How to Avoid Western Union Charges

Western Union offers convenient money-transfer options. However, if you choose to use Western Union, you will want to avoid throwing money away. Spending your money wisely requires you to be aware of all potential charges and compare costs with Western Union's competitors.

Step 1

Read the fine print. As with any business transaction, attentiveness is crucial. Whether you are engaging in a Western Union transaction online or offline, be aware of the terms and conditions in effect for the transaction. When problems or misunderstandings occur, an awareness of these regulations as well as a money transfer control number (MTCN) are essential in helping you resolve these issues with minimal charges.


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Step 2

Use the online coupons Western Union offers.

Step 3

Save your Western Union receipts because they contain MTCNs. Without the MTCN, your money may not be refunded if it's lost. Plus, you may pay nonrefundable administration charges before learning that a refund will not be granted.


Step 4

Learn foreign exchange rates, and evaluate your options. Different vendors of "moneygrams" offer lower rates to specific regions than Western Union. Alternatively, you may opt to send money overseas via an online service and avoid the offline paperwork.


Step 5

Explore debit card alternatives. Western Union offers a prepaid Visa card option, but if you are seeking to transfer money domestically to someone who has a bank account they will allow you to deposit money into, you can avoid charges altogether. If not, a money order is a much less expensive option, saving you an initial activation fee of $9.95 and saving the receiver of the money order a $2 ATM charge.


Visit forums for information about other users' experiences with Western Union's services; users often describe transactions that went awry and led to extra charges.


Never fall for an online scam that is perpetrated under the guise of Western Union sponsorship and provide sensitive personal information, such as your bank account number or Social Security number.