Personal Features

TransferWise

50

50

TransferWise provides a simple easy to use international money transfer service with digital wallet capabilities. Their digital wallet, or Borderless account also gives the individual local banking details in 6+ currencies including, EUR, SGD, NZD, USD, GBP and AUD. Their TransferWise Borderless debit card backs on to their Borderless digital wallet allowing you to spend directly out of your multi-currency account balances.

What TransferWise offers individuals

  • International money transfers
  • Borderless multi-currency receiving accounts
  • Borderless Debit Card - FX optimised debit card
  • Android and Apple apps
  • Send money to email address

What TransferWise does not offer individuals

  • Personal account management
  • Regular transfers
  • Cash pick up or international bill payments

Western Union

50

50

Western Union lets you transfer money to most countries in the world, either to bank accounts or to cash pickup locations.

What Western Union does

  • International money transfers
  • Cash pick-ups
  • Bill payments
  • Transfers to inmates
  • Prepaid card

What Western Union doesn't do

  • Personal account managers
  • Regular transfers
  • Unique local multi-currency accounts
  • Digital wallets
  • Currency hedging tools

It's a draw!

Western Union and TransferWise both offer international money transfers. Both offer debit ard solutions. 

TransferWise goes the extra mile with unique multi-currency receiving accounts with their Borderless account. Western Union offers cash payments and cash pickup services. Albeit at a higher cost.

It's a draw!
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Draw

Business Benefits

TransferWise

56

56

In addition to the services TransferWise offers the individual, there are some features only available for a business. Unfortunately, as TransferWise is online only, a business customer does not have support with currency fluctuations and trends. TransferWise does however offer easy to use transactional foreign currency receipts and payments.

What TransferWise offers businesses

  • Batch payments
  • Xero and Quickbook integration
  • FX optimised business debit card
  • Multi-user account access

What TransferWise for business doesn’t offer

  • Business account management
  • Risk management tools
  • Regular transfers

Western Union

56

56

Western Union provides various forex services for business customers from a number of countries. 

What Western Union offers businesses

  • Currency hedging tools
  • Mass payments
  • Incoming payments
  • Multi-currency balances
  • Accounting integration

What Western Union doesn’t offer businesses

  • Solutions for online sellers
  • Business travel cards
  • Dedicated currency specialists

It's a draw!

Western Union and TransferWise have an even score for businesses. Both offer accounting integration and multi-currency holding accounts. TransferWise offers more by providing unique foreign banking details. Western Union has risk management solutions for businesses. Neither offer specialized solutions for online sellers. However, TransferWise Borderless could be used as a receiving account for online sellers.

It's a draw!
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Draw

Fees & Exchange Rates

TransferWise

54

54

TransferWise offers the real time exchange rate at the time of your transfer. Therefore fees are visible in addition to the transfer amount. The fee structure is complex as it differs depending on the currencies you are sending from and to. Fees also apply to the type of Borderless account transaction. Fees can also apply on the use of the TransferWise Borderless debit card. Fees are briefly summarised below. Read the detailed TransferWise review for more details on TransferWise fees.

TransferWise ServiceTransferWise fee
Simple International Money Transfer

0.4% - 2% 

Varies on currency and payment type

Adding to TransferWise Borderless account0.4% - 0.5%
Converting between Borderless account0.3% - 0.6%
Sending money out of Borderless accountLess than 0.1% in most cases
Borderless Account Debit Card

No fee for card issuance

Fee free cash withdrawal limit of US$250, 2% thereafter

Zero cost on spend from existing currency balance, 0.24 - 3.69% fee if there is no existing balance


Western Union

0

0

Western Union money transfer fees

Exchange rate margin fee - This can be more than 5% for exotic currencies. 

Additional fees - The transfer fee you need to pay depends on the currencies involved, the transfer amount, the payment method and the delivery method.

  • Cash pickups tend to attract more fees than transfers to bank accounts.
  • With payment methods, credit cards attract the highest fees.

