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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.
We have been using WU for at least a year now to pay rent. My landlord informed me in July that his wife misplaced the money order and if we could get a refund and try again. We went to their website, tracked down the process on how to start the refund process. They have two options, mail in a form with a money order $15 for processing or wait for the $15 to be taken out of the amount you need refunded.
The other refund process is filling out the form and emailing it in. So that is what we did. 7/20/20 is when we sent the first email. We called to see if they received it and told us to wait 5 days and call back. Waited 5 days called back and someone else said 8 business days. So we waited and waited and finally gave them a call back. Was told they hadn’t received it via email and we should send it again. Sent a second email 8/7 and a third 9/8. Still saying they haven’t received it. I called today and now it’s being escalated. This is simply unacceptable. I refuse to just let this go.
on July 16, 2020 I was trying to make a purchase online to get a laptop and camera. I was inform from the merchant to send the money to Western Union. I did and I never received my item so I can't get my money but after I explained that it's apparent that I was fraud out of my money. I call Western Union and explained everything to them and they told me that they will not refund my money even after I gave them all the information regarding what happened. My bank will not refund the money either because they said that Western Union must refund the money.
I have done business through Western Union before and never had any issues but the one time things didn't work out they act like they can't refund your money. How is it that when you send money the person on the other end receiving must show their ID so if there is a dispute Western Union should be able to contact the party to help the sender but unfortunately Western Union refused to do that so I'm now out if 1000 dollars. If a company cannot help or give you insurance that these things will not happen to you then don't do business with them.
I pay expedited fee and still almost 95% of my transitions are held for unlimited period of time despite me calling the customer service, sometime as long as couple of weeks. Money from my account is however taken immediately. WU should stop this hold off practice to enlarge their current reserves that most likely are invested somewhere to make profit. Also if a transaction is HELD then they should refund the extra fee they charge for "money in minutes" if WM corporate continues this fishy practice.
I've always used Western Union to sent money to the Philippines. When I sent it's always $ so when get the money it be dollars. Western union in Dumaguete Philippines when it's time for my sister to get the money they say they don't have dollars or they are out of it. What is this western union games playing about. I don't have issues like this before? I am hoping western union can explain this to their customers. I paid to send the money and western union in Philippines charged them to take the money.
WU has no transparency. No practices to be honest with their customers. I tried to send money. It’s my 4th time and it’s just pure torture. They confirm money is ready to be picked up by recipient and then refuse to release because of “some limits“. I’m sure any financial organizations knows about “limits” but they just take money. Hold it for 2-3 weeks And then send a refund with no obvious explanation. Borrowing money without interest is good idea. I did another transfer and they decided to hold and refund it after hold back to my bank. I spent countless hours on the phone with customer service trying to get any answers. Useless. 10 people from different departments give different answers or refuse any answer at all. They discriminate against certain countries more than the others.
I tried to pay cash at the agent store and it’s also an issue and they wouldn’t release funds again. I again spent hours on the phone for any explanation and then hours to get refund. If WU doesn’t want some people to be their customers just be honest of not wanting hour business. WU Always treats people like they are fraud, participants in illegal activities or thieves.
I went to transfer $250 in cash to a friend in Tanzania in financial hardship. My wife did it for $5. I downloaded Western Union’s app - $34.95 for the same debit card to cash transfer. I then went on the Internet directly, it showed the $5 amount. I went to send it $7 showed in the - “confirmation page.” Then it charged me $14.95. Boycott Western Union, find a legitimate company!
If you have an urgent need to send “money-in-minutes”, this is NOT the service to use. Emails to Customer service is useless because they can’t tell you what the hold up is. They want you to make a phone call to customer service. The last time I was on hold for 1 hour and 45 minutes then got cut off. Last few times it’s taken about 5-6 days. If I had a choice, I wouldn’t use WU.
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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