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The Definitive Guide to Western Union Transfer Fees

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Western Union has transfer fees of $0.00 up to $55 to send money from the US in HKD, using a bank account, credit card, debit card, in-store cash pick up, and phone call method.

Ensure that you check the receiving fees in total as there can be 'Hidden Fees' within the exchange rates when you send money using Western Union.

Western Union has a transfer limit of $3,000 for every user. However, once you're a verified user, you can send up to $50,000.

Transferring money from one country to another has never been easier.

While digital banking opens a world full of possibilities making money transfers work like a charm, there are still those who require to move money differently.

This is where a financial service like Western Union serves that purpose. With over 145 years of experience providing essential money transfer services worldwide, Western Union enables those who have no access to banks or prefer using a more direct approach to moving money with networks of hundreds and thousands of agent locations today.

In this guide, we break down how the various types of money transfer fees work, what Western Union Transfer Fees look like, and how much will it cost for you to send $1000 with Western Union.

Let's get started!

Types of Money Transfer Fees: How It Works

To understand how Western Union transfer fees work, it's essential to know how money transfer works.

When you make a bank transfer, domestic or international, there are many factors involved. These factors are classified into different types. Let's look at how each of these types works.

Here are some of the common types of money transfer fees:

  • Transfer Fees: This is referred to as the primary fee that each bank and money transfer service like Western Union provides when you make a transfer. Banks may offer this as a sending and receiving fee within their service, whereas for money transfer services the fees may differ.
  • Intermediary Bank Fees: More commonly referred to as "foreign bank fee", an intermediary bank fee can be included as part of your money transfer fees when you make a domestic or international money transfer from one account to another that requires a third-party bank.
  • Additional Fees: These are the type of fees that are charged in addition to your transfer fees. For money transfer services, these fees aren't significant or low. However, additional fees for banks are charged when you make a late payment or use other services such as ATM or NSF (Non-Sufficient Funds) fees.

Are Exchange Rates Considered a Fee?

Exchange rates are not necessarily considered a fee when you make a transfer. However, you may have heard of the term "hidden fees", which is advertised even on Western Union and other apps. This is mainly because exchange rates deal heavily on the surface of currencies.

For instance, if you make a transfer from a bank in the US to a bank in Hong Kong, the currency is exchanged from USD to HKD (dollars). However, this is not included among the fees mentioned as it is the rates that occur on a real-time basis based on the financial market's supply and demand.

๐Ÿ’ก Tip: Avoid high exchange rates by not using multiple transfers, comparing hidden markup for interbank rates, and using promo codes, discounts, or offers from the money transfer provider or your bank of choice.

Western Union Transfer Services

Western Union is considered to be one of the services that offer many types of sending and receiving methods for international money transfers.

Not many financial services provide you with a cash pick-up from a physical store or make a phone call transfer for the money received internationally in the digital world. Let's take a look at how Western Union structures its services.

Payment Methods WU Mobile App Online (Website) In-Store Phone Call
Cash (at WU locations) โŒ โŒ โœ… โŒ
Bank account โœ… โœ… โœ… โŒ
Credit card โœ… โœ… โŒ โœ…
Debit card โœ… โœ… โŒ โœ…

The table above shows the payment methods Western Union offers when it comes to making an international money transfer.

Western Union Receiving Method

Western Union offers several methods for money transfer, however, there are only two options in which you can receive money.

1. Cash at WU locations

This method is commonly available for those individuals without a bank account and aims to pick up cash at one of Western Union's locations. An agent of WU will prompt the receiver to pick up their cash at one of WU's locations.

Advantages: Very convenient to use, as this can be done via Western Union In-Store or Phone Call method. Cash is received in minutes with this method.

Disadvantages: The fees can be very high, up to three times the cost of receiving via a bank account as this is not an automated method, and requires an agent to complement the transfer.

2. Bank account

Whether you transfer using cash, a bank account, or a credit or debit card, the other popular method that Western Union offers is through a bank account.

