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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..
Western Union has and continues to be one of the best providers giving me the option to transfer cash when it is most needed. My family and I are so fortunate to have this service available to us. Thank you again and keep up the great work!!! Sebastian **.
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Was having trouble but got Josh & he resolved my issue be fine. Josh from customer service helped my son have a great Christmas, how do you Express thanks for that? If I owned a financial institution, I would want to clone employees like Josh. Hands down, no joke, Thank you Josh.
The worst money transfer experience in life. First of all, they charge you a huge amount of service fees. Then they won't transfer your money. They queue for an hour and a half on the waiting line and in the end they won't let you transfer any money. Completely pointless service provider. Not recommended to anyone!
Sending small-ish amounts regularly to Vietnam, I thought WU was safe and easy. It turns out not to be either. I was able to make debit card transfers and thought the speed was great. Then I tried a bank to bank transfer.... bad idea. The recipient bank refused the transfer for no reason. WU called me with "compliance" questions that were delivered with the friendly edge of a middle-eastern interrogator. Today, my WU account was hacked with 2 debit card transactions and one bank account fraudulent transaction. I was advised to close my WU account and continue the transaction by opening a new one with the same information. Sounded simple, but WU had blocked my debit card and refused other forms of funds. So, it seems as though WU isn't up to the task of secure services. Thank goodness we have options.
I have been sending money to a federal prisoner (a relative) for nearly 1 1/2 yrs, same credit card. In early Oct. 2020, WU refused to transfer any more money that I send to this relative regardless of how I wish to send money, online or in person. I completed a special WU form and answered a number of questions that WU said it needed to verify I am who I say I am. Why all of the sudden? Even with all the info I sent WU, it still will not let me use online email and has even blocked me from sending cash in person at WU agents. Instead, try MoneyGram or better yet write your congressional representative and senators and let them know that most families struggle to send a few dollars a week to help their loved one's life a little better but paying outrageous rates for simple money transfers. Moreover, look at the rapacious charges for money transfers. About 10% or greater just to electronically transmit funds. Don't use WU.
WU stole my money. They took my transfer with the added fee of sending it via their "Money in Minutes" They asked me a bunch of dumb questions and said it was for reasons of fraud. When they finally released the money after being on hold with their customer service, they refused to give me back the extra fee for sending it via their "Money in Minutes". They also informed me that this is their policy and their right, and they can do whatever they want. After reading all the negative reviews I'll never use this company ever again. I hope they go bankrupt.
This company has the worst service. Called five times to talk to a supervisor. All five time the Representative hung up on me. I'll never send money again with this Company. Again they are not helpful at all to issues. Really need customer service training.
As before I sent money to my family in law in DRC. This time however, the transfer was blocked for "safety and fraud" reasons. After answering several questions and pointing to the fact that this was customary for the last decade, several times a year, I got a call back the transfer was canceled and a refund issued. Asked for the reason, it just seems there is no logic or consistency in the judging of a transfer, so WU is technically not trustworthy nor reliable for transfers. No wonder WU is getting routed out in Europe, as it acts typically the American way, not thinking critically or logically. We found a better and less expensive service in Europe that will do the job.
The money nannies at WU denied my $2,000 transfer to my fiance in Ukraine based on the fact they think we're committing fraud. I tried initially via the website which is what I've always done, and it denied the transaction (and no reason was given). I was forced to go to a bank, withdraw the money, then drive to the nearest WU location 30 miles away, because the locations WU lists on their websites are out-of-date/incorrect. Then when I found out my fiance could not get the money I had to call their customer service, where I spoke with some Hispanic woman with an irritating voice that kept saying she couldn't understand me. I had to answer 10 annoying questions about the purity of my motives in sending the money. Finally, after being on hold another 10 minutes, they denied the transaction.
They have no right to cancel transactions for valid members/senders and make anyone answer questions they have no right to ask, and it's not their place to save people from themselves. If you can't protect yourself from fraud and depend on others to do it for you, you deserve what you get. This isn't 1950, and Western Union isn't a division of the U.S. government, no matter how much they'd like to pretend to be. There are other, better services now to use, and with lower fees.
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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