Walmart-to-Walmart vs Western Union: Everything you need to know

TransferWise
09.21.20
7 minute read

If you need to send money to a friend or family member, you’ll be able to choose from a wide range of providers depending on the specific services you need. This guide walks through a review of Walmart2Walmart and Western Union, to help you find the right provider for you.

Walmart2Walmart is for domestic payments within the US only, and does not offer international transfers.

To help you save if you’re sending money overseas, we’ll also take a look at TransferWise, a specialist in low cost cross border payments. It’s simple to get started with TransferWise and you can send payments all over the world direct from your phone or computer.

Did you know that over 8 million users have switched to using TransferWise? Low transparent fees and the real mid-market rate mean that transfers often end up costing less.

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TransferWise for sending money

Walmart2Walmart vs Western Union: An overview

To start off, it’s worth noting that Walmart offers various payment services through partnerships with other providers. Walmart2Walmart is a partnership with Ria, and is for payments for cash collection within the US and Puerto Rico only. However, Walmart also has a service provided by MoneyGram, which lets you send money within the US as well as internationally.

This guide will mainly focus on Walmart2Walmart in comparison to payments with Western Union. Let’s take a quick look at how these services measure up.

Ways to send money with Walmart and Western Union

If you want to send money using the Walmart2Walmart service, you’ll be able to pay in cash or using your card, in a local Walmart store in the US and Puerto Rico¹. If you’d rather make a payment online, you’ll be diverted to the Walmart partnership with MoneyGram which allows transfers within the US and abroad, but has a different fee structure. We’ll look at that a little later.

If you use Western Union, you’ll be able to send money online using your card or a bank transfer, by phone, or by visiting a Western Union agent location and paying in cash.² ³

How to receive money with Walmart and Western Union

With Walmart, you’ll be able to decide how your recipient gets their payment when you arrange it. If you use the Walmart2Walmart service your recipient will collect their money in cash at a Walmart store local to them in the US or Puerto Rico. However, if you use the Walmart MoneyGram payment option, you may have other delivery methods to choose from including direct bank deposit or deposit to a mobile wallet.

Western Union provides a range of ways to get your money to your recipient. The specific options available depend on where you’re sending money, but include direct bank deposits, cash for collection at a local Western Union agent, or mobile money transfer.

How long do transfers take?

If you’re sending money with Walmart2Walmart within the US, your cash will typically be ready to pick up in 10 minutes. The only exception is when payments need to be reviewed by the provider before the money is released.

Western Union offers a few different payment options which take differing lengths of time. For cash collection, you can choose to have the money ready in minutes, or available the next day. Direct to bank payments usually take longer - between 2 and 5 days depending on the recipient’s bank.⁴

Countries and territories

Walmart2Walmart is a domestic service, so you can only send money within the US. With Walmart you can also send money internationally through the Walmart2World service, powered by MoneyGram. This option comes with different fees compared to the domestic transfer service.

Western Union is a global organisation, and allows international transfers to over 200 countries and territories, in 139 different currencies.⁵

Limits

Western Union doesn’t use a fixed limit for the amount that can be sent. Instead, you’ll get a personal limit based on where you’re sending money to, the currency, your transaction history and any limits imposed by the recipient’s country, or the agents processing the payment.⁶

If you’re sending money domestically, you’ll be informed of the limits which apply to your specific transaction when you visit the MoneyCentre and arrange your Walmart2Walmart payment. If you’re sending money online using Walmart’s partnership with MoneyGram, the limit for transfers is set at USD10,000.⁷

Customer satisfaction

When you’re deciding on how to make your payment, you’ll want to know you’re using a provider which cares for its customers. One great way to check out live customer feedback and reviews is to use Trustpilot for dynamic, real time information about the customer service on offer.

At the time of writing, Western Union has a score of 3.6/5 on Trustpilot, with over 17,500 reviews aggregated⁸. It’s not possible to get a review of the Walmart MoneyCentre alone, but you can see what customers think of MoneyGram and Ria, which are the payment providers which operate Walmart’s services. MoneyGram hits 4.1/5 on Trustpilot⁹, with Ria coming in slightly higher at 4.4/5. ¹⁰

Security

Western Union, and the providers used by Walmart - Ria and MoneyGram - are major global companies with broad experience in facilitating payments at home and abroad. The security used is industry standard, and will make sure your money is safe.

