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If you’re expecting an overseas payment through Western Union, you might be wondering how the process of receiving your money will work. This guide has you covered with all you need to know about sending and receiving payments, including the costs and practicalities to think about.
We’ll also take a look at an alternative way to receive international payments in Singapore - Wise. With Wise you could save money on fees, and have your payment delivered directly to your bank account for convenience, too.
|Get your free Wise multi-currency account here
If you receive a payment with Western Union, you don’t need to pay a fee.
However, the sender will have various costs to consider, which we’ll look at in more detail below. The basic cost of a Western Union transfer depends on the currency and destination country, as well as how the payment is made and received.
To build a picture, we have used the fees the sender would need to think about if sending $US 1000 from the US to Singapore, online.
To compare the costs, we have also added the fees for a similar transfer if you use Wise.
|Western Union transfer fee²
|9.41 USD (bank debit)
Small print from Western Union related to the exchange rate they use:
“Western Union also makes money from currency exchange. When choosing a money transmitter, carefully compare both transfer fees and exchange rates."
*exchange rate at the time of the simulation - 25.02.2020, 3.47 GMT+2.
Before you decide to have your cross border payment sent with Western Union, it pays to check out some alternative options. Take a look at Wise for cheap international transfers all over the world.
There’s no markup added to the exchange rate when you use Wise. You’ll only pay a low transparent fee, which can mean you save 7x compared to banks or an alternative like PayPal.
Make it even easier to manage your overseas payments with a Transferwise multi-currency account. Hold dozens of currencies, and send and spend money for less, all over the world.
|See how you can save with Wise today
If you choose to receive money with Western Union in cash you’d have to follow the next steps:
- Go to Western Union agent location
- Know your sender's details, as well as the Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN)
- Show a government-issued photo ID
If you want for the money to be received in a bank account, you’d have to provider the sender with the following details:
- Your bank account details and name
- Bank name and account number
- Bank code
- The purpose of remittance.
- Your address and mobile number.
If you are the sender and want to send money through Western Union, you can do it online, using an app, or in person by visiting a Western Union agent. It’s worth noting that the options available to you will depend on the destination country you’re sending to. You can’t necessarily pay by cash at an agent location for all transfers, for example - some have to be set up online. Check the options on the Western Union website for your destination.
Here’s how to send an international payment using the different payment options.¹
To send money online, you’ll need to create an account, or log in if you have an active account already. Model your transfer by adding details of the destination country, and how you want the recipient to receive the money. Then just follow the prompts on screen to pay using a credit or debit card, or by bank transfer.
Before you can get started, you’ll need to download the Western Union app and create and verify your profile. You can verify your profile using video chat, or in-store records if you’ve previously made a Western Union payment. To make a payment, you’ll then follow similar steps to the online process, paying using a credit or debit card, or by bank transfer.
You can pay in person by visiting a Western Union agent location, and showing your government issued ID document. Transfers can be arranged for a range of destination countries, and you can then pay using credit or debit card, or in cash.
If you want to pay in cash you can start to set up your payment online, and select Pay in store as the funding method. You’ll then need to call in to an agent location to complete the payment.
Whichever way you set up your payment, you’ll get a Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) once the transfer is confirmed, which you’ll need to keep safe.
If you’re making a transfer directly to your recipient’s bank account, you’ll have to give their full bank details. If your recipient will collect the money in cash, you’ll need to give them the Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) which they will present, along with their own ID, when they go to a Western Union agent to get their money.
There may be limits applied to the amount of money being sent, which are imposed by the laws or rules in the sender’s country. For example, from the US, a maximum of USD50,000 can be sent. Your sender will need to check the details for their location.
You can receive money directly into your bank account, or go to an agent location to collect cash. Here’s how.
Visit a convenient Western Union agent location. Give the details of the payment, including your MTCN and the sender’s name. You’ll then need to show government issued ID to confirm your identity. Once the information has been verified, you’ll be given your payment in cash.
If you want to have the payment made directly into your bank account, you’ll need to give the sender your name, bank name and address, account number and bank code. They’ll also need your address and email, and they will be asked the purpose of the remittance when they arrange the payment. Once the payment is set up, it’ll arrive in your bank account in a few days - track it online with your MTCN.
How long it takes to receive a Western Union payment will depend on where the money is being sent to and from, and the payment route chosen. Usually payments which are arranged for cash collection are very fast - they can be ready in just a few minutes. However, bank transfers will take longer - up to 6 working days. You can track your transfer online using the MTCN, to check the details for your payment.³
Sources used in the article:
- Ways to send money through Western Union
- Costs for transferring through Western Union.
- How to track a Western Union transfer online.
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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