Western Union

Founded in 1851, Western Union is probably the oldest company of its type still going – and definitely the largest business in the international money transfers world. Although it has other commercial ventures, it is well known as a company who bridges the divide between the developed and developing world, allowing thousands of people to send money abroad wherever they happen to be.

With headquarters in the US, but offices and agents all over the world, Western Union deals with more currencies, in more countries, than anyone else.

 

TransferWise

Part of the new school of digital money transfer startups, TransferWise was founded in 2011 with a mission to end the high banking fees related to international payments – and to be completely transparent about all aspects of its business including fees and currency exchange rates.

TransferWise has become one of the latest success stories of the industry and has regularly received awards for their business success and digital innovation. The company has attracted large amounts of investment from outside sources and uses a peer-to-peer money transfer method as its main basis of operation.

 

Western Union
Amount Received
£ 10,000.00
EUR10,000.00
USDn/a
CADn/a
AUDn/a
£ 334.42 Avg. Saving vs. Banks ?
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Western Union
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Western Union Features

  • 550,000 agent locations
  • 150,000 ATMs and kiosks worldwide
  • Trading in more than 130 currencies
  • Receive money via cash, bank account, mobile wallet or pre-paid card
  • Online security centre including fraud hotline should any suspicious activity occur
  • Founded in 1851 in New York
  • Reward system based on points which leads to monetary discounts
  • Contactable via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, email or phone
  • Western Union Foundation promotes economic development and financial inclusion
  • Regional headquarters in 19 countries

TransferWise Features

  • Peer-to-peer platform
  • Nominal fees on transfers
  • Transfers completed within 1–4 days
  • Borderless accounts without overseas address requirement
  • Offers four currencies: AUD, EUR, GBP or USD
  • Single payment or repeat payment options
  • Provides rate information and fees prior to transfer via online calculator
  • Payments via debit card, Apple Pay, SWIFT transfers and bank transfers
  • Secure payments function available via the TransferWise feature in Facebook Messenger
  • 5-star Trustpilot rating from over 40,000 reviews
  • Uses mid-market rate supplied by Reuters

The pros and cons of using Western Union

pros

One of the largest financial companies in the world 

App on iOS and Android can be used to send money to bank accounts, mobile wallets or agents for cash pickup

Over 500,000 agent locations around the world

A well-respected company operating for over 160 years

Rating of ‘excellent’ on Trustpilot from over 16,000 reviews

Huge social media presence with over 10 million likes on Facebook

Send money via the website, mobile apps or in-person agents

High limits of USD 50,000 when transferring to countries including the UK

24/7 customer service by phone

Super-fast delivery option on the day of transfer

Money transferable from over 200 countries

cons

Not all payment options available in every country

Sending to some countries can be expensive

Exchange rate margins are not transparent

The pros and cons of using

No data available

cons

Not all payment options available in every country

Sending to some countries can be expensive

Exchange rate margins are not transparent

Western Union
Amount Received
£ 10,000.00
EUR10,000.00
USDn/a
CADn/a
AUDn/a
£ 334.42 Avg. Saving vs. Banks ?
Go to site
Compare

Price Comparison

Although Western Union and TransferWise are both at the top of their game, it is difficult to compare the two directly because they have very different business models. For instance, in their own market, Western Union has been criticised for their relatively high fees. But on the other hand, it has an incredible global reach that many of its customers value highly. They are willing to pay these higher costs to get the service that Western Union provides when a lot of its competitors are unable to do so.

One of the major attractions for using TransferWise to send money abroad is that it does not charge any fees for sending money from the UK – although there are some fees from other locations. Perhaps understandably for a relatively new company, costs can vary further away from its base in Europe – but within the European continent its fees and charges are some of the lowest in the industry.

 

International Presence

Western Union has the most impressive global reach of any major international money transfer company. It has offices and agents in over 200 countries and can handle more currencies than any of its competitors. Western Union’s levels of brand awareness are unrivalled and customers and clients are able to use their services in more places than anyone else. Apart from actual banks, Western Union is the easiest and best way to move cash – especially in smaller amounts – to remote areas of the globe.

TransferWise has concentrated on Europe as its main area of business with offices in the UK, Hungary, Ukraine and its founders’ home country of Estonia. But it has also expanded at an astonishing rate and now how operational bases in Japan, the US and Australia – as well as good coverage in Asia. TransferWise has revolutionised the way money transfers are conducted, but at this point it has relatively little reach into Africa.

 

Ease of Use

More currencies handled, more agents and more locations mean that Western Union is used by more people than anyone else. It does concentrate on smaller amounts of money though, so competitors with the ability to move both small and large amounts do have an advantage there in terms of versatility. Relatively higher fees are a negative but the ease of transferring money abroad – whether in person or online – means Western Union continues to be very successful.

The digital innovation that TransferWise has brought to international money transfers has made it one of the giants of the start-up generation of businesses. With a firm commitment to transparency, customers are able to see exactly what is happening and are not hit with any hidden fees – unlike some of their rivals.

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FXcompared.com is an fx money comparison site for international money transfer and to compare rates from currency brokers for sending money abroad. The website and the information provided is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer, solicitation or advice on any financial service or transaction. None of the information presented is intended to form the basis for any investment decision, and no specific recommendations are intended.  FXC Group Ltd and FX Compared Ltd does not provide any guarantees of any data from third parties listed on this website. FX compared Ltd expressly disclaims any and all responsibility for any direct or consequential loss or damage of any kind whatsoever arising directly or indirectly from (i) any error, omission or inaccuracy in any such information or (ii) any action resulting therefrom.