However, it is well worth noting that cash for collection services are used relatively frequently by fraudsters who prey on vulnerable people. There are a large number of known scams which providers such as Western Union and MoneyGram work to close down, by providing customer education and monitoring for possible fraud. These services are a good choice for criminals because once money has been paid out in cash, it can not usually be retrieved. That means you should never pay anyone you don’t know, and should carefully verify the identity of anyone asking you to send money for cash collection.

There’s plenty of information about how to stay safe when using money transfer services, online.¹¹ ¹²

Walmart vs Western Union: Fees

The fee structures for Western Union and the Walmart payments powered by MoneyGram are somewhat complex, and depend on the type of payment you’re making. Here’s an outline of the costs for making a domestic payment within the US with the different providers.

Payment provider Fees
Walmart2Walmart powered by Ria Domestic payments within the US:
  • Up to USD50 - USD4 fee
  • USD51 - USD,1000 - USD8 fee
  • USD1,001 - USD2,500 - USD16 fee
Walmart payments through MoneyGram[13] Fees for domestic payments within the US vary depending on how your payment is funded, and how your recipient collects is. For example, a payment of USD1,000 within the US would cost:
  • USD1.99 if you pay using a bank transfer, and have the payment deposited to a debit or credit card.
  • USD11.99 if you pay using a card, and have the payment deposited to a debit or credit card.
  • USD7.99 if you pay using a bank transfer, and have the recipient collect the money in cash.
  • USD49.99 if you pay using a card, and have the recipient collect the money in cash.
Western Union¹⁴ Fees for domestic payments within the US vary depending on how your payment is funded, and how your recipient collects is. For example, a payment of USD1,000 within the US would cost:
  • USD0.99 if you pay using a bank transfer, and have the payment deposited to your recipient’s bank.
  • USD72 if you pay using a credit card, and have the payment deposited to your recipient’s bank.
  • USD45 if you pay using a debit card, and have the payment deposited to your recipient’s bank.
  • USD21 if you pay using a bank transfer, and have the recipient collect the money in cash.
  • USD141.99 if you pay using a credit card, and have the recipient collect the money in cash.
  • USD114.99 if you pay using a debit card, and have the recipient collect the money in cash.

Exchange Rates

As we’ve just seen, the fee structure for domestic payments can be a little confusing, However, it can get far more complex when making an international payment, as you’ll also need to take into account the exchange rates used.

That’s because it is common to add a markup to the exchange rate used for cross border payments, which is an additional fee. This can mean you pay more than you expect - or your recipient doesn’t receive as much as you thought they would. You can avoid this issue by choosing an international payment provider which uses the mid-market exchange rate without markup, and charges a transparent fee for the service.

Let’s look at an example.

Say you’re sending USD1,000 to Mexico. As Walmart2Walmart doesn’t support international payments, we’ll take a look at how this payment would work with Western Union, compared to the same payment through TransferWise.

Provider You pay Exchange rate Fee Recipient gets
Western Union¹⁴ USD1,000 22.1238 No fee MXN22,124.00
TransferWise[15] USD1,000 22.4230 USD11.11 MXN22,173.88

*Fees and exchange rates correct at time of research - 17 July 2020

Western Union states that there is no fee for this transfer. That sounds like a great deal until you look at the impact of the exchange rate used. In the example above, your recipient would actually get more if you use TransferWise to process the payment, because Western Union adds a hidden fee to the exchange rate, while TransferWise uses the mid-market rate with a low transparent fee. It’s easier to see what you’re spending - and you’ll save money too.

Whether Western Union or Walmart - or another service entirely - will be best for you will depend on the specifics of your transfer. To make sure you’re getting the best deal available, compare a few services to see how the fees vary. And don’t forget to look closely at the exchange rates used if you want to send money overseas, too.


Sources:
  1. Walmart - Money Transfers
  2. Western Union - Send money
  3. WU Help Centre - How do I send money online?
  4. WU Help Centre - When will my receiver get the money?
  5. WU - About Us
  6. WU Help Centre - How much money can I send with Western Union?
  7. Walmart Moneygram - Sending money
  8. Trustpilot - Western Union
  9. Trustpilot - Moneygram U.S.
  10. Trustpilot - Ria Money Transfer
  11. Ria Money Transfer
  12. Moneygram - Fraud prevention
  13. WU - Fraud awareness
  14. Moneygram - Walmart
  15. WU - Send money
  16. TransferWise

Sources checked July 17, 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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