Sending Money From PayPal To Western Union: How-To, Fees, Alternatives, and More

Byron Mühlberg, writer at
Jun 30, 2022
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Are you wondering how to transfer money from PayPal to Western Union to send money internationally? Is it even possible in the first place? While it can be done, the PayPal and Western Union platforms aren't connected directly, meaning the process can be both time-consuming and expensive due to the steps, fees, and exchange rate margins involved.

In this guide, we delve into three methods available to successfully send money from PayPal to Western Union, what to watch out for along the way, as well as what your best alternatives might be.

Sending from PayPal to WU is pricey. Compare better alternatives:

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Wise is the best alternative to PayPal and Western Union for handling your international payments.

Does Western Union Accept PayPal?

Before we get started, let's address the obvious question — does Western Union accept PayPal as a payment method to fund international money transfers in the first place?

The short answer is no. PayPal is not one of the pay-in methods available on the Western Union platform. This means that to fund your Western Union transfer using your PayPal balance, you'll have a few hoops to jump through to get the job done (which we'll explore below.)

How to Transfer Money From PayPal To Western Union

PayPal and Western Union — two of the most well-known brands in consumer finances — offer very different services to their customers. The former is a world leader in peer-to-peer mobile money transfers, and the latter is the world's largest currency exchange provider.

Unfortunately, because the two services aren't linked directly for convenient money transfers, sending money from your PayPal balance to Western Union can be a long and expensive process. While it's possible to do, we recommend against it if your goal is to transfer money into a foreign currency.

Based on our research, we found that users want to send money from PayPal to Western Union for the following reasons, broadly speaking:

  • To access their own PayPal funds in cash;
  • To send money from PayPal themselves, or somebody else, in a foreign currency.

In this guide, we'll be focusing on online transfers from PayPal to Western Union (i.e. transfers via bank transfer) only, and therefore won't be covering cash pickup transfers, even though some of the methods we discuss apply to them as well.

To get the job done, you'll have the following three options:

1 — Transfer Via a Bank Account

The first way to send money from PayPal to Western Union is to transfer from your PayPal balance — via your bank account — to Western Union. This option is by far the most laborious, as it will entail several steps. First, you'll need to link a US checking account to PayPal (if you've not done so already) and then withdraw the desired funds from PayPal to your bank account. You can then use your bank account to make a transfer over Western Union Online by selecting a bank transfer as your pay-in method.

Useful for: US residents sending money to another person's bank account in a foreign currency

Cost: Approx. 1.5% (per USD 1,000 for bank transfers)

Speed: 2-5 days (if bank account is linked); 5-8 days (if not)

2 — Use a PayPal Card

The second option for sending money from PayPal to Western Union is to use a PayPal debit MasterCard, which you can use to fund your Western Union transfer similarly to how would with any other debit card. However, we do not advise this option as there's a fair chance that PayPal will block these payments as part of its anti-money laundering compliance scheme. Even if your payment does go through, the costs can quickly add up, and if you don't already have a PayPal card, ordering one can take some time to arrive.

Useful for: Sending money to yourself in cash or another person in a foreign currency, if you already have a PayPal debit card

Cost: Approx. USD 2.99 + 1.5% (per USD 1,000 for bank transfers)

Speed: 2-5 days (if you already have a PayPal card); 9-15 days (if not)

3 — Use a WU Card

Using Western Union's Prepaid Mastercard, you'll be able to send money from PayPal to yourself. However, you won't be able to send money directly to a beneficiary with this method, as your PayPal account and your Western Union debit card will need to be in the same name. Once you have linked your PayPal account to your Western Union card (as you would with a normal bank account or credit card), you will then be able to withdraw money from PayPal, into your Western Union prepaid Mastercard, and then finally on to a recipient, if desired.

Best for: Sending money to yourself in cash or another person in a foreign currency, if you already have a WU debit card

Cost: Approx. 1.5% (per $1,000 for bank-to-bank transfers)

Speed: 2-5 days (if you already have a Western Union card); 9-15 days (if not)

Sending Overseas With PayPal or Western Union: Beware the Hidden Fees

As we explored earlier, while it's certainly possible to send money from PayPal to Western Union, we generally recommend against it due to the high fees, poor exchange rates, and long waiting times which inevitably go along with the process.

In fact, at Monito, we typically recommend against using PayPal for most foreign currency transfers altogether. This is because they will charge you a highly variable, nontransparent exchange rate margin fee of anywhere between 2.5% and 4.5% of the entire transfer amount. Similarly, while Western Union is cheaper than PayPal, they can sometimes be a rather expensive choice for bank transfers and cash pickup transfers alike, and we only recommend them to existing customers who are already happy with Western Union and who don't mind using a platform that's only sometimes the cheapest out there.

Instead, if you're planning on sending money overseas, we recommend you make an ordinary bank transfer or card payment to one of the many international money transfer specialist services available to you, most of which allow you to take advantage of fees and exchange rates that come in at a fraction of the cost of PayPal (or even Western Union.) Run a search on Monito's real-time comparison engine below to get the job done quickly and easily:

Compare the Money Transfer Market

Frequently Asked Questions About PayPal To Western Union Transfers

Why Trust Monito?

You’re probably all too familiar with the often outrageous cost of sending money abroad. After facing this frustration themselves back in 2013, co-founders François, Laurent, and Pascal launched a real-time comparison engine to compare the best money transfer services across the globe. Today, Monito’s award-winning comparisons, reviews, and guides are trusted by around 8 million people each year and our recommendations are backed by millions of pricing data points and dozens of expert tests — all allowing you to make the savviest decisions with confidence.

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