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It's practically foolproof, safe, reliable and dependable, making sure it's delivered to the correct recipient. The recipient must have a valid and reliable ID or password. In between the transfer, if you feel uncomfortable, I want to change your mind. It's very easily to stop transaction.
I was able to send money to my son in another state on a weekend when the banks were closed. He was able to pick up the funds within a couple of hours. I did feel that the cost was high, but when you factor in the cost of labor and security, I can understand the reason.
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Worked well, unless the machine was broken. Which was more often than not. Always had to go to Walmart or Walgreens to send money. Other than that, everything was fine.
My wife is in the Philippines. We are in the process of bringing her over to the US. It could be about a year. We were engaged for 2 years. She was working in Saudi Arabia as the salary she could earn there was far better than she could find In the Philippines. Her being in Saudi wasn't going to work as the strict laws there made it impossible to visit her. So we decided she would go home. She supports her mother and father by herself, despite being 1 of 5 children. We, also adopted her niece. So it became necessary to send her a monthly allowance as the job she ended up getting once back paid a salary of about $170/mo. For 2 years we used MoneyGram, because she was familiar with it, and there was an agent close to her house in Bulacan.
Right off the bat, MoneyGram blacklisted my email account after setting up an online account. Never actually made so much as 1 transfer, only logged in to my account 2 times, once during setup, and another to check the rates. The 3rd time I attempted to log in, I couldn't. Although they had no problem with me physically going to an agent to make a transfer, I was blocked online. I of course challenged it. Months later I was told information didn't match (match to what I'm not sure), that my transfer was flagged suspicious (I never made any transactions online, not a single one), and that I apparently tried to log in one time and didn't enter the right information which locked my account.
Then after they reviewed it they sent me a letter saying I was banned for making suspicious transfers. Odd since I never made a single online transfer. And of course in person at an agent was never an issue. Even though my phone number was linked and they knew it was me. After looking into it I found out that MoneyGram online is a separate entity from actual MoneyGram. Hmmm.. okay.
A year later it occured to me I have 3 different email addresses, so I tried opening an online account with a different email, and it worked. Same name, same phone number, just a different email... and they didn't say a word. Then the corona lockdowns came, and my wife was waiting 6 to 7 hours in line to get her allowance, I only to be told they ran out of cash. But we found out MoneyGram partnered with Gcash and she could accept to a mobile wallet. So we tried it. Out of 8 times, 2 were without issue, 6 were nothing but issues. Including 2 where I had to wait 15 days for a refund.
That being said, this is a review for Western Union, not moneygrab... I mean MoneyGram. So why am I now a loyal Western Union customer? Well, for one... Western Union works with Paymaya. So anyone reading this and sending remittances to the Pinas, have them get a paymaya and send Western Union. I used to send in person because I can elect to have them receive US dollars, and she can exchange when the rate goes up. The only way to select USD to be received is in person pick up. Paymaya only does pesos. I think. I'm not looking to test that theory.
The exchange rate is comparable to moneygram or PayPal, which is usually 1 or 2 pesos below the actual rate. That's normal. As far as I can tell, Western Union doesn't charge a separate fee for the exchange, neither does MoneyGram. However both make money on the conversion of currency and neither make it clear how much they are making. If you compare the rate Google says, and the rate Western Union quotes, it's about 1 pesos per dollar. MoneyGram is about half a peso per dollar.
Fees: With MoneyGram, about every 4 times I earn a 40% discount. Unfortunately you can't choose when to use it though. So if you are sending a small amount and it happens to be when you've earned a discount, there is no way to save the discount for another time when you're sending a bigger amount. Western Union uses a points system. So you can use your rewards when you want to use them, like when you're sending bigger amounts.
Also, I've had it happen where for some reason, MoneyGram changed the confirmation number. I don't know why. I just received an email a few times saying it had been changed and telling me the new confirmation number. No explanation. I've had one problem so far when sending Western Union. My internet was slow and the network was congested, as everyone here was under a "shelter in place" order from the quarantine. So everyone was online. So I had issue with the online website. Finally it went through. But my wife couldn't receive it. Finally I got an email asking to contact customer service. I was worried because that particular time I sent an unusually large amount so my wife could buy new phones for her and our niece.