TransferWise wins!

Western Union cannot compete with TransferWise on fees and exchange rates. Western Union has high additional fees and hides much of their fees within poor exchange rates. 

TransferWise
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Winner

Ease of Use

TransferWise

83

83

The TransferWise app design and user experience of their technology is great with simple, intuitive processes.

Registration - Fast and easy account creation

ID verification - Instant in some countries

Transfer speed - It can be instantaneous in some countries. Fast payments to TransferWise comes at an additional cost.

Minimum transfer amount - $1

Mobile app - Simple and easy to use. Probably the best designed app of the international money transfer companies.

Payment options - TransferWise has the broadest range of payment options. Local bank transfer, debit / credit card and country specific solutions such as POLi.


Western Union

64

64

Sign up - Registration is easy and follows an intuitive process.

Payment options -  Bank transfers, debit cards, credit cards and cash.

Mobile apps - Available for Android and iOS

Transfer limits - Based on where you and the recipient live, the transfer method and the payment method.

Multilingual website - Get website access in local languages, depending on which Western Union website you use.


TransferWise wins!

TransferWise’s customer experience is superior to that of Western Union’s. TransferWise has good user experience in their products and onboarding. Money transfer speeds far exceed Western Union for bank to bank money transfers. Western Union’s network of agents can deliver funds for cash pickup very fast also, but their bank to bank transfer speed is average.

TransferWise
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Winner

Support & Countries

TransferWise

88

88

TransferWise’s supported countries vary with different services having different supported customer countries and destination countries. These are detailed in the TransferWise Countries and Currencies article and is summarized below.

Send from - 23 countries plus the Europe SEPA countries

Send to - Over 60 currencies

Borderless account and debit card - Over 6 countries can sign up to their Borderless services.


Western Union

69

69

Supported currencies - Western Union carries out transfers in around 130 currencies.

Supported countries - You can transfer funds to more to 200 countries and territories. You can register through the Western Union website from over 70 countries.

Phone support - Provides local phone support during business hours in several countries.


TransferWise wins!

Western Union support for more countries to send and receive money worldwide. They are an established money transfer company with a vast network of settlement accounts and local country agents. Unfortunately, Western Union customers report poor user experience and customer service. This has led to TransferWise scoring more points and winning the Support & Countries category.

TransferWise
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Winner

Trust & Transparency

TransferWise

63

63

TransferWise is fully regulated by the FCA and their customer funds are segregated from their business banking activities.

TransferWise is rated on TrustPilot as Excellent. Unfortunately there have been some poor reviews on TrustPilot indicating sudden account closures with funds being returned with no explanation.

TransferWise continues to raise capital through private funding. This could be a concern for the future when the shareholders are looking for aggressive growth and / or a return on their investment.


Western Union

44

44

Where Western Union does well

Regulated - Licensed by financial regulatory bodies of different countries.

Publicly listed - Regular audits to oversee safety and compliance procedures result in increased trust surrounding customers' funds.

Western Union challenges

Exchange rate and fee transparency - The Westren Union margin on existing exchange rates can be more than 5% for exotic currencies. Some Western Union reviews on Trustpilot and Play Store mention non-transparency in fees as well.

Customer support - A number of online customer reviews highlight concerns surrounding Western Union's unresponsive customer service.


TransferWise wins!

TransferWise has perfect transparency on fees for international money transfers. Western Union hides the majority of their fees within their exchange rates. This may be justified for cah pickup due to local agent and intermediary costs. 

Unfortunately, Western Union’s TrustPilot score is very low in comparison to TransferWise. Both of these negative points has resulted in TransferWise scoring higher.

TransferWise
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Winner

The Result

Winner ribbon iconWinner

 TransferWise

For bank to bank money transfers TransferWise is the overall winner. If your home and destination countries are supported, and you do not want to transfer cash, TransferWise is the best choice.