Talk:Western Union

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Who was it who said "If you want a message, go Western Union"? -- Tarquin 23:45 Mar 7, 2003 (UTC) Shows a list of quotes by what appear to be famous musicians, and according to it that was said by Samuel Goldwyn. There were also some other results pointing to his name. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:59, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

Correction request[edit]

The refrence date is wrong: ^ "Western Union attracts almost 9 m visitors online". Retrieved October 2021

NPOV, Advocacy screed[edit]

This whole section is just a big press release with advocacy language laced throughout.

Immigrants demand that Western Union abandon its predatory financial practices or face an ongoing boycott.

The Sept. 10 press conference featured speakers include United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta (invited), TIGRA executive director Francis Calpotura, La Federación Oaxaqueña President Artemio Bautista, Somali Action Alliance Director Hashi Abdi from Minneapolis, Local Trustee of the United Steel Workers of America (USWA) Gwen Gampon, and L.A. pastor Father Luis Angel Nieto. After the press conference, speakers joined with representatives from immigrant and community organizations to march to a nearby Western Union.

Immigrant advocates are calling on Western Union to adopt a Transnational Community Benefits Agreement (TCBA). The Agreement would lower remittance fees, establish fairer exchange rates, and provide for community reinvestment. Western Union and other money transfer agencies often function as the primary banking service in immigrant communities, yet they remain unregulated by the Community Reinvestment Act and are unaccountable to their primarily low-wage customer base. Immigrants depend on remittances, or money transfers, to send money for food, urgent medical care, and education to their communities of origin.

The company’s current reinvestment track record is abysmal, despite their latest “Tres por Uno” program in Mexico and annual profits of more than $1 billion. Western Union reinvests only 41 cents for every $100 of profit, as compared to $2.30 reinvested by Wal-Mart and $7.50 reinvested by Ben and Jerry’s. The “Tres por Uno” program boosts this number to 77 cents for five participating Mexican states. The TCBA would require Western Union to reinvest $1 per every transaction.

High fees are another problem. An immigrant worker earning minimum wage must work a full week to pay off a year’s worth of Western Union fees and commissions. Although an individual money transfer costs Western Union less than $5 (dropping to $3.27 for second and subsequent transactions), the company charges more than $20. The World Bank estimates Western Union could cut its fees by one-third and still retain profits comparable to its competitors.

On May 10, TIGRA immigrant advocates gave Western Union 100 days to adopt its key demands. They have yet to hear a sufficient response from the company, despite thousands of phone calls, emails, postcards and faxes and a brief face-to-face discussion with CEO Christina Gold. Previous attempts to engage Western Union beginning in September 2006 have proved unproductive. Advocates have been forced to launch a boycott of the company, demanding that Western Union adopt the Transnational Community Benefits Agreement.

Comité Pro Uno, Hermandad Mexicana, and Pilipino Workers Center are part of the Transnational Institute for Grassroots Research and Action (TIGRA), a national network of more than 180 immigrant organizations working together to clean up the practices of the money transfer industry to ensure community reinvestment. Mujeres Unidas, Union de Vecinos, and USWA – Local 675 are additional co-sponsors of the Sept. 10 press conference in Los Angeles. The Western Union boycott will be launched in immigrant communities nationwide beginning September 17. See for more information on local boycott activities. —Preceding unsigned comment added by DarthBrooks (talkcontribs) 18:56, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

AUTODIN as precursor of modern Internet? What happened to ARPANET?[edit]

The claim that AUTODIN II (the correct name of the system under discussion, which was to replace the existing AUTODIN network) was in any sense a precursor of the INTERNET is, technically, ridiculous. The ONLY sense in which AUTODIN I or II were precursors of the INTERNET is that they allowed DOD to experience long distance electronic communication in incredibly primitive ways (AUTODIN). AUTODIN II was never built, would have never worked, and was part and parcel of why WU failed as a company. History:

The ARPANET was designed and built under contract to ARPA by staff of Division 6 of Bolt Beranek and Newman, Inc. (BBN), in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with insight and support from a range of high level academic and ARPA (now DARPA) computer scientists and engineers. ARPANET had been planned as an experimental system and, although very successful, needed major rework to support the broader communications needs of the DOD. With this in mind, DCA (what was DISA back then) issued a contract for the design and construction of AUTODIN II. The SETA contractor for this procurement was BBN Div 6.

