Top 7 best Western Union alternatives for sending money abroad
Specialist services like Western Union offer ways to make international payments which can often be cheaper, faster and more convenient than your bank. However, the features and fees offered by each provider do vary – which means it’s a smart move to look at some Western Union alternatives before you dive into your next payment.
Use this guide to see if Western Union’s delivery times, fees and rates are competitive, as we explore our top picks for the 7 best Western Union alternatives, how they compare and why they might be better than Western Union.
Here are the money transfer companies similar to Western Union that we’ll look at – and a word about why:
- Remitly – Economy and Express payments on popular remittance routes
- Wise – Great exchange rates, transparent fees and quick delivery
- WorldRemit – Broad range of payment options around the world
- OFX – 24/7 phone support and no transfer fee
- TorFX – Personal account management options
- Revolut – Feature packed app to manage your money on the move
- MoneyGram – Strong range of payout options and great coverage
Why you should consider alternatives to Western Union
Western Union is one of the best known money transfer brands on the planet, with a huge agent network which covers almost every country in the world. Send money online, in-app or in person, with a range of different ways to pay – and different payout options depending on what suits your recipient.
However, where Western Union can often fall short is on the overall cost of payments. You’ll usually find you pay a transfer fee which varies depending on the destination country and payment type.
The most expensive fee though is often the markup applied to the exchange rate used to switch your dollars to the currency you need. This markup varies by destination and the way you set up your transfer – and can push up the overall cost significantly.
- Cash collection payments can be instant
- Range of ways to pay, and for the money to be received
- Send to almost every country on the planet
- Easy to use app – or an in person service at an agent if you prefer
- Exchange rate markups apply
- Fees vary and can be on the high side
Comparing Cheaper Money Transfer Services like Western Union
To help you decide if Western Union is right for your payment we’ll take a look at 7 international money transfer providers that compare to Western Union. We’ve taken into account their speed, transparency, ease of use and price when transferring money abroad – with more details coming up right after this overview.
|Remitly||Exchange rate includes a markup||Varies by destination and payment type|
|Wise||Mid-market exchange rate||50%+ of payments are instant, 90% arrive in 24 hours|
|WorldRemit||Exchange rate includes a markup||Varies by destination and payment type|
|OFX||Exchange rate includes a markup||Most transfers are received within 24 hours|
|TorFX||Exchange rate includes a markup||1 – 2 working days|
|Revolut||Mid-market exchange rate to plan limits||Varies by destination and payment type|
|MoneyGram||Exchange rate includes a markup||Varies by destination and payment type|
Which Western Union alternative is best for you will depend on the type of payment you want to make, and the destination country.
- Remitly has payments to banks and for cash collection, on popular remittance routes
- Wise may be a great option for fast payments with the mid-market exchange rate
- WorldRemit can help if you want to get your money in cash to someone – fast
- OFX can help if you’d rather talk through your transfer by phone 24/7
- TorFX has a personal service with a range of payment types on offer
- Revolut is good for people looking to manage their budget across currencies
- MoneyGram supports payments globally with a great range of payout options
Remitly was set up to help people sending money home to loved ones on popular remittance routes. You can make a Remitly payment from any of 28 supported sending countries, to around 100 different countries around the world.
Best Remitly features
Send Remitly payments to bank accounts, mobile money accounts and for cash collection, with services and currencies offered varying by destination country. In some cases you’ll be able to opt to pay with a bank transfer, for an economy payment – or with a card for an Express transfer. Express payments may arrive in minutes, while the cheaper Economy option can take 3 to 5 business days to arrive.
- Good range of payout options
- Send to around 100 countries
- Choose cheaper fees or a faster transfer depending on your needs
- Online and in-app service for convenience
- You can’t transfer between ‘sending’ countries
- Exchange rates may include a markup, and there’s usually a transfer fee to pay
Wise was launched as TransferWise in 2011, and now has over 13 million users around the world. You can make cheap, fast international payments or open a Wise multi-currency account to hold and exchange 50+ currencies in one place.
Best Wise features
Wise payments use the mid-market exchange rate with low, transparent fees. Transfers are super fast – over 50% arrive instantly, and nearly all are there within a day.
