Western Union Money Transfer: Review & Comprehensive Guide | CompareRemit
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Western Union Money Transfer: Review & Comprehensive Guide

Updated on September 12, 2023 12:23 pm
Western Union

When it comes to sending money across borders or even just across town, reliability, speed, and security are non-negotiable factors. In an age where financial transactions are the lifeblood of our interconnected world, one name has stood the test of time: Western Union. With a legacy spanning over a century, Western Union has been the go-to choice for countless individuals and businesses seeking to move money seamlessly.  

As we dive into this comprehensive review and guide to Western Union's money transfer services, we will explore its rich history, the diverse range of financial solutions it offers, and provide you with a step-by-step roadmap to navigate the world of international money transfers.

Whether you're a first-time user seeking clarity or a seasoned sender looking for the latest insights, this article is your go-to resource for harnessing the power of Western Union's global financial solutions. 

Join us as we uncover the secrets to safe, efficient, and convenient cross-border transactions, helping you decide whether Western Union’s money transfer is the right option for your next transfer.

What is Western Union? 

Western Union is a well-established and globally recognized financial services company that specializes in money transfers and cross-border payments. Founded in 1851, it has a long history of providing secure and convenient solutions for sending and receiving money across international borders. 

Western Union allows individuals to send money to recipients in different countries. Senders can initiate transfers through Western Union's agent locations, online platforms, or mobile apps. Recipients can typically collect the funds in their local currency from nearby Western Union locations.

In many regions, Western Union has partnered with mobile money providers to enable financial access and transactions via mobile devices, especially in underserved areas. To further ease the money transfer process, Western Union offers online and mobile applications that enable users to initiate and track money transfers, check exchange rates, and manage their transactions conveniently from their computers or smartphones.

To send money with Western Union, you will need to simply create a free online account. Once you have secured your Western Union login, you can begin the money transfer process through westerunion.com or the Western Union mobile application.

Western Union takes great pride in its global network, allowing customers to easily move their money to over 200 countries: 

  • Australia
  • Mexico
  • Philippines
  • China
  • India
  • Colombia
  • United States
  • Jamaica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Cuba
  • Bangladesh
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong
  • Various United States Military Bases
  • Morocco
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • Spain 
  • Sri Lanka
  • Thailand
  • And more. . . 

How Much Does Western Union Money Transfer Cost? 

The cost of a money transfer with Western Union can vary widely based on several factors, including the amount you're sending, the destination country, the method of payment, and the delivery method. 

Luckily, there is a way you can get an accurate estimate of all the nitty gritty details of your transfer before you even begin the transfer process. If you want to get an estimate of what your transfer fees will look like, navigate to the “Send To” dropdown on the Western Union home page. This is their money transfer calculation tool. You will now select the country you would like to transfer money to. 


Then, you will be taken to a page where you can indicate the exact amount of money you plan to transfer to the country of your choice. This is where you will find all the details having to do with your transfer. Western Union will transparently display information such as your fee breakdown, your exchange rate based on payment method, the variety of ways your recipient can receive their money, how long the transfer will take, any Western Union’s promo codes available to you, and more. 

(At the time of writing this article, new users of Western Union get the offer of having no transfer fees on their first transfer) 


If you are still unsure about your fee breakdown, you can get an accurate estimate of the cost for your specific money transfer by initiating the transfer process or by contacting a Western Union agent. 

How Much Money Can I Send Using Western Union Money Transfer? 

Transfer amount limitations can be placed both by Western Union and the country that your recipient will be receiving their funds in. 

Luckily, Western Union’s transfer limits are very straightforward. With Western Union, you can transfer up to 3,000 USD without identity verification. Once you have verified your identity online or through a Western Union agent, you can transfer up to 5,000 USD. If you are not transferring using USD, your limit is the adjusted equivalent. 

How Long Does Western Union Take to Transfer Money?

The time it takes for a Western Union money transfer to be completed can vary depending on several factors. 

