These Are the Best Alternatives to Western Union in 2023
Monito's Managing Editor, Byron has spent several years writing extensively about financial- and migration-related topics.
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Western Union is the world's largest and oldest money transfer company. Active globally, it supports remittances and money transfers to over 130 currencies in over 200 countries and territories. Moreover, Western Union supports multiple pay-in and pay-out methods, from bank transfers to cash transfers and mobile money deposits. There's no denying the fact that Western Union is a behemoth when it comes to money transfers.
However, despite its unparalleled coverage and user base, Western Union is often not the best option for international transfers due to the fees and exchange rate margins that accompany its transfers.
This guide helps you save money by ranking and reviewing the seven best alternatives to Western Union, allowing you to send money internationally more cheaply, no matter your needs and preferences!
Compare now to find the best Western Union alternatives:
To find out more about Western Union and its strengths and weaknesses, be sure to give Monito's video review a watch:
The 7 Best Alternatives to Western Union
- 01. Wise: Best alternative to Western Union for bank transfers
- 02. Remitly: Best alternative to Western Union for cash pick-up
- 03. WorldRemit: Best alternative to Western Union for mobile wallets
- 04. Revolut: Best alternative to Western Union for card deposits
- 05. XE: Best alternative to Western Union for coverage
- 06. OFX: Best alternative to Western Union for large transfers
- 07. FAQ about alternatives to Western Union
Wise — Best for Bank Transfers
Though much younger than Western Union, Wise has nonetheless become extremely popular in recent years for its easy-to-use and low-cost platform for international money transfers. In fact, Wise frequently ranks as the cheapest way to transfer abroad on Monito. Like Western Union, it supports transfers to dozens of foreign currencies worldwide, but unlike WU, it's among the best money transfer services of all on Monito (compare WU's 7.5/10 to Wise's 9.5/10 on our Monito Score ranking) and its mobile app is ranked the best money transfer app. For more, see our side-by-side Western Union vs Wise comparison.
Similarities to WU: You can send money online to a foreign bank account.
Differences to WU: It's usually significantly cheaper.
Cost: Approx. 0.25% - 1%
Coverage: Available in the EEA, UK, US, Singapore, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand and supports transfers to around 57 foreign currencies across the globe.
Speed: 52% of transfers arrive within 20 seconds, 71% within an hour, and 90% within a 24-hour period.¹
Transfer limits: Precise limits vary depending on currency and country, but generally, the minimum transfer is just one US dollar, and the maximum transfer is USD million or currency equivalent.
¹ Q2 2022 Mission Update: Speed
Remitly — Best for Cash Pick-Up
Remitly is a US-based digital remittance app that's very often the fastest and cheapest money transfer app on Monito. Like Western Union, Remitly offers various pay-in and pay-out options and supports currency transfers to over 85 countries worldwide, but unlike Western Union, it's often 2 to 5 times cheaper! See our side-by-side WU vs Remitly comparison to learn more about how the two differ.
Similarities to WU: You can send money to cash pick-up, bank deposit, or mobile wallet deposit.
Differences to WU: It's usually cheaper, especially for cash transfers.
Cost: Approx. 0.5% - 2%
Coverage: Available in Europe, North America, Singapore, and Australia and supports transfers to around 47 currencies.
Speed: Remitly 'Economy' bank transfers take between three and five business days to arrive, while 'Express' card transfers arrive within minutes.
Transfer limits: Exact limits vary depending on currency and country, but generally, the minimum transfer is USD 1, and the maximum transfer is USD 20,000, or currency equivalent.
WorldRemit — Best for Mobile Money
WorldRemit is a UK-based online remittance provider that offers the best way to transfer money internationally to diverse regions globally, including Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America — often being the cheapest transfer app to these countries. Like WU, Remitly, and Wise, WorldRemit lets you send money to mobile wallets in countries overseas (in addition to cash pick-up and bank deposits). However, its rates are generally excellent for this transfer type. See our side-by-side Western Union vs WorldRemit comparison to learn more about how the two differ.
Similarities to WU: You can send money to cash pick-up, bank deposit, or mobile wallet deposit.
Differences to WU: It's usually cheaper, especially for mobile wallet transfers.
Cost: Approx. 1% - 2.5%
Coverage: Available in 56 countries and transfers to as many as 150 foreign currencies.
Speed: Depending on the pay-in methods, payout methods, and countries involved, WorldRemit transfers take anywhere between a few seconds and a few working days to arrive.
Transfer limits: USD 1 - USD 9,000 in the US and GBP 1 - GBP 50,000 in the UK.
Revolut — Best for Card Transfers
One of the most widely used money apps in the world, Revolut Money Transfer is a user-friendly platform that supports credit and debit card payments.
Once you open an account and download the mobile app, all you need to do is navigate to the money transfer page. Input the number of the debit or credit card that you want to send money to, confirm the recipient's name and email, and set the transfer amount. The interface is straightforward and easy to navigate, making it an ideal service for card transfers.
In addition to money transfers, Revolut's mobile app offers a multi-currency account in over 29 currencies, features to help you save money, budget tracking software, and more. Paid plans include travel insurance, travel perks, and higher fee-free allowances for foreign exchange, money transfers, and international ATM withdrawals.
Similarities to WU: Supports online money transfers.
Differences to WU: You can send money to somebody's card.
Bank Transfer Cost: 0.2% - 2.0%
Card Transfer Cost: 0.7% if inside European region, or 2.3% if outside European region.
Coverage: Available from most major currencies to around 28 others worldwide.
Speed: Within 1 business day.
Transfer limits: Up to USD 1 billion or currency equivalent.
