Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Western Union Woes

Today I had to transfer money via Western Union. I decided, foolishly, that doing it online would be faster and easier.

Silly me...

As I sit here writing, I am on the phone with the security guy at Western Union Customer Service who is asking me questions about the car I drive, my former employer, what street I live on, my shoe size, etc. This is after my credit card company (I have a Chase Platinum Master Card with a $19,000 limit) initially stopped payment and I had to call them to see why and to get my stuff reactivated. AND... that actually happened after the second attempt. My first attempt ended with a malfunction of the Western Union website. Ha...

Mind you, though I'm not rich I do have a good credit rating and no payments due on my card. I usually pay the whole thing off whenever there is a balance. They thought a wire transfer to Kenya looked fishy for some reason...

So I called Chase and got everything straightened out and then went back to the Western Union website to start the process all over, only to get to the end and find this notification that I had to complete my transaction by phone. Thus, the loooooooong phone call.

So the call is over now and my money is transferred. All $280 of it.

That's right. $280.

I appreciate all the security stuff, but I wasn't transferring a zilion dollars or anything. We have a partner church in Nairobi and I was sending them money to help a young man in their church finish school. Money our youth group had raised.

It took an hour.

I could've walked to a freakin' Western Union franchise somewhere in the neighborhood and done it faster. Heck, I could've taken the train downtown and back and done it faster.

Moral of the story: Don't use Western Union's Internet money transfer service.

Unless you have time to kill...

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Blogger JP Paulus said...

Does Paypal work for overseas?

Or is there a bank you can connect with, which can do transfers between accounts? i know Citibank is international, but not sure of their reach in Africa.

I guess the future doesn't bode well for Western Union, huh? Another financial institution about to bite the dust...?

October 15, 2008 at 10:28 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Bank transfers take days, even if they're electronic. We actually do them normally, but I had to get this money there before the 21st.

I do not believe PayPal works for what I needed.

Bottom line was lousy service.

October 15, 2008 at 12:07 PM  

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