How does Western Union work?

Western Union offers wire transfers – a way of quickly transferring money across the globe that has been around since 1871.

Details aren't transferred through undersea telegraph cables anymore, like they were in the 20th Century, but the process of wiring money through Western Union hasn't really changed that much in over 150 years.

You can walk into your nearest Money Shop and transfer money around the world within minutes.

All you need to do is tell us how much you want to send, the destination country, and the details of who you would like to send it to. Once you have paid a small fee, we'll take care of the rest, making the payment within minutes*.

Next, contact the person you're sending money to, give them the reference number for the transfer, and let them know they can pick up their cash at their nearest Western Union branch with photo ID. They can have their money in minutes.

If you're sending to a different country, with a different currency, the exchange rate is locked at the time of transfer – so even if they can't collect their money until the next day, they'll receive the exact amount you agreed, even if the exchange rate has changed.

What do you need in order to use Western Union?

If you're sending £600 or more, you'll need proof of identity. If you're sending over £2,000, you'll need some form of proof of address from the last three months too.

To receive money, you'll need proof of identity for any amount, and proof of address (from the last three months) as well for anything over £2,000.

Find out more about what kinds of ID you can use for Western Union transfers.


Why use Western Union?

Western Union is really useful for sending money abroad – whether it's for someone in need of emergency cash while they're on holiday, supporting family overseas, or sending cash gifts.

Unlike online transfers, they don't need a card to withdraw the cash – ideal if someone has lost their debit card and all of their cash while on holiday, for example.

Any other questions?