Western Union Money Transfers

Is Western Union safe?

Information verified correct on January 20th, 2017

Western Union is a trusted network of agent locations worldwide. But how does it protect your money when transferring it overseas?

Western Union boasts a network of more than 370,000 agent locations, it’s inevitable that one is in your neighborhood. Learn how it protects your cash until it’s safely in the hands of your friends or family.

How does Western Union protect my money?

Western Union protects your international money transfer using digital safeguards and a long history of service.

  • SSL technology. Western Union uses encryption technology to keep your bank and identifying information safe along every step of the transfer.
  • Backup for recipients without ID. If your recipients are in an emergency situation without ID, you can establish a test question to ensure that your funds are not delayed.
  • In business since 1851. Rest assured that Western Union has had many years to work out any kinks.
  • Publicly traded company. It has a reputation to uphold and shareholders to keep happy.
  • 24-hour customer support. It offers around-the-clock help online and by phone.

Compare Western Union to other international money transfer services

Rates last updated January 20th, 2017

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OFX International Money Transfers
Exclusive offer: Special exchange rates ... Exclusive offer: Special exchange rates and $0 transfer fee
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What are my rights when it comes to money transfers?

Since 2013 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has enforced rules to keep US citizens safer when transferring money internationally. Federal law now requires many banks, credit unions and money transfer services to disclose information both before and after a transfer.

Before a transfer, you have the right to know:

  • The exchange rate
  • Fees and taxes collected from you
  • Fees charged by agents overseas and others involved in the transfer process
  • The amount your recipient is expected to receive (excluding foreign taxes and recipient fees)

You also should be provided with details on:

  • Your right to cancel the transfer. Unless the transfer has been picked up or deposited, you have 30 minutes (and sometimes more) to cancel at no charge.
  • The bank or company’s process to investigate and fix any errors. It generally has 90 days to resolve any problems.

These rules apply to all international transfers of $15 or more.

How do I report suspicious activity to Western Union?

If you receive an email or call from somebody claiming to be Western Union, do not click any links or provide any information. Western Union will never email you to confirm your ID, password or payment details. Instead, contact your local authorities or forward your email to spoof@westernunion.com.

How to avoid a money transfer scam

You’ve undoubtedly heard about somebody who’s been a victim of a money transfer scam. Keep your eyes open and remain vigilant with these simple tips.

  • Don’t wire money to strangers. Make sure you know who you’re sending money to. If for an online auction or sale, be sure that you have all of the seller’s information and have confirmed they are reputable before sending your payment.
  • Be wary of unsolicited emails and phone calls. Phishing scams often involve an email asking you to resend information or passwords. When in doubt, go to the company’s website directly instead.
  • Ask questions. If a company answers quickly and accurately, that’s a good sign that you’re working with a reputable company.

Tips for picking up cash safely

It’s great to know that your transfer is safe, but it’s just as important to protect yourself when picking up money. To safely retrieve your cash:

TipDescription
Call ahead.Be aware of the company’s office hours and pick a safe time to get your money. Daylight hours are safest.
Bring a friend.You don’t want to be walking alone with large amounts of money. Ask somebody to come along with you.
Deposit your money immediately.The chances of losing your money to theft or simple carelessness increases the longer you have it with you. Head to a bank and deposit your cash as soon as possible.
Keep your cash hidden.Put your money in your wallet or purse while you are still inside the office. Carrying it out in the open makes you a target.

Bottom line

If you’re looking to transfer money securely and with peace of mind, Western Union is as safe as any of your available options. Be sure to compare fees, exchange rates and transfer times to find one that fits your needs.Shopping for an alternative? Compare these services to Western Union for sending money.

FAQ

Does Western Union offer an escrow service or buyer protection?

No. Western Union does not advise customers using it as an escrow service, nor is it affiliated with one. However, you do have rights that are protected by federal law — including the right to cancel your transfer within 30 minutes if initiated through most banks, credit unions or money transfer services.

What do I do if my international transfer is taking a long time to complete?

When your bank processes an international transfer, it often uses an intermediary or correspondent bank. These “middle men” are sometimes the ones holding it up. Ask your bank to investigate where the money might have gotten delayed.

How long does it take for a wire transfer to go through?

In most cases, wire transfers are completed in two or three days. If you use a money transfer service, your money is often delivered sooner, sometimes within minutes.

What is a SWIFT code?

Short for the cumbersome Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, a SWIFT code is an international bank code used for incoming transfers. Overseas banks each have a unique SWIFT code that identifies which bank to send money to.

Why did my transfer fail?

Your money transfer could fail if you provided incorrect information regarding your recipient — include bank details and SWIFT codes. Call your bank or provider to learn if you can fix it.

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US International Money Transfers Offers

Learn about our information service
WorldRemit International Money Transfers

An online money transfer service with cash pickup, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available.

OFX International Money Transfers

Exclusive offer: Special exchange rates and $0 transfer fee
OFX is currently offering finder.com exclusive exchange rates and $0 transfer fee on all transfers.

World First Foreign Exchange

Exclusive offer: $0 transfer fee
Transfer money into a range of currencies online and over the phone.

Transferwise International Money Transfers

Make online transfers in a range of currencies and enjoy high maximum transfer amounts.

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