Advantages: No matter if your money is transferred via different methods, you can receive your funds directly to your bank account in a particular currency in the country you are in.

Disadvantages: Like other methods, there are transfer fees. However, they're much cheaper compared to using Cash at WU locations. Another drawback of using this method is, depending on the payment method the other party use, the transfer time can range from 4 to 8 business days.

How Much Does Western Union Charge to Send $1000?

Fees for international transfers tend to vary with Western Union. This is due to many factors such as your recipient's receiving location, the amount you transfer, and how quickly you want your transfer to be received.

As a reference, let's look at how much the transfer fees would be when transferring $1000 in USD to Hong Kong in HKD with Western Union.

Note: The example below shows two popular methods: Online and WU Mobile App methods sending directly to a bank account of the receiver, based on the WU Price Estimator.


Using this method, $1.00 is equal to HKD 7.7271 on 7 July 2023.

Method Fee Transfer time Final amount in HKD
Bank account $1,000 + $0.00 = $1,000 3 Business Days HKD 7,727.10
Credit card $1,000 + $25.00 = $1,025 Received in minutes HKD 7,727.10
Debit card $1,000 + $0.00 = $1,000 3 Business Days HKD 7,727.10
In-Store $1,000 + $8.00 = $1,008 3 Business Days HKD 7,526.90

WU Mobile App

Using this method, $1.00 is equal to HKD 7.7271 on 7 July 2023 (same as above).

Method Fee Transfer time Final amount in HKD
Bank account $1,000 + $0.99 = $1,000.9 0-7 Business Days HKD 7,727.10
Credit card $1,000 + $0.99 = $1,029.9 3 Business Days HKD 7,727.10
Debit card $1,000 + $2.99 = $1,002.9 3 Business Days HKD 7,727.10
In-Store $1,000 + $8 = $1,008.00 3 Business Days HKD 7,526.90

Disclaimer: This information is based on the WU Price Estimates page, and it is updated as of 7 July 2023. Thus, the latest transfer fees are subject to change.

Are There Any Transfer Limits?

When you transfer money with Western Union, there are certain transfer limits you should take note of.

Western Union offers any individual to make a transfer without having additional ID verification of up to $3,000 from the US or the equivalent of the amount in other currencies. However, if you're a verified account, your transfer limit will be increased to $50,000.

Both amounts mentioned are the transfer limit based on a daily transfer number.

Things to Consider When Making International Money Transfer

There are many factors that can play a crucial role when you decide to make an international money transfer.

Apart from using financial services like Western Union, there may be other services that offer a similar set of features and you may not be aware of or simply offer better transfer fees for the country you're looking to make a transfer to.

Here are some of the things you should consider when making an international money transfer.

Research for Money Transfer Services on the Market

It's always a good practice to compare the financial services that would best suit your needs. For this reason, conducting your own research or trying other apps that offer money transfer services similar to Western Union can be one of the best practices you can apply.

This will not only help you figure out if the services offer or customer support define your specific needs when using them, but it will also help you determine whether it's a reliable service that you can use on a long-term basis.

Compare Transfer Fees, Exchange Rates, and Options

Transfer fees can play an essential factor and it is usually the final stage where you decide if you should be sending your money using a particular service or not. Hidden fees, like exchange rates, can also play a crucial role in this scenario.

Thus, it's important that you make sure to compare what Western Union and other similar financial services offer. Since there are many different services on the market offering different needs that are catered to the country you want to send money or make payment to.

All in all, there is no 'best' service that will fit all you look for entirely, but it's a great practice to understand what your choice of financial service offers before you make a decision to send money abroad.

An illustration of a Statrys Payment Card and a receipt with a HK$, USD, and Renminbi coin.


How much money can I send through Western Union?

Western Union has unlimited transaction limits if you use a retail agent with appropriate identification.

Online transactions are limited to USD$2,500.00.

Can I send money through Western Union without an ID?


Can I send $1000 with Western Union?


What is the best way to avoid Western Union Fees?

Reviewed by
Jonathan Cusimano

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