Wise vs Western Union (2024)

Winner

Monito Score

9.5

Go to Wise ❯

Monito Score

8.6

Go to Western Union ❯

  • Customer Satisfaction

Curious how Monito creates these scores?

Learn more about our process

Wise vs Western Union (5)

Wise vs Western Union: Is Wise Better Than Western Union?

Wise vs Western Union (6)

François Briod

Guide

Jarrod Suda

Reviewer

Oct 6, 2023

Advertiser disclosure

Wise and Western Union are both highly credible experts in their industries that you can trust to send your money abroad. As we look closer at these two competitors in this comparison, however, we will find that Wise is generally more affordable because it never charges margins on exchange rates (whereas Western Union's exchange rates are weaker than the mid-market, or "real" exchange rate). Western Union does have an edge when it comes to cash transfers, though, because Wise does not operate any services in paper cash.

Wise is an online service that specializes in sending money by bank transfer, debit or credit card, wire transfer, and several other country-specific transfer methods. They charge some of the industry’s most competitive fees. What is even more unusual and attractive about Wise is that they do not make money by marking up exchange rates.

Western Union is one of the world’s most recognized and largest worldwide money transfer companies in the industry, best known for its cash pay-in and payout options. They have over 550,000 agent locations across 200 countries and territories globally. They also offer online money transfers.

Before you decide whether to go with Wise or Western Union, our side-by-side comparison review will walk you through their security, quality of service, fee schedules, and customer satisfaction.

Compare Wise and Western Union to other top providers:

Wise vs Western Union

  • 01. Which can you trust more? scroll down
  • 02. Which is better for transferring money? scroll down
  • 03. Which has the best fees and exchange rates? scroll down
  • 04. Which is better rated by customers? scroll down
  • 05. Is Transferwise better than Western Union? scroll down

10

9.0

Trust & Credibility

Wise vs Western Union (9)

10

Go to Wise

Wise vs Western Union (10)

9

Go to Western Union

Background check

Background check

Background check

Licensed and authorised in the UK, US, Europe, and other countries.

A publicly-traded company, licensed and authorized by the New York State Department of Financial Services.

Security & reliability

Security & reliability

Security & reliability

HTTPS, segregated client accounts, secure data storage and network.

Fully secure with top-notch security protocols, including segregated user accounts and HTTPS.

Company size

Company size

Company size

16 million customers, 4,500 employees, and $133 billion in annual volumes.

Founded in 1851, WU is arguably the biggest name in the international money transfer world.

Transparent pricing

Transparent pricing

Transparent pricing

No exchange rate margin, only a low transparent fee.

Not fully transparent, around 70% of total fees are not disclosed upfront, but in the FX margin.

Go to Wise

Go to Western Union

Wise vs Western Union: Trust & Credibility

When it comes to trust and reliability, it will be hard to go wrong with either Wise or Western Union. Founded in London, Wise is licensed by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority. Western Union was founded in the United States and is regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services in the US. In addition, both follow legal compliance in every region in which they operate globally.

We don’t see a fundamental difference between Wise or Western Union when it comes to security or trust. Wise is a large company that over 10 million customers trust with their money. Western Union is the oldest and largest money transfer company in the world, with an astounding 150 million customers entrusting the company with their remittances and transfers.

Is Wise Safe?

However, we did award Wise the highest possible score for transparency because they truly lead the international money transfer industry in this area. Wise’s costs are upfront and accessible on their home landing page, and they always use the real exchange rate. Western Union applies an exchange rate that is weaker than the real mid-market rate (which is a form of a hidden cost). We think this can be somewhat misleading to some users who might not know what an exchange rate margin is, which is why Western Union earned a low score.

Wise

Western Union

🖊 Licensing

  • FCA (UK)
  • NBB (EU/EEA)
  • FinCEN (US)
  • … and 11 others

FinCEN (US)

📃 Founded

2011

1851

🔒 Segregated Accounts

💰 Profitable

📈 Publicly Listed

Try Wise ❯Try WU ❯

8.7

8.5

Service & Quality

Wise vs Western Union (13)

8.7

Go to Wise

8.5

Go to Western Union

Opening an account

Opening an account

Opening an account

No exchange rate margin, only a low transparent fee.

Opening an account with Western Union Online is reasonably easy on its website and mobile app.

Making a transfer

Making a transfer

Making a transfer

Very easy, can be done in just a few clicks.

