WorldRemit vs Western Union 2023
Need to make an international payment but are unsure whether you should choose WorldRemit or Western Union? We’ve got you covered with our WorldRemit Vs Western Union guide. We’ll cover:
Side by side feature comparison
International transfers, accounts, and cards
Which provider is cheaper?
Which is faster?
Which is safer?
Summary: WorldRemit and Western Union are both globally recognised for their extensive support for diverse countries and payout options. Western Union typically offers a more competitive rate in our comparison, despite WorldRemit's different delivery methods. While WorldRemit is appreciated for its upfront fee structure, it has relatively lower transfer limits compared to Western Union's wide range. Notably, both providers are regulated by the relevant financial authorities, adding a level of security and trust for their customers.
WorldRemit Vs Western Union: side by side
|Send payments to||130+ countries, 70+ currencies||Available in more than 200 countries and territories|
|Payments to bank accounts||Y||Y|
|Payments for cash collection or home delivery||Y||Cash collection from agent location, No home delivery|
|Payments to mobile money accounts||Y||Y|
|Debit card available||N||Prepaid card|
|Fully licensed and regulated||Y||Y|
WorldRemit supports more countries and currencies than Western Union.
Western Union offers a multi-currency account to support various currencies, an option that WorldRemit does not provide.
Western Union has a prepaid card available for customers, while WorldRemit doesn’t extend this service.
WorldRemit facilitates cash collection, home delivery, payments to mobile money accounts, and airtime top-ups – services not available with Western Union.
Both providers are fully licensed and regulated, assuring their users a reliable platform for their financial transactions.
While WorldRemit and Western Union are fundamentally different, they do have some overlapping services. The most important factor when deciding between them will probably depend on the amount you're sending and how you want your recipient to receive their payment.
Western Union specialises in payments direct to bank accounts, provides a prepaid card, and has a multi-currency account – features that might make it a better fit for larger, regular transactions or users requiring diverse currency options.
On the other hand, WorldRemit, with its wider reach in terms of countries and currencies, and its unique payout options like cash collection and home delivery, might be a better fit for users looking for these specific options or sending money to less commonly served locations. Both companies bring different advantages to the table, and it all boils down to which provider best aligns with your specific needs and circumstances.
The important bits
|Rates||Exchange rates include a markup on the mid-market rate||Exchange rates include a markup on the mid-market rate|
|Fees||Vary by destination - fee is added to the transfer amount||Vary by destination - a service fee is added to the transfer amount|
|Speed||95% of cash collection transfers are ready in minutes, 90% of bank transfers arrive the same day||Agent location cash location transfers are generally delivered within minutes. Direct to Bank deposits typically take between 2 to 5 business days, but vary depending on the country. Domestic money transfers are usually completed in 24 hours.|
|Service||Online, in app and by phone||Online and in app|
|Safety||Fully licensed and regulated||Fully licensed and regulated|
|Reviews (TrustPilot)||4.1 star, Great, 77,512+ reviews|
3.9 stars, Great, 49,768
Rates: Both WorldRemit and Western Union apply a markup to the mid-market exchange rate, meaning that the rate you see may be slightly higher than the actual mid-market rate.
Fees: The fees for both providers vary based on the destination country. WorldRemit and Western Union add a service fee to the transfer amount, with the exact value depending on the specific transaction details.
Speed: The transfer speed for both services is generally quick. For WorldRemit, 95% of cash collection transfers are ready in minutes, and 90% of bank transfers arrive on the same day. With Western Union, transfers for cash collection at agent locations are typically ready within minutes, while direct bank deposits usually take between 2 to 5 business days. Domestic money transfers are generally completed within 24 hours.
Service: Both WorldRemit and Western Union offer services online and in-app. Additionally, WorldRemit also provides customer service by phone.
Safety: Both WorldRemit and Western Union are fully regulated and licensed, ensuring the security of your transactions.
Reviews: According to Trustpilot, WorldRemit holds a 4.1-star rating with over 77,512 reviews, indicating a 'Great' level of customer satisfaction. Western Union slightly lags behind with a 3.9-star rating and around 49,768 reviews, also falling under the 'Great' category.
Pros and cons
✅ Supports transactions to over 130 countries and 70+ currencies.
✅ One of the oldest and most trusted names in the money transfer industry.
✅ Western Union is fully regulated and licensed.
❌ Applies a markup on the mid-market exchange rate.
❌ Doesn’t offer a multi-currency account or a debit card.
❌ Like WorldRemit, Western Union also applies a markup on the mid-market exchange rate.
❌Slightly lower customer satisfaction with a 3.9-star rating on Trustpilot
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 a multi-currency account and a debit card, with a primary focus on transfers to bank accounts and cash collection at agent locations.
