Key Data

westernunion logoCompany Name: Western Union
Established: 1851, Introduced Money Transfers In 1871
Ownership: Public
Status: Public, Traded On NYSE – Symbol WU
Services : Online Money Transfer, Branch Cash Transfer, Travel Money  (To Learn More View Money Transfer Service Guide)


Reliability LevelMixed Feelings

On one hand WU is the largest remittance provider in the entire world. They employee over half a million people, and trade publicly for a market cap of more than $7bn. On the other hand, no other company has received as much (negative) media attention, and criticism by hundreds of different organizations, for their abuse of immigrants. The company has become synonymous with the word scam because of its anonymous transfer system, and has tens of thousands of complains online by angry clients. 


Fees: $5-$20 To Send Online, More On Branch Transfers | Anticipated Spreads: 1-2% Online, Up To 10% Via Branch

12500 Belford Ave, Englewood, CO 80112
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Overview

Western Union is one of the oldest and largest money transfer companies around. Founded over 160 years ago, it has long been the most highly reputed agency in the sector. At the same time, Western Union has collected plenty of detractors over this mammoth period, with some big controversies and scandals threatening its existence.

Background

WU OfficesWestern Union was established in 1851 as the New-York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company. The name was changed to Western Union 5 years later, but it was only in 1871 that they first introduced money transfer.

They claimed a number of firsts. They were the first telegraph company to complete a transcontinental line across North America. They were the first to trade on the New York Stock Exchange. And they were one of the 11 original stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

In 1980, money transfer revenue exceeded telegram service revenue for the first time, effectively becoming Western Union’s primary purpose.

Thereafter, they launched their first money transfer website in 2000, expanded to over 500 000 agent locations worldwide, and partnered with GSMA to develop mobile money transfer.

Despite growing competition from smaller companies, Western Union remain the largest and most wide-reaching money transfer company.

The management team

Hikmet Ersek is the current President, CEO, and Director of Western Union. Having served as Chief Operating Officer, he was made CEO in 2010. Since then, Western Union has diversified and transformed its business model, finding new ways to attract younger customers and provide a more efficient service.

Ersek has had a long and illustrious career in financial services, holding high positions at Mastercard and General Electric before joining Western Union. He is often quoted and interviewed by media outlets for his expertise on international economic topics.

Raj Agrawal is the Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at Western Union. He has held a number of high positions at Western Union since 2006. Beforehand, he held senior positions at General Motors, Chrysler Corporation, and Deluxe Corporation.

Ersek and Agrawal are two figures in the eleven member management team, all of whom have illustrious qualifications and careers behind them.

Performance reports

Size and reach

Western Union has over 500 000 agent locations around the world. They have online transactional services available in 33 countries, with capabilities of sending to over 200 countries and territories. In 2014, The Western Union Company completed 255 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $85 billion of principal between consumers, and 484 million business payments1.

Financial reports

Western Union reported a total revenue of $5.6 billion in 2014. By the end of the 3rd quarter in 2015, Western Union’s revenue equaled $4.1 billion, slightly less than the $4.2 billion at this same stage in 20142.

Public stock performance

Western Union stock reported an average Net profit margin of 15.1% over the last 3 years Western Union has an attractive ROIC(Return on Invested Capital) of 26%, as well as a healthy Free Cash flow margin of 21.4%3.

Use of Western Union for fraud

Western Union is notorious for its role in money laundering and scams. It is one of the most common platform used for these activities, and its failure in fighting money laundering – leaving open the opportunity for international financing of terror – led the Central Bank of Ireland to issue a fine of €1.75m in May 20154.

Western Union has tried since as far back as 2005 to root out financial scams, requiring customers to sign a confirmation that they are sure they are not being scammed. Staff has also been asked not to put through suspicious transactions. They have also gone to great lengths to educate customers on the different types of scams that they may be targeted by. Their comprehensive descriptions of the common cons outlines everything from advanced fees and overpayment scams, to romance scams. Nonetheless, customers still fall victim to these scams en masse, and money stolen in this way is almost never recovered.

Many financial institutions urge customers not to use Western Union for this reason.

Licensing

Western Union is licensed by various national and state regulators in each of its locations.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Western Union has changed ownership several times over its 164 year history. It has also acquired multiple companies, offering additional services to customers.