The speed of the transfer can depend on the delivery method chosen. Western Union typically offers options like "Money in Minutes," "Next Day," and "2-5 Days." "Money in Minutes" is the fastest option, allowing the recipient to pick up cash or have the funds delivered within minutes after the transfer is sent. Other options may take longer.

The method you use to pay for the transfer can also impact the time it takes for the funds to be available to the recipient. For example, using a credit card or debit card can result in faster processing compared to paying with cash at an agent location.

Still, to ensure the most convenience for their customers, Western Union typically aims to complete transfers within 0-4 business days, if not completed in minutes. 

Is Western Union Safe? 

Western Union employs several measures to keep your money transfer safe and secure. These measures are designed to protect both senders and recipients from fraud, unauthorized access, and other potential risks. 

Before all else, Western Union adheres to strict AML and KYC regulations, which require them to verify the identities of customers and report suspicious transactions to relevant authorities. This helps prevent money laundering and other illicit activities.

To protect your identity, Western Union requires both senders and recipients to provide valid identification when sending or receiving money.

Western Union uses encryption technology to secure the transmission of sensitive data, such as personal information and financial details. This encryption helps protect your information from interception by unauthorized parties during the transfer process.

Putting the power in your hands, Western Union provides customers with the ability to track their money transfers online or through their customer support services. 

While Western Union takes these security measures seriously, it's also important for customers to play their part in ensuring the safety of their money transfers. This includes safeguarding the Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) and not sharing it with unauthorized individuals, as well as being cautious when sending money to unknown recipients or in response to unsolicited requests.

How to Send Money With Western Union? 

Now for the biggest question you must have: how does Western Union work?

Sending money with Western Union is a straightforward process. Western Union has designed a user-friendly system to ensure the most efficient and hassle free transfers for their customers. 

If you haven’t secured a free login yet, go ahead and sign up for Western Union now. This is how you will begin the money transfer process. You can create an account on the Western Union website or the Western Union app.

Now let's dive into how to transfer money with Western Union: 

  1. Navigate to the "Send Money" option once you have logged into the Western Union site or app. 
  2. Choose the type of service you want to use, such as "Money in Minutes" for quick cash pickup or other options like "Next Day" or "2-5 Days" for different delivery speeds.
  3. Provide the recipient's full name as it appears on their identification, contact information, and the destination country.
  4. Specify the amount you want to send in the currency of your choice. As mentioned before, here, Western Union will display the exchange rate and the approximate amount the recipient will receive in their local currency.
  5. Select your preferred payment method. Western Union accepts various payment options, including credit/debit cards, bank transfers, and cash payments at agent locations. Similar to how it was shown in the money transfer calculation tool, you will see the various payment options offered to you, along with the exchange rates that will apply to each payment method. 
  6. Depending on the amount you're sending and the country regulations, Western Union may require you to verify your identity. Follow the instructions to complete the verification process. 
  7. Review the transfer details, including the recipient's information, the amount, the service type, and the fees. Make sure everything is accurate. Confirm the transfer and proceed to payment.
  8. If you're paying with a credit/debit card or via bank transfer, enter the payment details as prompted. Ensure that the payment information is accurate. If you're paying with cash, visit a nearby Western Union agent location. Provide the agent with the necessary information, including the Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN), and pay the amount you wish to send, along with any associated fees. 
  9. Once the payment is processed, Western Union will provide you with a confirmation number and receipt. Keep this information safe, as you may need it to track or cancel the transfer. If you initiated a "Money in Minutes" transfer, share the Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) with the recipient. They will need this number to collect the funds.

That's it! Your money transfer is complete, and the recipient can collect the funds at a Western Union agent location or through the chosen delivery method. 

How to Contact Western Union? 

Contacting Western Union customer service is designed to be straightforward and easy, and they offer various methods for assistance. 

Western Union provides assistance through a thorough their Help Center–where customers can see a plethora of already-answered questions–their customer care chat, their phone lines, and their agents in physical locations. 

