HomeComparisonXoom vs Western Union

Xoom vs Western Union

The past few decades have seen enormous growth in the number of online money transfer companies available to make sending money abroad cheaper, faster, and easier than ever - so now the only real problem is deciding which operator is best for you.

In this head-to-head comparison, we'll look at Xoom vs Western Union and compare a number of key features to help you decide which service is best for your transfer needs.

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About Xoom...

Xoom started operating as a digital money transfer service in 2001, expanding to support over 159 countries across the globe. Xoom’s digitally-led platform focuses on competitive fees and accessible payout options, with bill payments, airtime top-ups, and cash pickups all possible alongside a traditional bank transfer. In 2015, Xoom was acquired by PayPal.

About Western Union...

Western Union was founded in 1850, making it one of the longest-running money transfer providers on the market. The company has a large network of agent locations for physical transfers, but in recent years has also made considerable attempts to modernise and take its services digital in order to compete with the numerous transfer startups that placed a focus on convenient online transfers.

Quick summary: Xoom wins

Our overall findings from comparing Western Union vs Xoom on a number of aspects, including fees, exchange rates, and transfer times, is that Xoom overall offers a more competitive service. However, Western Union’s wide-reaching network and thousands of agent locations is a big selling point for some. In this summary, we'll compare the two companies' fees, exchange rates, transfer times, accessibility and security, location coverage, and more to give an accurate and clear breakdown of which operator might be best for you.

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Western Union vs Xoom: Which brand has lower fees?

Western Union

Xoom charges a fee for each money transfer you make, but the exact amount you will be charged will vary depending on the payment method you select, the amount you are sending, the country you are sending to and from, and the delivery method you choose.

As an example, if you were sending £200 to Australia, you would pay a fee of £1.99 for a bank deposit, and £6.99 for a cash pickup.

✅ Verdict: Xoom’s fees are slightly more favourable

Between Xoom vs Western Union, Xoom has slightly more favourable fees in this comparison, and this can be applied in a number of examples. However, which service is better is really dependent on the type of transfer you are making.

Western Union vs Xoom: Which brand offers better exchange rates?

Western Union

Xoom tends to add a markup of around 1 - 3% on the mid-market rate, although exactly how much this markup will be depends, again, on the specific details of your transfer. Variables that will affect this include the currency pair you are transferring between, and the sum you are sending.

✅ Verdict: Xoom tends to have more competitive exchange rates

In the Xoom vs Western Union comparison we’ve conducted, Xoom does tend to have more competitive exchange rates than Western Union, although this could change depending on what country you are sending to.

Western Union vs Xoom: Which brand covers more locations?

Western Union

Xoom supports international transfers to 159 countries currently.

✅ Verdict: Western Union wins

As a long-standing player in the money transfers space, it’s perhaps no surprise that Western Union has the wider-reaching network out of the two operators.

Western Union vs Xoom: Which is faster?

Western Union

Xoom says its transfers are typically processed to the recipient’s account within a matter of minutes, which is often the case when you select the delivery method as a cash pickup. Transfers to and from bank accounts, however, could take up to a couple of working days.

✅ Verdict: It depends on the circumstances of your transfer

Between Western Union vs Xoom both providers have the ability to process your transfer within minutes (especially for cash pickups), or within several working business days. The speed of your transfer will really depend on how you choose to pay, how you choose to have your transfer delivered, and the size of the transfer.

Western Union vs Xoom: Which brand offers more transfer & payment options?

Western Union

Xoom’s payment options include credit or debit card, bank transfer, or using your PayPal balance. Payout options include cash pickups, bank deposits, or making an airtime top-up.

✅ Verdict: It’s a tie

Comparing Xoom vs Western Union, both operators offer a versatile range of payment options and delivery options, with cash pickup being a particularly popular payment option for users.

Western Union vs Xoom: What do users have to say about each brand?

