for money transfers. 

Western Union also offers a transfer guarantee for their Money in Minutes service and they have a great physical presence in the US.

Finally, you can also send business payments with Western Union, while Xoom only supports personal transfers.

3. Xoom vs Western Union: Pros and Cons

Xoom Pros

  • Near-instant cash transfers
  • Home delivery of cash (in some countries)
  • Cash, bank, and mobile wallet transfers
  • Diverse payment methods (funding can be done through bank, debit or credit card, and PayPal balance)
  • Bills payment availability

Xoom Cons

  • Not the cheapest both in fees and exchange rates
  • Personal transfers only
  • Only small amounts less than (2,999 USD / 999 CAD / 1000 EUR)
  • Only available in the UK, US, Canada, and Europe

Western Union Pros

  • Transfer speed options (in minutes, 24 hours, etc.)
  • Send money to 200+ countries in 130+ currencies
  • Cash, bank, and mobile wallet transfers
  • Home delivery of cash (in some countries)
  • Transfer can be set up online or in-person through agent locations
  • Diverse payment methods (funding can be done through cash, debit/credit card, bank, or mobile wallet)
  • Reliable and secure
  • Personal and business transfers

Western Union Cons

  • Can be expensive cause of third-party partners
  • Poor exchange rate
  • Set up for small amounts

Winner: Western Union

Both Xoom and Western Union support international money transfers in small amounts (below $7000 USD) to other bank accounts, mobile wallets, and cash. 

However, Xoom is available in a handful of countries. In contrast, Western Union is available worldwide, supports both business and personal transfers, and has a great physical presence, especially in the US.

4. Xoom vs Western Union: What Others Say (Third-Party Reviews)

Xoom

Trustpilot Score

“Average” – 2.5/5 with over 22,500 reviews (July 2023)

Analysis

Positives

Many reviewers mention the speed and convenience of sending money abroad with Xoom.

Some reviewers said that the fees can be on the higher side than competitors, but overall, they are reasonable for cash transfers. 

We were also curious to dig deeper into Xoom’s negative reviews and understand why they have a low Trustpilot score with only 9% negative reviews.

Negatives

Several reviewers mentioned poor experiences with customer service, including long wait times, vague responses, and unhelpful representatives.

Others expressed frustration with the lack of protection against scams and fraudulent transfers. Typically, PayPal has great consumer protection policies and will get your money back – but it does take some time. 

Many users also reported that their account was abruptly closed – this is Xoom’s fraud protection in action. 

As a regulated service, if they notice any unusual activity, they shut down an account temporarily till the investigation is complete – and we realize this can be scary and frustrating.

What They Said

“I have never sent cash abroad before, but wanted to send cash gift to my daughter in the USA. I found Xoom easy to use, all the information I needed was there on the screen and she was able to travel to her nearest Wall art store and Pick up the money within minutes. Amazing service. I am sure I will use this service again, instead of sending vouchers. Thank you.”

Kathleen Ivison

Western Union

Trustpilot Score

“Great” = 3.9/5 on Trustpilot with over 50,000 reviews (July 2023)

Analysis

Positives

Overall, most reviewers love Western Union for its convenience, reliability, and security when it comes to sending money abroad.
Many have used the service for years and trust that their money will arrive safely.

Surprisingly, they also have a large percentage of 1-star and 2-star reviews.

Negatives

Many customers complained about transfer delays and this can be due to choosing the wrong service or picking a destination or mode of transfer that takes longer. 

Western Union offers guaranteed cash transfers to many locations in a few minutes or in a day, while bank transfers take longer. 

Some customers also encountered various technical issues while using the app or website, such as the automatic selection of a different payee, test questions not being visible, and receiving error messages.

Usually, Western Union is fast and efficient, but sometimes system errors can crop up – waiting a few minutes usually resolves these issues. 

Finally, many reviewers talked about Western Union’s high fees. This is true – they are one of the oldest money transfer services that let you send money pretty much anywhere and charge a premium for it.

What They Said

“I have tried so many methods of sending money to needy families in Kenya, but none is quicker or easier than using Western Union. I am so pleased I decided to try this after trying everything else, and it is easier for the recipient too. To be able to send funds to their Mpesa wallet is a breeze. I can’t thank Western Union enough. Thank you!”

Alexandra Star

Winner: Tie

Analysis of the reviews shows some common themes like transfer delays and poor customer service.  Transfer delays can occur with any provider because sometimes more information is required.

Overall, while they’re both reliable in most cases, we believe you can do better.