Early in proposal development, BBN Div 6 management decided that it was in a unique position to capitalize on the ARPANET work and compete for AUTODIN II. Accordingly, BBN advised DCA that they intended to join with Northern Telecom to bid AUTODIN II. Since this represented a very serious potential conflict of interest, BBN's SETA support for the procurement was immediately terminated. Unfortunately, this left DCA without any possible source of competent SETA support to the procurement, since no organization other than BBN had successfully constructed a significant packet-switched network to that date.

In spite of the difficulties involved, DCA was able to issue an RFP and both NT/BBN and WU bid the work. The source selection review recommended NT/BBN and this was ratified by the Source Selection Authority. The NT/BBN proposal was both "lowest cost" and "best technical approach." At this point, congressional intervention occurred and reversed this decision, demanding that DCA award to WU or suffer cancellation of the procurement. The privately stated reason was to give WU a financial stream to stabilize this important US commercial asset, since it would otherwise fail in a few months or years, representing a major loss to national security.

BBN very much wanted to protest this outrageously illegal procurement; however, top DOD officials personally advised the management of BBN that to do so would jeopardize and/or result in immediate cancellation of ALL DOD contracts the company held, now and in the future. Since such an action would have immediately destroyed more than 60% of the firm's billable activity, BBN capitulated. This proved to be a wise decision...

WU took control of AUTODIN II for two years. During this period they signally failed to produce anything approaching a workable packet-switched network. In fact, they failed to make much of any worthwhile progress, although over $80 million was eventually paid to WU for this non-work. At the end of the two year period the WU contract was canceled, as was the AUTODIN II procurement. A smaller contract with less defined objectives was opened with BBN's newly spun out Communications Systems subsidiary to figure out what was needed, specify, design, and build a suitable network exploiting ARPANET technology as appropriate.

It is this replacement for AUTODIN II that eventually produced the foundation of the system today known as the INTERNET, which, like the ARPANET, was build by BBN staff with a lot of academic and government input. Al Gore, to his credit, was one person who helped make this concept a public asset, which it is today, rather than simply a DOD playground for the cognoscenti. But that was after the capabilities were well established and developed for DOD.

I do not believe this aspect of the story has generally been told outside of the folks at BBN (including myself) who were involved and observed the outcome. I know of no public source that will validate these facts, unfortunately. The event loomed large in BBN's world at the time it occurred, but seems almost insignificant in retrospect, as BBN's efforts in distributed comms, parallel computing, and distributed simulation were very well supported for a great many years until a similar misprocurement occurred over the award of the Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (CATT), which would be inappropriate to elaborate on here.

I an not a registered Wikipedia user; however, I can be reached at with comments and questions. (11/05/07) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:52, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

from the article's 'Internet Precursors' section, as of today (2006-08-20,11:42 UTC): Western Union was involved in the Automatic Digital Network (AUTODIN) program. AUTODIN, a military application for communication, was first developed in the 1960s and became the precursor to the modern internet in the 1990s.

Arguably most people on the Internet would consider ARPANET/DARPANET to be the precursor of modern Internet, built collaboratively in computer labs all over the US in the 60's. But since I'm neither a networking expert nor a Computer Science student, I may be wrong. So what's this AUTODIN and DMS business, can someone enlighten me? And where does these two fit into the history of the Internet?

Of course the fact that the DMS article's factual accuracy is currently in dispute (as of today) shouldn't make anyone automatically assume that this isn't a stealth PR astroturfing campaign to make Western Union look good. --Lemi4 11:49, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Intriguing suggestion, but see here: --Loubocop

Perhaps "a precurser of the internet" would be better. ---

For what it's worth, the EasyLink bit placed right after that is bull. Western Union was just a customer of EasyLink, the electronic mail service provided by AT&T. Someone should get rid of this.

Not so: See the New York Times - WU had leased facilities from AT&T and other companies related to satalite, long distance EasyLink and other services, but EasyLink was a WU product/service. And no, I don't work for WU. I just did a simple Google search.--Loubocop

FWIW, 290 Google results on "Western Union EasyLink", 15,000 or so for "AT&T EasyLink". Also, from at least '85 through 2000 or so, my dad worked for AT&T EasyLink. Maybe it was originally a division of WU or something, but definitely not since '85.

