What you should know about using Western Union for International Money Transfers

What you should know about using Western Union for International Money Transfers

Western Union International Money Transfers review

Western Union isn’t what she used to be… she’s much more grown-up now. The ever-recognisable yellow and black image, much associated with dodgy convenience stores and anonymous cash transfers to other dodgy convenience stores overseas, has changed. With significant rebranding and investment, Western Union has become one of the premier, non-bank international money transfer providers in the world. While they retain their strong agent network for in-person transfers, they have also developed a user-friendly online interface that feels a lot more professional – which demands our confidence and trust. But better than that? Apples with apples, they are far superior to Moneygram and Paypal on value.


Western Union for International Money Transfers

To properly consider Western Union, they should be viewed in light of their full service capacity. First, for the ‘you and me’ on the street, they should be compared with OFX, Moneygram and possibly Paypal. Second, we can’t dismiss their importance in business money transfers. But one thing at a time…

  • Western Union converts currency directly. That, in itself, highlights possible value – especially given they don’t rely on a third party to do so. As a result, those savings are passed through to us, and the good news is that they can be significant.

  • While they maintain they have in-store presence for sending funds overseas, they have also developed a professional and user-friendly online interface. It is comfortable, intuitive and provides a trustworthy experience. Critical in money matters, I’d say.

  • They offer a sensible and tolerable fee structure – low fees for sending money internationally to developed countries, whether to a bank account or in cash for collection by the recipient. As the destination country’s complexity increases, the fee increases. Fair enough.

As for their business solutions capabilities, they offer risk-management and can help you manage your business by integrating platforms to manage cash and currency exposures.


Western Union Exchange Rates, Fees and Charges

If I can’t see a fee ‘menu’, I’d better not be charged much. Seem fair? I thought so. Well, Western Union ticks that box. Moreover, it takes such little effort to run a test on the fees. The result on the screen is so professional, it would take a pretty poor experience to turn me away. So we turn to the currency conversion to see if they can nudge me towards the competition. Nope, they are a relative winner on this too. Here is an example:

The fee on AUD$5000 transfer to the US online was quoted as AUD$15. For your notes, Moneygram’s was AUD$180! The AUD/USD? exchange rate offered by Western Union was 0.7880. On the same day, Moneygram offered 0.7700, a full 2.2% worse – and that is significant. Write that down. Based on those examples, your total savings, if you went with Western Union, would be $165 on the fee, and about US$90 on the conversion – significantly better than Moneygram.

SEE ALSO: How does Western Union compare to other foreign exchange services?


Our verdict: To Western Union, or not to Western Union?

Western Union is a versatile business and really does stand as the superior in-store cash transfer network in the world. The fact that Australia Post has adopted them as their preferred international payment provider is considered a strong plus with regards to quality and security.

If you need to send funds overseas urgently, Western Union is a great choice. You can do so both in-store or online to receive cash within minutes, or directly to a recipient’s bank account (which takes a little longer). The rates and fees are reasonable, and certainly superior to the banks. For low value international transfers, it’s hard to beat.


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