The Western Union is one of the global leaders in the market of international money transfers with more than 160-year history. The international network of the company covers more than 200 countries and 550 000 agent locations. The company's services are also available in 150 000 ATMs all over the world. In 2017 the turnover amounted to $300 billion, and the number of transactions exceeded 800 million. WU completed an average of 32 transactions each second in 2017. The company has been rapidly developing its digitally initiated money transfer platform, which includes westernunion.com and Mobile Money Transfer. This is the fastest-growing market segment, which is bringing new customers and increased business to Western Union. Revenues from the company’s digital platform have been increasing over time. Western Union’s key business, Consumer-to-Consumer (accounting for nearly 80% of the company’s revenues) will remain attractive, as worldwide immigration has been experiencing healthy growth.
- Founded in 1851 as a telegraph company;
- In Feb. 2006 Western Union quit telegram business, which spanned 155 years since 1851;
- Revenue - $5.5 Billions (2017);
- Net loss - $558.7 millions (2017);
- Total assets - $9.2 billions (2017);
- Number of employees - 11 500 (2017);
- Number of clients - 150 mln. approx.
Sending and receiving money
With Western Union sending and receiving money is convinient and simple. At WU one can send money in a variety of ways:
- Online through WU website, which allows users to send funds to others, pay bills, locate Western Union's service points, track transfers, and purchase Western Union gift cards. The website also attempts to spread fraud awareness using videos, articles, and quizzes to do so;
- Via WU app on Android and iOS;
- In person by visiting any of numerous agent locations worldwide. 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. The 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 the sender must provide to the recipient;
- By phone in the US with assistance of WU team.
Money transfers can be received in the following ways:
- In cash in any agent location. The recipient 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. In some locations, if a recipient lacks identification documents, the sender and receiver can 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;
- Bank account;
- Mobile wallet in some markets;
- Pre-paid card in the selected markets.
Additional services include bill payments and money orders, which are an alternative to checks.
Comissions and Limitations
Fees vary based on the sender and receiver's location, type of transfer, and whether the money is sent from a counter location or by the website.
The maximum amount of a transfer may be limited by local legisltion or WU rules. The amount differs from country to country. In some locations transfers are available only in local currency.
- Western Union has been accused of engaging in anti-competitive behavior in Africa as a result of a lack of competition on the continent;
- The Central Bank of Ireland fined WU for failures in anti money laundering practices;
- WU is an official sponsor of Liverpool Football Club;
- Hikmet Ersek, the CEO of WU, is a Turkish immigrant to Austria who eventually made his way to the United States and joined Denver-based Western Union nearly 20 years ago.
Sources: Wikipedia, Yahoo Finance