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How Does Western Union Work?

How Does Western Union Work?

Western Union is a worldwide name for facilitating money transfer. With a lot of ease, you can transfer funds, either locally or internationally. This article explores how the business of Western Union works, what procedures it follows, and the various facilities provided by them.
Neha B Deshpande
Beware of Predators
Before making an online transfer, make sure that the transaction is genuine. It is recommended not to make a payment to an unknown party, and check the authenticity. There are many scams that fool people into transferring money. Be informed and safe.
Western Union is a financial services company that primarily renders the service of money transfer on a global basis. It offers various services; however, they are pioneers of money transfer. It actually started as 'New-York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company' in 1851, and initiated money transfer in 1871. Other than money transfer, they have services such as bill payments, business solutions, and other options such as prepaid cards, gift cards, etc. Today, they have more than 500,000 agent locations, and operate in more than 200 countries. Of course, the money transfer system, facilities, etc., might differ with every nation. There are various ways to make a money transfer via Western Union.

There are so many instances wherein you might require to transfer funds from one place to another. For example, a student who is studying abroad might be in immediate need of funds, an emergency may put you in want of funds, or you might be wanting to pay some utility bills. Western Union is indeed an easy, quick, and reliable method to transfer money.
How Does Western Union Work to Send Money?
Ways to transfer money
  • Online
  • Through Agent
  • On Phone
  1. Transferor
  2. Western Union (Transfer money by visiting agent location, or giving card details to agent or on phone)
  3. Receiver (Collect at agent location or credit to his bank account)
ONLINE TRANSFER
Western Union is a safe method to transfer money online. Just follow the requisite guidelines, and you can immediately transfer money with a few easy steps.
  1. You're allowed to transfer money through a credit or debit card.
  2. You need to have an account with Western Union. If you do not have one, register yourself as a new user.
  3. Select details such as the location you need to send money, the amount, and the receiver's name.
  4. After signing in and filling the requisite information, the company will give you a summary of the money transfer, including the charges. Make corrections if needed, and resubmit. 
  5. After you confirm the details, amount, and the charges, fill the details of your debit or credit card. Once the transaction is processed, you'll get an acknowledgment of the money of the transaction.
  6. The receipt/acknowledgment contains the MTCN (Money Transfer Collection Number). It is used to track a transaction, and receive the transferred money. Pass this number to the receiver only for safety purposes. Use the tracking number to confirm your transaction progress.
  7. In case of international payments, the applicable Forex rate will be used for calculation. Confirm the details, and process the transaction by entering details for payment. The receiver can also take cash in some other currency if the collection center of that particular nation allows it to do so.
Note: The time for a transaction depends on various parameters. Some nations have the 'Money in Minutes' facility, which lets you transfer funds immediately.
TRANSFER VIA PHONE
Western Union gives you the facility to transfer funds via phone.
  1. You can transfer funds by calling the toll-free number and giving the requisite information.
  2. Give information of your debit or credit card, and accordingly the company will make the payment to the desired location.
SENDING MONEY IN PERSON
Select the 'agent' which is nearest to your location. The working hours of the agent is accordingly displayed.
  1. Fill out the necessary details and forms at the agent's location. Pay in cash or card, and accordingly obtain a receipt.
  2. Share the MTCN (tracking number) with the receiver, and he can collect it at a Western Union center of his location after showing the requisite identification evidence. Do not share this number with any other person.
  3. In these cases, there are chances that there will be cases of frauds and manipulations. Make sure that you've got adequate and authentic information about the receiver, and that there is nothing illegal about the transaction.
RECEIVING MONEY
The recipient can collect the money from the nearest Western Union center, or the sender can arrange for direct credit to the recipient's bank account. Some countries like the United States have a 'Mobile Money Transfer' facility, wherein, you can transfer money to the recipient's mobile wallet. However, such a facility is available in select countries only. You need to give information about the recipient's mobile number in this case.

The recipient has to produce his identification proof and the tracking number to receive the funds.
Note that transfer of funds is subject to rules and regulations stipulated by laws of every particular nation. For example, if you're receiving funds in India, such remittances should be purely for personal purposes, and not for investments or donations to charitable institutions. Make sure you read the restrictions, and seek help from a Western Union customer care in case of any doubt. In the United States, there is an option to send money to an inmate too. In short, make sure you acquire adequate information about the restrictions and facilities of the nation where you're transferring an amount to.