In 2009, Western Union acquired Custom House for $370 million, rebranding as Western Union Business Solutions.

In 2011, Western Union acquired Angelo Costa, another money transfer firm with 7500 points of sale throughout Europe.

Later that year, Western Union acquired Travelex’s Global Business Payments division, and Finint S.r.l.

Reputation

As mentioned, Western Union has a fluctuating reputation. Since the company has been in existence since 1851, they have the backing of over 160 successful years. At the same time, the past decade and a half has seen their service used for scam, fraud and money laundering of amounts that number in the billions of dollars, leading eBay to ban Western Union as a means of payment, and many financial institutions to discourage use of their services.

Nonetheless, Western Union is still the leader in its industry, and is expected to remain so for the immediate future. However, as smaller and cheaper money transfer companies are beginning to proliferate, they may soon see their perch threatened.

 

1 http://corporate.westernunion.com/Corporate_Fact_Sheet.html

2 http://s1.q4cdn.com/568883301/files/doc_presentations/2015/3Q15-FINAL-Slides-102815.pdf

3 http://amigobulls.com/stocks/WU/analysis

4 http://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/central-bank-fines-western-union-1-75m-1.2218236


 

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Leave Your Western Union User Reviews Below

23 thoughts on “Western Union Review

  1. Hi good after please fix the error in mantalongon dalaguete cebu, kasi maynag padala sa amin galing western union tapos don sa mlhulier ko kukunin kasi mhlulier lang ang meron sa barangay namin pero 2days na error hindi daw sila maka pasok please fix po kailangan po naming ang pera pero hindi namin makuha sa mlhulier mantalongon dalageute cebu kasi error please po fix po and communicate po niyo ang mhlulier mantalongon dalageute cebu kasi marami napong na stranded na pera galing sa inyo tapos hindi namin makuha sa mhlulier

  2. My problem is about my postal id it was expired last march 22 2020 but the lock down and quarantine becouse of corona virus all istablishment specially postal office no renewal or applying new id beciuse of lockdown.. How can i gate my remitance from abroad.. Your western union center not accepted may id becouse of expired.. But hiw can i renew my id if its close for lockdown? Give as consideration

  3. Hi this is Eshaqzai Abdul fatah this is my good number because you guys block me please let me know what’s going on R7008 949-317-7782 I always send money around the world to poor people and help

  4. Mam pinay po q nag hulog po q kahapon sa western union Ng Pera Di pa po natanggap Ng family q pano po Yun.

  5. Trying to send my sister in law $200
    Please help I’m trying to get her to Fl an I need to buy her a plan ticket can u please help me????

  6. Why am I been blocked from collecting money through your rimittance service I haven’t been involved in any illegal activities on this platform I only collect money from family members . So why am I been victamize

  7. I resended money two weeks ago but I send on wrong name and Los the MTC namber the on receipt can some one helped me so that’s I can get my money back thanks

  8. Dear Sir/Madam

    My name Senzo Masango from Johannesburg/South Africa. I am writing you this letter to state my concern.

    I have someone helping me from the Uk and his names are Stuart N McReynolds. He send me funds to help via Western Union during this lockdown period. I couldn’t fetch them due to covid 19.

    2 days back i went to one of your branches via bidvest only to find out your system says funds not allowed. I went asking Mr Stuart N McReynolds to call you and ask what is the problem.

    In response you said to him “senzo jeffrey masango had been blocked due ti recieving alot of funds” but it was my first recieving fund your network.

    My queation is in what grounds i am block since it is my first time.?

    Your responce will be a relief.
    Thank you

    Senzo J Masango

  9. I have never used Western union money transfer, have been in another money transfer company, all along have suffered, maybe my folly resulted in not sending money to my loved ones, today have been very much frustrated coz, my transaction has left me with other alternatives but to switch to you, I hope will be happy with you

  10. I want to transfer dollars to a friend now, this my first time to use Western Union, I hope it will be all well

  11. Racist fucks

    Every time
    I go in there to send or receive money they have given me grief as soon as I answer the question ….

    Where were you born ? Iran 😂🤣😂

    Racist fucks

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