Western Union vs. MoneyGram vs. Remitly vs. Wise vs. Xoom: A Comprehensive Comparison for International Money Transfers

In today’s interconnected world, the need for efficient and reliable international money transfer services has never been greater. Whether it’s sending money to family and friends abroad, paying for services or products, or conducting business transactions, choosing the right money transfer provider is crucial. Among the numerous options available, Western Union, MoneyGram, Remitly, Wise (formerly TransferWise), and Xoom are some of the most prominent names. This article aims to provide a detailed comparison of these five leading platforms, highlighting their features, fees, exchange rates, and overall performance to help you make an informed choice.


Western Union

Western Union is one of the oldest and most recognized names in the money transfer industry. With a vast network of agents and locations worldwide, Western Union offers multiple options for sending and receiving money, including cash pickup, bank transfers, and mobile money transfers. However, its higher fees and less competitive exchange rates are some of the drawbacks to consider.


  • Extensive global reach with over 500,000 agent locations in more than 200 countries.
  • Various transfer options, including cash pickup, bank transfers, and mobile money.
  • Quick delivery options are available for urgent transfers.


  • Higher fees and lower exchange rates compared to some competitors.
  • Hidden fees in certain transactions.
  • Limited online tools for tracking and managing transfers.


MoneyGram is another well-established player in the international money transfer market. Like Western Union, it boasts a broad network of agent locations worldwide. While its fees and exchange rates may vary depending on the destination and payment method, MoneyGram often falls into the same category as Western Union in terms of cost.


  • Wide global coverage with over 350,000 agent locations across more than 200 countries.
  • Multiple delivery options, including cash pickup, bank deposits, and mobile wallets.
  • User-friendly mobile app for convenient transfers.


  • Relatively high fees and less favorable exchange rates.
  • Limited transfer options for some countries.
  • Additional charges for using credit cards as payment.


Remitly is a digital remittance service that has gained popularity for its user-friendly online platform and competitive rates. Unlike traditional money transfer providers, Remitly operates entirely online, which allows them to offer more affordable fees and better exchange rates.



  • Clear and transparent fee structure with no hidden charges.
  • Fast transfer times, with some transactions completed within minutes.
  • Multiple delivery options, including bank deposits, cash pickup, and mobile money.


  • Limited coverage in certain regions.
  • Newer entrants compared to Western Union and MoneyGram, may raise reliability concerns for some users.
  • The strict verification process for new users.

Wise (formerly TransferWise)

Wise, now known as Wise after a rebranding, is a disruptive force in the money transfer industry. The platform uses a unique peer-to-peer model, which significantly reduces the costs associated with international transfers. Wise offers mid-market exchange rates with transparent fees, making it an attractive choice for tech-savvy customers.


  • True mid-market exchange rates with no markup.
  • Low and transparent fees, which are often cheaper than traditional providers.
  • Multi-currency accounts for holding money in different currencies.


  • Limited options for cash pickup or physical locations.
  • Some less common currencies may not be available for certain destinations.
  • Slightly longer transfer times for certain currencies and routes.


Xoom, a PayPal service, is another digital money transfer platform offering fast and secure transactions to numerous countries. Xoom focuses on ease of use and convenience, catering to individuals who seek swift and straightforward transfers.


  • Fast and reliable transfers, often within minutes.
  • Simple and intuitive interface for quick transactions.
  • Cash pickup and home delivery options are available.


  • Higher fees compared to some competitors, especially for smaller transfer amounts.
  • Limited coverage in certain regions.
  • The recipient must have a PayPal or Xoom account to receive funds.


In conclusion, choosing the right money transfer service depends on various factors, including your specific needs, the destination country, the transfer amount, and desired delivery options. Western Union and MoneyGram offer extensive global reach but may come with higher fees. Remitly provides a user-friendly experience and competitive rates, particularly for online transfers. Wise (formerly TransferWise) stands out for its transparent pricing and mid-market exchange rates, while Xoom focuses on speed and simplicity, especially for PayPal users.

When deciding among Western Union, MoneyGram, Remitly, Wise, and Xoom, consider your priorities and preferences to make the best choice for your international money transfer needs. Always compare fees, exchange rates, and the level of convenience each platform offers to ensure a seamless and cost-effective transfer experience.