Western Union using Credit card

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Old Jan 2, 12, 3:41 pm
#1
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Western Union using Credit card

I need to book a tour in Peru and tour company only accepts Western Union. I can use a credit card or use my bank account. I prefer credit card. If I use this payment, which is the best credit card to use? Will it be considered a cash advance?

Choices- AMEX Platinum, AMEX PRG, SPG, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Marriott Visa and I have more....

Also, is it "safe" to use Western Union? Is it safe to use "bank account" to transfer?

Thanks so much in advance
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Old Jan 2, 12, 4:00 pm
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I'm taking a trip to Peru as well, my tour company accepts paypal in addition to Western Union. They add 6% to the Paypal, but to me it was a small price to pay for some comfort. Ask if they will accept paypal?

To me there are just so many bad, terrible stories about Western Union being used by scammers, I was turned off from using them. Also they're not without fees to be used, and of course you might be hit with cash advance from your CC.

Check if they have paypal as an option, and then use your CC on top of Paypal, for ultimate protection.
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Old Jan 2, 12, 4:37 pm
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Not to sound obvious, but please do your research and make sure this is a reputable company. While it is "safe" to use western union, you'll have no recourse if they run away with your money. I am sure you've done your research, but just make sure they are on the up and up.
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Old Jan 2, 12, 4:44 pm
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I believe Western Union only takes Mastercard, Visa, or Discover.
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Old Jan 2, 12, 6:17 pm
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What tour is it for? You shouldn't have to Western Union cash/cc advance to a legitimate company in Peru for a tour. If you do - there are probably 5 other companies that will take a 10% deposit on Paypal, and cash in person. This is speaking from experience. Play it safe, and enjoy Peru!
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Old Jan 2, 12, 6:22 pm
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It is for the Inca Trail Permit which everyone (tour company) needs to pay to secure the hike.

It is a reputable tour company in Peru. From reading tripadvisor, it seems like many companies only accept Western Union.

I will ask about paypal.
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Old Jan 2, 12, 6:30 pm
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Keep in mind that Western Union is very common for remittance payments (workers sending money home from other countries) so it might be a universal payment system that they are used to working with down there.

Last time I used Western Union via a cc was in the 90's and there was something like a 3% fee. I'd take cash down to the local store with a Western Union and do that.

Western Union is used by scammers because you can transfer money to anyone anywhere in the world so basic common sense should be used, make sure it is a real company with real reviews, etc.. Don't do anything Western Union related with online forms/Craigs List.

Also I don't know for sure, but yes I'd guess it would be treated as a cash advance

Last edited by iolairemcfadden; Jan 2, 12 at 6:31 pm Reason: I'd guess it would be treated as a cash advance
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Old Jan 4, 12, 7:57 pm
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Originally Posted by metoo View Post
It is for the Inca Trail Permit which everyone (tour company) needs to pay to secure the hike.

It is a reputable tour company in Peru. From reading tripadvisor, it seems like many companies only accept Western Union.

I will ask about paypal.
Sounds like you've done your research so that is good.
Just save your receipts, and maybe pay a credit card fee for peace of mind if you must.

I did the Inka Trail Classic trek in '09 and didn't have to wire any money on Western Union.
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Old Jan 4, 12, 8:16 pm
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Have you checked with Western Union how much additional fee is involved when using a CC?

If there is no additional fee, I am afraid it would be treated as a cash advance on your CC.

See the very fine print on Western Union own website. Although it is about sending money online, but it should work the same way when sending money in person, funded with CC.

https://wumt2.westernunion.com/WUCOM...anguageCode=en

*Your credit card issuer may charge an additional cash advance fee for this service.

(not to mention the interest on the Cash Advance AND trigger the accrued interest on your other purchases made on your card that is not billed unless you do not pay in full on time at statement due date... A cash advance would promptly make interest accrued from the date of purchase to become "billable" by the bank...)

I live in an area where Western Union is EXTREMELY common for people sending money home (to the Caribbean Islands). The dominant local grocery chain has Western Union service and it only accepts CASH or Debit Card. I dont know what a Western Union's own store would do with CC funded transaction. The ironic thing is, at one of the grocery store location, there is a Western Union store in the same plaza may be 10 yards away, but people still crowd at the grocery store's customer service counter to do their Western Union transactions there. I always find it puzzling...

