How to send money with Western Union via Public Bank: Fees explained

Yumiko Kijima

Public Bank offers international transfers with Western Union online and through their bank branches. Read on to learn about how you can make a transfer with Western Union via Public Bank and how fees are included within Western Union's exchange rates.

This guide also takes a look at Wise as an alternative way to send and receive money internationally with the “real” exchange rate.

Send money abroad up to 4x cheaper than banks, create a free Wise account🚀

Before you send money abroad with Western Union: you need to understand the fee

Let’s break down how Western Union’s fees work. Western Union transfer fee can start at as low as 0 MYR, or 5 MYR and go up from there. But even if it says 0 as a transfer fee, it doesn’t mean you aren’t paying anything.

As they write on their website, “Western Union also makes money from currency exchange. When choosing a money transmitter, carefully compare both transfer fees and exchange rates.”¹

So, in short, Western Union uses exchange rates with their own markup. Here is the difference between the mid-market exchange rate (the “real” exchange rate that you find on Google search or from an online currency converter) and the exchange rate Western Union gives you at the time of research.

Western Union Exchange Rate Mid-Market Exchange Rate Difference
Exchange rates 1 MYR = 0.3597 AUD² 1 MYR = 0.360739 AUD³ 0.001039 AUD

(At 14:34 (GMT+2) April 23, 2020)

This means that 1,000 MYR will be converted to 359.7 AUD with Western Union, while with the mid-market rate the same 1,000 MYR should be 360.739 AUD. This difference may quickly mount up, especially if you plan to send a large amount of money.

💡A transparent alternative: Wise

If you and your recipient both have bank accounts (or in case of Philippines and Indonesia, recipients can use mobile wallets as well), you may want to consider Wise, as a transparent alternative.

Wise uses low, transparent fees and the mid-market exchange rate. So you always know how much you are actually paying.

You’ll also be able to receive money to a Wise multi-currency account from the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand and any Eurozone country, just as if you had a local bank account in those countries. Hold 50+ different currencies in 1 account, and send payments all over the world using the mid-market exchange rate.

To send money with Wise,

  1. Register for free
  2. Choose an amount to send
  3. Add recipient’s bank details
  4. Verify your identity
  5. Pay for your transfer by bank transfer or debit/credit card

And that is it! You can track your transfer in your account and your recipient will also be notified when a transfer reaches them.

Join over 7 million people who enjoy transparent fees and the real exchange rate. From Malaysia, you can send money to 70+ countries. You don’t need to go anywhere, simply access the website or download the app from home!🏠

How can I use Western Union in Public Bank?

There are two main ways to do this- either the PBe online banking option or through a local Public Bank branch. Keep in mind that these can only be used for cash pickup. And only to send money to other individuals and not businesses. Here is how it works.

Via PBe online banking⁴

  1. Make sure you are registered on the PBe Personal Banking website
  2. From the PBe Personal Banking dashboard, click on “Funds Transfers”
  3. Now, click on Western Union from the left-hand side menu bar
  4. Click on “Send Money” and accept the Reminder pop up
  5. Enter the information on the next screen about yourself and the recipient
  6. You will then need to hit “Request PAC Now” where a PAC SMS will be sent to you; enter in the number and press confirm
  7. Now verify and confirm the details for the money transfer and click on Confirm
  8. Once processed you will receive a Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) for your unique transfer that you should give to your recipient.

At a Public Bank branch⁵

  1. Make sure you are carrying your original MYKAD card if you are Malaysian or your original passport and working permit if you're non-Malaysian
  2. Head down to your local PB branch
  3. Request to do a money transfer through Western Union
  4. Fill out the “To Send Money” Form with all necessary details
  5. Submit the form and complete the payment at the bank branch
  6. You will receive an MTCN for your transfer which you will have to pass on to your recipient

To receive the money sent to you, you can head to a Western Union, including a PB bank branch to pick up the money in cash. Bring along a government-issued ID and the MTCN from your sender. Make sure you have your sender’s full name and the amount that was sent to you too just in case. When you get there, complete the “To Receive Money” form and submit it to the Agent along with your ID. Once you confirm and sign, the Agent will provide you the cash. If you aren’t sure if your money is ready to be picked up, you can go to the Western Union website and check the status of your transfer⁶.

Sending/receiving limit with Western Union via Public Bank

There are some limits to how much you can send with Western Union via Public Bank. The maximum you can send per customer per day is 10,000 MYR. The maximum you can receive is 50,000 MYR.⁷

Need to send more than 10,000 MYR at one time? Wise lets you send up to 30,000 MYR.

Contact Public Bank and Western Union

If you need any help with an existing transfer or using the Public Bank Western Union service, you can reach out to either for help. You can contact customer support through your PBe dashboard, or check on your transfer through the Western Union website with your MTCN number. You can also call any Public Bank branch or Western Union at 1 800 813 399 for details or support.⁸

With its long legacy and ease of access through Public Bank, Western Union can seem like an easy option. Just make sure to compare their exchange rate and the real exchange rate (on Google or an online currency converterbefore making a transfer.

Alternatively, you can consider using services such as Wise, which always gives you the mid-market rate as well as low, transparent fees.

Sources used for this article:
  1. Western Union | Money Transfer from Malaysia
  2. Western Union | Money Transfer from Malaysia (At 14:34 (GMT+2) April 23, 2020)
  3. Wise | MYR to AUD - Convert Malaysian Ringgit to Australian Dollar(At 14:34 (GMT+2) April 23, 2020)
  4. Public Bank | How To Send Money online with Western Union via Public Bank
  5. Public Bank | Public Bank Western Union Money Transfer (WUMT) Service
  6. Public Bank | Frequently Asked Questions 6-8
  7. Public Bank | Public Bank Western Union Money Transfer (WUMT) Service
  8. Contact for support General Features

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

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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