Western Union India international transfer: An overview


Visiting India and need to send money back home, or want to pay someone in India from your country? One option is to use Western Union. It’s a worldwide payment network with 500,000+ branches¹.

Western Union offers a fast, convenient and secure way to send money worldwide, whether you’re a traveler, tourist, business or freelancer. But it isn’t the only solution out there, nor is it always the cheapest.

Here, we’ll take a look at using Western Union for international transfers to and from India. We’ll cover fees, payment methods, exchange rates and more, along with alternative services which could work out cheaper.

For example, get a multi-currency account with Wise and in many cases, you’ll get a far better exchange rate than other providers. But more on that later.

See if you could save with Wise

Let’s start off with how much it costs to send money to and from India with Western Union.

Western Union India fees

When comparing the costs of sending money internationally with different providers, there are two key things to look at. These are the upfront transfer fee, and the exchange rate.

With Western Union, the transfer fee can vary depending on a few factors. For example, where you’re sending to and from, the amount, the payment method and whether your recipient picks up the payment in cash or receives it into their bank account.

To give you an idea of how much it costs to use Western Union to send money to and from India, let’s take a look a couple of straightforward examples.

Sending to India

Let’s imagine you want to send $1,000 AUD to a friend in India from Australia. In this example, you’ll use a bank transfer as your payment method, sending money directly to the recipient’s bank account.

Here’s what it could cost to use Western Union for this transaction. For comparison, we’ve also included the cost for the same transfer with Wise.

Provider Fee to send $1,000 AUD from Australia to India Exchange rate Total received
Western Union² $0.00 AUD Mid-market rate + mark=up1 AUD = 52.7722 INR ₹52,777.24 INR
Wise³ $6.68 AUD Mid-market rate 1 AUD = 53.4096 INR ₹53,052.82 INR

Sending from India

Now let’s try it the other way round. In this example, you’re visiting India and need to send the same amount - $1,000 AUD - to a friend traveling in Australia. In rupees, this is around ₹53,000 INR, so let’s use this figure for our example.

Let’s see how much it’ll cost with both Western Union and Wise to send this amount from India to Australia.

Provider Fee to send ₹53,000 INR from India to Australia Exchange rate Total received
Western Union⁴ ₹0.00 INR Mid-market rate + mark-up 1 INR = 0.0187 AUD $991.80 AUD
Wise ₹1,417.20 INR Mid-market rate (1 INR = 0.196) $966.02 AUD

Remember that the exchange rates given here are likely to change. ** For up-to-date rates, you’ll need to do a comparison just before you set up your transfer. **

Exchange rates

One important point should jump out at you from the examples above – that the exchange rate makes a big difference to how much your transfer will cost.

You may understandably think that the provider with the smallest upfront fee will be the cheapest. But if this same provider offers a poor exchange rate – one with a mark-up slapped on top of the mid-market rate - this eats into the amount of money your recipient will receive at the other end.

This is the case with some Western Union transfers. There’s a low or no fee for the transfer, but the exchange rate has a mark-up added on top. You could think of it like a fee ‘hidden’ within the exchange rate.

The good news is that it doesn’t work like this for all providers. Send money online with Wise and you may pay a small, transparent upfront fee, but you’ll be guaranteed the real, mid-market exchange. This means no mark-up, and could mean a cheaper transfer overall.

See if you could save with Wise

This is why it’s a smart idea to look up the mid-market rate on Google or a currency site like XE.com, and always shop around to compare prices before hitting ‘send’ on that transfer.

What transfer and payment methods are available?

There are a few ways to receive money with Western Union, from direct bank transfers to cash pick-ups. This is where your recipient will pop into their local Western Union branch to collect cash in person.

Payment methods

You can choose from different payment methods with Western Union. This is how your payment will be funded, and the options available depend where you’re sending from.

If you’re sending to India from the US, you can fund your payment via⁶:

  • Credit or debit card
  • Bank account
  • Cash in-store.

However, the options vary from country to country. If you’re sending from Australia (as per the example earlier in this guide), you’ll only be able to fund your payment with credit/debit card or bank transfer².

If you’re sending from India, your payment method options are limited to bank transfer only⁴.

How long does my transfer take?

The time it takes to complete an international transfer with Western Union depends on a few factors. Namely, where you’re sending to and from, your payment method and how the recipient will receive the money.

Certain transfers take just minutes. An example of this is a cash pick-up in India funded by a debit/credit card payment from the US. Other transfers take between 0-4 business days⁶

Available currencies

Western Union has an impressive global network, through which you can send money to 200+ countries and territories in around 130 currencies⁷.

Western Union India limits

Western Union has limits on how much you can send per international transfer, which varies from country to country.

If you’re sending money from India using Western Union, you’ll be able to send the equivalent in Indian Rupees (INR) of $5,000 USD in one transaction. There is an exception to this, however. **If you’re sending for educational purposes, such as paying tuition fees, you can send the INR equivalent of up to $10,000 USD at once⁶. **

If sending to India, from the US for example, you’ll be able to send a maximum of 50,000 USD⁶.

Frequently asked questions

What kind of customer support does Western Union offer?

If you need help using Western Union, wherever you are in the world, you can contact a customer service agent using email or phone.

US-based customers can also use the live chat function on the Western Union website.⁹

And of course, there are 500,000+ global branches to choose from, so you can get support in person if there’s a local agent near to you.

How many locations does Western Union have in India?

There are around 122,000 Western Union locations in India available for cash pick-up¹⁰.

How can I track my transfer?

Tracking a transfer with Western Union is simple. Once you’ve set up the payment, you’ll receive something called a Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN)⁸. You can use your MTCN to track your transfer online, using the Western Union website.

Another way to track your transfer is via the Western Union app, available for Android and iOS devices⁶.

You should now have all the info you need to start whizzing money between India and over 200 countries worldwide using Western Union. But remember to do your homework, compare costs and keep a close eye on that exchange rate, especially if you regularly send money internationally. It could be that another provider such as Wise could save you money.


  1. Finder - WU fees
  2. Western Union AU - Send money
  3. Wise AU
  4. Western Union India - Send money
  5. Wise India
  6. Western Union US - Send money
  7. Western Union - Corporate
  8. Western Union India - FAQ
  9. Western Union - Customer care
  10. Western Union AU - Send money to Indiaa

Sources checked on 3 August 2020.

*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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