Western Union

Western Union

Since 1832, Western Union has specialized in providing a safe monetary transfer method and subsequently is one of the oldest payment methods in existence. Primarily it deals with cash transfers between two parties in different countries. Its headquarters are in Greenwood Village, Colorado in the United States. Western Union money transfers are available in over 200 countries across the world.

More recently Western Union was bought by First Data Corporation and as such Western Union has expanded its business activities to include communications, pre-paid cards, bill payment facilities and money orders to name a few. At present, Western Union have more than 500,000 agents worldwide and they have the ability to move money via the phone, internet and from more than 100,000 ATM’s worldwide.

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How does Western Union work?

Western Union offers two very distinct ways of sending money. The first way is via the traditional Western Union agent. Using this method you fill out a money transfer form and provide contact details and full identification including a valid proof of address. This is done for both parties involved in the transfer. As soon as the transfer has been validated by Western Union, the recipient can go to their nearest Western Union agent with the appropriate identification and transaction details and collect their money.

The second method of transferring funds using Western Union is via their website. This time around you must complete an online form and then make the payment using a credit or debit card. Western union then send a confirmation to your email address once the transaction has been completed. If the recipient also has an online Western Union account, they can receive the transfer directly into that, otherwise they go and collect it via the more traditional Western Union agent.

Western Union: The pros and cons

ProsCons
  • More than 500,000 agents spread across 200 countries worldwide
  • Payments are carried out instantly and securely
  • Can be bought at any of 35,000 retail outlets worldwide
  • Western Union money transfers can be quite costly
  • Maximum limits for daily transfers are only $8000
  • Has been linked to fraud and money laundering in certain countries
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