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Why keep I saying: do not use Western Union?

Paying online has become very lucrative.

In the last 10 years many new payment systems have come up. One thing they have in common is that these payment systems must be secure and safe. And with all these new companies like: Paypal, Stripe, all kinds of bank transfers like iDeal, Qiwi, WebMoney, AliPay etc. you still see a very old payment system.

It’s Western Union.

In all my articles I advised you: do not use Western Union. Use credit cards or PayPal.

Let’s dig out the reasons why.

What kind of company is Western Union

10 reasons why not use western union logoIn 1851 Western Union started as a telegraph company and stayed this in all kind of ways till 1987. Since this year an investor bought WU and changed this company into a money transfer financial service. (Wikipedia: Western Union)

Currently Western Union is mostly known for the easy way of sending money between relatives in different countries.

How does money transfers with Western Union work?

You can send money through Western Union without having a bank account. By simply going to a Western Union office somewhere in your town it is possible to send money form your pocket to someone else’s pocket.

You deposit the money at the WU desk to a persons name and place somewhere on this world. The other person can go to their WU office and pick it up.

5 Reasons why people use Western Union

When Western Union started there was a need for this service.

  1. In countries many people do not have a bank account. For example because they work outside their home country, or because they just don’t have a bank account. With WU they can send money home.
  2. It’s very easy to instantly send money to relatives and family.
  3. You can send money (paper cash) direct from your wallet to your relative’s wallet.
  4. You don’t need the Internet to send your money between countries.
  5. You can use it if you don’t have a credit card or PayPal account. PayPal is limited in several countries.

These are all plausible reasons.

But when I talk to you, I know you do have access to the Internet. And when it comes to buying online in China, you are not sending money to relatives. And I bet you do have a credit card or PayPal or both of them.

5 Reasons why people should NOT use Western Union

The difficulty with Western Union payments is the lack of protection. A money transfer is very safe if you know the recipient well. But if you don’t, it’s like giving your money to a stranger in the bus and hope everything will work out well.

Why shouldn’t you use Western Union online?

  1. No payment protection means no refund policy. If your money has been collected, it’s gone forever.
  2. The recipient can be a third party. Or worse it can be anonymous. If you don’t know the recipient, using Western Union is like throwing dice.
  3. If a web site only offers WU it can probably a fake or fraudulent site. Because these companies make use of the fact that you have no protection. Or it’s because they are not allowed to use PayPal for their company or accept credit cards (banned by CC or PP).
  4. Every legitimate online China store offers multiple payment methods. Why not protect yourself and use a safer payment system like PP or CC.
  5. Western Union advises its customers not to send money to someone that they have never met in person!

The last reason is probably the best reason for not using Westering Union online. And to stay away from this payment system when it comes to online paying. WU is great for sending money between relatives across different countries. But in the online shopping industry, it’s better to use more secure and safer options.

My question to you:

Have you ever paid online with Western Union to buy products?
Why did you do this? Did you receive your products?

Please write your answer down in the comment box below.

I hope this article has given you some insights why I suggest NOT to use Western Union as payment system. These arguments count also for MoneyGram or Bank of China or any other payment system that works like WU.

Did you like this article? Please share this article on Facebook, Google and Twitter.

Wishing you safe purchases from China!


PS. In the Safe Buying in China Secrets eCourse we have covered several payment systems. Which are safe, which not. What alternatives do you have for credit cards and much more. Click here for more info.


Founder of StartBuyingInChina. It all started as an hobby. I liked to categorize the few Chinese stores I knew. After 6 years over 150 blogs were published. I created a wonderful online course about Safe buying online in China, and served over 1.000.000 people. Thank you for being here!

    18 replies to "Do or do not use Western Union – 10 reasons"

    • Faisal Sharif

      I haven’t tried any purchase before; however, from keep reading the websites .. I find is the safest has different levels of suppliers .. always chose the golden supplier with Trade Assurance … the transaction should be made via website (my account) … with Trade Assurance … means the supplier is assured by a certain bank in chain ,, when the no delivery or not complying with what is been agreed on .. y will not lose yr money (may be partial) .. y can complain within 90 days to … the will investigate .. all depends on agreements and specs agreed … where y should be careful prior to pay … for example if y did not specify the color … the supplier can send any color … if y dont agree on duration of delivery … y can complain abou late delivery

      The transaction should be made via my account .. so can supervise it
      Note that Trade Assurance only works on suppliers located in China Mainland … to the best I know

    • Marian

      thank you very much, that was very helpful, but i been scammed thru the paypal as well,
      i sent half amount of agreed price to seller on alibaba website and I never received my items or money back. I was try to contact Alibaba customer service then Paypal company then police department in China but this is almost impossible to get in touch with them in this world or find some correct phone numbers or any other way to get money back or ivestigate what has happened.

    • Chigozie Nonyelum

      Wow! Very helpful, thank you very much Mr Bastiaan am forever grateful to you.

      Though I’ve not bought any product from China before and am looking forward buying from there online.

      Still looking for better and affordable site both in shipping. Thanks once more

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