Western Union Account Suspension

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Jan 17, 2019
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#1
For three past three years I've been using Western Union to send money to my wife in China to support her while she is taking care of her 97 year old father. I send $500 twice a month, simply doing a resend of my previous transaction.

My last successful transaction was on 31 December, 2018. I tried to do my next transfer on 14 January, 2019, and was informed that my account was suspended. The reason they gave me was, "We're sorry to inform you that based on the information you have provided, Western Union must decline to process this transaction. Western Union is subject to a number of economic sanctions and restrictions imposed by the United States and other countries, and it appears based on the information that you have provided that the transaction might violate one or more of these sanctions programs."

I was told that I could appeal this suspension through an email to a specific address, and I have done so, but it's almost impossible to appeal because I have no idea what "economic sanctions and restrictions " I could have possibly violated, since it's the exact same transfer I've been doing to several years.

All I've heard from Western Union is an auto response email to the effect that "we'll get back to you sometime with our decision."

This is more than problematic for me, since the money I'm sending to my wife is her sole means of support, since she's providing 24/7 care for her father, who is paralyzed from two previous strokes.

Anyone have any idea?
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#2
It might have to do with our government adding economic sanctions to China. I would suggest you contact your Congressperson and see if they can do anything. They may be able to determine Western Union is not properly handling this- or they can explain more detail on why Western Union might be within their rights to do this.
 
Likes: jsn55
Feb 3, 2017
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#3
I would also write to Western Union if you do not get a clear response from doing as Neal suggests above; I just did a cursory search online and didn't find anything that would indicate a prohibition of sending money via Western Union to China BUT I only did a quick search -

Also, have you checked to see if there are other services who do the same service as Western Union? While doing this quick search just now, I saw the names of a two different services. I am not vouching for either - only mentioning I saw the names and maybe they could be looked into to see if they are legit, reliable, etc. Obviously, if our government's actions have imposed some sort of closing of this sort of transaction, I am sure it would be applicable to any such service such as Western Union.

You might also, if you can't reach someone right away, start searching online for any legitimate source of information on this subject.

Good luck - I hope you can find out what is standing in your way. I am sure you and your wife must both be very frustrated by this situation.
 
Likes: jsn55
Jan 17, 2019
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#5
I would also write to Western Union if you do not get a clear response from doing as Neal suggests above; I just did a cursory search online and didn't find anything that would indicate a prohibition of sending money via Western Union to China BUT I only did a quick search -

Also, have you checked to see if there are other services who do the same service as Western Union? While doing this quick search just now, I saw the names of a two different services. I am not vouching for either - only mentioning I saw the names and maybe they could be looked into to see if they are legit, reliable, etc. Obviously, if our government's actions have imposed some sort of closing of this sort of transaction, I am sure it would be applicable to any such service such as Western Union.

You might also, if you can't reach someone right away, start searching online for any legitimate source of information on this subject.

Good luck - I hope you can find out what is standing in your way. I am sure you and your wife must both be very frustrated by this situation.
My wife suggested I look at MoneyGram. I attempted to use them to do a transfer. They require that you first register with them. I attempted to do so, and 15 minutes later my application was rejected, no explanation given. I called their customer support number and was sternly told that they were under no obligation to tell me why I was rejected, and since I have now been rejected I could never apply again.

Later I googled the company and after reading a couple of hundred online reviews and comments I'm very glad they rejected my application.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#6
As previously suggested I think you need to first find out why the transaction is refused -- is it on the US side or the Chinese side?
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#7
My first reaction is that America and China aren't "playing well together" diplomatically these days, so there may be no issue with your account, but the Chinese have registered a problem with Western Union. Or the US, who knows? But since you were rejected by MoneyGram, I wonder if you're dealing with an ID situation, someone with your last name or whatever.

My quick idea may be ridiculous, but are there any banking alliances that are worldwide and would cover China? Would your branch manager be able to help you find something? Could American Express help? Throwing these out because I'm assuming time is of the essence here. I hope she has put some money aside over time so that this is not catastrophic for her and her father.
 
Likes: Nancy
Mar 14, 2018
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#8
There are many regulations covering international remittance of funds, especially when they are over $10,000 per year. Western Union may be trying to avoid the regulatory hassle.

I think you'd be better served by a bank. A large multinational like Citi/Chase/BofA should be able to help you. Or you could work with the US division of a Chinese bank like ICBC.
 

AMA

Verified Member
Dec 11, 2014
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#9
There are severe restrictions on cash transfers between the US and China due to the current hostility between the governments. Western Union isn't doing anything wrong. I would ask your wife to go to a bank in China and ask them what the options are for receiving cash from the United States.
 
Oct 8, 2018
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#11
I Googled "western union china from usa" and found this on the western Union site:
Send for deposit in minutes1 to qualifying accounts3 at major banks in China, including Industrial & Commercial Bank, China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China and many others.
3 Qualifying accounts must have an associated UnionPay debit card number beginning with ‘62’.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
15,643
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
#12
I Googled "western union china from usa" and found this on the western Union site:
Send for deposit in minutes1 to qualifying accounts3 at major banks in China, including Industrial & Commercial Bank, China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China and many others.
3 Qualifying accounts must have an associated UnionPay debit card number beginning with ‘62’.
I have no idea what any of this means.
What I did see on the site was a maximum of $7,000.

Our letter writer needs to find out the sanction rules and what he is violating and he should be able to get that from his congress person.
 
Likes: AMA
Mar 23, 2015
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#14
Is there anyway to get a reloadable VISA card for your wife? You can register it online, add funds as needed and she can use it there? Having said that, I don't know if there are restrictions on using prepaid credit cards overseas, if there are FT fees, etc.. You were sending thru WU online? Have you tried going to like a WalMart or somewhere to send the money? If you use cash to pay for it.... would you still be blocked? I don't know if either of these will work, but was just trying to spitball an idea for you. Good Luck to you, your wife and your FIL.
 
Likes: jsn55
Jun 30, 2017
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#15
Is there anyway to get a reloadable VISA card for your wife? You can register it online, add funds as needed and she can use it there? Having said that, I don't know if there are restrictions on using prepaid credit cards overseas, if there are FT fees, etc.. You were sending thru WU online? Have you tried going to like a WalMart or somewhere to send the money? If you use cash to pay for it.... would you still be blocked? I don't know if either of these will work, but was just trying to spitball an idea for you. Good Luck to you, your wife and your FIL.
Rather than a debit card, why not just use a credit card?
 
Mar 23, 2015
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#17
Rather than a debit card, why not just use a credit card?
Some people don't have credit cards; don't like them; or maybe only have 1 with a low limit or don't feel comfy using them, particularly overseas. Using a prepaid credit card, he can continue to "dole out" the $500 monthly amount if that is his preference... at least that was my thinking in suggesting it.
 
Likes: RobinBee

AMA

Verified Member
Dec 11, 2014
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#18
I don't think that debit/credit card idea will work, because it will be on a US bank and carry the same monetary transfer restrictions as any other method. There would also be exhorbitant currency conversion fees.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#19
many places in China outside of the major cities are still cash economy— so using a credit/debit may not help.

And then a prepaid debit if it works in China would likely be subject to foreign transaction fees which can add up.

I do think the OP needs to get an answer as to what the issue is
 
Likes: Neil Maley