Western Union

The Western Union Company is an American financial services and communications company. Its headquarters is in Meridian, Colorado, although the postal designation of nearby Englewood is used in its mailing address. Up until it discontinued the service in 2006, Western Union was the best-known U.S. company in the business of exchanging telegrams.[4][5]

Western Union has several divisions, with products such as person-to-person money transfer, money orders, business payments, and commercial services. They offered standard "Cablegrams", as well as Candygrams, Dollygrams, and Melodygrams.

Western Union, as an industrialized monopoly, dominated the telegraph industry in the late 19th century. It was the first communications empire and set a pattern for American-style communications businesses as they are known today.

The Western Union Company
Traded asNYSEWU
S&P 500 Component
IndustryFinancial services
Founded1851 in Rochester, New York, United States[1]
FounderEzra Cornell
HeadquartersMeridian, Colorado, United States
Area served
Key people
Jack M. Greenberg
Hikmet Ersek
(President and CEO)
ServicesWire transfers
Money orders
Money transfers
Bill pay
Transfer tracking
Price estimation
RevenueIncrease US$5.524 billion (2017)[2]
Decrease US$473.4 million (2017)[2]
Decrease US$-558.7 million (2017)[2]
Total assetsDecrease US$9.231 billion (2017)[2]
Total equityDecrease US$-491.4 million (2017)[2]
Number of employees
11,500[3] (2017)
Western union old 1969
Old logo of Western Union in 1969-1990.


19th century

In 1851, the New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company was organized in Rochester, New York by Samuel L. Selden, Hiram Sibley, and others, with the goal of creating one great telegraph system with unified and efficient operations. Meanwhile, Ezra Cornell had bought back one of his bankrupt companies and renamed it the New York & Western Union Telegraph Company. Originally fierce competitors, by 1856[1] both groups were finally convinced that consolidation was their only alternative for progress. The merged company was named the Western Union Telegraph Company at Cornell's insistence, and Western Union was born.[6]

Western Union bought out smaller companies rapidly, and by 1860 its lines reached from the East Coast to the Mississippi River, and from the Great Lakes to the Ohio River. In 1861 it opened the first transcontinental telegraph. In 1865 it formed the Russian–American Telegraph in an attempt to link America to Europe, via Alaska, into Siberia, to Moscow (This project was abandoned in 1867). The company enjoyed phenomenal growth during the next few years. Under the leadership of presidents Jeptha Wade and William Orton its capitalization rose from $385,700 in 1858 to $41 million in 1876. However it was top-heavy with stock issues, and faced growing competition from several firms, especially the Atlantic and Pacific Telegraph Company—itself taken over by financier Jay Gould in 1875.[7]:196–201 In 1881 Gould took control of Western Union.[8][9]

Wilbur Bold, a 12-year-old Western Union messenger boy, Tampa, Florida, 1911.

It introduced the first stock ticker in 1866, and a standardized time service in 1870. The next year, 1871, the company introduced its money transfer service, based on its extensive telegraph network. In 1879, Western Union left the telephone business, settling a patent lawsuit with Bell Telephone Company.[10][11] As the telephone replaced the telegraph, money transfer would become its primary business.

When the Dow Jones Transportation Average stock market index for the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) was created in 1884, Western Union was one of the original eleven all-American companies tracked.

By 1900, Western Union operated a million miles of telegraph lines and two international undersea cables.

20th century

In 1913 AT&T, under indictment of the Sherman Act, sold its shares in Western Union due to the threat of antitrust action.[12]

The company continued to grow, acquiring more than 500 smaller competitors. Its monopoly power was almost complete in 1943 when it bought Postal Telegraph, Inc., its chief rival.

Western Union building, Manhattan
Former headquarters of WU, located at 60 Hudson, New York, New York, United States, in the early and middle 20th century

In 1914, Western Union offered the first charge card for consumers; in 1923 it introduced teletypewriters to join its branches. Singing telegrams followed in 1933, intercity fax in 1935, and commercial intercity microwave communications in 1943. In 1958, it began offering Telex service to customers in New York City.[13] In honor of Valentine's Day 1959, Western Union introduced the Candygram, a box of chocolates accompanying a telegram featured in a commercial with the rotund Don Wilson. On the 1970s version of Let's Make a Deal, hosted by Monty Hall, Western Union Candygrams (with a cash message inside) were offered to contestants as a prize during a deal. In 1964, Western Union initiated a transcontinental microwave system to replace land lines.

During World War II, families with sons in military service dreaded the Western Union "boy on his bicycle" to arrive at their home with a telegram from the War Department or the Navy Department. The message began: The Secretary of War (for soldiers and airmen) or Secretary of Navy (for sailors and marines), regrets to inform you that [name, rank, and serial number of the man in the military service] was killed in action (or missing in action).

Western Union "TOURATE" Telegram ad 1939
Advertisement for Western Union "Tourate" telegram service, 1939

Western Union became the first American telecommunications corporation to maintain its own fleet of geosynchronous communications satellites, starting in 1974. The fleet of satellites, called Westar, carried communications within the Western Union company for telegram and mailgram message data to Western Union bureaus nationwide. It also handled traffic for its Telex and TWX (Telex II) services. The Westar satellites' transponders were also leased by other companies for relaying video, voice, data, and facsimile (fax) transmissions.

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 (WUI) which it divested that year to American Securities. In 1983, American Securities sold WUI to MCI Communications which renamed it to MCI International and moved its headquarters from New York City to Rye Brook, New York.

In the 1970s, WUI installed and leased to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) dedicated 50 Kbps high-speed telecommunications facilities between the continental U.S. and Hawaii, Germany and the United Kingdom to provide a test bed for the DOD's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). This test bed provided ARPA with a proof of concept for the technology of packet switching which later became the Internet.

In 1976, Western Union partnered with E. F. Hutton & Co..

