From Germany with Love: Sending Money to Philippines – Part 2

Another means to send money from Germany to Philippines is through Western Union (WU). There are two ways to send money thru WU: cash or bank to bank.

Western Union Cash

Advantage: I have used Western Union, personally. It is easy to send money. You would fill up a form where you would put your details as sender and the details of the person receiving the money. The Western Union would ask for your passport to verify the details. This is a good way to send money if your family or relatives really needed the money fast. Normally, the money that you sent is there within 24 hours in all WU outlets.

Disadvantage: It can really kill your budget. For example, you send 200 euro and the transaction costs would be 9.90 euro. Additionally, the exchange rate is lower than the standard rate for the day. Personally, sending thru WU cash is not interesting for me because it costs a lot of money.

Western Union Bank to Bank

Bank to bank thru WU is more interesting because I can send money to the Philippines for free.

At first I was doubtful, and then curious. What’s the catch that I can send money online for free? I mean I have been too long in Germany to believe that there is no such thing as a free lunch. I looked at the website and registered. I tested it and sent 100 euro direct to my mother’s BDO account in the Philippines. And to my surprise it worked.

Now, I have always been not easily persuaded so I thought, how does WU earn from bank to bank transactions? Thus, I compared the euro to peso exchange rate of Western Union to that of Transferwise and Azimo. Here are my findings as of September 5,2016:

Money transfer

Exchange Rate

(Euro to Peso)

Amount in Pesos for 200 euro

Transfer Fee

Western Union

51.38

P10,276

For free

Transferwise

51.93

P10,386

For free

Azimo

51.07

P10,214

2.99 euro

There are hidden costs when using WU. In this case, my 200 euro is 102 pesos or 2 euros less because the exchange rate is lesser than that of Transferwise. This is how WU earns from its bank to bank transactions.

Pros :I have always used WU and it has not failed me. When there is a family emergency at home, WU is fast and reliable and the fees are better than bank charges. You could also send as much as 5 thousand euro per transaction as long as you have your registration is confirmed. You can do this by asking WU to send you Postident coupon. You will fill this up, then you go to the Post Office nearest you for confirmation together with your passport and Ausweiss.

Cons: It is online banking. This means that is complicated and might not be everyone’s cup of tea. You must be well-versed with computer, and has a general trust on online banking. Moreover, WU has hidden costs. It would be better to compare the exchange rates of other money transfer especially if you are sending larger amounts of money.

Comparison of the three money transfers in terms of exchange rate and transfer fees showed that Transferwise came out the best. Would I be using Transferwise in the future? This would need more analysis on another article.

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