Western Union (WU) Business Solutions is a global provider of cross border payment solutions serving small and medium size companies, startups and large organizations including NGOs. You can make cross border transfers, set up mass payments to make it quicker to process large volumes of transactions, and also access financial products to help manage the risk of dealing with foreign currencies.
When you’re choosing a payment partner for your business, you’ll want to check out the costs and services available from a range of providers to get the one which works best for you. This guide covers all you need to know to get started with WU for business, and also highlights a possible alternative, the TransferWise borderless account. Making international payments with TransferWise is up to 19x times cheaper than with PayPal, for example.
This smart new account lets business owners send and receive international payments using the mid-market exchange rate with no markup, hold money across multiple currencies, and access time saving tools such as Xero integration and batch payment options. Signing up is free and there’s no account maintenance fee either.
Western Union business products include options for international payments as well as a range of solutions designed to help businesses trading internationally manage the risk of using foreign currency. There are specialist products for businesses working in sectors such as education, health, finance, and travel, as well as options for NGOs. ¹ ²
Here’s a rundown of everything you need to know:
With Western Union, business owners can send international payments, and access mass payment services to make it easier to process high volumes of cross border transactions. Western Union provides a platform called WU Edge which makes it possible to see all your international payments in one place, and manage money across multiple currencies easily.
Eligible customers can also buy specialist products aimed at minimizing the risk involved in making foreign currency payments.
When you model your transfer, you’ll want to look at the fees as well as the exchange rate used. There may be a transfer fee, although some payments on the EDGE network aren’t charged an upfront fee. Instead, there’s a margin added to the exchange rate used for currency conversion, which is why it’s smart to review both the fees and the rate being offered.
The mid-market exchange rate is a good benchmark to use when you check the conversion rate provided by Western Union. This is the rate which is used on the global financial markets. By comparing these rates, you’ll be able to see if and how much markup has been added to the rate used for business customers.
Although it’s common to add a markup or margin to the exchange rate used for international payments made by business customers not all providers do this. The TransferWise borderless account for business is a good option to consider, with payments made using the mid-market exchange rate, and for a low upfront fee.
You’ll also need to check the way your payment will be made, and whether or not there will be any additional costs to consider. If there are additional charges, these may be as a result of the payment being processed using the SWIFT network. Under this system, several different banks known as intermediaries work together to handle an international payment. These intermediary banks can charge an extra fee for the service they provide.
WU has a global financial network which it uses to limit intermediary fees which are levied on cross border payments processed using the SWIFT network.
Western Union provide international payments to over 200 countries and territories, in some 130 currencies. It’s helpful to know that business payments are not available in all regions. To check if you’ll be able to make your payment with Western Union Business Solutions, you’ll need to log into your account and model the payment. This will also show you the fees and exchange rate which will apply.
On their website WU says that businesses are able to make payments in 54 currencies when using their EDGE platform.
To see the fees applied for your payment, you’ll need to model the transfer on your Western Union business account. This will then show the charges as well as the exchange rate offered for the currency pairing you need to exchange.
If you’ve used Western Union for payments before, you may have visited a WU agent location to make the payment in cash. This is sometimes possible for personal payments, but not for the international transfers made using the WU Business Solutions service. Business payments are all done online, so you’ll need to pay using your held balance, a wire transfer, or credit or debit card, depending on the payment you’re making.
Western Union Business Solutions describe many of their payments as near-real time, meaning the money will arrive almost instantly. However, the exact length of time taken will depend on the details of the payment, where you’re sending money to, and the payment route used. You’ll be able to see more information about the transfer you need to make when you model the payment online.
To get started with Western Union Business Solutions, you may have to talk to a member of the customer support team to check your eligibility and the products which are suitable for you. You’ll be able to get more information by visiting the Western Union business website, and completing an online form to get a call back from a member of the team.
There are also Western Union Business Solution offices in New York, Washington DC, Omaha and Los Angeles.
To learn more about the full range of services on offer from Western Union Business Solutions, you’ll need to connect with a team member to talk through your business needs. WU expert staff will be able to assess the type of products which may suit you, and make recommendations as well as providing pricing and fee information.
To give an idea of the type of services and solutions available, here’s a quick overview.
With Western Union, business customers can make international payments in a broad range of currencies. Small business owners and entrepreneurs can also access foreign currency holding balances, which means you can accept payment in multiple currencies, and hold the money until you need it. There’s also a function which allows in-platform management of invoices, so you can track and pay invoices within the platform instead of needing to manage separate spreadsheets.
Western Union Edge is an international payment platform, aimed at small businesses trading globally. WU Edge is free to access, and provides a central dashboard where you’ll be able to see all of your held balances, issue and pay invoices, and manage your money across multiple currencies. You can make fee free payments in 53 currencies, although there may be a markup added to the exchange rate used in this case.
Western Union Business Solutions offers a mass payment option, to allow companies to make efficient high volume international payments. You can send money to over 170 countries and territories, using 130 different currencies.
Foreign exchange risk management options, including forward contracts, future payments, market orders and option contracts are also available for eligible business customers. These products are used to help companies manage the risk of doing business with suppliers overseas, where they may be paying invoices in foreign currencies. As exchange rates change frequently, it’s hard to know exactly what you’ll need to pay to cover a foreign currency invoice, and FX risk management options exist to help smooth out this risk. These are sophisticated financial tools, and you’ll need to talk through your needs with a WU adviser to understand if they may suit you, and check your eligibility.
Choosing the correct payment provider for your business is important. You’ll want to find a service which supports your needs, makes it simple to manage your money, and offers good value fees. Don’t forget to compare several different providers to find the one which will work best for your business, checking out both traditional banks and modern alternatives such as the TransferWise borderless account for business. You can also create and send your invoices by using our downloadable free invoice templates.
All sources checked July 8 2019
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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