Using Western Union to send money to Russia

WU is the largest self contained wire transfer organisation in the world. In the West you are never far from a WU agent. It works like this: You visit the WU agent and give them the cash to be sent and pay a fee. They give you a control number. The recipient goes to their local agent and shows ID and gives the control number. They get the cash in US dollars. If they do not know the control number, they will still get the cash as long as they have ID and know the sender's name and the amount. You can also do the sending end of things over the web with a Credit card.

Western Union works. They get the money through even when the situation is really adverse. Even during the Russian banking crisis in the late nineties, WU still got the money through.

WU is the top ranking service in all areas bar price and availability. In some small towns in Russia there are no WU agencies. WU is also the most expensive service. However, that money buys you a lot of security and convenience.

There are now some other firms offering a similar service to WU but they have little track record and the only people that I have seen recommend them are folks who stand to receive a referral fee and I just do not trust that.

I have never heard of anyone losing their money with WU though one mailing list subscriber claimed that he did so because he withheld the control number from his woman but she got the cash anyway. To me that does not count.

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