Transferring money with Western Union Online is a speedy and straightforward process for first-time and returning users alike.

Contacting support

Contacting support

Contacting support

Very easy, responsive live chat and phone support available 24/7.

Western Union Online provides a FAQ that's detailed and offers phone support features accessible via the mobile app.

Go to Wise

Go to Western Union

Wise vs Western Union: Service Quality

When it comes to the ease of sending money, Wise has a slight edge over Western Union thanks to its transparent and easy-to-use desktop and mobile interface.

Is Wise Better Than Western Union?

With Wise, transfers vary according to the combination of the sending country and the destination country. For example, if you are transferring money from the UK to India you can pay with your debit or credit card, or directly from your bank account, but if you are sending money from Germany to France, you can make a SOFORT transfer. The mid-market exchange rate and Wise’s fixed fees are displayed before you make the transfer. Wise also calculates fees for you and warns you about potential local bank fees (which they can't control).

Western Union is not solely an online money transfer service. Customers have the option to send and pick up money in cash, receive funds in a bank account, onto a mobile wallet, or on a prepaid card. You are always able to pay with your debit or credit card, and from some locations, you can send money from your bank account via a local bank transfer, by using an online payment system (such as SOFORT, Trustly or iDEAL). Western Union also has a mobile app available. They also offer bill payments as well as money orders.

Transparent Customer Interface

Western Union has a well-designed interface that allows customers to submit their bank details and their recipient’s bank details easily. However, we weren’t impressed with the fact that nearly all of Western Union’s fees were hidden in the exchange rate. Western Union’s weaker exchange rate was not communicated clearly on the sending page. The page seemed rather designed to let customers assume that a standard exchange rate was applied to the final sending amount.

Wise

Western Union

📥 Pay-In

  • Bank transfer
  • Debit/credit card
  • SOFORT
  • Bank transfer
  • Debit/credit card
  • Cash

📤 Pay-Out

  • Bank deposit
  • Mobile wallet deposit
  • Bank deposit
  • Mobile wallet deposit
  • Cash deposit

⬇ Min. Transfer

1

1

⬆ Max. Transfer

$1,000,000¹

$20,000 (varies)

💱 Currencies

57

150

💬 Languages

English, French, German, Hungarian, Japanese, Polish, Portugese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Turkish

English, French, Spanish, Polish, German, Danish, Finnish, Japanese, Dutch, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, Chinese, Italian

Try Wise ❯Try WU ❯

10

7.9

Fees & Exchange Rates

Wise vs Western Union (17)

10

Go to Wise

Wise vs Western Union (18)

7.9

Go to Western Union

Transfers to a bank account

Transfers to a bank account

Transfers to a bank account

Extremely cheap and competitive on Monito.

Great pricing when sending money to a bank account.

Go to Wise

Go to Western Union

Wise vs Western Union: Fees & Exchange Rates

Both Wise and Western Union are far cheaper and faster ways to transfer money abroad than traditional high-street banks. However, Wise is very often the cheaper option between the two, no matter what country you are sending to or from. Based on searches done on the Monito comparison engine, Western Union is seldom the cheapest money transfer service of all for bank transfers.

Wise Exchange Rate

Unlike Western Union, Wise charges no exchange rate margin (it does not exchange currency lower than the mid-market rate and does not keep the difference). Wise makes its money by adding a small percentage or fixed fee onto every transfer. These fees are transparent and can be seen on the sending page or Wise's dedicated fees calculator. Fees are always very clearly displayed, and if there is a local bank fee that may be added, they alert you to that.

Fees at Western Union vary — they depend on how much money you send, the countries you're sending money to and from, plus the pay-in and pay-out methods you choose. Paying for your transfer with a credit or debit card and receiving the money in cash is sometimes the most costly mix. Overall, picking up money at an agent location usually incurs higher costs than sending money online.

Exchange Rate Margins

Overall, during our tests, we found that Western Union makes up on average 20% of its profit via exchange rate margins. Note that Western Union’s exchange rates may become better the larger the amount you send.