Western Union’s phone number (US): 1-800-325-6000

Pros of Western Union Money Transfer

Based on our research of customer reviews and comparison to other remittance providers, the pros of the Western Union money transfer service are:

  • Amazing Money Calculator Tool. As mentioned above, Western Union has a thorough transfer calculation tool which allows users to get a detailed view of what their transfer will look like before they commit to the process. 
  • Global Reach. Western Union has an extensive network of agent locations in over 200 countries and territories, making it accessible virtually worldwide.
  • Speed. Western Union offers options like "Money in Minutes" for fast transfers, allowing recipients to access funds quickly.
  • Multiple Payment Methods. Customers can choose from various payment methods, including credit/debit cards, bank transfers, and cash payments at agent locations.
  • Reliability. Western Union has a long history and a strong reputation for secure and reliable money transfers.
  • Transfer Cancellations. Western Union typically allows senders to cancel a money transfer and request a refund if certain conditions are met. This provides a safety net for customers in case they have second thoughts or need to correct a mistake.

Cons of Western Union Money Transfer Service

Based on our research of customer reviews and comparison to other remittance providers, the cons of the Western Union service are:

  • Identity Verification: For larger transfers, Western Union may require customers to complete identity verification, which can be time-consuming.
  • Complex Fee Structure: Understanding the fee structure can be complex, and it may not always be clear how fees are calculated. So, trying to calculate your fees without Western Union’s fee calculation is very tricky. 
  • Limits: Western Union sets transaction limits, which can affect the ability to send large sums of money in a single transfer.

Western Union Money Transfer Service: Best Feature

Western Union's standout feature lies in its exceptionally comprehensive and transparent money transfer calculation tool, readily accessible on its homepage. With just a few clicks, you can select your destination country and the amount you wish to send, and voilà, you gain access to a wealth of crucial transfer details. 

Here, Western Union doesn't hold back, providing a complete breakdown of fees, exchange rates based on your chosen payment method, an array of options for your recipient to receive the funds, estimated transfer duration, available promo codes, and more. 

Notably, the tool even takes the complexity out of fee calculations, transparently displaying your total fee, sparing you the need for manual calculations. 

This level of transparency and comprehensive information sets Western Union apart, offering a convenience that many of its competitors simply do not provide.

Western Union Money Transfer Service Alternatives

If you’re looking for an alternative to Western Union’s remittance service, here are some top remittance providers we recommend that offers low fees, excellent exchange rates, and are easy to use: 

Western Union Reviews

Need more assurance about Western Union? Is Western Union legit? Let’s see what users of Western Union have to say. Sourced from multiple platforms, customer reviews of Western Union are: 

Western Union scores a “Great” status on TrustPilot with a TrustScore of 3.9 out of 5. 

I have moved to Portugal but still have a bank account in the US. Moving money from one to the other using Western Union has been safe, easy, efficient and cost saving. Why pay more when you can use one of the best established money transfer companies worldwide.” - Patricia Higgins on TrustPilot

I like Western Union and I had to wait 15 minutes for the review, but I would rather that than PayPal approving any and every transaction and then pull back your cash.” - Jerry Thomasson on CompareRemit

Maricel (HC Pawnshop-Western Union authorized agent) in Bongabong Or. Mdo. Had provided me with a great customer service, showed great patience & understanding. My 1st time to wire money, not only successfully & quickly but also painlessly.” - Myra G. on SiteJabber

Negative reviews pertain to issues with identity verification and transfer cancellations/delays as a result. 

To see even more trusted reviews from users of Western Union, check out CompareRemit’s review page.  

Do We Recommend Western Union Money Transfer?

In conclusion, Western Union has proven itself as a reliable and accessible option for international money transfers and bill payments. Its extensive global network, multiple transfer options, and commitment to security make it a valuable choice for those needing to send funds across borders. For quick and convenient transfers to loved ones or for essential bill payments, Western Union can be an excellent choice. 

We invite you to compare remittance providers using CompareRemit’s comparison tool today to find the best rates, lowest fees, and fastest turnaround times for your specific destination and transfer amount.