In 1981, Western Union purchased a fifty percent interest in Airfone. It sold Airfone to GTE in 1986 for $39 million in cash.[14]

Because of declining profits and mounting debts, Western Union slowly began to divest itself of telecommunications-based assets starting in the early 1980s. Because of deregulation at the time, Western Union began sending money outside the country, re-inventing itself as "The fastest way to send money worldwide" and expanding its agent locations internationally.[15]

1959 Western Union Telegram
Example of a Western Union Telegram, 1959. Note that the message text is a continuous strip of paper which was cut and glued to the telegram form.

In 1987, Investor Bennett S. LeBow acquired control of Western Union through an outside of chapter 11 process that was a complex leveraged recapitalization. The transaction was backed by a total of $900 million in high-yield bonds and preferred stock underwritten by Michael Milken's group at Drexel Burnham Lambert as part of an exchange offer. LeBow installed Robert J. Amman as President and CEO who led a complete strategic, operational and balance sheet restructuring of the company over the subsequent 6 years.

Mr. 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. In so doing, Mr. Amman ran the company as two separate companies. One business consisted of the money transfer business, which was funded and operated to take advantage of the significant growth opportunity. The second unit consisted of all the non-strategic communications assets such as the long-distance analog voice network, satellite business and undersea cable assets. In the 3-year period through 1990 Mr. Amman was supported by Robert A. Schriesheim, also installed by Mr. LeBow, as a special advisor who oversaw the divestiture of the four non-strategic telecommunications assets for about $280 million.

The official name of the corporation was changed to New Valley Corporation in 1991, just in time for that entity to seek bankruptcy protection as part of Mr. Amman's strategy to eliminate the overleveraged balance sheet while continuing to grow the money transfer business . The name change was taken to shield the Western Union name from being dragged through the proceedings (and the bad PR that would cause).[16] Under the day to day leadership of Robert J. Amman and the backing of LeBow, the company's value increased dramatically through its years operating under chapter 11.

Following various restructurings that included negotiations with Carl Icahn who became a large bond holder, Mr. Amman engineered the sale of New Valley in a bankruptcy auction to First Financial Management Corporation in 1994 for $1.2 billion where he became vice chairman, and a year later merged with First Data Corporation in a $6 billion transaction. On January 26, 2006, First Data Corporation announced plans to spin Western Union off as an independent, publicly traded company. Western Union's focus will remain money transfers. The next day, Western Union announced that it would cease offering telegram transmission and delivery,[17] the product most associated with the company throughout its history. This was, however, not the original Western Union telegram service, but a new service of First Data under the Western Union banner; the original telegram service was sold off after New Valley Corporation's bankruptcy and now operates as iTelegram.

The spin off was completed September 29, 2006 and Western Union became an independent, publicly traded company again.

Involvement in early computer networking

Western Union telegrams were transmitted through a store and forward message switching system. Early versions were manual telegraph systems. Later systems using teleprinters were semi-automatic, using punched paper tape to receive, store, and retransmit messages. Plan 55-A, Western Union's last paper tape based switching system (1948–1976), was fully automatic, with automatic routing.

Western Union was a prime contractor 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. The Defense Message System (DMS) replaced AUTODIN in 2000.

AUTODIN, originally named "ComLogNet", was a highly reliable service that operated at 99.99% availability, using mechanical punched card readers and tab machines to send and receive data over leased lines. During the peak operation of AUTODIN, the United States portion of the network handled twenty million messages a month. Western Union failed in its attempts to engineer a replacement (AUTODIN II), leading to the development of an acceptable packet-switched network by BBN (the developer of the ARPANET) which became the foundation of today's Internet. AUTODIN service ceased in 2000, years after it had become obsolete.

A related innovation that came from AUTODIN was Western Union's computer based EasyLink service. This system allowed for one of the first marketable email systems for non-government users. In addition, the system allowed the same message to be sent simultaneously to multiple recipients via email, fax, mailgram, or telex services as well as allowing messages to be sent from the integrated formats. With the service, users could also perform research utilizing its InfoLink application. EasyLink Services International Corporation is now a separate company.

End of telegrams

As of February 2006, the Western Union website showed this notice:

"Effective 2006-01-27, Western Union will discontinue all Telegram and Commercial Messaging services. We regret any inconvenience this may cause you, and we thank you for your loyal patronage. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact a customer service representative."[18]

This ended the era of telegrams which began in 1851 with the founding of the New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company, and which spanned 155 years of continuous service. Western Union reported that telegrams sent had fallen to a total of 20,000 a year, because of competition from other communication services such as email. Employees were informed of the decision in mid-January.

Telegram service in the United States continues to be available through iTelegram.[19]


In May 2009, Western Union announced its intention to acquire Canada-based Custom House from Peter Gustavson.[20] The deal closed in September 2009, with Western Union purchasing Custom House for US$371 million.[21] Its acquisition led the company to be re-branded as Western Union Business Solutions.[22] Custom House and its subsidiary XE.com were sold to Euronet Worldwide in 2015 and operate under its HiFX brand.

In January 2011, Western Union acquired 100% of Angelo Costa, a group active in money transfer and services to immigrants. Angelo Costa has a network of 7,500 points of sale in various European countries. The agreement was signed for US$200 million.[23]

In July 2011, Western Union acquired Travelex's Global Business Payments division for £606 million.[24]

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, counting more than 10,000 subagent locations across Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom.[25]

In May 2015, rumors emerged over a proposed merger of Western Union and its closest competitor MoneyGram, at a time when both companies’ revenue were declining.[26] However, Western Union denied this was the case.[27] In January 2017, MoneyGram was instead acquired unsuccessfully by Ant Financial, Alibaba’s financial technology firm, for $880 million.[28]

Specific services

Western Union Philippines
A Western Union outlet in Angeles City, Philippines


Western Union's website, westernunion.com, allows users to send and receive funds to others, pay bills, locate Western Union locations, track transfers, and to purchase Western Union NetSpend gift cards. The website also attempts to spread fraud awareness using videos, articles, and quizzes to do so.

