Posts Tagged ‘Western Union’

I found out from my local bank branch that they are a Western Union agent, which was news to me, since it doesn’t show up on Western Union’s online agent locator.

It isn’t that they had become one in the past while, before the database had been updated — they simply aren’t listed.

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With Western Union, I priced a ‘Money in Minutes’ online and agent money transfer of $1000 USD from America’s financial capital, New York City, to Iraq, and from New York City to Canada.

The service fee was only $19.99 from New York City to Iraq, but was $86.00 to Canada — 430% more.

Similarly, MoneyGram’s agent 10-minute money transfer fee for $1000 USD was only $16 from the U.S. to Iraq, but was $61 to Canada — 381% more.

This, despite Canada’s deep economic integration with the U.S. through NAFTA and the SPP, the world’s largest bilateral trading relationship among individual countries, their membership in the G-8 and G-20, being ranked #7 and #8 in economic freedom according to the Heritage Foundation, Canada having the soundest banking system in the world according to the World Economic Forum, and bigger economies of scale.

Previously, I wrote about how it’s cheaper to send a text message to Iraq than to the United States.

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Someone I know tried to send money through Western Union’s online site to a Middle Eastern ally of the United States. Western Union has a limit of $1000 USD or CAD for online transactions.

After completing the transaction online, the person was informed they would have to phone a customer service number and answer some questions in order to complete the transaction within 24 hours, or else it would be cancelled.

After answering standard questions to verify their identity, he was told his online transaction was denied and he’d have to complete the transaction at a local agent, and was given a code to receive a $10 discount. When asked for the reasons for the denial, he was told they couldn’t give him the reasons. Was it because he created the account that same day? Was it because it was his first online transaction? Was it because of the destination country, that it was beyond a certain amount, or a combination of those factors? Whatever the reasons were, they wouldn’t say.

When he showed up at a local agent, he was told the discount code wasn’t recognized there, and he’d have to do a new transaction. While the site reported a transfer fee of $61 for an online transaction and $30 at a local agent, it only ended up costing $19 at the local agent. Despite the questions he was asked during the online transaction and afterwards, by phone, the local agent never asked for any identification — so much for consistency.

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