About WorldRemit and Western Union
Born from the personal experiences of its founder transferring money from London to his family in East Africa, WorldRemit entered the scene in 2010. WorldRemit’s aim was 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, facilitating payments in 70 currencies to 130 different countries. Their comprehensive payout options - including cash collection, home delivery, airtime top-up, and mobile money transfers - cater to those sending money to regions where banking facilities may be limited, bringing the founder’s mission to life. Learn more: WorldRemit review
Western Union has been well-known in the industry since its inception as a humble telegraph business in Rochester, New York, in 1851. The brainchild of Hiram Sibley and Samuel Selden, Western Union united a fragmented web of telegraph lines into an efficient, unified network, quickly adding money transfer services by 1871.
Fast forward to today, Western Union continues to be a leader in the money transfer industry. With an impressive revenue of $5.2 billion as of 2010, Western Union serves over 150 million customers annually across nearly every country in the world. Their expansive agent network of over 500,000 locations, combined with a digital platform that processes an average of 24 transactions per second, makes international money transfers more accessible and convenient.
How do they work?
The process of using WorldRemit begins with a quick registration and ID verification. 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 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
The fee structures for WorldRemit and Western Union vary and comprise different elements.
WorldRemit fees mainly include a transfer fee and an exchange rate markup. The transfer fee, which varies based on the payment and recipient's collection methods, is clearly displayed during the transaction setup. For instance, to send 1,000 MYR to Australia, the exchange rate for 1 MYR is 0.3199 AUD.
On the other hand, the exchange rate markup might be less obvious, as the rate shown during the setup might differ from the mid-market exchange rate you'll find on Google. While this markup practice is common across many providers, it might make it challenging to understand the total cost of your international transfer.
In comparison, Western Union's fee structure can be more complicated and is made up of both service fees and exchange rate margins. These charges vary based on location, the amount being sent, the recipient's location, and the sending method. It's also worth noting that Western Union's exchange rate margins are hidden.
Here are two examples showing how fees might apply with different transfer methods:
Debit Card Transfer*
|Transfer amount||1,000 MYR||1,000 MYR|
|Transfer fee||2.99 MYR||5.00 MYR|
|Transfer total||1,002.99 MYR||1,005.00 MYR|
|Total to receiver||1,000 MYR||1,000 MYR|
|Service time||1-2 business days||2 business days|
Bank Transfer from MYR to USD*
|Transfer amount||5,000 MYR||5,000 MYR|
|Transfer fee||10.00 MYR||10.00 MYR|
|Transfer total||5,010.00 MYR||5,010.00 MYR|
|Total to receiver (USD)||1,089.25 USD||1,089.25 USD|
|Service time||1-8 business days||Next banking day or minutes|
*Information is taken on 21/07/2023
When comparing these services, it's crucial to consider both the transfer fee and any potential exchange rate markup. While one provider's fees might appear more transparent than the other's, the total cost of the transfer is what ultimately matters.
Exchange rate markup.
Fees vary depending on payment method and how you want your recipient to receive money. Transfer fees are added onto the amount you’re sending.
|Vary by destination - a service fee is added to the transfer amount. Exchange rates include a mark-up on the mid-market rate.|
|No account fees||No account fees|
|Card fees||No debit card available||No|
WorldRemit vs Western Union: which is cheaper?
Selecting a specialised 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.
The following comparison table outlines how WorldRemit and Western Union stack up against each other when sending different amounts in USD and AUD from MYR.
|Amount & Currency||WorldRemit*||Western Union*||Winner?|
|MYR >1000 USD||4604.67 MYR||4,600.31 MYR||Western Union|
|MYR>5000 USD||23023.33 MYR||22,961.57 MYR||Western Union|
|MYR>1000 AUD||3153.25 MYR||3,117.18 MYR||Western Union|
|MYR> 5000 AUD||15766.27 MYR||15,545.92 MYR||Western Union|
*Information taken on 21/07/2023
The table shows that Western Union is the cheaper option in both USD and AUD currencies. They also have high per-transaction limits, which can be particularly useful for larger payments.
However, it's important to note that these costs are for payments made directly to a bank account. WorldRemit has distinct fees for cash payouts, which can be higher due to the additional labour involved. If your recipient needs to collect cash, WorldRemit might still be the better option despite potentially higher fees - especially since Western Union doesn't offer this service.
Both services offer advantages, and the cheaper option will depend on various factors, including the amount you're sending, the currency involved, and the preferred collection method.
WorldRemit Vs Western Union exchange rates
When it comes to currency conversion, WorldRemit and Western Union each offer a different approach. WorldRemit applies a modest markup ranging from 0.5% to 2.5% on the mid-market rate, depending on the specific currency pair. This method is clearly explained on their website, where they provide an easy-to-use calculator showing the final amount destined for the recipient.