As of September 2017, the domain westernunion.com ranks globally as the 4,319th most visited website, according to Alexa Internet.[29]


As the Internet became an arena for commerce at the turn of the millennium, Western Union started its online services. BidPay was renamed "Western Union Auction Payments" in 2004 before being renamed back to BidPay. BidPay ceased operations on December 31, 2005, and was purchased for US$1.8 million in March 2006 by CyberSource Corp. who announced their intention to re-launch BidPay. BidPay was later discontinued by CyberSource effective December 31, 2007.[30]

Western Union Mobile

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 2.5 billion mobile subscribers.

The proliferation of mobile phones in developed and developing economies provides a widely accessible consumer device capable of delivering mobile financial services ranging from text notifications associated with Western Union cash delivery services to phone-based remittance options. Western Union's mobile money transfer service offering will connect its core money-transfer platform to m-bank or m-wallet platforms provided by mobile operators and/or locally regulated financial institutions.

Western Union Connect

The company launched the Western Union Connect service in October 2015, following partnership agreements with major instant messaging apps WeChat and Viber.[31][32] The partnership allows users of WeChat to send up to $100 to China, the US and 200 other countries,[32] while Viber users can send up to $100 for $3.99 plus exchange rate fees, with that fixed fee increasing the more money is sent up a limit of $499.[31]

Sending and receiving funds

In order to send funds, a sender goes to a Western Union office and presents funds (plus fees) for "Next Day" or "Money in Minutes" service. The sender provides his or her name and address, the recipient's name, and a designated payment destination. Western Union then provides the sender a 10-digit Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) that the sender must provide to the recipient. The recipient then proceeds to a Western Union agent office in the designated payment location, presents the 10-digit MTCN, and a photo ID. Money is then paid out to the recipient. In some locations, if a recipient lacks identification documents, the sender and receiver can set up a pre-arranged password. Funds are paid out in cash, although if payment exceeds a local maximum or cash on hand, a check is issued. Alternatively, a sender may forward funds to a recipient by using Western Union's website or by phone. In some countries, the recipient doesn’t need the MTCN number if one has sufficient identification.

Transfer fees

Fees vary based on the sender and receiver's location, type of transfer, and whether the money is sent from a counter location or by the website.

Past services

Western Union phone parlors 1440 Broadway 2008 jeh
WU phone parlors near Times Square, 2008

Along with satellite telecommunications, Western Union was also active in other forms of telecommunication services:

  • Common carrier terrestrial microwave networks
  • Business communications networks such as Telex and TWX, which was acquired from AT&T Corporation and renamed Telex II by Western Union
  • Landline-based leased voice and data communication circuits
  • Long distance telephone service
  • Airfone air-ground radiotelephone service from 1981 to 1986
  • Cellular phone service for a very short time in the early 1980s (the phones were made by two-way radio manufacturer E. F. Johnson Company)

Most of these services were discontinued by Western Union in the late 1980s due to a lack of profitability, with the company's divisions providing said services being divested and sold to other companies, such as the 1988 sale of WU's satellite fleet and services to Hughes Space and Communications, and the sale of WU's Airfone service to GTE in 1986.


Western Union was a major shirt-sponsor of the Sydney Roosters NRL team from 2002–2003. The company still sponsors the team, but not as a shirt-sponsor. Around the world, Western Union sponsors numerous community events that help support the diaspora communities that use the global Money Transfer service. They also sponsored numerous WWE and WCW pay-per-view events such as the No Way Out 1998 and Slamboree 2000. They sponsored UEFA Europa League from 2012 until 2015.

The First Data Western Union Foundation donates money to charitable causes around the world. After the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Foundation donated US$1,000,000 to the relief effort.[33]

The Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association announced that Western Union will be their jersey sponsor for the 2017-18 NBA Season.

Liverpool F.C. announced on August, 9, 2017 that Western Union would become their first ever sleeve sponsors, from the start of the 2017-18 Season. They signed a £25m deal for 5 years as Liverpool's sleeve sponsor.

Scam industry and money laundering

Western Union advises its customers not to send money to someone that they have never met in person. Despite its efforts in increasing customers' awareness of the issue,[34] Western Union is used for internet fraud by scammers.[35]

Western Union has been required to maintain records of payout locations of the individuals who may be laundering the money, though this information may be obtained only through the use of a subpoena. Hence advance-fee fraud and romance scammers continue to receive funds via Western Union confident in the knowledge that money lost to overseas scammers is almost always unrecoverable.[36] For this reason, it is banned as a medium of payment through eBay,[37][38] and discouraged on other online auction websites.[39]

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. Scammers engaging in various 419 advance fee scams including offering fake job offers and lottery prizes, were able to process transactions using Western Union money transfer, mainly by giving the agents a share of the earnings from their scams. Western Union failed to investigate hundreds of thousands of complaints victims filed.[40]

Money laundering and terrorist financing

The Central Bank of Ireland reprimanded and fined Western Union €1.75m in May 2015 because of failures in anti money laundering practices which could have left the firm’s payment services open to being used for money laundering and/or terrorist financing saying that they were concerned that Western Union "failed to have in place sufficiently robust systems and procedures to train agents, to monitor and identify suspicious activity in respect of smaller transactions, and to maintain appropriate records" and "the splitting of payments into many separate smaller payments is a common method used to launder money. Similarly, terrorist financing is often carried out by small payment transfers."[41][42]

Western Union agents also allowed Chinese immigrants 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.[40]

Connection to military intelligence

There were allegations in the book, "The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11" that Western Union provided United States military intelligence with personal information.[43]

