If you need to receive an international transfer with AIB Ireland, read this article to discover all about it.
If you need to send money overseas to a friend or relative you may be feeling overwhelmed by the range of international transfer services out there. Each provider has its own processes, features and fees - so doing a bit of research is the best way to get a good deal for your specific needs.
This guide covers all you need to know about how to send money with Western Union, including the fees, exchange rates, and steps you’ll need to take to get started. We’ll also introduce an alternative as a comparison - Wise. With Wise you can send online payments easily, using the mid-market exchange rate with no markups. No hidden charges, no unpleasant surprises. It’s simple, it’s fast, and it can help you save.
Western Union fees depend on a range of factors. These include:
- The destination country you’re sending to
- The way you pay for your transfer
- The way you want your recipient to get the money
Both the upfront fees you pay, and the exchange rate you’re offered will vary according to these factors.
In general, sending money for cash collection is more expensive than sending it as a direct payment to your recipient’s bank account. Paying for your transfer at an agent location may also cost more than setting the whole payment up online. You may not get the same exchange rate online as you do in person.
If you’re sending your payment online, the costs will also vary depending on whether you want to fund it with a bank transfer, or using a card. Usually paying with a card costs more.
You can check the fees and exchange rates offered by Western Union online¹ or you can learn more by visiting an agent location.
To give some context, let’s look at a cost example - sending €1000 to a friend in the UK, funded by bank transfer, and being delivered directly into the recipient’s bank account in pounds. We’ll also add in a comparison - Wise.
|Mid-market exchange rate + markup
|Mid-market exchange rate
*All rates and fees correct at time of research - 14 January 2021
In this example, your recipient will get more with Wise. Even though there’s a higher upfront fee, Wise uses the real exchange rate with no markup. That’s more transparent, and it means the overall costs of the payment are lower. We’ll look at why in just a moment.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that this Western Union example assumes you’re paying by bank transfer, for the money to be delivered into your recipient’s bank account in the UK. This is typically the cheapest type of transfer available with Western Union. If instead you wanted to make the same payment funded by bank card and collected in cash by your recipient, they’d ultimately receive £830.90. That’s because there’s a higher fee and a bigger markup on the exchange rate in this case. Look carefully at your options before you initiate your payment.
One of the biggest factors in the overall cost of your international transfer is the exchange rate used. Exchange rates are tricky because they move around all the time depending on the market. The one rate you need to know is the mid-market exchange rate. That’s the best benchmark because it’s the rate banks and payment services get when they buy currency on the open market. You can find the mid-market rate with a simple Google search, or a reputable online currency converter.
The mid-market isn’t always the rate that is offered to consumers. Instead many providers add a markup - an extra fee - to the rate they give their customers. Here’s what Western Union says about exchange rates on their website:
“Western Union also makes money from currency exchange. When choosing a money transmitter, carefully compare both transfer fees and exchange rates. Fees, foreign exchange rates and taxes may vary by brand, channel, and location based on a number of factors. Fees and rates subject to change without notice.” ¹
Exchange rate markups push up the overall costs of an international payment - so even if there’s a low transfer fee, the actual price you’re paying may be higher than you expect. Avoid this problem by choosing a provider like Wise which uses the mid-market exchange rate and a simple, transparent transfer fee.
Western Union gives you the possibility to send payments to over 200 countries and territories, in some 130 different currencies.²
You can send money in person from an agent location or set up the payment online.
Making a transfer with Western Union online is pretty easy. Just download the Western Union app or head over to their webpage. Then take the following steps:³’⁴
- Create your Western Union profile if you’re new to the site - or log in if you’ve used it before
- Select Send Money and model the payment you want to make
- Check the fees and exchange rates against other competitors to make sure you’re getting the best deal
- Click to confirm if you’re happy, and follow the onscreen prompts to pay using your card or a bank transfer
- Once the payment is completed you’ll get a Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) which you can use to track the payment. If your recipient will collect the money in cash, you need to give them the MTCN as a reference
In Ireland you can send money in person through Western Union by visiting an agent at a store near you or a branch of An Post.⁵
You can find the closest agent to you, using the Western Union location finder tool.⁶ Or check out one of our articles below:
Payments made in person can only be funded in cash. You’ll also need to take along a valid ID document. The agent will give you a quote for the payment you want to make and then guide you through the process of making the transfer.
Track your transfer using the MTCN tracking number you’re given when you make the payment. Simply enter this number into the Western Union tracking tool⁷ on the website, to see where your money is.
And that’s all you need to know about sending money all over the world with Western Union. Don’t forget to compare the fees and exchange rates on offer from a few providers - including Wise - to make sure you’re getting the very best deal out there for your specific transfer, no matter where it’s headed.
1.Western Union Send money online
2.Western Union About us page
3.Western Union Send money online landing page
4.Western Union FAQ: Send money online
5.Western Union FAQ: Send money in person
6.Western Union Find locations
7.Western Union Track transfer
*All sources last checked on January 20, 2021
This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.
We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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