Western Union COVID-19 FAQs

COVID-19 By Margaret Fogarty March 18, 2020

Western Union continues to monitor the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) developments closely. Our primary concern is the safety of our employees, customers, and the well-being of those impacted globally. Below are Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for our customers, the media, and other key stakeholders. We will keep this page updated as the situation develops.

GLOBAL OPERATIONS & SERVICE QUESTIONS

Is Western Union open for business?

What is Western Union doing to support customers during this time?

Will you continue to send or payout money transfers in countries that have declared a state of emergency?

How are you determining whether to keep retail locations open?

I cannot pick up my money transfer because no agent locations are open due to the COVID-19 situation.

If I can’t pick up my money transfer, what will happen to my money?

Can I authorize someone to pick up the money from me if I can’t leave my home?

Is it true that banknotes are spreading Coronavirus?

HOW TO USE WESTERN UNION DIGITAL MONEY TRANSFERS

How can I send from wu.com?

How can I send from wu.com mobile app?

How can I send to a bank account?

What’s a bank code, and how do I find my receiver’s bank code?

What is a Bank Identification Code (BIC)?

What is an International Bank Account Number (IBAN)?

What additional tips should I keep in mind?

GLOBAL OPERATIONS & SERVICE QUESTIONS

Is Western Union open for business?

  • Yes, we continue to serve our customers and operate globally. Given the dynamic situation, we are encouraging customers in affected areas to utilize our digital services – send or receive money by visiting our mobile appWU.com or our bank partners’ digital channels.
  • Western Union understands that our Agent retail locations in areas with a high concentration of COVID-19 outbreaks may close their businesses temporarily or may have altered operating hours. We encourage our customers to please check the agent locator for the most accurate information, and call before visiting to confirm availability of services and hours of operation.

 

 What is Western Union doing to support customers during this time?

  • Our goal is to keep our digital and retail services operational across the world, while abiding by local regulations and guidelines.
  • Western Union is recommending customers experiencing local restrictions due to COVID-19 use WU.com and the Western Union mobile app to facilitate transactions for payout into bank accounts and digital wallets, which is currently available in more than 100 countries.
  • Western Union and the Western Union Foundation launched a USD $1M global appeal and is accepting donations through April 14, 2020. The combined Western Union and Western Union Foundation match will be up to USD $500,000, and will go toward supplies, equipment and frontline medical aid. Donate here.

 

Will you continue to send or payout money transfers in countries that have declared a state of emergency?
Where possible, yes. Our goal is to keep our digital and retail services operational across the world, while abiding by local regulations and guidelines. Given the dynamic situation Western Union is recommending customers experiencing local restrictions due to COVID-19 use WU.com and the Western Union mobile app to facilitate transactions for payout into bank accounts and digital wallets, which is currently available in more than 100 countries.

How are you determining whether to keep retail locations open?
Our goal is to keep our digital and retail services operational across the world, while abiding by local regulations and guidelines. Given the dynamic situation Western Union is recommending customers experiencing local restrictions due to COVID-19 use WU.com and the Western Union mobile app to facilitate transactions for payout into bank accounts and digital wallets, which is currently available in more than 100 countries.

If sending money through retail is your only option, we encourage you to be mindful of service interruptions or altered operations hours, based on local conditions and guidance from local authorities. Please use the Agent Locator to determine service hours in your area.

I cannot pick up my money transfer because no agent locations are open due to the COVID-19 situation.
We are sorry for the inconvenience. Given the dynamic situation Western Union is recommending customers experiencing local restrictions due to COVID-19 use WU.com and the Western Union mobile app to facilitate transactions for payout into bank accounts and digital wallets, which is currently available in more than 100 countries.

If I can’t pick up my money transfer, what will happen to my money?
Your transfer will be available in the system for 30 days. After this period, your sender will have to contact Western Union customer service hotline to reactivate the transfer.

Can I authorize someone to pick up the money from me if I can’t leave my home?
For security reasons, only the designated receiver can pick up a transfer. However, you can ask your sender to contact Western Union customer service to ask for a refund. The sender can send a new money transfer to someone else or initiate a digital money transfer at WU.com or through the Western Union mobile app for bank account payout where these services are available.

Is it true that banknotes are spreading Coronavirus?
We have no reason to believe that banknotes are more likely to spread viruses than any other surface, and Coronavirus is no exception. The guidance from the World Health Organization remains that basic hygiene is the best possible defense against Coronavirus.

HOW TO USE WESTERN UNION DIGITAL MONEY TRANSFERS

How can I send money from wu.com?

  • Create a profile on wu.com.
  • Follow the instructions on the screen for profile verification.
  • Verify your profile to send money directly to a bank account, mobile wallet or for a cash pickup at an agent location.
  • Select your destination country to see the payout options.

 

How can I send from wu.com mobile app?

  • Download the WU mobile app for Android or iOS and create a profile.
  • Follow the instructions on the screen for profile verification.
  • Verify your profile to send money directly to a bank account, mobile wallet or for a cash pickup at an agent location.
  • Select your destination country to see the payout options.

 

How can I send money to a bank account?
Choose Bank Account service when you send online or at an agent location. You will need the receiver’s bank account details. The requirements vary by country, but usually include your receiver’s bank name, branch name or code, account name and number.

What’s a bank code, and how do I find my receiver’s bank code?
A bank code is a series of numbers used to identify banks around the world. They can range from 3 and 23 digits depending on the country. A bank code may be known as:

  • BSB
  • SWIFT Code
  • BIC (Bank Identification Code)
  • CHIPS (Clearing House Inter-Bank Payment System) – US and Canada only
  • NCC (National Clearing Code)
  • BSC (Bank Sort Code)
  • IFSC (Indian Financial System Code)

 

For some countries you may need an International Bank Account Number (IBAN) in addition to the bank code.

Ask your receiver for the bank code and IBAN (if applicable). You can refer to our Direct to Bank Account country information to see what details are required for each country.

What is a Bank Identification Code (BIC)?
A BIC is a code used to identify banks worldwide. A BIC is the same as a SWIFT code. A BIC will either have 8 or 11 digits.

Ask your receiver for the BIC if it’s required in their country. Please check WU’s Direct to Bank Account country information to confirm the information you’ll need.

What is an International Bank Account Number (IBAN)?
An IBAN is used in some countries to uniquely identify a customer’s bank account. The IBAN consists of an alphabetical country code followed by two digits, and then up to thirty-five characters for the bank account number. Some countries require that payment sent from Australia include an IBAN.

You can refer to our Direct to Bank Account country information to see what details are needed for each country. Ask you receiver for an IBAN if it’s required.

What additional tips should I keep in mind?

  • Always make sure you know who you are sending money to.
  • Discontinue a call if a caller coaches you to respond to questions asked by Western Union.
  • For information about how to protect yourself from fraud, click here.

 

For additional information, please visit the Western Union COVID-19 Resource Center.

 

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