Blocked transactions

Western Union has begun blocking transactions based on suspicion of terrorist connections, as a part of the company's involvement with the War on Terror. Currently, transfers sent from the Western Union website require telephone confirmation of the sender's identity. On occasion, the transfer will fail and customer service inform the sender that the transaction "does not meet our requirements". If details are requested, no information will be given other than the fact that their disclosure is forbidden. Numerous customers have reported this problem.[44][45]

Anti-competitive behavior 

Western Union has been accused of engaging in anti-competitive behavior in Africa as a result of a lack of competition on the continent.[26] According to a report by the Overseas Development Institute, this allows Western Union to artificially inflate its fees for money transfers, charging what has been called an “Africa charge” of 8% consistently “applied across countries regardless of the size of the market, regulatory costs or market risk.”[46] However, the fees can be as high as 10% or more, depending on the region.[47] Africa’s remittance market remains the most expensive in the world,[48] and the region is estimated to incur excess costs of $1.4 billion to $2.3 billion per year as a result of these high remittance fees.[46]

The company has also been criticized for its use of exclusivity agreements with banks in countries that receive remittances, restricting competition and harming the consumer,[49] by requiring the consumer to conduct transactions via nominated banks.[46] This also allows for the imposition of above-average transaction fees.[46]

In February 2016, Western Union was questioned by the EU antitrust regulator over its network of agents in order to establish whether the company colluded with banks to push out smaller rivals from the money transfer market.[50]

See also

Alternative providers


  1. ^ a b "Western Union Our Corporate History".
  2. ^ a b c d e "The Western Union Company 2017 Annual Report (Form 10-K)". sec.gov. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. February 2018.
  3. ^ "Western Union". Fortune. Retrieved 2018-12-31.
  4. ^ "Our Rich History". Western Union. Retrieved March 12, 2015.
  5. ^ "Western Union Sends Its Last Telegram". NPR. February 2006. Retrieved March 12, 2015.
  6. ^ Schmotter, James W. (1992). Not Just Another School of Business Administration: A History of Graduate Management Education at Cornell University. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Retrieved January 21, 2010.
  7. ^ Klein, Maury (1997). The Life and Legend of Jay Gould. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-5771-3.
  8. ^ Renehan, Jr., Edward J. (2006). Dark Genius of Wall Street: The Misunderstood Life of Jay Gould, King of the Robber Barons. New York: Basic Books. p. 263. ISBN 978-0-465-06886-9.
  9. ^ Wu, Tim, The Master Switch : The Rise and Fall of Information Empires, New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2010. ISBN 978-0-307-26993-5
  10. ^ "Bell Telephone - Western Union Patent Agreement of 1879 | Old Telephones". oldtelephones.com. Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  11. ^ Casson, Herbert Newton (1911). The History of the Telephone. Chicago: A.C. McClurg. pp. 81–84.
  12. ^ "Telephone Trust to Dissolve," The New York Times pg. 1, Saturday, December 20th, 1913.
  13. ^ Phillip R. Easterlin, “Telex in New York”, Western Union Technical Review, April 1959: 47 figure 4
  14. ^ Bechtel, Warren. "Western Union Chronology of Events – 1851–1995". Retrieved October 14, 2008.
  15. ^ "Western Union Locations & Hours". www.storefound.org. StoreFound. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  16. ^ "New Valley Corporation – Company History". Fundinguniverse.com. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
  17. ^ Notice of the discontinuation of telegram services Archived February 20, 2006, at Archive.today – From the Western Union website
  18. ^ "Archive of original message". Archived from the original on February 20, 2006. Retrieved August 30, 2016.. Accessed July 15, 2008
  19. ^ Auslin, Michael. "Time Marches On Dept.: Telegram Edition". National Review. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  20. ^ "Western Union, Form 10-Q, Quarterly Report, Filing Date Aug 4, 2009". secdatabase.com. Retrieved May 13, 2018.
  21. ^ "Western Union, Form 10-Q, Quarterly Report, Filing Date Oct 30, 2009". secdatabase.com. Retrieved May 13, 2018.
  22. ^ "Western Union, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Oct 26, 2010" (PDF). secdatabase.com. Retrieved May 13, 2018.
  23. ^ "Equita Financial Advisor to ISI Holding for the disposal of Angelo Costa to Western Union". January 2011.
  24. ^ "Western Union to Acquire Travelex Global Business Payments". Businesswire. July 5, 2011.
  25. ^ "Western Union Completes Acquisition of Finint S.r.l." October 2011.
  26. ^ a b "Bigger but not better". The Economist. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  27. ^ "What A Western Union, MoneyGram Merger Will Mean To Africa". AFKInsider. 2015-05-07. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  28. ^ "Jack Ma's Ant Financial Buys MoneyGram for $880 Million". Bloomberg.com. 2017-01-26. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  29. ^ "Westernunion.com Traffic Statistics". Alexa. Alexa Internet, Inc. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  30. ^ "BidPay". authorize.net. Retrieved April 2, 2008.
  31. ^ a b Constine, Josh. "Western Union Brings Money Transfer And Its Tricky Fees To Chat Apps | TechCrunch". Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  32. ^ a b Kar, Ian. "WeChat and Western Union strike deal for global money transfers". Quartz. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  33. ^ "$1,000,000 to relief". prneswsire.com.
  34. ^ Western Union joins fraud fight – BBC
  35. ^ David Derbyshire (March 3, 2007). "eBay-er Beware". National Post (Canada). p. FW5.
  36. ^ Internet Crime Schemes – Internet Crime Complaint Center
  37. ^ Ben Taylor; Khushwant Sachdave (October 29, 2005). "The ebay racketeers". DAILY MAIL (London). p. 19. Three Romanian immigrants who conned eBay customers out of nearly Pounds 300,000 were behind bars last night. In the biggest Internet fraud of its kind, the gang fooled 3,000 bidders who they arrogantly described as 'idiots' into paying for goods that did not exist. Victims from around the world handed over sums of up to Pounds 5,000 for everything from concert tickets to motorbikes through the money transfer chain Western Union.
  38. ^ David Brown (December 18, 2005). "Fraudsters Targeted In New eBay Crackdown". The People. p. 33. The auction giant will protect customers by BANNING the use of online money transfers. Now eBay will bring in the ban – backed by Western Union and already in force in the US – from January 15 in the UK. It will tell punters to use secure payment systems that verify the identity of users, and which can track both buyers' and sellers' accounts.
  39. ^ "Trust & Safety Blog - Western Union and Trade Me members: A terrible combination". Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  40. ^ a b "Western Union admits to aiding wire fraud, to pay $586 mln".
  41. ^ "Central Bank fines Western Union €1.75m". The Irish Times. 19 May 2015.
  42. ^ "Settlement Agreement between the Central Bank and Western Union Payment Services Ireland Limited". Central Bank of Ireland. 18 May 2015.
  43. ^ Suskind, Ron (2007), The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-0-7432-7110-3
  44. ^ Ming the Mechanic: Western Union sucks – The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
  45. ^ Sundaram, Anjan (July 6, 2006). "Muslims denied wire transfers – Business – International Herald Tribune". The New York Times. Retrieved November 27, 2009.
  46. ^ a b c d "Lost in intermediation" (PDF). Overseas Development Institute.
  47. ^ (www.dw.com), Deutsche Welle. "Opinion: Migrant money transfers or development aid? | Africa | DW | 18.05.2017". DW.COM. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  48. ^ "Sending Money Home: Contributing to the SDGs, one family at a time". International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
  49. ^ Moré, Iñigo. "Fighting exclusivity clauses in the market for remittances" (PDF). Remesas.org.
  50. ^ "Western Union quizzed by EU on money transfer activities". EURACTIV.com. Retrieved 2017-06-27.

