The Western Union Company is a financial services and communications company based in the United States. Its North American headquarters is in Englewood, Colorado, US, and its international marketing and the commercial services headquarters are in Montvale, New Jersey. Until it discontinued the service, Western Union was the best known US company in the business of exchanging telegrams.

Western Union has a number of divisions, with products such as person-to-person money transfer, money orders, and commercial services. As of May 27, 2010, the company has more than 410,000 Western Union agent locations in over 240 countries and territories. Reported revenues top US$5 billion annually.

Specific services


Western Union's website,, allows users to send and receive funds to others, pay bills, or purchase gift cards.

The domain attracted at least 8.7 million visitors annually by 2008 according to a study.


As the Internet became an arena for commerce at the turn of the millennium, Western Union started its online services. BidPay was renamed "Western Union Auction Payments" in 2004 before being renamed back to BidPay. BidPay ceased operations on December 31, 2005, and was purchased for US$1.8 million in March 2006 by CyberSource Corp. who announced their intention to re-launch BidPay. BidPay was later discontinued by CyberSource effective December 31, 2007.

Western Union Mobile

In October 2007, Western Union announced plans to introduce a mobile money transfer service with the GSM Association, a global trade association representing more than 700 mobile operators in 218 countries and covering 2.5 billion mobile subscribers.

The proliferation of mobile phones in developed and developing economies provides a widely accessible consumer device capable of delivering mobile financial services ranging from text notifications associated with Western Union cash delivery services to phone-based remittance options. Western Union's mobile money transfer service offering will connect its core money transfer platform to m-bank or m-wallet platforms provided by mobile operators and / or locally regulated financial institutions.

Sending and receiving funds

In order to send funds, a sender goes to a Western Union office and presents funds (plus fees) for "Next Day" or "Money in Minutes" service. A sender provides his or her name and address, the recipient's name, and a designated payment destination. Western Union then provides the sender a 10-digit Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) that must be transmitted separately by the sender to the recipient. The recipient then proceeds to a Western Union agent office in the designated payment location, presents the 10-digit MTCN, and a photo ID. Money is then paid out to the recipient. If a recipient lacks identification documents, the sender and receiver can chose to set up a pre-arranged password. Funds are paid out in cash, although if payment exceeds a local maximum or cash on hand, a check is issued. Alternatively, a sender may forward funds online to a recipient by using Western Union's online site,

Transfer fees

Fees differ based on originating and receiver countries and type of transfer. Generally, fees are less if using the website rather than using a partner agent location.

Should the sender choose to fund the Western Union transfer with a credit card, Western Union charges this as a Cash Advance rather than a regular charge. This will cause the sender to be assessed the cash advance fees by the credit card issuer, as well as cash advance interest that accrues from the day of the transaction as defined by the policy of the credit card issuer.

Should the sender attempt to avoid the Cash Advance fees by choosing the "debit card" payment method online at Western Union's website, after accepting the pertinent input, the website will change the transaction type to "Credit" without an alerting message and display this as the payment type. As such, the debit card transaction will be treated as a Cash Advance and sender will still be responsible for all associated fees charged the card issuer.


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