Last edited by Happy; Jan 4, 12 at 8:25 pm
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Old Jan 4, 12, 8:28 pm
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Originally Posted by x712xdamx View Post
Sounds like you've done your research so that is good.
Just save your receipts, and maybe pay a credit card fee for peace of mind if you must.

I did the Inka Trail Classic trek in '09 and didn't have to wire any money on Western Union.
I am not sure the bank would protect you if the funding is not coded as a purchase, but a Cash Advance.

Western Union disclose this on its own website about sending money online using CC. Of course if you use a debit card, there is no cash advance to speak of.

I seriously doubt one can send money using CC and the funding would be coded as purchase instead of cash advance.

Instead of trying to decide which CC to use, OP should spend time to find out if the CC funding is treated a Cash Advance or a purchase.

Common sense tells me this would be a Cash Advance. Though there might be exception but since this is Money that we are talking about - since when one can buy Money with a CC after the Mint died? (exclude the AMEX GCs and Visa GCs at drug stores, the real, readily available Money that we are talking here.)

Besides, if this works as purchase with a small service fee, I am sure tons of people here would have been sending money via Western Union so to meet their spend requirements on new cards, as well as racking up miles and points... I am afraid there is no such free lunch.
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Old Jan 4, 12, 9:06 pm
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No Paypal, just Western Union.

Just wondering....if i have zero balance on my credit card and it is treated as a cash advance, wouldn't I owe very little money if I pay it off within a day or two?

I would be sending $500 U.S.
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Old Jan 4, 12, 9:20 pm
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Originally Posted by metoo View Post
No Paypal, just Western Union.

Just wondering....if i have zero balance on my credit card and it is treated as a cash advance, wouldn't I owe very little money if I pay it off within a day or two?

I would be sending $500 U.S.
Correct. You would pay the 3% Cash Advance fee and however interest on a few days you owe the money.

However, Cash Advance does NOT offer the protection you are hoping for by paying with a CC. A Cash Advance is considered as an unsecured loan to the card holder - the bank does not care what you use that loan for. It is NOT a purchase or a service you pay to the merchant or provider. If you dont get the service provided, you really cannot dispute the "charge". In this particular case, you give the money to Western Union which in turn gives the money to the tour operator as an intermediary. There is really no recourse should the tour provider does not come thru.

Therefore I do not see what is the point to use CC as it offers no benefit but incur additional expense.

PayPal on the other hand, does offer a thin layer of protection.
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Old Jan 4, 12, 9:33 pm
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Originally Posted by metoo View Post
No Paypal, just Western Union.

Just wondering....if i have zero balance on my credit card and it is treated as a cash advance, wouldn't I owe very little money if I pay it off within a day or two?

I would be sending $500 U.S.
Presumably, but why not pay cash and avoid the cash advance fee? You're not going to get any credit card protections nor points on this purchase.
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Old Jan 4, 12, 10:15 pm
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If I don't use my credit card for payment, I need to transfer money from my bank account through Western Union.

I was told by the tour operator i would receive confirmation within 1-3 business days for the deposit and then I would be able to check my Inca Trail permit status online. The deposit is for the tour operator to purchase my Inca Trail Pass. There is a limited number of pass given to tourists so I need to purchase 5-6 months in advance for peak season (August 2012)
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Old Jan 4, 12, 10:34 pm
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Originally Posted by metoo View Post
If I don't use my credit card for payment, I need to transfer money from my bank account through Western Union.

I was told by the tour operator i would receive confirmation within 1-3 business days for the deposit and then I would be able to check my Inca Trail permit status online. The deposit is for the tour operator to purchase my Inca Trail Pass. There is a limited number of pass given to tourists so I need to purchase 5-6 months in advance for peak season (August 2012)
You can use a debit card for Western Union. Dont you have a debit card on your bank account? It works the same as a credit card but no cash advance as you essentially are drawing money out from your own bank account, and you can even do it online on Western Union site.

I really dont see what is your issue, unless you dont have a debit card. If so, that is very very unusual in today's society, not to mention that without a debit card (particularly a no ATM fee one), one would have a ton of inconvenience when travels aboard to places where cash transactions are the main stream.

Last edited by Happy; Jan 4, 12 at 10:39 pm
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