Further reading

  • Wolff, Joshua D., Western Union and the Creation of the American Corporate Order, 1845–1893. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

External links

195 Broadway

195 Broadway is a 29-story building on Broadway in the Financial District of the New York City borough of Manhattan. It was the longtime headquarters of American Telephone and Telegraph, as well as Western Union for a time. It occupies almost an entire block on one side of Broadway, running from Dey Street to Fulton Street. It also has the address 15 Dey Street, and is well known as the site of one end of the first transcontinental telephone call. The same building, using the "195 Broadway" address, was the New York end of the first intercity Picturephone call in 1927 and of the first transatlantic telephone call, made to London, England, also in 1927.195 Broadway is also known as the Telephone Building, Telegraph Building, or Western Union Building, due to its history. The building is still in use. The 1987 film Wall Street used the building's ground floor lobby as Charlie Sheen's character's office.

The building includes an entrance to the Fulton Street station on the IRT Lexington Avenue Line (4 and ​5 trains).

Baudot code

The Baudot code [bodo], invented by Émile Baudot, is a character set predating EBCDIC and ASCII. It was the predecessor to the International Telegraph Alphabet No. 2 (ITA2), the teleprinter code in use until the advent of ASCII. Each character in the alphabet is represented by a series of five bits, sent over a communication channel such as a telegraph wire or a radio signal. The symbol rate measurement is known as baud, and is derived from the same name.

Exercise Verity

Exercise Verity was the only major training exercise of the Western Union (WU). Undertaken in July 1949, it involved 60 warships from the British, French, Belgian and Dutch navies. A contemporary newsreel described this exercise as involving "the greatest assembly of warships since the Battle of Jutland."

Flag of the Western Union

The Western Union (WU) was a military alliance established between France, the United Kingdom and the three Benelux countries between 1948 and 1954. The flag of the Western Union, also referred to as the Western Union Standard, displays an unbroken chain of five rectangular links Or in the shape of an upside-down pentagon on a blue field, with a multicoloured border (red on the outside, gold, black and white) taken from the WU member states' flags.

History of the Common Security and Defence Policy

This article outlines the history of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) of the European Union (EU), a part of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).

The post-war period saw several short-lived or ill-fated initiatives for European defence integration intended to protect against potential Soviet or German aggression: The Western Union and the proposed European Defence Community were respectively cannibalised by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and rejected by the French Parliament. The largely dormant Western European Union (WEU) succeeded the Western Union's remainder in 1954. In 1970 the European Political Cooperation (EPC) brought about the European Communities' initial foreign policy coordination, which in turn was replaced by the newly founded EU's CFSP pillar in 1993. The WEU was reactivated in 1984 and given new tasks, and in 1996 NATO agreed to let it develop a European Security and Defence Identity (ESDI). The 1998 St. Malo declaration signalled that the traditionally hesitant United Kingdom was prepared to provide the EU with autonomous defence structures. This facilitated the transformation of the ESDI into the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) in 1999, when it was transferred to the EU. In 2003 the EU deployed its first CSDP missions, and adopted the European Security Strategy identifying common threats and objectives. In 2009, the Treaty of Lisbon introduced the present name, CSDP, while establishing the EEAS, the mutual defence clause and enabling a subset of member states to pursue defence integration within PESCO. In 2011 the WEU, whose tasks had been transferred to the EU, was dissolved. In 2016 a new security strategy was introduced, which along with the Russian annexation of Crimea, the scheduled British withdrawal from the EU and the election of Trump as US President have given the CSDP a new impetus.

