11 Western Union alternatives for international transfers


Need to send a payment to someone based overseas? You’re in the right place.

There are many different ways you can make an international transfer, so doing some research in advance is a smart way to cut your costs, and find a service which is perfect for you. Here’s a run down of 11 alternatives to Western Union, to help you find your match:

  1. Wise
  2. MoneyGram
  3. Xoom
  4. PayPal
  5. WorldRemit
  6. Ria Money Transfer
  7. XE
  8. Remitly
  9. Skrill
  10. Payoneer
  11. Azimo


With Wise you can send money all over the world using the mid-market exchange rate with no markups. That means there are no hidden fees, just a simple transparent transfer fee - which often works out much cheaper than alternative providers. Arrange your payment online, and have it delivered to your recipient’s bank account for convenience - it couldn’t be easier.

And if you need to send money overseas often - or just love to shop online with international retailers, you may benefit even more from  the free online Wise multi-currency account. Hold, send and spend dozens of currencies, and get a linked Mastercard for shopping and ATM withdrawals as you travel.


MoneyGram offers online and in person money transfers, through a network of agent locations around the world. You can set up a transfer online or through an app, or visit an agent near you if you’d prefer to pay in cash. Your recipient may then be able to have the money delivered to their bank account or mobile wallet, or for cash collection in person at an agent near them. 

It’s worth noting that not all services are available in all destination countries, and the fees you pay will vary depending on the exact payment you want to make. In addition to any upfront transfer fee you pay. MoneyGram will also add a markup to the exchange rate they offer you, which pushes up the overall cost. 


Xoom is a PayPal company which specialises in sending money online for delivery direct to a bank account, or for cash collection. You can send money to a broad range of destination countries and also reload mobile phones and pay bills, all from your computer or mobile device. 

The fee you pay will depend on where you’re sending to, as well as how you fund the transfer. It’s usually more expensive to pay using a card, and cheaper to send money from your PayPal balance or a linked bank account. However, no matter how you fund the payment, you’ll pay a currency conversion fee - a markup on the exchange rate available.


PayPal is a familiar platform for many of us who love to shop online - and also lets customers send money to people based overseas. Both the sender and the recipient will need a PayPal account - and there are a range of fees you’ll need to consider. 

It’s good to know that PayPal’s fees for sending money overseas are much higher than any domestic transactions. While sending money to someone based in the US may be free, an international payment will cost at least 5% + a 4% currency conversion cost.


Send money online for delivery direct to a bank account, cash pickup, to a mobile wallet or to top up airtime. If you’re sending money for cash collection it should be available within minutes, with bank transfers taking anything from a few minutes to a few days. 

The costs you need to consider will vary depending on where you’re sending to, and the payment and receiving method you choose. You may also find there’s a markup on the exchange rate - compare against the live mid-market exchange rate for your currency to find out.

Ria Money Transfer

Ria has over 447,000 locations worldwide which means there’s probably somewhere local to you if you want to set up a payment. In the US you can even sort out transfers via a 7-Eleven store. Payments can be made for cash collection or delivery to a bank account, and you can model the transfer online to see the fees and check the exchange rate on offer for your currency.


XE is a sister company to Ria Money Transfer - although XE will only allow payments to be made digitally. That means you can’t walk into a location and pay with cash. You can, however, send money in 139 currencies and to over 220 countries and territories.

It’s worth knowing that XE also provides currency data online through a separate service. The exchange rates usually shown here are the mid-market exchange rates - and not the same as those used for XE money transfers. Make sure you’re looking at the correct information before you decide to use XE to send a payment abroad.


You can send money online through Remitly for cash collection, home delivery, direct to a bank account or mobile wallet. Not all services are available in all countries, though. 

Remitly is unusual in that you can choose to pay for an economy or express delivery service for many currency routes, depending on your priorities. That means you may be able to pay an extra fee to make sure your money arrives more quickly, or opt for a lower fee and have your money delivered in a few days. The costs also depend on how you fund the payment, with card payments usually more expensive than bank transfers.


With Skrill you can open an online wallet and send money digitally from your computer or mobile. Getting set up is simple, although you may need to provide some documents for verification and to increase your sending limits. There’s a fee calculator on the Skrill website which shows the charges and exchange rate which will apply to your payment. Remember to compare the exchange rate to the mid-market rate to check you’re happy with the value on offer.


You’ll find a range of products and services available from Payoneer, although many of them are more aimed towards enterprise and ecommerce customers. If you’re thinking about using Payoneer it’s important to look at the terms, conditions and fees. 

For cross border payments, for example, although sending money to someone with a Payoneer account may be free if you don’t need currency conversion, there are charges if you’re sending to someone without their own Payoneer account. There’s a 0.5% fee for currency conversion, and other costs such as a dormancy fee which you’ll want to know about in advance.


Azimo allows customers to send money online and pay using a card or bank transfer. The fee you pay will depend on the amount you send, where you’re sending to, and the way you pay for the transfer. 

Azimo states that the exchange rates on offer are up to 90% better than other banks and providers. Don’t forget, though that this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the very best available - it still pays to do some research before you proceed.

Western Union is one well known money transfer service - but you’ll quickly find that there are many alternatives out there too. Depending on your priorities there might be a different provider which can offer a better deal. Look for a fast and convenient service which uses simple, low fees. You’ll also usually get the best overall price if you choose a provider which offers the mid-market exchange rate like Wise. See if you can save with Wise, today.

Disclaimer: This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

Read more Show less