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All about Western Union: The second largest money transfer provider in the world

Transferring money can often be overwhelming in the sense of safety, scalability and speed, but Western Union has brought the opportunity to send and receive money from country to country conveniently. It even makes it possible for you to send physical cash from one country to another in a matter of minutes for those who are in a hurry, without even having a bank account.

All about Western Union: The second largest money transfer provider in the world
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Western Union is an American multinational financial service company and the second largest money transfer provider in the world, used by many people across the globe for a variety of purposes including sending cash gifts to loved ones, and initiating international payments.

In this guide we’ll go through and discuss everything you need to know about Western Union.

What is Western Union?

Western Union is best known for its international money transfer services. The platform, with a significant amount of market share, provides a means of moving money from person to person and place to place for people who may not have variable options in the traditional financial world. It is also a viable tool for personal use with about 500,000 agent locations in more than 200 countries around the world. Customers can send money by Western Union through the Western Union website, application or simply in person.

How does Western Union work?

Western Union offers both domestic and international transfers to its users all around the world. It has about 500,000 agent locations in more than 200 countries around the world, which help initiate transfers and ensure that the consumer signs the receipt and provides them with a copy.

International transfers are those from one country to another suitable for those who want to send money to a tourist, foreign worker, or international student abroad. You can do this both online and in-person and often with a lower up-front fee than other money transfer methods. Note that international transfers can be quite expensive depending on your chosen payment method, where you are located and the place where you are sending your money to. International money transfers can be quicker than international wire transfers, and you won’t have to deal with bankers to make it happen.

Domestic transfers, however, are those of higher popularity and take place within the same country. This is considered the best option for those who want to send money in a rush. All you have to do is visit a Western Union location and send the money. The process which comes after is just a piece of cake as you write down the name and location of the person you want to send money to and choose how much you want to send. You will then have to give the tracking number to the person on the other end. What’s more is that this can all happen in a matter of minutes at a Western Union location.

Pros & Cons of Western Union

Before jumping in the big game, it is worthwhile knowing the advantages as well as the shortcomings of Western Union just to know what to expect.


Western Union is a widely used payment service provider,  handling more than 1.7 million transactions a day. It offers a variety of tailored options to its customers, helping them better choose their preferred transfer method. It has about 500,000 agent locations in more than 200 countries around the world and provides 24/7 Customer Service through live chat, web, and e-mail. In addition, for those with no intention to initiate a bank account or do not own a credit or debit card, Western Union brings the opportunity to fund a transfer with cash in a matter of minutes.

Need help choosing the best payment service provider? Visit: How to choose a payment service provider?


The fee and exchange rate of Western Union vary significantly depending on a variety of reasons, thus, it is difficult for customers to compare and contrast the costs accurately and the issue does not favor most senders. WU is not the cheapest option. It charges the customer a little bit higher compared to other providers. Moreover, not all countries support platforms with multiple sending channels. This makes it a barrier for customers in countries like Kenya to transfer funds without the interference of an agent. It’s been reported in some cases that the currency exchange of WU has been calculated with a noticeable amount of deviation.


Western Union fees

Just like any other payment service provider, Western Union fees depend on a variety of factors, including the form of payment used, how quickly the money is delivered, whether it is paid in cash or wired to a bank, and the locations of the sender and the recipient. In case of domestic transfers, the more you send, the higher the fee will be. In addition, fees may be higher when using a debit card over the Internet.

With the international transfers, however, you’ll pay a lower fee since Western Union makes money on the currency exchange too. In this case, fees vary from one country to another, based on the exchange rate which adds another element of uncertainty to the cost.

Safety of Western Union

As one of the oldest and most famous money transfer providers in the world, Western Union tries to provide the highest amount of safety for its users in more than 200 countries worldwide. Western Union hires policies and procedures like photo identification and tracking number (MTCN) verification to help make sure money is sent to the right person. Another beneficial feature by Western Union is its program to educate its agents and customers on how to protect themselves from fraud and scams. 

Bottom line

Western Union is an impressive option to choose as a service provider, but for those countries that do not support platforms with multiple sending channels, there are always a bulk of other options on the table to choose from. You can consider trying new services for the foreseeable future if you send money abroad regularly. PayPax online payment gateway is a safe and cross-border option for you to easily switch to. It is highly recommended to those who are looking for international transfers which use the mid-market exchange rate with no hidden costs, and low transparent fees. Excellent service and quality  that you cannot overlook or take too lightly.

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