List of United States Supreme Court cases, volume 216

This is a list of all the United States Supreme Court cases from volume 216 of the United States Reports:

Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Kansas ex rel. Coleman, 216 U.S. 1 (1910)

Pullman Co. v. Kansas ex rel. Coleman, 216 U.S. 56 (1910)

Cincinnati, N. O. & T. P. R. Co. v. Slade, 216 U.S. 78 (1910)

Conley v. Ballinger, 216 U.S. 84 (1910)

King v. West Virginia, 216 U.S. 92 (1910)

Babbitt v. Dutcher, 216 U.S. 102 (1910)

In re Elkus, 216 U.S. 115 (1910)

Woodside v. Beckham, 216 U.S. 117 (1910)

Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. v. Mazursky, 216 U.S. 122 (1910)

Zartman v. First Nat. Bank of Waterloo, 216 U.S. 134 (1910)

Childers v. McClaughry, 216 U.S. 139 (1910)

Ludwig v. Western Union Telegraph Co., 216 U.S. 146 (1910)

Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Andrews, 216 U.S. 165 (1910)

Alvarez y Sanchez v. United States, 216 U.S. 167 (1910)

President of Monongahela Bridge Co. v. United States, 216 U.S. 177 (1910)

Citizens' Central Nat. Bank of N. Y. v. Appleton, 216 U.S. 196 (1910)

Great Northern R. Co. v. Minnesota, 216 U.S. 206 (1910)

Chicago Great Western R. Co. v. Minnesota, 216 U.S. 234 (1910)

Ballinger v. United States ex rel. Frost, 216 U.S. 240 (1910)

Central Trust Co. v. Central Trust Co. of Ill., 216 U.S. 251 (1910)

Missouri Pacific R. Co. v. Kansas ex rel. Railroad Comm'rs, 216 U.S. 262 (1910)

Hannis Distilling Co. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, 216 U.S. 285 (1910)

Fraenkl v. Cerecedo Hermanos, 216 U.S. 295 (1910)

Pendleton v. United States, 216 U.S. 305 (1910)

Penman v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 216 U.S. 311 (1910)

Blake v. Openhym, 216 U.S. 322 (1910)

Albright v. Sandoval (No. 2), 216 U.S. 331 (1910)

Albright v. Sandoval, 216 U.S. 342 (1910)

Wm. J. Moxley Corp. v. Hertz, 216 U.S. 344 (1910)

Laurel Hill Cemetery v. City and County of San Francisco, 216 U.S. 358 (1910)

Hawaiian Trust Co. v. Von Holt, 216 U.S. 367 (1910)

United States v. Plowman, 216 U.S. 372 (1910)

Saxlehner v. Wagner, 216 U.S. 375 (1910)

Harris v. First Nat. Bank of Mt. Pleasant, 216 U.S. 382 (1910)

Olmsted v. Olmsted, 216 U.S. 386 (1910)

Forbes v. State Council of Va., Junior Order United American Mechanics of Va., 216 U.S. 396 (1910)

Southern R. Co. v. Greene, 216 U.S. 400 (1910)

Louisville & Nashville R. Co. v. Gaston, 216 U.S. 418 (1910)

Wright v. Georgia Railroad & Banking Co., 216 U.S. 420 (1910)

Toxaway Hotel Co. v. Smathers & Co., 216 U.S. 439 (1910)

Friday v. Hall & Kaul Co., 216 U.S. 449 (1910)

Pickett v. United States, 216 U.S. 456 (1910)

Haas v. Henkel, 216 U.S. 462 (1910)

Peckham v. Henkel, 216 U.S. 483 (1910)

Price v. Henkel, 216 U.S. 488 (1910)

William Cramp & Sons Ship & Engine Building Co. v. United States, 216 U.S. 494 (1910)

J. J. McCaskill Co. v. United States, 216 U.S. 504 (1910)

Board of Assessors of Orleans v. New York Life Ins. Co., 216 U.S. 517 (1910)

Starkweather v. Jenner, 216 U.S. 524 (1910)

ICC v. Delaware, L. & W. R. Co., 216 U.S. 531 (1910)

ICC v. Northern Pacific R. Co., 216 U.S. 538 (1910)

Knapp v. Milwaukee Trust Co., 216 U.S. 545 (1910)

Franklin v. United States, 216 U.S. 559 (1910)

Osborn v. Froyseth, 216 U.S. 571 (1910)

Northern Pacific R. Co. v. North Dakota ex rel. McCue, 216 U.S. 579 (1910)

Williams v. First Nat. Bank of Pauls Valley, 216 U.S. 582 (1910)

Garcia Maytin v. Vela, 216 U.S. 598 (1910)

PR Newswire

PR Newswire is a distributor of press releases headquartered in New York City. The service was created in 1954 to allow companies to electronically send press releases to news organizations, at first using teleprinters. The founder, Herbert Muschel, operated the service from his house in Manhattan for approximately 15 years. The business was eventually sold to Western Union and then United Newspapers of London. In December 2015, Cision Inc. acquired the company.

Royal Dutch Shell

Royal Dutch Shell plc (LSE: RDSA, RDSB), commonly known as Shell, is a British-Dutch oil and gas company headquartered in the Netherlands and incorporated in the United Kingdom. It is one of the six oil and gas "supermajors" and the fifth-largest company in the world measured by 2018 revenues (and the largest based in Europe). Shell was first in the 2013 Fortune Global 500 list of the world's largest companies; in that year its revenues were equivalent to 84% of the Dutch national $556 billion GDP.Shell is vertically integrated and is active in every area of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, transport, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading. It also has renewable energy activities, including in biofuels, wind, energy-kite systems, and hydrogen. Shell has operations in over 70 countries, produces around 3.7 million barrels of oil equivalent per day and has 44,000 service stations worldwide. As of 31 December 2014, Shell had total proved reserves of 13.7 billion barrels (2.18×109 m3) of oil equivalent. Shell Oil Company, its principal subsidiary in the United States, is one of its largest businesses. Shell holds 50% of Raízen, a joint venture with Cosan, which is the third-largest Brazil-based energy company by revenues and a major producer of ethanol.Shell was formed in 1907 through the amalgamation of the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company of the Netherlands and the "Shell" Transport and Trading Company of the United Kingdom. Until its unification in 2005 the firm operated as a dual-listed company, whereby the British and Dutch companies maintained their legal existence but operated as a single-unit partnership for business purposes. Shell first entered the chemicals industry in 1929. In 1970 Shell acquired the mining company Billiton, which it subsequently sold in 1994 and now forms part of BHP Billiton. In recent decades gas exploration and production has become an increasingly important part of Shell's business. Shell acquired BG Group in 2016, making it the world's largest producer of liquefied natural gas (LNG).Shell has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. It had a market capitalisation of £185 billion at the close of trading on 30 December 2016, by far the largest of any company listed on the London Stock Exchange and among the highest of any company in the world. It has secondary listings on Euronext Amsterdam and the New York Stock Exchange. As of January 2013, Shell's largest shareholder was Capital Research Global Investors with 9.85% ahead of BlackRock in second with 6.89%.