The article I cited is dated 1984. I know for a fact WU still sold EasyLink services at least as late as 1988/1989. Beyond that, I am not sure what happened. It is around that time WU had a major merger and began to cast off many of its services; selling to other companies. Now, the Western Union name lives on in money transfers only. Perhaps AT&T bought the service and developed it further. --Loubocop

PS, I found that AT&T purchased EasyLink from WU in 1990: Perhaps your dad was contracted with AT&T by WU. The timeline of the website (No, not created by me) reflects my recollections of history in the business, and I imagine some more searching will help you verify the sale. Here is another 1984 article attesting to WU developing EasyLink: It was big news in its day, but like most things, WU screwed it up...--Loubocop

Yes, EasyLink was a WU service. It, along with the international TLX operations, were purchased by AT&T around 1990. I was a Western Union employee that became an AT&T EasyLink Services employee. (talk) 01:19, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Primary Services?[edit]

This article kind of skims over WU's main claim to fame, sending money. Yeah, there are a few mentions here and there, but it's not covered in the intro, and this article relies too much on the history section to list the services it provides.

I think what is needed is a "Primary Services" section that, well, lists and explains the primary services WU provides currently. --Rschmertz 18:29, 2 September 2006 (UTC)


This is really missing on the main article IMHO. WU has been known to lose money on random occasions and of course their ToS covers for it.-- 20:46, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

Does anyone have some verifiable information on Western Union's role in helping illegal immigrants send their earnings abroad? Bostoner (talk) 22:31, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

Weird statement[edit]

"Western Union provides one of the most popular services for internet fraud from scammers." Used/abused, sure, but according to this it seems WU actively "provides" scammers with their tools? Softwarehistorian

Legality anyone?[edit]

Are there countries where WU is banned or they have been expelled because of their friendliness to net scammers and fraudsters? The article should have a table of 170something countries of the world, enumerating where WU operates, not present and where explicitly banned. I can imagine there may be some countries which imprison their citizens even if they used WU services abroad. (talk) 12:37, 25 February 2008 (UTC)


There ought to be some mention of the dangers of sending money by western union, in terms of use by fraudsters. It's maybe not totally wikipedian, but surely there is a "greater good" argument: many people may be reading this article for information after falling into e.g. a 419 scam. (talk) 21:55, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

Proper sources would be required. Meanwhile, maybe you could actually explain what you're talking about, instead of assuming that we already know. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 23:55, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
I did actually come to this page expecting to find information on high levels of fraud and Western Union after a friend of mine has just been ripped off trying to use Western Union as a form of escrow for an apartment deposit. The money must have been taken by someone posing under a fake name but Western Union don't take responsibility. Some example case studies and sources can be found at:
Ashleyvh (talk) 17:37, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
In my blog, I have a couple of articles where people that are scammed by Internet merchants can report on their experiences. If you search for "Western Union" in the comments to these articles, you will get an idea about how frequently Western Union make their service available to this type of fraud.
I think that some information about the use of Western Union should be in Wikipedia out of public interest. It may even stop stop someone from becoming victim to these scams.
gisle h. (talk) 09:51, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

Write an article about wire fraud or include this info in an existing article about fraud and cite it here rather than write about fraud at length here. Xoom is also used for these purposes, so are other agencies. Even though this is a fake corporate PR article about WU, fraud should still be a separate article. (talk) 16:29, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Presidents of Western Union[edit]

I added the list of presidents of the company. Please help to complete it.--Александр Мотин (talk) 17:20, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

Westar V[edit]

"Westar V was loaded onto Spaceshuttle Challenger to be launched into outer space. When the Challenger suffered catastrophic failure Western Union lost millions of dollars. Lloyds of London refused to reimburse Western Union since it was not an Act of God.[citation needed] This was a major blow to Western Union."

This is completely inaccurate. Westar 5 was lauched June 9, 1982 on a Thor Delta launch vehicle. It operated successfully until May 1992. Westar 6 was deployed by Space Shuttle Challenger on mission STS 41B on Feb 4 1984, but failed to reach geosynchronous orbit due to a faulty kick motor. It was retrieved on Nov 16, 1984 by the crew of STS 51A. The mission was partially funded by the insurance companies that insured the launch of the satellite. Western Union had received a $105 million insurance payment after the loss of Westar 6.

The final flight of Challenger carried a TDRS satellite owned by NASA. (talk) 01:03, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Popular Culture references?[edit]

There have definitely been some references in popular culture to Western Union over the years. What would be appropriate to add to an article like this? (talk) 16:54, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

1800s scandal and Associated Press deal[edit]

In his 2010 book The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires, Tim Wu apparently alleges that in the Reconstruction Era, Western Union took telegrams discussing Democratic Party internal strategy, and turned them over to the Republican Party. He also mentioned it had a deal with the Associated Press, which made it the only national real-time news service, and that the AP was affiliated with the Republican Party. (I heard him discussing this on the radio.) This would be interesting to corroborate and add to the article. -- Beland (talk) 23:40, 19 January 2015 (UTC)