33 Facts About Western Union


Western Union Company is an American multinational financial services company, headquartered in Denver, Colorado.

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Western Union dominated the American telegraphy industry from the 1860s to the 1980s, pioneering technology such as telex and developing a range of telegraph-related services in addition to its core business of transmitting and delivering telegram messages.

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Western Union ceased its communications operations completely in 2006, at which time The New York Times described it as "the world's largest money-transfer business" and added that due to the large number of immigrants, wiring money home will keep this top position.

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Western Union completed the first transcontinental telegraph in 1861 and formed the Russian–American Telegraph Company in an attempt to link America to Europe, via Alaska, into Siberia, to Moscow – a project abandoned in 1867 following the successful laying of a transatlantic cable in 1866.

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Western Union began to develop new telegraphy-related services beyond the transmission and delivery of telegrams, launching the first stock ticker in 1866, a standardized time service in 1870 and wire money transfer in 1871.

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Western Union instead attempted to launch a rival telephony system before settling a patent lawsuit with Bell and leaving the telephone business completely in 1879,.

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Western Union acquired its only major competitor in the American telegraphy sector Postal Telegraph, Inc in 1945, effectively giving the company monopoly power over the industry.

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In 1958, Western Union began offering telex services to customers in New York City.

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In honor of Valentine's Day 1959, Western Union introduced the Candygram, a box of chocolates accompanying a telegram that was featured in a commercial with the rotund Don Wilson.

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In 1963, Western Union organized its international cable system properties and its right-of-way for connecting international telegraph lines into a separate company called Western Union International, which it sold that year to American Securities.

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Western Union became the first American telecommunications corporation to maintain its own fleet of geosynchronous communications satellites, starting in 1974.

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From 1982, as a result of financial services deregulation, Western Union began offering wire money transfer services globally.

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In 1984, after years of declining profits and mounting debts, Western Union began to negotiate with its creditors regarding debt restructuring.

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The restructuring was completed in 1987 when investor Bennett S LeBow acquired control of Western Union through an outside of chapter 11 process that was a complex leveraged recapitalization.

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Amman executed a strategy of redirecting Western Union from being an asset-based provider of communications services, with a money transfer business as a large but less important part of the business, into being a provider of consumer-based money transfer financial services.

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The next day Western Union announced that it would cease offering telegram transmission and delivery.

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In May 2009, Western Union announced its plan to acquire Canada-based Custom House from Peter Gustavson.

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In January 2011, Western Union acquired Angelo Costa, a group active in money transfer and services to immigrants.

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In July 2011, Western Union acquired Travelex's Global Business Payments division for £606 million.

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In October 2011, Western Union completed the acquisition of Finint S r l, one of Western Union's leading money transfer network agents in Europe, with more than 10,000 subagent locations across Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

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In October 2007, Western Union announced plans to introduce a mobile money-transfer service with the GSM Association, a global trade association representing more than 700 mobile operators in 218 countries and covering 2.

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Company launched the Western Union Connect service in October 2015, following partnership agreements with major instant messaging apps WeChat and Viber.

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Western Union telegrams were transmitted through a store and forward message switching system.

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Western Union was a prime contractor in the Automatic Digital Network program.

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Western Union failed in its attempts to engineer a replacement, leading to the development of an acceptable packet-switched network by BBN which became the foundation of today's Internet.

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Western Union advises its customers not to send money to someone that they have never met in person.

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Western Union admitted to allowing wire fraud in January 2017 and agreed to pay $586m, for turning a blind eye as criminals used its service for advance fee fraud.

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Western Union failed to investigate hundreds of thousands of complaints that were filed by victims.

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Western Union agents allowed Chinese immigrants to the US to use the service to send hundreds of millions of dollars, by sending the amounts in smaller increments to avoid transfer reporting requirements, to pay human smugglers.

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In 2017, Western Union admitted to anti-money laundering and consumer fraud violations and agreed to pay $586 million in a settlement with the Department of Justice.

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In 2018, Western Union was fined $60 million by the New York State Department of Financial Services.

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On May 29,2019, Western Union announced the departure of a company executive, Odilon Almeida, who served as executive vice president and president of Global Money Transfer.

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Western Union has been accused of engaging in anti-competitive behavior in Africa as a result of a lack of competition on the continent.

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