Western Union vs. Wise Fees Comparison

Take a look at the table below to get a better picture of how this works:

Wise

Western Union

💱 Exchange Rate Margin

2.7-10%

💸 Additional Fees

0.4%-2.8%

  • USD 7
  • EUR 0
  • AUD 0
  • GBP 0
Try Wise ❯Try WU ❯

Last updated: 6/10/2023

Rates of providers change constantly and vary depending on the locations of the sender and receiver. To ease the process of finding the cheapest international money transfer service, run a search on Monito's live comparison engine:

Compare Wise Money Transfer and Western Union To Other Top Providers

9.4

8.9

Customer Satisfaction

Wise vs Western Union (21)

9.4

Go to Wise

Wise vs Western Union (22)

8.9

Go to Western Union

Trustpilot reviews

Trustpilot reviews

Trustpilot reviews

Very good reviews on Trustpilot.

3.9 out of 5 stars from around 48,000 reviews on Trustpilot.

App Store reviews

App Store reviews

App Store reviews

Outstanding App Store reviews.

4.8 out of 5 stars from 599,000 reviews on the App Store.

Google Play reviews

Google Play reviews

Google Play reviews

Very good reviews on Google Play.

4.6 out of 5 stars from over 10,000,000 users on Google Play.

Go to Wise

Go to Western Union

Wise vs Western Union: Customer Satisfaction

Based on how customers review Wise and Western Union, it was clear that Wise customers seemed happier with their service.

Wise received a 4.5 out of 5 stars from Trustpilot with overwhelmingly positive reviews. Around 85% of 116 thousand customers rating the service five out of five stars. Western Union, on the other hand, received only 2.6 out of 5 stars from over 18 thousand reviews on Trustpilot.

While Western Union is trusted by a larger base of customers, Wise has a larger proportion of its customer base that is satisfied with their work.

Wise vs Western Union: Is Wise Better Than Western Union For You?

In most cases, the experts at Monito recommend Wise over Western Union, especially for international bank account transfers. Wise will show you every fee that is calculated into the final sending amount upfront and will send your money in a matter of days and even hours.

We only recommend using Western Union over Wise for cash pick up, which is a service that Wise does not provide. If you’d like to learn more, then we recommend reading our in-depth review on Western Union and our review on Wise.

For certain countries and at certain times in the year, companies can change their fee schedules. Therefore, we recommend comparing money transfer providers on Monito's real-time comparison engine to find the best deal for your transfer in real-time.

Go to Wise ❯

or compare transfer services

Why You Can Trust Monito

Wise vs Western Union (23)

Our recommendations are built on rock-solid experience.

  • We've reviewed 50+ money transfer providers
  • We've made 100+ test transfers
  • Our writers have been testing providers since 2013

Learn more about us

Monito's Side-by-Side Comparisons of Other Cheap International Money Transfer Services

Sites Like Wise January 8, 2024 - by Byron Mühlberg The Best Western Alternatives December 28, 2023 - by Lydia Kibet Receive Money from Western Union November 28, 2023 - by Lydia Kibet How Much Are Western Union's Fees? October 12, 2023 - by Jarrod Suda Wise vs Western Union October 6, 2023 - by François Briod Western Union Review October 6, 2023 - by Byron Mühlberg Western Union to GCash October 6, 2023 - by Jarrod Suda

Why Trust Monito?

You’re probably all too familiar with the often outrageous cost of sending money abroad. After facing this frustration themselves back in 2013, co-founders François, Laurent, and Pascal launched a real-time comparison engine to compare the best money transfer services across the globe. Today, Monito’s award-winning comparisons, reviews, and guides are trusted by around 8 million people each year and our recommendations are backed by millions of pricing data points and dozens of expert tests — all allowing you to make the savviest decisions with confidence.

Learn More About Monito

  • Wise vs Western Union (31)

    Monito is trusted by 15+ million users across the globe.

  • Wise vs Western Union (32)

    Monito's experts spend hours researching and testing services so that you don't have to.

  • Wise vs Western Union (33)

    Our recommendations are always unbiased and independent.

Wise vs Western Union (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Carlyn Walter

Last Updated:

Views: 6040

Rating: 5 / 5 (70 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Carlyn Walter

Birthday: 1996-01-03

Address: Suite 452 40815 Denyse Extensions, Sengermouth, OR 42374

Phone: +8501809515404

Job: Manufacturing Technician

Hobby: Table tennis, Archery, Vacation, Metal detecting, Yo-yoing, Crocheting, Creative writing

Introduction: My name is Carlyn Walter, I am a lively, glamorous, healthy, clean, powerful, calm, combative person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.