Western Union Brokers 2021 - Which Brokers Accept Western Union?

Western Union is a financial services organisation that is best known for its worldwide money transfer service. Its head office is located in Denver, Colorado, but its retail locations can be found in over 200 countries worldwide including Great Britain (GB). The famous brown and yellow logo is internationally recognised as a trusted institution for many who need to move cash around the globe, one which recently received a valuation of almost $11 billion.

This review will tell you how you can send money using Western Union and evaluate the pros and cons of depositing funds with your broker using this method.

Western Union Brokers

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Western Union History

The firm’s rich history began in 1851, starting life as a telegram transmission service. As the company modernised, it moved away from telegrams and into international money transfers. Hikmet Ersek, an Austrian businessman, was appointed CEO of Western Union in 2010. In 2018, it completed more than 800 million transactions across multiple channels online and in person.

western union WU logo

Western Union Details

Western Union enables money transfer and exchange for those who do not have a bank account or would prefer to send or receive cash.

There are a few ways to make a deposit using Western Union:

  • In person – Visit a Western Union location near you with the broker’s BIC and IBAN number. You’ll receive a Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) which you’ll need to pass to the broker’s customer support to collect the funds.
  • Mobile phone app or website – Register for an account with Western Union and transfer money via your online e-wallet. Just visit the iStore or Google Play to download the app. This option requires you to pay via bank account but can be collected in cash. However, brokerages will need to receive the money into a bank account so this service is very similar to a bank or wire transfer.

Pros Of Trading With Western Union

Cash Transfers

Western Union is useful if you do not hold a bank account or prefer to pay in cash. The service enables you to bring your money into the Western Union store and deposit it directly into the broker’s account via wire transfer.

However, some brokers only allow withdrawals via the same method as deposit, so check that the broker allows withdrawals to Western Union locations before depositing.

Quick To Pay In

Using the ‘Money in Minutes’ service, Western Union is almost instant. However, it does rely on your broker being quick to accept the payment on their end, so check with customer services if this is possible beforehand.

Promotions

Western Union often have vouchers and discount/promo codes for zero transfer fees, which could make it cheaper than a wire transfer. They also offer a ‘refer a friend’ scheme which you can earn up to £50 in gift cards.

Payment Methods

Western Union have recently introduced Klarna financing to their deposit methods meaning you can now break down payments into instalments and spread the cost.

Cons Of Trading With Western Union

Limited Scope With Brokers

Western Union is not usually a popular deposit option for trading brokerages. As financial institutions, regulated brokers are required to perform anti-money laundering checks. Western Union has limited identity checks and so bank transfer is preferred as banks are also obligated to ‘know their customer’.

Expensive

Western Union charges fees for transferring money which vary by location. It also makes money through currency exchange rates. The exchange rate offered can change daily.

Speed

If you have a Western Union nearby and want to transfer money to an individual, Western Union offers one of the fastest ways to move cash across borders. In fact, you could move your cash from the USA to the UK in minutes.

However, for traders looking to deposit with brokers, the service is likely to be no quicker than a bank wire transfer. Plus, you are limited to retail store opening times. You can, of course, transfer online or using the app at any hour, but since the broker will need deposit to a bank account, this offers limited benefit above a credit/debit card payment.

Security

Western Union is not available as a deposit or withdrawal option for most regulated brokers because of the security risks associated.

Most brokers are subject to stringent anti-money laundering checks, meaning that they must ‘know their customer’. Since Western Union’s selling point is that it enables cash transactions for those who do not have bank accounts, it performs limited identity checks. This makes it difficult for forex brokers to do their due diligence to ensure that the funds have come from a legitimate source.

But in contrast, some reviews suggest that Western Union have sometimes blocked their legitimate transactions due to recipients not being able to verify their identity, leading to a Trustpilot score of only three stars.

In the past, Western Union has also been criticised as it has been utilised by fraudsters who take advantage of the fact that money cannot be withdrawn or refunded once it has been transferred. While credit card and bank transfers can be charged back, once the money has moved to the new location, this cannot be reversed.

Nevertheless, Western Union is a safe way to deposit money if you are confident in the broker’s credentials.

Deposits & Withdrawals

There are very few regulated brokers who offer Western Union as a deposit and withdrawal method because of the security issues highlighted above. Therefore, before depositing you should check that you are happy with the broker’s credentials.

Deposits

To deposit funds with a broker using Western Union, you can visit a retail location or go online. You’ll need to fill in a short form which will ask for the broker’s BIC and IBAN numbers. You can usually find these on the broker’s website under the bank wire transfer option. You will not need the four digit postal code as you’ll be transferring to a bank account. Check with customer services if the broker accepts Western Union as a deposit method before doing this.

Once the transfer is completed, you’ll receive a Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN). Pass this number to customer support at the broker’s end who will then be able to receive your deposit.

You can transfer up to a maximum of £799.99 within a five day period with Western Union. If you’d like to deposit values higher than that, Western Union will need to verify your identity first. There may be yearly limits on how much you can send depending on your location.

Withdrawals

To withdraw, you’ll need to submit a withdrawal request with your broker who will then provide you with a MTCN. You can then go online or into a branch with the number to receive your money.

There are some useful videos from Western Union on YouTube with further details on how to move money using the service. Alternatively, see the company website for the contact telephone helpline number in your area.

Western Union Fees

The cost of Western Union varies per transaction. There is a table of fees depending on the amount of money transferred and the recipient country available on their website.

Western Union also makes money through currency conversions. They will buy the currency you own at a slightly lower exchange rate and sell the new currency to you at a higher rate just as most bureau de changes in the UK do. You can find out the charges that apply on each transaction by using the transfer fees calculator available on their website. This service also includes a currency converter.

This can sometimes make Western Union an expensive option compared to alternatives such as Transferwise and MoneyGram depending on the exchange rate offered on the day.

Is Western Union A Good Choice For Traders?

Western Union may be a good choice for brokers who prefer to pay in cash. However, most regulated brokers will not accept this as a payment option as they cannot complete their anti-money laundering checks. Therefore we would recommend you open a bank account and choose a broker with a strong trust rating.

Western Union fees can also sometimes be pricey. And since you’ll need to deposit to a bank account on the broker’s end, if you hold a bank account, it may be best to explore alternative deposit methods.

FAQ

Is Western Union a bank?

No, Western Union is not a bank because it does not hold funds or offer loans. It is a money transfer service that enables you to move money around the world.

Can you transfer money using Western Union online?

Yes, if you would like to transfer from an existing bank account, you can use the Western Union website or mobile app. However, brokers will require you to transfer to their bank account, so you may prefer to cut out the middleman and complete a bank wire transfer instead. Check the fees for wire transfers vs Western Union to see which is better value.

Can you transfer money using Western Union to a bank account?

Yes, and this is the method you’ll use when depositing with a broker. You’ll need to obtain the broker’s bank details (BIC and IBAN numbers) to do this.

Can you use a credit card to transfer money with Western Union?

Yes, you can use a credit card to deposit with Western Union. However, you may prefer to pay directly by wire transfer if using a credit card depending on the fees.

Is Western Union instant?

Western Union usually takes around 1 – 3 days to process transfers. However, money can be moved the same day using the ‘move money in minutes’ service.

Is Western Union open on a Sunday?

Yes, most Western Unions are open on Sundays with shorter opening times. Their web and app service is available 24 hours for sending money but money cannot be received until the next working day.