You can send money with Wise to 80+ countries, and if you’re looking for a way to receive, exchange or easily spend in foreign currencies, you can also get a Wise account.
Wise accounts can hold 50+ currencies, receive payments like a local in up to 10 currencies, and personal customers can also spend in 170+ countries with a linked Wise international debit card.
- Usually the best available exchange rate
- Transparent fees you can see and compare before you make a payment
- Send to 80+ countries, direct to bank accounts
- Open a multi-currency account to get paid in foreign currencies for free
- Fees vary based on payment method and destination
- Accounts are not interest bearing
From the US you can send a payment with WorldRemit to be deposited into the recipient’s bank or mobile money account, collected as cash or received as an airtime top up. There’s a broad range of countries supported with easy online payments funded by bank transfer or card.
Best WorldRemit features
WorldRemit’s key feature is probably the range of ways your recipient can get the money you’re sending, from easy bank deposits to airtime top ups. The option to have money collected in cash is also popular if you need to get money quickly to someone who doesn’t have access to a bank.
Pros of WorldRemit
- Good range of pay in and pay out options from the US
- Send to a broad range of countries on popular routes
- Easy to use online and in-app
Cons of WorldRemit
- Fees vary based on payment type
- Exchange rates will include a markup which varies based on the destination
OFX is a currency specialist which offers international transfers as well as currency risk management services and products for businesses and individuals. Online sellers and business customers can also get a multi-currency account.
Best OFX features
OFX stands out for its personal service. You can call an OFX broker at any time to talk through your options – reassuring if you’re sending a large payment or if you need a currency risk management solution. There are no transfer fees when you send an OFX payment – instead, there’s a small markup added to the exchange rate used to convert your payment, which can represent far better value than using your bank.
- Send in 50+ currencies, to over 190 countries
- No transfer fee
- Most payments arrive in 24 hours
- Personal service by phone
- Exchange rates include a markup
- No cash, checks, bank drafts or credit cards
UK based TorFX has 300,000+ customers, several global offices, and offers a high level of service for international payments and currency risk management solutions. It’s a frequent recipient of customer service awards, and holds the highest possible credit rating.
Best TorFX features
Use TorFX by phone, online or in app, to send one off or recurring payments, and to access currency services including forward contracts and market orders. Services are available for personal and business customers, with TorFX often being highlighted as a top customer support provider in the payments industry.
There are no transfer fees when you send a payment with TorFX. Instead, a charge will be added to the exchange rate used to convert your funds.
- Award winning personal service
- Currency risk management options for individuals and businesses
- Payments can arrive on the same day – or up to 2 days for more exotic currencies
- Make online payments from the equivalent of 100 GBP, with no maximum transfer value
- Exchange rates include a markup
- You’ll need to register an account to see the rates offered and compare the cost of your transfer
Revolut describes itself as a financial super app, with multi-currency accounts for personal and business customers which can hold and exchange 28 currencies. You can also send global payments, and access a range of account features to help you save, invest, budget and more.
Best Revolut features
Revolut has some really great features, even with their no-monthly fee account, the Revolut Standard account. With this option you can exchange up to 1,000 USD a month with the mid-market exchange rate, or upgrade your account for up to 16.99 USD/month to unlock more features.
All accounts come with a linked debit card, some fee free ATM withdrawals and budgeting features to help you arrange your money.
Pros of Revolut
- Choice of account plans to suit different customers
- Access a broad range of banking features
- Exchange in 28+ currencies
- All accounts offer some mid-market rate currency exchange
- 10 fee free international transfers per month included in account plan
Cons of Revolut
- Monthly fees apply to unlock all features
- Out of hours currency exchange fees apply
- Transfer fees of up to 6 USD plus and applicable exchange costs apply once your free transfers and exchange are exhausted
Send money with MoneyGram to 200+ countries and territories from the US, with payout options including bank deposits, cash collection and payments to mobile wallet accounts. MoneyGram is an extremely established payment provider – which, like Western Union, has a great range of agent locations around the world for cash collection services. You can also pay in person in the US at a local agent here if you’d prefer to get a face to face service when sending your transfer.
Best MoneyGram features
Solid range of payout options with a good agent network around the world, which makes MoneyGram a popular pick for sending money to someone for cash collection. Pay by bank transfer or card online, or in cash if you want to visit an agent here in the US to make your payment.
