WorldRemit vs Western Union [2023 Updated]
WorldRemit and Western Union both provide international transfer services online or in-app, to a wide variety of destination countries. If you prefer to pay in cash, it’s good to know that Western Union also has physical US locations to let you pay in person.
This guide covers everything there is to know about WorldRemit vs Western Union, including a full comparison of their features side by side, and a detailed look at the exchange rates, fees and delivery times on offer from each.
Summary: WorldRemit customers can send payments to 140+ countries from the US, with an impressive range of payout options including airtime top ups, mobile wallet transfers, cash for collection and bank deposits. Western Union services are available globally, with higher maximum payment caps but fewer payout options.
The service that’s right for you may simply come down to which option serves your destination, how you want to pay, and how the recipient needs to get the money in the end.
WorldRemit vs Western Union: side by side
WorldRemit and Western Union are safe, regulated and reliable international money transfer services. Here’s an overview of the features and services you can get from both WorldRemit and Western Union.
|Send payments to||140+ countries from the US||200+ countries|
|Bank deposit option||Yes||Yes|
|Cash pickup service||Yes||Yes|
|Mobile money deposit||Yes||No|
|Airtime top up||Yes||No|
|Fully licensed and regulated||Yes||Yes|
|Services for businesses||No||Yes (although this service has recently been acquired by Convera)|
So, to summarize:
- Western Union and WorldRemit both support a very broad selection of countries and currencies
- Western Union offers payments to bank accounts – and in select countries for cash collection – WorldRemit has these options, plus deposits to mobile money accounts and airtime top up
- Western Union options for businesses are now delivered through Convera, WorldRemit is for personal use only
- Both providers are fully regulated
The important bits
|Rates||Exchange rate includes a markup||Exchange rate includes a markup|
|Fees||Variable fee based on the country, currency and service required||Variable fee based on the country, currency and service required|
|Speed||Varied depending on destination and payment type – can take just minutes||Varied depending on destination and payment type – from a few minutes to 2 business days|
|Service||Online and in app||On person, online, in app and by phone|
|Safety||Fully regulated and licensed||Fully regulated and licensed|
|Reviews (TrustPilot)||4.1 star, Great, 79,000+ reviews||3.9 star, Great, 51,000+ reviews|
Rates: Western Union and WorldRemit both add a markup to the rate used to convert currencies
Fees: Western Union and WorldRemit both have variable fees based on the service you need
Speed: Western Union and WorldRemit payments can arrive in just a few minutes but delivery times do vary based on destination
Service: Both providers offer multilingual service in a range of languages, online, in-app and by phone. Western Union also has branches in the US so you can get a face to face service when you need it
Safety: Both providers are fully licensed and regulated
Reviews: Western Union and WorldRemit both score a Great review rating on Trustpilot – Western Union has a slightly lower rating overall
Pros and cons
|Pros||✅Payout options include mobile money deposits, airtime top up, cash collection and bank deposits|
✅Send payments to 140+ countries from the US
✅VSet up payments online and in-app
|✅Global range covering 200 countries|
✅Good range of payout options including cash collection and bank deposits
✅Business services available via Convera
|Cons||❌No business services|
❌Exchange rates include a markup, and there’s a variable fee for transfers
|❌Fees apply which vary by payment type|
❌Exchange rates include a variable markup
WorldRemit vs Western Union: The verdict
The choice between WorldRemit and Western Union largely depends on your individual needs. WorldRemit stands out with its extensive payout options, including bank and mobile money account transfers, cash collection, home delivery, and airtime top-ups.
On the other hand, Western Union, a seasoned player in the industry, offers transfers to bank accounts and for cash collection at agent locations. Western Union also offers higher value transfers and a more robust range of international currencies.
Compare both international money transfer services, looking at the specific service you need – how you want to pay, the destination, and how you’d like the money to be received.
About WorldRemit and Western Union
WorldRemit entered the scene in 2010 with the aim to simplify the lives of those living abroad by streamlining the process of sending money and helping the lives of loved ones.
Today, WorldRemit has a massive 5.7 million customers and offers a range of payout options – including cash collection, home delivery, airtime top-up, and mobile money transfers.
You can send payments with WorldRemit to 140 different countries. Read our WorldRemit money transfer review to learn more.
Western Union was founded in 1861, and has an agent network of 500,000+ locations across almost every country on the planet. As well as in-person payments, Western Union processes an average of 24 digital transactions every second.
You can send payments from the US to 200+ countries and territories with Western Union. Read our complete Western Union money transfer review to learn more.
How do they work?
