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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.
I used WU services a lot during Covid 19 lock down in Malaysia. However due to the extended period of the Movement Control Order my visitor pass expired. Malaysian Government recognizes the extraordinary circumstance and allowed visitor to stay in the country without any penalty provided the individual leaves the country within 14 days after the MCO is lifted. However WU will not honor expired visitor pass/visa as ID to receive money contrary to local government's advice. My passport is valid and should be recognized as legit ID document. WU will not help at all by temporary relaxing the ID policy. They have higher fees and low exchange rates. Now with their unwillingness to help when I needed the service most is just my last straw. I will use other money transfer service from now on.
My second time used Western Union and it’s my last time to used this company. They took money from my bank account and hold it. My family came to western union office 3 time. They said is the tracking number is correct but ask to wait 4 days and refuse to give money to my family. I called customer service and the guy said it’s the new way Western do the business. My family have to wait even though western union already took money out of my bank account. Trk# **.
I am a first-time customer of Western Union. I have never experienced such terrible service with a business. I was trying to send money to an individual and despite providing the adequate information, they refused the transaction twice for an invalid reason and failed to provide the tracking number to receive my refund. The agent on the phone named JL (**) was extremely rude, made me feel incriminated, and he was especially determined to ensure that my transaction was unsuccessful. I am extremely disappointed and I will never do business with Western Union again. I advise anyone who wishes to use their services to reconsider and avoid the displeasure of disappointment.
It is 1 Jul 2020, I sent funds via Western Union on-line via my U.S. debit card to my wife's Philippine BPI account on Sunday, 28 Jun 2020. It is still in progress. Done this many times before with fast service 1-2 hours. Now starting my 4th day. What it is now, seems WU has financial issues and is slowing down processing times to float funds to keep in business. First they said 1 day service, then 2 day service, now 7 day service. Their nose is getting longer and longer. My warning for you at this present time.
Since June 16th I have being going through the worse days with WU because of an employee misinforming me. To make the story short I am still getting it resolved today. I was able to speak with a supervisor who was actually handling my concern like a professional but overall the experience was terrible, from being misinformed, to having my bank account charged twice and becoming negative, and lastly getting emails that would freak anyone out during work.
I made a transfer on March 23rd, unfortunately I misspelled the last name of the receiver and had to cancel the transfer to make another for the following day. When checked my bank account, WU had withdrew the funds from my bank account twice. Based on the site, it would take 48 hrs to refund my money. A few weeks later I called WU asking for the refund again, they gave me a reference number and information stating that the refund should arrive in 48 hr. One week later, the funds were still not transferred back.
Today May 27th, I called WU I was told that the transfer happened on March 27th and I need to send the a copy of my bank statement to prove that the funds were not transferred! The audacity of this company to ask for a copy of my bank statement. This is absolutely ILLEGAL! To that I responded that they should send me a copy of the confirmation that the funds were indeed transferred to my account. I was put on hold for an eternity, the guy came back on the phone and hung up!
Over a year ago I sent money to this person. They claimed they didn't get it, Western Union froze my acct. saying I could no longer send online.... but going into agent was ok???? It would be sent up the chain and they promised someone would get back to me???? This has been a year and no one.... I'm done with these CROOKS. I won't be using them anymore.
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