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Sending Money To Nepal: eSewa International Money Transfer Service

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Here are the top 5 money transfer service providers from the U.S. to Nepal.XoomPayPal-owned Xoom, a leading digital money transfer provider is one of the fastest, secure and convenient ways to send money from the U.S. to Nepal. The Xoom mobile app or website allows users in the U.S. to send money in an instant to friends and family in Nepal using their U.S. bank account, debit card, or credit card. Xoom has partnered with major banks in Nepal - Everest Bank Ltd., Nabil Bank, Himalayan Bank, Nepal SBI Bank, and others offering instant bank deposits. The money can be transferred to a bank account or picked up from an agent location (from over 4000 cash pickup locations) in Nepal. The maximum transfer amount is $9,000 per transfer when using Xoom transfer. The transfer fee varies depending on the method. Bank transfers are usually free of cost. Fees for payments by card are percentage-based.Do keep in mind that a margin is added to the exchange rate when converting U.S. dollars (USD) into Nepalese rupees (NPR).Wise (formerly known as TransferWise)Wise (Ex-TransferWise) is a London-based financial technology company regulated by (Financial Conduct Authority) FCA in the UK. For online money transfers from the U.S. to Nepal, Wise is a secure, fast, and low-cost option. There are no hidden charges, no marked-up exchange rate. Wise gives you the interbank exchange rate for your transfers. You can pay by direct debit, bank transfer, debit card, or credit card. Bank debit or ACH is the cheapest followed by bank transfer. While payment via credit cards has more fees. Depending on the transfers, the money can be reached in one day or even within seconds. There are limits to how much you can send to Nepal. For larger transfers, Wise might ask you to provide your ID card. 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Everything You Need to Know About Paycard

How do you pay your employees? As an employer, paying your employees is an important part of your business. Direct deposit to your employee's bank account or issuing paper checks are two of the most common ways of compensating them. Gone are the days when employees used to get paid in cash.But what happens when some employees have no bank accounts? This is where paycards come in. Paycards for employees are an alternative option when the employees do not own a bank account, and the employers do not want to pay in hard cash.It is estimated that about 5.4% of U.S. households (approximately 7.1 million) were "unbanked" in 2019, according to the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDCI). An unbanked household means no one in the household had a checking or savings account at a bank or a credit union.For small businesses with employees with no bank accounts, paycards can be a convenient option as a payment option.Direct deposit and paycards both offer the benefit of a paperless payroll distribution process and allow the employer to electronically transfer funds conveniently. While direct deposit is the norm for many businesses, paycards are gaining popularity each year.There are pros and cons of using paycards, and in this blog, we will discuss if paycards are right for your business and employees.What is a Paycard?Paycard is a lot like a prepaid debit card as it is made of plastic and can be pre-loaded. In the case of a paycard, the money loaded comes from the employer in the form of an employee's pay. 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Access mobile appNo credit checkCan be used at ATMs, merchants worldwide, wherever Debit Mastercard or Visa debit cards are acceptedPay bills and make purchasesBook airline and hotel reservations onlineEarn interest on savings accountGet cash back rewardsFDIC insuredMoney protected with Zero Fraud LiabilityKittrell PaycardNo fees to use (there are fees for certain situations)Fee-free ATM network with MoneyPassWebsite and Kittreall AppGet real-time alerts and push notificationsCash back at point-of-sale terminals2-way texting to manage your card and accountCompatible with Apple Wallet, Google Pay, Samsung PayEasy portability (Get direct deposit of stimulus checks, tax refund, benefits)Freeze or unfreeze card on-demandSkylight PaycardZero sign up feeNo credit checkNo minimum balance Personalized your card with a family photo or unique imageManage money anywhere on Mobile AppDirect deposit your government benefits, tax refundsUse anywhere where Visa Debit & Debit Mastercard are acceptedFDIC insuredZero liability protectionPay bills onlineEarn interest on savings accountEarn cash back with Payback RewardsSend money to or receive money from friends and family with Netspend cardsSet text alerts about transactionsRefer a friend and boost your card balanceSkylight overdraft limit is $100 & 3 times/ monthConclusionOverall, paycards can be convenient and cost-effective for employees and employees when compared to paychecks or for those employees with no bank account. 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