Russian–American Telegraph

The Russian–American Telegraph, also known as the Western Union Telegraph Expedition and the Collins Overland Telegraph, was a $3,000,000 (equivalent to $49.1 million in present-day terms) undertaking by the Western Union Telegraph Company in 1865–1867, to lay an electric telegraph line from San Francisco, California to Moscow, Russia.

The route was intended to travel from California via Oregon, Washington Territory, the Colony of British Columbia and Russian America, under the Bering Sea and across Siberia to Moscow, where lines would communicate with the rest of Europe. It was proposed as an alternate to long, deep underwater cables in the Atlantic.

Abandoned in 1867, the Russian–American Telegraph was considered an economic failure, but history now deems it a "successful failure" because of the many benefits the exploration brought to the regions that were traversed. To date, no entities have attempted a communications cable across the Bering Sea, with all extant submarine communications cables that travel westbound from North America following more southerly routes across much longer stretches of the North Pacific Ocean, connecting to Asia in Japan and then on to the Asian mainland.

Sturtevant, Wisconsin

Sturtevant is a village in Racine County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 6,970 at the 2010 census.


Telegraphy (from Ancient Greek: τῆλε, têle, "at a distance" and γράφειν, gráphein, "to write") is the long-distance transmission of textual or symbolic (as opposed to verbal or audio) messages without the physical exchange of an object bearing the message. Thus semaphore is a method of telegraphy, whereas pigeon post is not.

Telegraphy requires that the method used for encoding the message be known to both sender and receiver. Many methods are designed according to the limits of the signalling medium used. The use of smoke signals, beacons, reflected light signals, and flag semaphore signals are early examples.

In the 19th century, the harnessing of electricity led to the invention of electrical telegraphy. The advent of radio in the early 20th century brought about radiotelegraphy and other forms of wireless telegraphy. In the Internet age, telegraphic means developed greatly in sophistication and ease of use, with natural language interfaces that hide the underlying code, allowing such technologies as electronic mail and instant messaging.


The telex network was a public switched network of teleprinters similar to a telephone network, for the purposes of sending text-based messages. Telex was a major method of sending written messages electronically between businesses in the post-World War II period. Its usage went into decline as the fax machine grew in popularity in the 1980s.

The "telex" term refers to the network, not the teleprinters; point-to-point teleprinter systems had been in use long before telex exchanges were built in the 1930s. Teleprinters evolved from telegraph systems, and, like the telegraph, they used binary signals, which means that symbols were represented by the presence or absence of a pre-defined level of electric current. This is significantly different from the analog telephone system, which used varying voltages to encode frequency information. For this reason, telex exchanges were entirely separate from the telephone system, with their own signalling standards, exchanges and system of "telex numbers" (the counterpart of telephone numbers).

Telex provided the first common medium for international record communications using standard signalling techniques and operating criteria as specified by the International Telecommunication Union. Customers on any telex exchange could deliver messages to any other, around the world. To lower line usage, telex messages were normally first encoded onto paper tape and then read into the line as quickly as possible. The system normally delivered information at 50 baud or approximately 66 words per minute, encoded using the International Telegraph Alphabet No. 2. In the last days of the telex networks, end-user equipment was often replaced by modems and phone lines, reducing the telex network to what was effectively a directory service running on the phone network.

The Telephone Cases

The Telephone Cases, 126 U.S. 1 (1888), were a series of U.S. court cases in the 1870s and 1880s related to the invention of the telephone, which culminated in the 1888 decision of the United States Supreme Court upholding the priority of the patents belonging to Alexander Graham Bell. Those telephone patents were relied on by the American Bell Telephone Company and the Bell System—although they had also acquired critical microphone patents from Emile Berliner.

The objector (or plaintiff) in the notable Supreme Court case was initially the Western Union telegraph company, which was at the time a far larger and better financed competitor than American Bell Telephone. Western Union advocated several more recent patent claims of Daniel Drawbaugh, Elisha Gray, Antonio Meucci and Philip Reis in a bid to invalidate Alexander Graham Bell's master and subsidiary telephone patents dating back to March 1876. Had Western Union succeeded it would have immediately destroyed the Bell Telephone Company and then Western Union stood to become the world's largest telecommunications monopoly in Bell's place.

The U.S. Supreme Court came within one vote of overturning the Bell patent, thanks to the eloquence of lawyer Lysander Hill for the Peoples Telephone Company. In a lower court, the Peoples Telephone Company stock rose briefly during the early proceedings, but dropped after their claimant Daniel Drawbaugh took the stand and drawled: "I don’t remember how I came to it. I had been experimenting in that direction. I don’t remember of getting at it by accident either. I don’t remember of anyone talking to me of it".In this case the court affirmed several other lower court cases: Dolbear et al. v American Bell Tel. Co., 15 Fed. Rep 448, 17 Fed. Rep. 604, Molecular Te. Co. et al. v American Bell Tel. Co. 32 Fed. Rep 214, People's Tel. Co. et al. v American Bell Tel. Co., 22 Fed. Rep. 309 and 25 Fed. Rep. 725. Well reversing American Bell Tel Co. et al. v Molecular Tel. Co et al. 32 Fed Rep. 214.