To use WorldRemit you’ll first need to register. Once your account is ready, you:
- Choose your recipient’s country
- Specify the amount you want to send
- Determine the payment type – how you want to fund the transfer and the delivery method
- Enter the necessary recipient details, which will vary based on your selected delivery method
- Pay for your transfer
With WorldRemit, you can easily track your payment online or via their app. Payments sent to a bank account are dispatched as soon as your payment is received. However, the time it takes to reach the recipient may vary based on their bank’s processes. In contrast, if you opt for cash collection, the payment details will be sent to a local agent who can release the funds as soon as they’re received, typically within minutes.
Using Western Union also starts with an online registration. Once logged in, you:
- Enter the destination for your money transfer
- Confirm the amount and choose the receiving option and payment method
- Provide your recipient’s details, bank details for an online bank transfer, or name and address for cash pickup
- Review and confirm the payment details, then click ‘send’.
Western Union provides a tracking number (MTCN) with every confirmed money transfer, allowing you and your recipient to monitor the fund’s progress online, ensuring transparency at every step. Despite their different approaches, WorldRemit and Western Union simplify the process of international money transfers, focusing on speed, convenience, and user-friendly tracking options.
WorldRemit vs Western Union Fees
WorldRemit and Western Union fees vary depending on where you send to, how you pay, and how you want the money to be received. It’s also worth remembering that the exchange rate used to convert your payment will include a markup – that’s a percentage fee that’s added into the rate you’re offered.
|Fee type||WorldRemit fee||Western Union fee|
|Open account||No fee||No fee|
|Monthly fees||No fee||No fee|
|Send domestic payment||Not available||Variable fees|
|Send international payment||Variable fees based on destination and payment type||Variable fees based on destination and payment type|
|Currency conversion||Markup applies to the exchange rate used||Markup applies to the exchange rate used|
WorldRemit vs Western Union: which is cheaper?
Selecting a specialized international payment service over your bank is typically more economical for sending money abroad. However, fees and rates can fluctuate among providers, making it beneficial to compare a few before making a choice. Luckily it’s easy to get quotes from WorldRemit and Western Union so you can compare the fees, the rate and the amount the recipient gets in the end.
Let’s look at a worked example. This table looks at how much a friend would get if you send money in USD to their account in GBP or INR:
Payments are funded by bank transfer and delivered to the recipient’s bank account:
|Amount & Currency||With WorldRemit recipient gets:||With Western Union recipient gets:||Which is cheaper?|
|1000 USD> INR||80,874.76 INR||82,163.78 INR||Western Union|
|5000 USD> INR||Not available||411,151.51 INR||Western Union|
|1000 USD> GBP||763.58 GBP||774.85 GBP||Western Union|
|5000 USD> GBP||Not available||3,876.89 GBP||Western Union|
*Fees and exchange rates correct at time of research – 16th August 2023
In our comparison Western Union had a broader service range, covering higher value transfers, and also was cheaper where WorldRemit offered a comparable transfer. Each payment is different, so you’ll need to compare your options based on the specific country and currency you’re sending to.
WorldRemit Vs Western Union exchange rates
WorldRemit and Western Union calculate the rate used to convert your money by adding a percentage fee to the mid-market exchange rate. The mid-market exchange rate is the one you’ll see on Google or with a currency converter.
Adding a markup to the exchange rate used for currency conversion is very common but it isn’t easy to spot. And as the percentage is variable depending on the specific details of your payment you’ll need to compare the rates offered, against the mid-market rate you can get from Google every time you want to transfer, to see the markup being used.
WorldRemit vs Western Union: which is faster?
WorldRemit and Western Union, while both efficient, exhibit different speeds when transferring funds. WorldRemit boasts impressive delivery times, with over half of bank deposits ready within 10 minutes, 95% of cash collection payments arriving in 3 minutes, and 90% of mobile money and airtime top-ups accessible within the same 10-minute window. For bank transfers, 90% are available on the same day.
However, these times can fluctuate based on factors like:
- The country and currency you’re sending to
- The value of the payment
- How you fund the transfer
- Public holidays or working hours in the US and the destination country
Western Union payments can take anything from a few minutes to a few days to arrive, depending on the way you send them and how they’ll be received.
With both service you can track your transfer in an app once your money is moving.