Western Union

Xoom has over 21,000 reviews on TrustPilot with an overall ‘Excellent’ rating of 4.5 out of 5. Amongst the positive reviews, users frequently praise the company’s faster transfer times, easy-to-use website, and competitive rates.

Some users do note their transfer time being delayed due to the provider’s verification process, which can require a valid form of ID for larger sums.

✅ Verdict: Xoom has better reviews

Overall the comparison of Xoom vs Western Union, Xoom does have a more positive public reception than Western Union, which is perhaps surprising considering how much longer Western Union has dominated the money transfer space.

Western Union vs Xoom: What brand offers a better ease of use, accessibility & security?

Western Union

Xoom’s website supports 12 languages, with the ability to email or call customer service for assistance with your transfer. They also have a help centre which addresses a lot of commonly asked questions.

The Xoom app allows for 24/7 access to your transfers, with a user-friendly interface that really emphasises the company’s focus on digitally-led international transfers. The app is free and available on both iOS and Android.

For security, Xoom has a verification process to protect your identity, typically requiring you to upload a driving licence or passport. For large sums of money, you may also be asked to upload a bill and proof of address. Xoom uses 128-bit data security encryption to keep any information sent between your web browser and their website secure and use both SMS notifications and 2-factor authentication to keep your money secure when arranging international transfers.

✅ Verdict: It’s a tie

Comparing Western union vs Xoom in terms of security, accessibility, and ease of use, both companies are fairly tied. You can be confident that your identity and money will stay secure with either operator, with a range of accessible options to make sending money abroad convenient even on the go.

Additional features you might be interested in

Western Union

As well as international money transfers in cash or sent to a bank account, Xoom also provides the option for users to send money for:

  • Bill payments

  • Mobile airtime top-ups

These services can be particularly popular for users sending money to support family back home.

Case study: sending a variety of amounts

For this Xoom vs Western Union case study, we’ll look at the fees, exchange rate, and transfer times sending various amounts from the US to Singapore.

Western Union

Sending $200

Sending this amount would incur fees between £4.99 and £6.49, with delivery by cash pickup being cheaper than a bank deposit. The exchange rate would be 1 USD = 1.3407 SGD (at the time of writing), with cash pickups available in minutes while bank deposit would take up to 2 working days.

Sending $1,000

Sending this amount would have the same exchange rate, but would incur fees between $4.99 and $30.49, with a bank-to-bank transfer being the cheapest option, and a bank deposit paid for by card is the most expensive. Transfer times remain the same, between a couple of minutes and up to 2 working days.

Sending $20,000

The importance of selecting your payment method carefully really shows here, as a transfer paid for by bank account would incur a fee of $4.99, but paying by credit or debit card would cost you $601.49. Transfer time would typically take around 2 working days, although for this sum you may need to provide additional verification details before your transfer is processed.

✅ Verdict: Western Union has better fees, but only if you’re willing to wait for a longer transfer time

Between Xoom vs Western Union, Xoom’s fees tend to be slightly higher than Western Union here (although Xoom’s exchange rate is more favourable in these examples), but that is at the cost of time. If you are happy for your recipient to wait up to 7 days to receive the transfer, Western Union can be a good option, but if speed is equally important, Xoom provides a more efficient option overall.

Final Verdict: Xoom or Western Union?

Both Western Union and Xoom have many positive attributes, and are reputable operators for secure and convenient money transfers.

However, when comparing all elements of both companies, Xoom does take the edge over Western Union, particularly when it comes to fees and transfer times. Despite Western Union’s many years of experience in the transfers space, the digitally-focused approach Xoom takes means it can continue to offer competitive rates and a hassle-free service

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Yasmin Purnell
Yasmin Purnell
Yasmin Purnell is a Content Writer and Editor for Yasmin has a wealth of experience writing across a range of topics within the personal finance, student, and business niche. Yasmin joined the team with the one main mission to provide accessible financial, career and business information and advice for all.