Wise VS Western Union: Which One Should You Use in Australia?


As an Australian, sending money abroad can sometimes be a hassle, especially when you have to choose the best service from an array of money transfer platforms. Two of the heavyweights in this industry are Wise (formerly known as TransferWise) and Western Union. Today, we are going to take an in-depth look at Wise and Western Union, evaluating their services, features, pros, and cons. But remember, the focus is on Wise. Let’s see if it truly outshines Western Union for Australians sending money overseas.

What are Wise and Western Union?

Wise and Western Union are two leading platforms in the money transfer industry, each offering distinct services. Wise is an online financial service best known for its transparent fee structure and real mid-market exchange rates. Western Union, on the other hand, is a long-established giant in the remittance sector, offering both online and in-person transfer services.

Services and Features: Wise vs Western Union

Wise VS Western Union: Which One Should You Use in Australia?

Wise’s Services and Features

Wise has been gaining traction because of its easy-to-use platform and cost-effective transfers. Here are some top features that make it stand out:

  • Transparent pricing: Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate and charges a low, upfront transfer fee.
  • Multi-currency account: This feature allows users to hold and manage money in multiple currencies, which is particularly handy for frequent travellers or online businesses.
  • Borderless debit card: This complements the multi-currency account, making international spending and withdrawals easier and cheaper.
  • Bank-level security: Your money is safe with Wise as it uses bank-level security and is regulated by top-tier authorities worldwide.

Western Union’s Services and Features

Western Union is a global leader in money transfers, known for its wide reach. Here are its key features:

  • Global network: Western Union has a massive network of agent locations, making it convenient for recipients without bank accounts.
  • Multiple transfer options: Western Union offers online transfers, cash pickups, and mobile wallet deposits.
  • Speedy transfers: For an additional fee, Western Union can expedite transfers, delivering them in minutes.

However, it’s worth noting that Western Union’s exchange rates are typically marked up, and transfer fees can be high depending on the country and payment method.

Pros and Cons: Wise vs Western Union

Before diving into the comparison, let’s go over the pros and cons of using Wise and Western Union:



  • Transparent fees: No hidden charges – you know exactly what you’re paying before you make the transfer.
  • Mid-market exchange rates: Wise uses the real exchange rate, so your recipient gets more of your money.
  • Ease of use: The Wise platform is user-friendly, making international transfers a breeze.


  • No cash pick-up: All transfers are bank-to-bank, which might not be ideal for recipients without bank access.
  • Customer service: Some users have reported delays in response times from the customer service team.

Western Union


  • Wide reach: With a huge global network, Western Union can reach more recipients than many other platforms.
  • Multiple delivery options: Offers cash pickups and transfers to mobile wallets.


  • Higher costs: Fees and exchange rate markups can make transfers more expensive.
  • Lack of transparency: It’s difficult to know the exact cost of your transfer due to fluctuating exchange rates.

Pricing and Fees: Wise vs Western Union

When comparing Wise and Western Union, the biggest distinction lies in their pricing structure. Wise charges a fixed, transparent fee and gives you the real mid-market exchange rate. Western Union, on the other hand, adds a markup to

the exchange rate and charges variable fees depending on the payment method and delivery option.


Which is cheaper, Wise or Western Union?

Typically, Wise is cheaper due to its transparent fee structure and use of the mid-market exchange rate. However, costs can vary depending on the transfer details.

Is it safe to send money through Wise or Western Union?

Yes, both Wise and Western Union are secure platforms regulated by financial authorities. They employ top-notch security measures to protect your money and personal data.

Which service offers faster transfers, Wise or Western Union?

Transfer speed can vary depending on the payment method and recipient’s country. However, Western Union does offer a fast-track service for an extra fee, which can deliver the money in minutes.

Wrapping Up: Wise vs Western Union – Which Should You Choose?

While Western Union’s global reach and multiple delivery options are commendable, Wise’s transparent fees, mid-market exchange rates, and additional features like the multi-currency account make it a compelling choice, particularly for Australians sending money abroad. However, it’s essential to consider your specific needs and the preferences of your recipient before making a choice. Remember, the most suitable option is the one that best meets your personal money transfer needs.

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