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You might not believe it but the Western Union payment method dates way back to the mid-nineteenth century. In the year 1851, Ezra Cornell and Hiram Sibley, separately founded telegraph firms in North America. Initially competitors with one another, these two entrepreneurs built telegraphic lines infrastructures. Four years later they agreed to combine their businesses in order to move forward.
It was in 1871 when the first ever monetary transfer service was established by Western Union, using the combined and extended telegraph lines infrastructure. Today the name Western Union is primarily associated with being a money transfer service. In fact, in 2012 the Western Union payment system conducted approximately 231 million financial transfers for its customers, in 200 different countries around the world and from more than 500,000 different Western Union agents. The total amount of money transaction carried out by Western Union in 2012 represented a staggering value of $79 billion. And that was merely Western Union’s consumers’ transactions, as its business transaction payments made in 2012 represented an eye-watering total value of around $432 billion.
What is involved with the Western Union payment method?
Broadly speaking, the Western Union payment method is centred on moving funds from one place to another. If you wanted to send money to somebody else, you may use the Western Union payment method to make the transaction. You would go to your closest Western Union agent, and as there are 500,000 of them scattered around the world, finding one fairly close by, doesn’t prove too problematic for many. You can find out where your nearest Western Union agent is by clicking on the ‘store locator’ page of the website.
At the Western Union agent, you will hand them the funds you would like to transfer in cash. They will then present you with a 10-digit code, known as a ‘Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN). You will also be given a receipt that shows the money has been paid. The code then has to be passed on together with the cash at Western Union supporting agent, such as a post-office or a bank.
Today, Western Union users are able to send funds over the internet from the Western Union’s website. You can do this by using either a MasterCard or a Visa credit card. Though it is important to note that this online transaction service is not available to everyone and can only be used by people living in one of the 23 countries that accept the electronic transfer of funds for a Western Union payment.
It is also important to note that Western Union does charge a fee for users to transfer money with them. The fee is based on the total value of the money being sent, as well as the country the transfer is being made in. Typically this fee is around 14 percent to 18 percent of the value of the funds being transferred, which can put some people off transferring money via the Western Union payment method.
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