Western Union was originally found in 1851 as an American telegraph company, and later in 1871, the company started offering money transfer services. Western Union is now the world’s largest and widely recognized money transfer service. Western Union’s decades of experience makes it amongst the most credible and well-reputed services in the industry. Western Union has over 500,000 agent locations in more than 200 countries around the world.
Western Union allows you to send money in over 130 currencies, and money can be received in a variety of ways including cash through an ATM or at an agent location, on a prepaid card, on a bank account, or on a mobile wallet. You can choose to fund the transfer through cash, bank account, or your credit/debit card. Western Union’s money transfer speed is among the fastest in the world. After being sent, the money usually becomes available within minutes. The company has a powerful mobile app available for both iOS and Android, and lets you send money to any agent location or bank account worldwide. Western Union also offers several additional services namely Western Union Business Solutions, Consumer to Business, and a NetSpend Prepaid Master Card that consumers in the US can use to send and receive Western Union money transfers.
Although Western Union is the world’s largest money transfer service, it still has several drawbacks. The standard consumer service that Western Union offers does not let you send amounts larger than $5,000. Sending money to certain countries is more costly, and sending cash at an agent location is also slightly expensive than sending it online. Moreover, not all channels of sending money and receiving money are supported in every country. As regards pricing, although it depends on several factors such as the sending and receiving countries, the medium of funding, and the amount sent; the fees charged by Western Union are generally higher than other money transfer services. Moreover, fees at agent locations are generally higher than the fees when sending money online. Western Union’s exchange rate is also not attractive since the company makes almost 25% of its profit by taking a margin between the exchange rate that they acquire, and the exchange rate they offer to consumers.