What had happened was they flagged the transaction because the slow connection caused me to hit the send button several times, and the back button, and the refresh button... Because the internet kept freezing. Apparently the website took it as several separate transfers in various stages of completion, including several completed. So when they saw 4 transfers for the same amount sent within 10 minutes of each other, they flagged them. So I called, straightened the matter up, and ultimately had it canceled.
Unlike with moneygram, Western Union placed a hold on the funds, but didn't actually withdraw them from my account yet. So they just released the hold which took only 1 day, the same day actually. I talked to them at 930am, and the funds were available in my account by around 11pm that evening.
When I called, yes they asked many questions. I see many people complaining about the questions they ask to verify your identity. Do you really want to trust $1000 to a company content to just ask you your name or phone number to verify your identity? The 3 things easily found on the internet? Your name and phone number. Remember when they used to send everyone a big book with everyone's name and phone number in it? A phone book? Yeah...they still do that. It's online also.
Fees, are varied. With moneygram it's basically a flat rate based on the amount you're sending. Not necessarily so with Western Union. While it does make a difference based on the amount, it also depends how you are sending it and how they are receiving it. As a flat rate, Western Union is more expensive. About 30 to 50 percent more expensive. But actually we're talking about $5 to $8 more. But that depends. The most I've ever spent to send one transaction with Western Union was $14.99. With money gram, $12.99.
Oddly enough online with both was generally more than in person. But you can MoneyGram at Walmart for $9 if over $50. At a check cashing place near my home, it cost $12.99. Western Union seems to be the same price in person no matter where you go. And over $500 online was more expensive than in person. But depending how you set up your send options you can cut the fee. For instance there is a difference if you use a bank transfer, an online bank account, a credit card, or a debt card.
With me sending using a debt card, and her receiving with a paymaya digital wallet, I'd say it's costing me 20% more. However that 20% premium is more than worth it. My wife doesn't have to go anywhere or wait in any lines. With only a few exceptions the money was available within 30 minutes, 80% of the time it's available immediately. A couple of times it was delayed for review for about 30 minutes.
Although after the one issue I had where I had to call customer service, when I cancelled it, And sent a new one...it was held for review. So I called them immediately, explained what had just happened and why I was sending this time, and that I needed to to go through as my wife was waiting to go grocery shopping. They found my account, seen I had just spoken to customer service, and immediately forwarded the call to the agent who was reviewing my transaction! The actual person!
The guy was cool as cucumbers. I explained my situation, he asked a few questions, and in less than 3 minutes my wife was able to receive funds. I also haven't had any issue since. The guy asked how I used my online account, and I explained I sent my wife an allowance every 2 weeks until she gets her visa to come here. He noted it in my account. I actually asked his name or operator number, and had him forward me to his supervisor so I could report him for providing excellent customer service, and I did the same for the lady who helped me cancel the first one. The fact that moneygram and MoneyGram online are separate entities, but are connected enough that they both have an up to date account on you, that they both have a current record of every transfer you've made, but can separately decide whether or not you can use their services is suspicious.
The fact that in person, they are happy to send money to my wife, but online they think I might be some international mastermind looking to achieve world domination....by sending $200 to a woman in the Philippines with the same last name as me who's "allegedly" my wife....but thanks to moneygram online my plan was thwarted and my $200 never made it to woman I was paying to complete my death ray...well, except it did because I just sent in person...but still, if it hadn't been for MoneyGram online noticing I spelled my first name with a 5 instead of a T because I was using my mobile with it's tiny keyboard when logging in..they might not have frozen my account and I might have destroyed the world...with $200..
Western Union on the other hand, went out if their way to note on my account I send an allowance regularly to my wife. That makes a big difference to me. Well worth the 20% premium. Also, now that I've earned points, I'm starting to get discounts, so the 20% will eventually decrease a little. So....when I do take over the world, Western Union will be spared.....whaaa haa has haa..
Recently, I transferred money to a recipient in Brazil. Western Union sent me a receipt with the exact dollar amount my parents were supposed to receive. Two weeks later, my parents received about $150 less than the amount shown on my receipt. After numerous attempts to call, email, send information to western union, they simply ignore my request. Many excuses were given to me, like taxes were taken out, different money conversion rates were used, errors in paperwork. However, no real attempt to understand what happened was made. To this day, I lost $150 and have no idea if I will ever get it back, needless to say, be careful with western union.