Bell’s second fundamental patent expired on January 30, 1894, at which time the gates were then opened to independent telephone companies to compete with the Bell System. In all, the American Bell Telephone Company and its successor, AT&T, litigated 587 court challenges to its patents including five that went to the U.S. Supreme Court, and aside from two minor contract lawsuits, never lost a single one that was concluded with a final stage judgment.

Treaty of Brussels

The Treaty of Brussels, also referred to as the Brussels Pact, was the founding treaty of the Western Union (WU) between 1948 and 1954, at which it point it was amended as the Modified Brussels Treaty (MTB) and served as the founding treaty of the Western European Union (WEU) until its termination in 2010. The treaty provided for the organisation of military, economic, social and cultural cooperation among member states, as well as a mutual defence clause.

The treaty was signed on 17 March 1948 by Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom - the members of the Western Union - as an expansion to the Treaty of Dunkirk, signed between Britain and France the previous year to guard against possible German or Soviet aggression after the end of World War II.

The need to back up the commitments of the North Atlantic Treaty with appropriate political and military structures led to the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). In December 1950 the parties to the Treaty of Brussels decided to transfer the headquarters, personnel, and plans of the Western Union Defence Organisation (WUDO) to NATO, whose Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) took over responsibility for the defence of Western Europe.The establishment of NATO, along with the signing of a succession of treaties establishing the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation (April 1948), the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (April 1949), the Council of Europe (May 1949) and the European Coal and Steel Community (April 1951), left the Treaty of Brussels and its Western Union devoid of authority.

The treaty was amended at the 1954 Paris Conference as a result of the failure of the Treaty establishing the European Defence Community to gain French ratification: The General Treaty (German: Deutschlandvertrag) of 1952 formally named the EDC as a prerequisite of the end of Allied occupation of Germany, and there was a desire to include Germany in the Western defence architecture. The Modified Brussels Treaty (MBT) transformed the Western Union into the Western European Union (WEU), at which point Italy and Germany were admitted. Although the WEU established by the Modified Brussels Treaty was significantly less powerful and ambitious than the original Western Union, German membership of the WEU was considered sufficient for the occupation of the country to end in accordance with the General Treaty.

When the European Union (EU) gained its own mutual defence clause upon the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon in 2009, the members of the WEU - who were also EU member states

- regarded the WEU as redundant. Consequently the Modified Treaty of Brussels was terminated on 31 March 2010, followed by the closure of WEU bodies on 30 June 2011.

Treaty of Dunkirk

The Treaty of Dunkirk was signed on 4 March 1947, between France and the United Kingdom in Dunkirk (France) as a Treaty of Alliance and Mutual Assistance against a possible German attack in the aftermath of World War II. It entered into force on 8 September 1947 and according with article VI paragraph 2 of its text it remained in force for a period of fifty years.

According to Marc Trachtenberg, the German threat was a pretext for defense against the USSR.This Treaty preceded the Treaty of Brussels of 1948 (also known as "Brassels Pact"), which established the Western Union among Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, that became Western European Union in 1955, after the entry into force of the Treaty of Brussels of 1954 (also known as "Modified Brussels Treaty (MBT)"), when Italy and West Germany were added to the other nations.


Westar was a fleet of geosynchronous communications satellites operating in the C band which were launched by Western Union from 1974 to 1984. There were seven Westar satellites in all, with five of them launched and operating under the Westar name.

Western Union (alliance)

The Western Union (WU), also referred to as the Brussels Treaty Organisation (BTO), was the European military alliance established between France, the United Kingdom (UK) and the three Benelux countries in September 1948 in order to implement the Treaty of Brussels signed in March the same year. Under this treaty the signatories, referred to as the five powers, agreed to collaborate in the defence field as well as in the political, economic and cultural fields.

During the Korean War (1950–1953), the headquarters, personnel and plans of the WU's defence arm, the Western Union Defence Organisation (WUDO), were transferred to the newly established North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), providing the nucleus of NATO's command structure at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE). As a consequence of the failure of the European Defence Community in 1954, the London and Paris Conferences led to the Modified Treaty of Brussels (MTB) through which the Western Union was transformed into the Western European Union (WEU) and was joined by Italy and West Germany. As the WEU's functions were transferred to the European Union's (EU) European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) at the turn of the 21st century, the Western Union is a precursor of both NATO and the military arm of the EU.

Western Union (film)

Western Union is a 1941 American Western film directed by Fritz Lang and starring Robert Young, Randolph Scott, and Dean Jagger. Filmed in Technicolor on location in Arizona and Utah, Western Union is about a reformed outlaw who tries to make good by joining the team wiring the Great Plains for telegraph service in 1861. Conflicts arise between the man and his former gang, as well as between the team stringing the wires and the Native Americans through whose land the new lines must run. In this regard, the film is not historically accurate; the installation of telegraph wires was met with protest from no one.The film is based on the novel Western Union by Zane Grey, although there are significant differences between the two plots.Western Union was only the second western made by Lang, The Return of Frank James being the first in 1940. Both movies explore the conflicts and obstacles of former criminals trying to return to law-abiding society. And both films were complicated by the Hays Code, which stipulated strict moral conduct in films at the time.

Western Union splice

The Western Union or Lineman splice was developed during the introduction of the telegraph to mechanically and electrically connect wires that were subject to loading stress. The wrapping pattern is designed to cause the termination to tighten as the conductors pull against each other. This type of splice is more suited to solid, rather than stranded conductors.The Western Union Splice is made by twisting two ends of a wire together, traditionally counterclockwise, 3/4 of a turn each, finger tight. Then, usually using needle-nose pliers, the ends are twisted at least five more turns, tightly. The cut off ends are pushed close to the center wire.

"Short tie" and "long tie" variations exist, mainly for purposes of coating the connection with solder. The longer version may aid in solder flow.NASA tests on 22 and 16 AWG wire showed that the Western Union Splice when soldered is very strong and is stronger than the wire alone if done properly.

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