Western Union minimum transfer

Samuel Clennett
30.09.20
4 minute read

If you want to send money internationally, there are a number of different services you can use. One of these is Western Union, one of the big names in global money transfer services.

Here, we’ll look at some of the basics of using Western Union to send money abroad, including the minimum transfer amount and associated fees.

Although of course, Western Union isn’t your only option – and it isn’t always the cheapest. You can also send money internationally with TransferWise, benefiting from low fees, a fast and reliable service, and the real exchange rate guaranteed.

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But more on this later. Let’s start by looking at how transfers with Western Union work.

What is Western Union?

Western Union is a major financial services company based in the US, but operating globally. The company started life all the way back in 1851 and dominated the telegraph and telegram industry in North America.¹

Nowadays, the company specialises in worldwide money transfer services, as well as business and commercial services. It has a whopping 42,000 agent locations² across 200+ countries and territories³.

What is the minimum transfer with Western Union?

Western Union is pretty flexible when it comes to sending small amounts of money. This means you can still use the service even if you’re only paying a friend a few dollars, or making a small purchase.

Here are the minimum transfer values with Western Union when you’re sending in AUD, USD, EUR and GBP:

Sending currencyMinimum transfer value
AUD1 AUD⁴
USD1 USD⁵
EUR1 EUR⁶
GBP1 GBP⁷

As you can see, the minimum transfer values are broadly equivalent across most of the major currencies.

Is there a minimum fee with Western Union?

When sending money with Western Union, you’ll find that fees will vary depending on a number of factors. For example, where you’re sending to and from, how you fund the payment and the method used to pick up the money (i.e. bank transfer, in-person cash pickup). It can also depend on how much you send.

In some cases, there’s no transfer fee at all. For example, whether sending $1⁸ or $1000⁹ from Australia to the United States, there are no transfer fees to pay. Note: this is when sending bank-to-bank – there may be fees for cash pickup or funding the transfer with your credit or debit card.

However, it’s important to remember that the exchange rate applied to your transfer can also cost you money. Many providers, including Western Union, apply a mark-up to the exchange rate so they can make money from the transfer. In some ways it’s like a ‘hidden fee’, making your payment more expensive overall.

This is why it’s always worth comparing exchange rates along with transfer fees when picking a provider.

What are some alternatives to Western Union?

As we’ve mentioned, Western Union isn’t always the cheapest when it comes to international transfers. Here are just a handful of the many other options out there which could save you money:

TransferWise
Sign up for a free multi-currency TransferWise account and you could soon be whizzing money all over the world with low, transparent fees. There are no minimum transfer limits, so as long as the amount is above 0.01 once converted¹⁰, you can send it. There are no minimum transfer fees either.

And even better – you’ll always get the real exchange rate, which means no costly mark-up and a great value transfer every time.

WorldRemit

WorldRemit works in a similar way to Western Union, including the option of arranging cash pickup. It offers low fees and competitive exchange rates, and the minimum transfer amount is 1 AUD¹¹ (or the equivalent in other currencies). Fees vary depending on the amount you’re sending and the destination country, as well as the collection method¹².

XE Money Transfer

XE is another of the big names in global money transfer, offering fee-free payments worldwide and competitive exchange rates that are usually better than banks (but not necessarily the best out there). The minimum amount you can send with XE Money Transfer is 1 AUD¹³ or the currency equivalent, just like other major money transfer services.


As you can see, most of the main international transfer services have the same 1 AUD or equivalent minimum transfer limit, while they differ when it comes to fees. So, with not much to choose between them, it’s a smart idea to focus on exchange rates if you want the best value transfer.

Remember that when you send money with TransferWise, no matter where you’re sending to, you’ll always get the fairest mid-market rate with no margin added on top. This could make your transfer cheaper overall even compared to a fee-free provider.


Western Union is a fast, flexible and reliable way to send money internationally, especially if you only need to send small amounts. It has lots of locations worldwide, and it’s easy to use the service whether online or in your local agent branch. But it always pays to do your homework before hitting ‘send’ on that payment, as there could be a better deal out there. After all, why pay more than you need to?


Sources used:

  1. Wiki - Western Union
  2. WU - Locations
  3. Western Union
  4. WU - Send Money
  5. WU - Send Money
  6. WU - Send Money
  7. WU - Send Money
  8. WU - Send Money
  9. WU - Send Money
  10. TransferWise Australia
  11. Finder - World Remit
  12. TransferWise - World Remit Review
  13. Monito - XE Money Transfer

Sources checked on 23-September 2020.


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 from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. 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.

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