5. Xoom vs Western Union: Fees

Xoom

  • Transfer fee (depends on currency and amount)
  • Mark up on the exchange rate

Other Fees

  • Agents may charge an additional fee for the cash payout
  • Sending and receiving bank fees
  • Card fees (if funded by debit or credit card)
  • Fees applicable for bill payment (location specific)

Western Union

Fees depend on

  • Currency Pair
  • Amount
  • Funding method
  • Payout method
  • Service (One-day transfers, Money in Minutes, etc.)

In some situations, Western Union charges over 6% in total fees which is considered expensive (and depends on the variables above).

While transferring cash with them is expensive – if you’re in a rush and want to send cash they can be convenient.

Winner: Tie

Xoom may be cheaper for some transfers but neither is inexpensive. 

They add a margin to the mid-market exchange rate and their transfer fees depend on a lot of variables which makes it hard to figure out exactly what you are paying.

Want to save a bundle? We also wrote a review for Wise for more information.

6. Xoom vs Western Union: Transfer speed

Xoom

Cash transfers: Within minutes

Bill payments and mobile wallet transfers: Within minutes

Bank-to-bank transfers: 2-5 days

Western Union

Cash with Money in Minutes service: 10 minutes (guaranteed)

Mobile wallet: Available within minutes

Bank transfers (Same Day transfer service): 24 hours

Bank transfers (regular): 3-5 days

Winner: Western Union

Both Xoom and Western Union are very fast – but we like that Western Union offers specific service tiers where you can choose how fast you want your money to arrive (which also affects the fees).

7. Alternatives

Wise

Most similar to Xoom, Wise is a digital-based international money transfer service. However, Wise has some advantages over Xoom, such as:

  • low and transparent transaction fees
  • mid-market exchange rates
  • available in 160+ countries and 40+ currencies

Best way to see what we mean is to check out the Wise calculator (no sign up required) for yourself and compare.

What truly distinguishes Wise is its outstanding customer satisfaction, surpassing that of Xoom and Western Union. Wise has an impressive 4.3/5 Trustpilot score which outshines Xoom and Western Union, which holds a rating of only 2.4/5 and 3.9/5 respectively. Read our full Wise review here.

Remitly

Similar to Xoom and Western Union, Remitly also offers cash pickup and door-to-door cash delivery (in some countries) aside from the usual bank and money wallet transfer. However, unlike the two, Remitly has:

  • lower and transparent fees
  • promotional exchange rates for new users
  • express and economy options

Additionally, Remitly provides features such as real-time tracking and notifications to keep senders updated on the progress of their transfers. You can read our full Remitly review here.

OFX

If you are up to sending large amounts and thinking of using a Western Union-verified account, OFX is our recommended alternative. While Western Union serves as a reliable choice for quick and accessible transfers, OFX, on the other hand:

  • specializes in larger transactions
  • provides competitive exchange rates,
  • significantly lower fees, and
  • 24/7 customer support

You can read our OFX review here.

Currencies Direct

Currencies Direct is a great choice for sending money abroad if you live in the US, UK, Canada (except Quebec), Europe (especially Spain and Portugal), or South Africa, and you want to send more than $7000 USD. Currencies Direct has these advantages:

  • Better exchange rates than regular banks or Western Union
  • Zero transfer fees
  • Excellent customer service, with a 4.9/5 rating on Trustpilot

You can easily get a quote for your transfer on their website. To learn more about Currencies Direct, you can read our full review here.

Verdict

With 4 wins for Western Union and 2 ties, on the face of it Western Union is the better bet.

Western Union also stands out with its wide coverage, spanning over 500,000 agent locations worldwide and supporting 130+ currencies, including exotic ones. It’s important to note that Western Union can have much higher fees due to a multitude of fees.

However, if these fees are not a concern and you prefer in-person transactions, Western Union is the better choice for its extensive reach and reliable services.

That said, if your recipient has a bank account, Wise is by far our preferred choice over these two due to low fees, much higher Trustpilot score and general awesomeness.

Ultimately, the best way to make your decision between Xoom and Western Union is to take a close look at their features (above) and fees (above).

Happy Transfers!

Is Xoom good for money transfers?

Yes, Xoom is a subsidiary of PayPal that specializes in fast and secure money transfers. However, their 3rd party reviews are not great and there are some great alternatives.

Who is better than Western Union?

Western Union offers a wide range of money transfer services and there may be better alternatives based on your specific needs. Some standouts include Wise, Remitly, WorldRemit, OFX, Currencies Direct, and Revolut.

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