Western Union: The worst way to send money

There are many methods to sending money overseas. Some are quick. Some are not. Some are cheap. Others, not so much. Regardless of what service you decide to use, it behooves you to do a little homework into the cost, the speed and the security of the company you choose to take advantage of.

When sending money to the Philippines, I have relied primarily upon two services: RemitHome & Western Union. Of these two, I have officially dropped the latter. I now treat Western Union like the eastern confederacy: they’re history. I have a pretty high threshold for intolerance but once it is crossed, I will never do business with the offender again. As you can guess, I’m going to tell you why I dropped the yellow and black money shark.

Western Union offers only one superior advantage to other companies: they’re pretty much global. For myself, there is a store in the town of Sara so I could quickly (although not cheaply) send money to Jennifer. I could hop online, point, click and send my hard earned dollars to Jennifer so she could spend them as needed. The convenience of pickup sold me on their service.

For the most part, their service has been without hiccups. Besides this present occassion, I have experienced only one problem with WU. Sometime back in Decemember they froze a transaction for which I needed to call in and verify. Security flags are understandable so I called in, they verified my identity and voila, my transaction was sent without problems. The cliche “that was then, this is now” rings a bell as such is not the case today.

Western Union prides itself on security. They talk about it all over their website and it is dutifully inquired about on their website survey. Unfortunately, I find that they are rather incompetent in the area. Not only could they not verify my identity today [in the general sense], they couldn’t verify it after I answered correctly all the questions they pulled from a soft inquiry on my credit history. I was further rejected because they couldn’t verify my cell phone service (which happens to be a family plan). Idiots! I’ve been sending the same amounts of money to the same person with the same credit card but in all their genius, they flag my transaction as fraudulent.

I might be forgiving of their insecurity were it not compounded by the fact that they incorrectly send digitally signed emails from ‘Scott Chalmer’ instead of their company name AND their security certificate is expired. Imagine that! A financial company doing business on the internet that can not validate the identity of a seven-month repeat customer who has sent over 2 dozen transactions, nor can they can send a securely signed email!

Congratulations Western Union, you lost my business over the inconvenience you just caused me. Offering me the “option” of going to a physical store just ruined the only benefit you gave me as a customer. In case your wondering, I have in my life only flagged one other business as unworthy of my money (Best Buy although there are additional runner-ups) and I haven’t spent a dime there in over 10 years. WU will not be getting my dollars.

For those of you looking for a cheap and efficient way to send money to the Philippines, I highly recommend RemitHome. They are efficient, they are courteous and if there is a problem, they pick up the phone and call. That is a lesson in customer service that Western Union could stand to learn. And oh, before I go, you can find RemitHome at http://www.remithome.com

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