How to Transfer Money with Western Union

Western Union is a wire transfer service that allows you to send money quickly all over the world. While not without risks, it is a dependable method of sending money to friends and family almost anywhere in the world. Use this guide to ensure that your money gets to where it needs to go.

Part 1 Sending Money

1. Understand who you’re transferring to. Western Union is a popular method for scammers to receive money from their victims, so make certain that you know who you are sending money to and that you trust what the money is for. Western Union has the following guidelines for when it is not appropriate to send money:

Never send money to a grandchild, family member, or friend for an emergency situation that you have not personally confirmed with a trustworthy source.

Never send money to someone you met on the internet.

Never use Western Union to make online purchases (there is no guarantee that the person will send the purchased goods to you).

Never send money through Western Union to apply for a job or to claim “lottery winnings.” In these situations, you will frequently be prompted via email to send money to West African countries such as Nigeria or Ghana. Remember that unsolicited emails are frequently scams – you did not win the lottery or be chosen by a “prince” to receive millions of dollars.

Never send Western Union transfers to sites like Craigslist.com for purchases or sales. Sometimes a buyer will claim to have purchased something you’ve listed for sale and send you a check for more than the asking price. They will then request that you send a Western Union transfer to cover the difference. This is a common swindle. 

2. Check the recipient’s address and name. You’ll need their address so you know where to send the money. Make sure you know the name on their ID because this will be used to ensure the funds are released to the correct person.

Ascertain that the recipient has access to a local Western Union and that you are able to send money to their location.

3. Send money through a Western Union location. Find a Western Union office in your area and fill out the necessary paperwork. You can send money from a branch in a variety of ways, including cash, credit or debit card, or bank account to bank account. The card issuer may levy a cash-advance fee if you use your credit card.

Fees vary depending on the payment method used, where the money is sent from, and where it is sent to.

When transferring funds from one bank account to another, you will need your recipient’s bank name, BIC (Bank Identifier Code) and IBAN (International Bank Account Number) numbers, as well as the account numbers. Certain countries may necessitate additional information.

Money may be available in a matter of minutes or days, depending on location and payment method.

Make a note of the MTCN number. This is the tracking code, which the recipient must provide when receiving funds.

4. Use the Western Union website to send money. On the Western Union homepage, click the Send Money button. Select Online Send. Fill out the form and select your payment method. You can send money using a credit or debit card, as well as your bank account. The recipient has the option of picking up cash at a Western Union location or having the funds deposited into a bank account.

The card issuer may levy a cash-advance fee if you use your credit card.

To use the online transfer service, you must first open a Western Union account.

Fees vary depending on the payment method used, where the money is sent from, and where it is sent to.

Make a note of the MTCN number. This is the tracking code, which the recipient must provide when receiving funds.

5. Money can be transferred over the phone. Call the Western Union toll-free number listed on the website. Pay with a credit or debit card after providing the agent with the necessary recipient information.

The card issuer may levy a cash-advance fee if you use your credit card.

Fees vary depending on the payment method used, where the money is sent from, and where it is sent to.

Make a note of the MTCN number. This is the tracking code, which the recipient must provide when receiving funds.

6. Make use of the Western Union Mobile App. Users can use Western Union’s mobile app to send money, track sent money, and pay bills directly from their phones. The app is available for both the iOS and Android operating systems.

7. Re-contact your recipient. Give them the MTCN number you were given by Western Union, which they can enter on the form when they go to a Western Union agent location to pick up the money. Remind them that they will also require a government-issued ID that matches the name of the intended recipient in order to collect the funds.

Part 2 Receiving Money

1. Pick up your money at a nearby branch. If you want to pick up your money in person, you can go to your local Western Union. You will need the MTCN number as well as a photo ID with a name that exactly matches the recipient’s.

On their website, you can find the nearest Western Union location.

2. Request that the funds be transferred to your account. If you want to receive funds in your bank account, you must notify the sender and provide them with your banking information. Your IBAN, BIC, and account number are all included.

The funds will be available in your account a few days after the transfer.

This service may be unavailable in your country or through your bank.

3. Purchase a Western Union prepaid card. This card allows you to receive money and then use it as a debit card for purchases and payments. After you’ve registered the card, log in to your Western Union account and enter the MTCN to have the money loaded onto your card. You can also load funds onto the card over the phone.

4. You can receive money on your phone. Certain carriers in certain countries allow funds to be transferred directly to a “mobile wallet” on a cell phone. For more information, visit the Western Union website.

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