Money was sent to me to help with my dad's funeral expenses and my mom's hospitalization due to Covid. They have the funds for days and no one reached out to me. Finally called them to follow up and they have the funds and even though I have a copy of the receipts from my uncle and it was sent to me, they will not speak to me without authorization from the sender. Money was sent to my name. Don't trust them.
This is by far the worst means of sending transactions. I have had success with Boxypay, Remitly, and World Remit. Today, I was interrogated three times by some incompetent customer service staff who kept me on hold and posed ignorant questions like, "how can we be sure your recipient will use the money as you intend, can you tell me what the nature of the medical condition you are sending money for is?" I am aware that international transfers are subject to scrutiny to avoid fraud, but to be candid, frustrating people with bottlenecks that others are safely forestalling through multi-step confirmations is by far the lowest of Western Union.
I proceeded to ask the lady if the same discriminatory compliance procedures against sending money to Nigeria were ubiquitous. She stayed mute. Fortunately, I was able to make hitch-free transactions via Remitly. Save yourself the hassle, take your money elsewhere. Western Union will deduct money from your account, issue you a receipt and then place your transaction on some fictitious "hold". Don't waste your time and hard-earned money. I insisted I was done, asked them to close out my account, which had prior records of international transfers. I asked to REMAIN on the line until the money they withdrew was FULLY refunded to me. Until Western Union eliminates its discriminatory practices, I will be conducting business elsewhere.
THIS SERVICE IS RIDICULOUS!! Can't collect the money anywhere (shops that are open). WE HAVE WAITED 6 DAYS FOR ANY PLACE TO SEE IF IT WORKS!!!! And charging £32 for the transfer NOT REFUNDABLE???! Telephone service very poor. Not helpful at all!!
Brazilian living in the US and sending Money through Western Union, be aware. I just got the full report of my last online transaction which you have to request. I saw that the Western Union exchange rate for the total dollar amount I sent was at 4.9 Brazilian Real to a dollar, different from the one that they had estimated, 5.28 Brazilian Real to a dollar. However, the exchange rate was averaging 5.46 on Feb 13, 2021, the date the transaction was completed. I was okay with the 5.28 Brazilian Real but very upset that they went down even more and it was not clear at first in their estimate. They never gave me an estimate of 4.9 Brazilian Real to a dollar.
They have a disclaimer that the receiver may receive less due to the receiver's country's government taxes and local banks rule but it does not say Western Union will exchange at a lower rate than they had estimated after the transaction is completed. Very deceiving. The worse is that the money gets exchange again in Brazil, the local Bank again exchanged the Money once again even at a lower rate, 3.7 Brazilian Real to a dollar which does not make any sense. Big loss for me and they are also losing a long-standing customer!
Western Union is the worst, most unreliable money transfer service I have ever used. They will hold your transactions for months without any reason. Avoid this service at all cost! It's not worth the hassle.
Western Union author review by ConsumerAffairs
Western Union (WU) was founded in 1851 as an American telegraph company, and it began offering money transfer services in 1871. Now, Western Union is one of the world’s largest and most well-known money transfer companies. In 2015, it facilitated the transfer of more than $150 billion. It offers consumers and businesses options for sending and receiving money both domestically and internationally.
Fee tool: Consumers can use the fee estimator on WU’s website to see how much it will cost to send money to someone else online, in person, over the telephone or through the WU app. The tool will also show consumers how long it will take for the funds to be available to the recipient.
App: The Western Union Money Transfer app, available for both iOS and Android devices, allows consumers to send money directly from their mobile phones. Money can be sent to other individuals or be used to pay bills at select businesses.
Rewards: The My WU rewards program lets customers earn points for money spent on transfer fees. Rewards points can be used to make free transfers, enroll in select Udemy online courses or make matched donations to the Western Union Foundation.
NGOs: Western Union partners with the Clinton Global Initiative to help non-governmental organizations (NGOs) get money to individuals around the globe who do not have access to traditional financial institutions. In some locations, funds can be sent to users’ mobile wallets.
Refer-a-Friend: The Refer-a-Friend promotional program rewards customers who invite others to use Western Union. The first time the invitee sends money, both the original customer and the new customer receive a $20 Amazon gift card.
Western Union Company Information
- Company Name:
- Western Union
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