Western Union's exchange rates also include a markup on the mid-market rate, but they don't provide these rates openly on their website, making it a bit more complicated to compare. This lack of transparency could affect users' understanding of the exact amount their recipients will obtain
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 agent operating hours, public holidays, or the recipient bank's internal processes.
On the other hand, Western Union's speed varies depending on the chosen delivery method. Their "Money in Minutes" service, allowing pickups at agent locations, typically delivers within minutes. The "Next Day" service is available the following day, while direct bank deposits might take anywhere between 2 to 5 business days, subject to the recipient's country. Their mobile money transfers are also typically completed within minutes, but bill payments can vary based on the selected delivery speed or the biller.
While both services offer fast transfers, their speed hinges on the selected delivery method alongside other external factors that should be considered when choosing a service.
WorldRemit vs Western Union international transfer limits
|WorldRemit limits||Western Union limits|
|A maximum of MYR 150,000 per transfer. A minimum of USD 30 (equivalent in MYR) per transfer. Please note additional details may be required for transactions above MYR 50,000.||Send up to 30,000 MYR online or through the app with a verified profile, or up to RM50,000 by starting your transfer online, then choose to pay in-store.|
Ease of use
Creating an Account: Both WorldRemit and Western Union allow users to create their accounts online or via their respective apps.
Making a Transfer: Users can initiate bank transfers and card payments for sending money with both providers.
Ways to Send Money:
Western Union offers the option to send payments directly to your recipient’s bank account or for cash collection at an agent’s location.
WorldRemit delivery options vary by destination and include cash collection, home delivery, transfer to a debit card, bank account or mobile money account transfer, and airtime top-ups.
WorldRemit services are accessible in six languages: English, Dutch, Danish, Spanish, French, and German.
Western Union, on the other hand, offers its app in 22 languages, including English, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Malay, Norwegian Bokmål, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish.
Minimum & Maximum Amounts:
WorldRemit’s transaction limit is 150,000 MYR per transfer, with a minimum of USD 30 (equivalent in MYR) per transfer. Please note additional details may be required for transactions above MYR 50,000.
Western Union's sending limits can vary depending on the destination country. Send up to 30,000 MYR online or through the app with a verified profile, or up to RM50,000 by starting your transfer online, then choose to pay in-store.
WorldRemit supports 70+ currencies and can arrange payments to 130+ countries. Western Union supports approximately 130 currencies and allows you to send payments to more than 200 countries and territories.
Western Union and WorldRemit are both regulated and meet the legal standards in Malaysia.
WorldRemit, operating as WorldRemit (Malaysia) SDN BHD, has its own regulation badge. They are approved by the Central Bank of Malaysia with a Class-B licence, which allows them to provide digital money remittance services. Learn more: Is WorldRemit safe?
Western Union Payment (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. also operates within Malaysia's laws and is regulated by Bank Negara Malaysia, meaning you can have peace of mind when it comes to your money’s safety. Learn more: Is Western Union safe?
Conclusion: Comparing WorldRemit and Western Union
Both WorldRemit and Western Union are good options for sending money internationally.
WorldRemit stands out for its transparency and ease of use. Their fees are transparent, and they apply a relatively small markup to their exchange rates. Their services are available in six languages, and their user interface is easy to use. However, while the transfer speeds are impressive, their services may be costlier for larger amounts. WorldRemit best suits those prioritising transparency and quick deliveries, particularly for smaller transactions.
On the other hand, Western Union boasts a global presence and supports more languages. They offer flexible transfer options, including cash pickup at agent locations worldwide. However, their fee structure isn't as transparent, and they don't always show how much they add to their exchange rates. Western Union is a good option for people needing flexible ways to send money and a wide global network, especially when sending money to places other companies may not cover.
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
WorldRemit and Western Union facilitate international money transfers but operate differently. WorldRemit adds a small markup to their exchange rates and shows transfer fees clearly, whereas Western Union has a more complex fee structure and includes hidden exchange rate margins.
The choice between WorldRemit and Western Union largely depends on individual needs. If you value transparency and speed, particularly for smaller amounts, WorldRemit may be the better choice. If you need flexible delivery options and a broad global network, Western Union could be more suited to your needs.
Western Union appears to be cheaper for sending large amounts of MYR to both USD and AUD due to lower total costs. However, the overall cost will depend on the specific amount, currency pair, and transfer method chosen.
Both WorldRemit and Western Union offer fast transfer times. Over half of bank deposits sent with WorldRemit are ready within 10 minutes, and 95% of cash collection payments arrive in 3 minutes. Western Union's speed varies depending on the chosen delivery method. Their "Money in Minutes" service, allowing pickups at agent locations, typically delivers within minutes. The "Next Day" service is available the following day, while direct bank deposits might take anywhere between 2 to 5 business days, subject to the recipient's country. However, exact times can vary depending on destination, transfer method, and local banking processes.
WorldRemit supports 70+ currencies while Western Union supports approximately 130 currencies.