Western Union Review 8.2

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Company Information

Western Union (WU) is a leading international payments service for individuals and businesses alike. It deals with global corporations, small businesses, and families all over the world. In 2016, the company had completed a total of 791 million transactions for clients. Western Union operates in 200+ countries and territories, and transactions worth $80 billion alone were concluded in 2016. The company has 550,000 agent locations as well as 100,000 automatic teller machines, and kiosks globally. Western Union currently operates in 130+ currencies and completes an estimated 31 transactions every second. It is one of the world’s most recognizable international money transfer services for individuals and businesses.

How Western Union Works

Whether you’re seeking business services or consumer services, Western Union makes it quick and easy to send money online, by telephone, in person, or via the Western Union app. Receiving money is possible via multiple methods including prepaid cards, bank account transfers, mobile wallet options, or in cash at any of the 500,000+ agent locations around the world.

Getting started with Western Union requires searching for a Western Union location, completing the send money section of the Western Union form, and then selecting a cash pickup as well as next-day speed. Once the agent has received the completed Western Union form with the appropriate funds, including the transaction fees for WU, payment can be made.

Western Union allows money services in minutes, next day services, payments to a mobile phone, sending money to a bank account, sending money to an inmate etc. Money transfers can be made via debit card or cash, and agents are standing by to assist at all times.

Who Should Use Western Union?

Western Union is recognized as the de facto gold standard for transferring money around the world. It gained in prominence as a viable alternative to banks, by providing instant money transfers for businesses and consumers. It is ideal for individuals and businesses seeking reliability, financing, and emergency monetary assistance. 

Exchange Rate & Fees

Western Union calculates the foreign exchange rates and fees according to a number of factors. There are $0 fees for sending to anyone in the United States, but international transactions incur fees. For international transfers, it is possible to pay as little as $5. Western Union promises no more than $10 in fees, and the fastest service comes at a fee of just $5. These are applicable to debit cards, and credit cards, for both Western Union agent locations and mobile wallets.

If you transfer from your bank account to a foreign bank account, the fee is no more than $7. If you transfer from your bank account to a Western Union agent location abroad, the fee is no more than $9. Money transfer rates are more expensive. For example, Western Union online charges 4% for AUD, 6% for EUR, 3% for Romania, 4.1% for Spain, 3.1% for Nigeria, 2.1% for India, 3.5% for South Africa etc.

Is Western Union Safe and Reliable?

Western Union offers multiple consumer protections, including strict security protocols for user IDs and passwords, security questions and answers, transport layer security (TLS), the locked padlock on the browser window etc. Western Union has been operational for over 160 years, and utilizes the most sophisticated technology to ensure safe money transfers. These include tracking numbers for verification, photo identification, and a cutting-edge Consumer Protection Center.

How Much Does it Cost to Use Western Union?

Western Union’s costs are indicated by the exchange rates and fees. The fees for sending money depend upon the country in question, the currency in question, and the prevailing exchange rates. It is possible to pay as little as $5 for international transfers, and a maximum of $9 in fees. However, it’s the exchange rates (and spreads) that determine the true cost of international money transfers.

Transfer Speed

Money transfers made through bank accounts are typically available within 2 days. The receiver’s country plays a big part in the length of time it takes to process transactions. Typical transactions can take between 3-5 days. Western Union offers a service known as money in minutes, via debit card or credit card, and the receiver will be subject to the hours of operation at the pickup point.

Western Union Customer Support

Customer support is highly responsive at Western Union. You can contact the company through the online dispute resolution page, by including basic information such as your first name, last name, email, department, subject inquiry, tracking number, etc. Telephone assistance is also available at the following number: 1 800 – 7640, or +32-2643-8941. Customer support representatives work from Monday through Sunday between the hours of 9 AM and 12 AM ET. Western Union can also be contacted via mail in Lithuania, or their headquarters in Englewood, Colorado USA. Media relations can be directed to the Englewood, Colorado USA address as well. The customer support function at Western Union is prompt, professional and reliable.

Special Features

Western Union offers multiple ways to send money. It is possible to send money in person, online, through the mobile app, via telephone. Western Union also offers additional services and features such as paying bills online, paying bills in person, paying bills by telephone, or issuing money orders. Western Union also offers several types of prepaid cards for clients.

Clients Feedback

Client feedback regarding Western Union services are typically rated as great from some 10,801 reviewers. It has a 4/5 rating, which is stellar for an international money transfer services company for individuals and businesses.

Bottom Line

Western Union may not have the best money transfer rates in the world, given that the spread on Forex transactions is higher than non-bank lenders and other operators. However, they have brand name, credibility, and reliability working in their favour. It is one of the biggest, and most respected international money transfer services in the world.


  • Cash pickup available worldwide
  • Multitude of money transfer forms
  • Established company with 160 years in the industry
  • Operates across hundreds of countries in over 130 currencies


  • Takes time to receive money
  • Not the most cost-effective way to send money abroad
  • Other companies offer more savings than Western Union