Pros of MoneyGram
- Fantastic global coverage
- Range of pay in and payout options
- Could be a good bet if your recipient is not near a Western Union location for cash collection
Cons of MoneyGram
- Fees vary based on payment destination and type
- Exchange rates include a markup which pushes up costs
Comparing Similar Companies to Western Union
Western Union offers a wide range of accounts, but they may not be for everyone. We went through the alternatives to come up with a summary of each alternative, and why you can choose them over Western Union:
Why you should use Remitly over Western Union
Remitly may be a good Western Union alternative if you want to remit money home quickly.
Remitly payments have a range of fee options and delivery times to suit your personal preferences, and can often be collected in cash locally, or even sent out for home delivery in some destinations.
Why you should use Wise over Western Union
Wise can be a strong Western Union alternative, with currency conversion that always uses the mid-market exchange rate, and transparent transfer charges.
You can also open a Wise personal account for free, with no monthly charges to worry about, to hold and exchange 50+ currencies – worth considering if you travel often or love to shop with a range of international ecommerce stores.
Why you should use WorldRemit over Western Union
WorldRemit may be a good choice if you need the recipient to get their money in cash in the destination country. It’s also a top pick for other pay out types like airtime top ups and mobile wallet deposits.
Why you should use OFX over Western Union
OFX might have the edge over Western Union if you need very high value payments or more complex currency risk management tools. Because OFX has a 24/7 phone service you’ll also be able to talk through your needs with a support agent, which can be reassuring.
Why you should use TorFX over Western Union
Like OFX, TorFX may be the best Western Union alternative for you if you need to manage currency risk, or make high value transfers around the world. TorFX also has decent phone support options – and it’s celebrated for its service, which is delivered with a personal touch. If you’re unsure of the payment type you need, or looking for in person advice, this may be a good bet for you.
Why you should use Revolut over Western Union
Revolut account holders can convert their money from USD to any of dozens of currencies for free even with a standard account. You can then send your cross border payment with Revolut, often for a low fee which may prove better value than Western Union.
Revolut will suit people who want to access a good range of money management tools from their phone – which simply isn’t an option with Western Union.
Why you should use MoneyGram over Western Union
MoneyGram has pretty similar payment options to Western Union – but could be a more convenient option for you if you’re sending money for cash collection and your recipient happens to be close to a MoneyGram location.
If both MoneyGram and Western Union serve the destination you’re sending to, it’s worth comparing the costs to see which is best for your particular payment.
Are the alternatives safe?
Yes. All the Western Union alternatives we’ve picked out for you are reputable businesses which are trusted by their customers, and properly licenced and regulated in the countries in which they operate.
Western Union alternatives conclusion
Western Union offers some great payment services for US customers – but it’s not always the perfect fit. Before you use Western Union to make your international payment check out these Western Union alternatives, to see if one suits you better.
If you want to send money with the real exchange rate, get currency risk management advice, or make a high value transfer, there may be a better option out there for you.
- What can you use instead of Western Union?
Take a look at Western Union alternatives like Wise, Revolut, MoneyGram, OFX, TorFX, Remitly and WorldRemit. Depending on what you need you could get a cheaper service with a better rate and more transparent costs overall.
- How can I avoid Western Union fees?
There are lots of different money transfer providers out there. Use this guide to Western Union alternatives to compare your options and pick a different provider which may offer a cheaper service with more transparent costs overall.
- What is the cheapest way to send money internationally?
Sending money internationally with a specialist online or digital service is often cheaper than using a bank. However, different services have their own rates and fees – so to find the cheapest way to send money internationally in your specific case, you’ll want to compare a few options based on both the transfer fees and the exchange rate markups applied.
- Which is the safest mode of money transfer?
Sending your payment with a properly regulated and trusted provider is essential. Check the money transfer service you pick is reputable – in most cases these services are regulated in the same way as your bank, which makes them just as safe for the services they offer.
- What is the best company to transfer money with?
There’s no single best company to transfer money with. Comparing a few is the best way to get a good deal. At Exiap we only review and compare trusted providers – so you can use our top picks as a starting point to find the best one for you.