Whether you’re traveling or have family living abroad, there’s comfort knowing you can access or send your money easily, no matter what occurs. This can be a complicated thing to accomplish when sending money overseas or internationally.
Still, you want to make sure you and your family are financially secure. Western Union and PayPal are two major players in safe money management, but can you transfer money between them?
You can send money from PayPal to Western Union, but it’s complicated. There’s no direct link between the two entities, so your options are either to withdraw money to send to the other or use a third-party service to do it for you.
Transferring money between them also incurs high fees that may make it not worth it for you. Each service has its own high fees to transfer money that adds up to a pretty high rate when combined.
Transferring Money From PayPal
PayPal prides itself as an all-encompassing money service, and it’s grown in its 20 years from a simple payment service into a full-fledged transfer service.
PayPal’s service encourages use within its network and through its apps. You can use it to transfer small amounts between friends or make a money pool with family.
Their external transfer service, called Xoom, allows users to send their money in three ways:
- Direct deposit to a bank account
- Send cash for pickup at its partner locations
- Have cash delivered directly to the recipient
PayPal also offers a debit card through their service that allows people access to their funds in PayPal to be used as a bank account.
Transferring Money From Western Union
Western Union is one of the oldest money transfer companies in the world. They started as a telegraph company (which they officially stopped doing in 2006). Their business shifted to money wiring services in the mid-1900s, and they still provide that service today.
Western Union will charge a flat rate to transfer your money. The size of the fee usually depends on the speed you’d like it received, the distance it’s being sent, and the amount of money being sent. Overseas transfers are also charged an exchange rate. Exchange rate fees are not competitive and are often a hidden charge of their service.
Regardless of that, Western Union’s services are highly dependable and convenient. They offer modern services through their app or online, though there are many agency locations worldwide. Transferring funds can be done in three ways:
- Direct deposit to a bank account
- Sent to agency locations for pickup
- Sent to a mobile wallet (available only in select countries)
Mobile wallet services are available in five countries:
- El Salvador
For all transfers, they accept money either from a bank, credit or debit card, or with cash.
How to Transfer Between the Two
Unfortunately, there is no direct link between these services. You cannot source your money to send Western Union directly from PayPal, or from Western Union to PayPal.
The complication in transferring funds between the two is in how money needs to be sent to either service. In most cases, money needs to either be cash, sourced through a bank, or paid with a credit or debit card. Fortunately, there are still options you can work with, even if they aren’t as convenient.
Using a Bank to Mediate Funds
The best option to transfer funds is by using your bank as a mediator. Use your PayPal account to transfer funds to your local bank. Then you can either withdraw the money to take to a Western Union agency or link the bank account online to send funds. To send funds from Western Union to PayPal, it’s essentially the same process in reverse. Send from Western Union to your bank, then transfer to PayPal.
While this may add steps to the process of sending money, it’s a secure way to do so. Chances are your bank offers online services that allow you to do this from the comfort of your own home. The only thing to be mindful of is transfer times. It may take 1 to 2 days for funds to be available in your account to send out.
Using PayPal’s Card Services
Your other option is to use PayPal’s credit or debit card services. PayPal has partnered with Mastercard to offer card services, as well as with prepaid cards. Western Union allows money to be sent through cards, and you can use that to transfer funds accordingly.
If you need to transfer money between these services just one time, this is likely more trouble for you than it’s worth. Opening a new line of credit takes time and isn’t a simple venture. Having your credit approved takes time, so in cases of emergency, you might not have the time to wait.
However, it might be worth looking into if this is something you have to do regularly. PayPal and Western Union are safe and secure ways to send money to family living overseas and having a card will allow you to more easily transfer funds to them.
Watch out for “Third Party” Services!
Some third-party services claim to offer direct-line services to transfer funds between PayPal and Western Union. You need to be incredibly careful with these sites, though, as many are fraudulent. There is no direct, approved company associated with either PayPal or Western Union, so before agreeing to send money through a third-party site, check if they’re legitimate or not.
Do a simple Google search of the third party’s name while asking for reviews or if they’re legitimate will likely be sufficient. There are a few sites out there that check site legitimacy and will alert you.
If it seems like it’s too good to be true, unfortunately, it probably is. If you can’t find any information or their site has other red flags (like poor grammar or misspelled words), it’s safer to avoid using them.
If you’ve already used a third-party site, you can try to dispute charges through PayPal. Their service prides itself on cash security and will likely be able to help you reverse funds.
Your safest options for transferring funds between PayPal and Western Union are to use your trusted bank or to use PayPal’s individual card services.
One of the surprising complications when trying to transfer funds is the safeguards put in place against money laundering. PayPal is designed for cash security but also hides the source of funds in the process. A money order through Western Union also won’t reveal cash sources and is frowned upon as a result.
While it’s unlikely that you’re laundering money by sending your daughter extra cash while she’s studying abroad, their systems don’t know that. The same rules apply and having an awareness is important in knowing how to avoid any issues.
Often the determining factor is the amount being sent, and these services also often have transfer limits to prevent that being an issue. You can usually send up to $2,500, though Western Union’s mobile wallet has a $500 limit. If you send small, reasonable amounts of money spaced apart you likely won’t run into issues.