XE Money Transfer — Best for Coverage
The world's oldest online money transfer company, XE Money Transfer is widely-known in the world of currency exchange and often offers the best way to transfer money internationally in terms of the number of foreign currencies and countries it covers.
Similarities to WU: The online interface looks similar; it's old-school but robust and quite easy to use.
Differences to WU: It's usually cheaper.
Cost: Approx 0.9%
Coverage: Available globally and supports transfers to 98 foreign currencies.
Speed: 1 - 3 business days.
Transfer limits: USD 1 - USD 500,000.
OFX — Best for Large Transfers
A specialist in large money transfers, OFX is a foreign exchange broker rather than a money transfer platform, meaning that its services are more personalized toward the needs of individual customers. However, you should be making a large transfer (i.e. more than USD 15,000 or equivalent) for OFX to be better-priced than apps like Wise and Remitly.
Similarities to WU: You can send money to over 170 countries.
Differences WU: It's cheaper, especially for very large transfers.
Cost: Approx 0.4% - 1%
Coverage: Available in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK, the US, the EU, Singapore, and Hong Kong. It supports transfers to an impressive 190 countries in over 50 foreign currencies.
Speed: 2 - 5 business days.
Transfer limits: USD 2,000 - USD 2 billion.
How to Find the Cheapest WU Alternative
It's worth stressing that there are many Western Union alternatives, and no single one will necessarily be better than Western Union for every person in every instance. Overall, however, the money transfer apps we outlined above will, on average, be cheaper than Western Union and give additional benefits as well.
However, changing from Western Union to another provider, there are a few other rules of thumb to keep in mind to ensure that you save every extra dollar when sending money internationally for everyday use. These include:
- Open bank accounts that don't charge additional fees for international money transfers. Take a look at our list of the best banks for international travel to find out more.
- Avoid using a credit or debit card to fund your money transfer. If you do, then Revolut is the best option.
- Make sure you choose a safe and fully-licensed money transfer service. All services on Monito adhere to the highest security standards and are among the safest ways to send money internationally.
- Avoid using big banks and PayPal, which are practically never the cheapest way to send (or receive) money overseas.
- Where possible, send money to a bank account or a mobile wallet rather than to a cash pick-up location.
- If you're looking for the cheapest way to exchange money with cash, avoid doing so at bureaux de change or airports.
- Where possible, send one large transfer instead of multiple smaller ones. Larger transfers almost always incur lower percentage fees than smaller transfers. Learn more about making sizeable international money transfers here and about how much you can send internationally here.
- Choose a longer transfer speed if it reduces your fees.
Best Alternatives to Western Union By Country
Western Union is especially popular for sending money to countries like India, Mexico, and the Philippines in particular. According to millions of searches on Monito, here are the best alternatives to Western Union for transfers to these three countries in general:
- Mexico: WorldRemit is the best alternative to Western Union to Mexico. It's usually the cheapest money transfer app to Mexico from the countries where WU is available.
- India: XE Money Transfer is the best alternative to Western Union to India, as it's normally the cheapest money transfer app to Mexico from the countries where WU is available.
- The Philippines: The best alternative to Western Union to the Philippines, Instarem is typically the cheapest money transfer app to Mexico from the countries where WU is available.
Though WorldRemit, XE, and Instarem are usually the cheapest apps for transfers to India, Mexico, and the Philippines, Remitly is even cheaper on your first transfer. Sign up for Remitly with our link to get market-beating rates on your first transfer and then good exchange rates forever after that!
It's important to remember that it's impossible to send money internationally for free and that every currency exchange comes with a cost. However, not all money transfer services are created equal, and some charge you considerably lower fees than others. Monito has reviewed and compared hundreds of money transfer services to simplify your research. Compare them in real-time using our award-winning comparison engine below:
Find the best alternatives to Western Union in real time:
FAQ About Alternatives to Western Union
🏪 Is there an alternative to Western Union?
Yes, there are many alternatives to Western Union! MoneyGram, WU's direct competitor, is the most similar company to Western Union. However, both companies aren't usually the cheapest way to send money internationally. Online money transfer apps like Wise for bank deposits, Remitly for cash pick-up, WorldRemit for mobile wallet deposits, and Revolut for card deposits are a few excellent alternatives to Western Union that will help you save money when transferring internationally!
🏦 Is Western Union better than a bank wire transfer?
Yes, Western Union is normally cheaper than a bank wire transfer. However, if you're interested in saving money, Wise is normally the cheapest online money transfer platform for sending money from one bank account to another overseas. When in doubt, double-check Monito's real-time comparison engine to make sure you're getting the best deal for your money transfer!
🏤 What are other companies like Western Union?
Other companies like Western Union include MoneyGram, Ria, and Small World, which all operate vast global payout networks. However, the cheapest companies like Western Union are Wise for bank deposits, Remitly for cash pick-up, WorldRemit for mobile wallet deposits, and Revolut for card deposits — all of which will normally save you money compared to sending with Western Union or your bank.
💰 Why is Western Union so expensive?
All told, Western Union isn't too expensive, especially if you make an online bank transfer. However, it's not the cheapest service out there. This is because of its fees and exchange rates, which are slightly higher than those of savvier, online-only competitors with lower costs, such as Wise and Remitly.
💸 Is Western Union worth it?
Western Union is worth it when compared to a bank wire transfer overseas. You'll typically save money by picking Western Union over your bank to handle these transfers. However, Western Union isn't worth it compared to savvier competitors such as Wise and Remitly, whose fees and exchange rates are usually lower than Western Union's, making them a better deal for most money transfers where they're available.
Does Western Union have prepaid cards?
Yes, Western Union offers the Netspend prepaid card, which you can top up with direct deposit or at any Western Union location
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