WorldRemit Vs Western Union international transfer limits
The amount of money you can send with both service depends on your account status and verification, as well as how you’re sending the money. Here are both providers international money transfer limits:
|WorldRemit limits||Western Union limits|
|Limits cap the amount you can send per transaction and in 24 hours.|
Paying by Apple Pay or card – 9,000 USD per day maximum
Transaction maximum: 5,000 USD by card, 300 USD by Apple Pay
|Send up to 3,000 USD from an unverified account|
Send up to 50,000 USD from a verified account
Higher value payments may be available via some agents
WorldRemit vs Western Union: Payment methods
Both providers let you arrange payments online – Western Union also lets you pay in person. Here are the available payment methods:
WorldRemit: bank account, credit or debit card
Western Union: bank account, credit or debit card, cash in store
WorldRemit vs Western Union: Delivery methods
Both providers have a strong range of payout methods. Here are the available options:
WorldRemit: deposit to bank account, cash collection, mobile money deposit, airtime top up
Western Union: deposit to bank account or cash collection
WorldRemit vs Western Union cash pickup locations
You can arrange cash pickups globally with both providers, to allow your recipient to get their money at a location close to them.
WorldRemit: the countries served are not specified online – if this option is available in your destination you’ll see it when you come to set up your payment
Western Union: 500,000+ agents in 200 countries and territories
WorldRemit Vs Western Union business
WorldRemit does not offer business services.
Western Union did offer a suite of business services, although this part of the business has recently been acquired by Convera. You can still access the types of business services Western Union used to offer, such as international payments for business, using Convera instead.
If you’re looking to make an international business payment, you can check our guide: Best international money transfer app for business
Ease of use
- Creating an account: Create your account online or in app with both WorldRemit and Western Union; with Western Union you can also visit an agent location
- Making a transfer: Both providers allow customers to fund payments with a bank transfer or card. Western Union will also let you pay in cash at an agent location
- Ways to send money: Western Union payments can be sent to bank accounts for deposit or for cash collection. WorldRemit offers bank deposits, cash collection airtime top ups, and payments to mobile money accounts
- Languages: Western Union and WorldRemit services are available in multiple languages
- Minimum & maximum amounts: Western Union payments are capped at 3,000 USD or the equivalent for unverified accounts and 50,000 USD for verified accounts. You may be able to pay more at an agent. WorldRemit payments have limits set by payment type, transfer and by day. There’s usually a 9,000 USD per day maximum, plus a transaction maximum of 5,000 USD by card, or 300 USD by Apple Pay
WorldRemit supports payments to 140+ countries from the US.
Western Union supports payment routes which cover over 200+ countries and territories.
Both Western Union and WorldRemit are regulated and licensed to operate in the US and in the other countries and regions in which they offer services. Both are trusted providers which are established and which use industry standard security measures including dedicated anti-fraud teams.
WorldRemit vs Western Union customer service
You can get in touch with WorldRemit by logging into your account and opening an in-app chat.
Western Union can offer service by phone on 1800 325 6000, using in-app chat, or by visiting an agent location and asking for help.
Conclusion: Comparing WorldRemit and Western Union
In our comparisons, Western Union was cheaper. WorldRemit also has low limits for some payments, which means you’d be unable to send transfers of over 5,000 USD in value. That said, WorldRemit is a strong option for payments for airtime top up or to be deposited to a mobile money account, as these services aren’t available from many providers.
Western Union has bank deposits and cash collection services, relatively high limits once you verify your account, and can cover almost any country in the world.
Ultimately, the choice between these two providers depends largely on individual preferences and needs, and it’s recommended to compare rates, fees, and delivery times between these services and others before making a decision. Always opt for the service that offers the best value and meets your individual requirements.
Western Union vs WorldRemit FAQs
What is the difference between WorldRemit and Western Union?
WorldRemit and Western Union offer international payment services with varying features, coverage and fees. Compare the two for your specific transfer to see which is best for you.
Which is better: WorldRemit or Western Union?
Neither WorldRemit or Western Union is best – it all comes down to your needs and preferences. Both offer slightly different services so it’s best to compare them for the payment you want to make, to help you decide which works for you.
Is WorldRemit or Western Union cheaper?
In our cost comparisons Western Union was cheaper for the transfers we modeled. That said – fees and rates are variable, so it’s best to compare each provider for your specific transfer, to pick the right one for you. Use our handy cost comparison tool to get started.
Is WorldRemit or Western Union faster?
Both are very quick – but the length of time it takes for your transfer to arrive will depend on the details of the service you select. You’ll usually see a delivery estimate in the app before you confirm your transfer, and can then track the payment until it’s received.
How many currencies do WorldRemit and Western Union support?
Western Union supports payments to over 200+ countries and territories. WorldRemit supports payments to 140+ countries from the US.