This is a test version — we need your feedback to get it right! Write to

Western Union: permanent leader of international money transfer?

Western Union gorilla

“… long, sorry decline has left the 140-year-old company a shell of its former self. Today, it is fighting for its very survival. Western Union fell victim to technological advances…”

Associated Press, 1991

Reading current reporting about Western Union’s role in international remittances could make us think that the company has been a successful monopoly of this space forever, but, now, with the arrival of some disruptive innovation (“P2P”, “Bitcoin-blockchain”, “Social”, “Mobile”…), there is a real danger of its imminent demise. In reality, Western Union’s subsidiary, Western Union Financial Services Inc., began providing international money transfers in mid 80s when deregulation allowed a previously domestic service to expand internationally. By mid 90s, Western Union’s coverage included major remittance destinations like China. In those first ten years of its money transfer business, Western Union’s parent (renamed into New Valley in 1991) had plenty of upheavals going near or into a bankruptcy. After changing hands few times, the money transfer subsidiary was resurrected as an independent entity in 2006. Western Union’s stock performance has been highly volatile ever since with 20% decline in price since IPO, dwarfed by the overall market:


WU vs SP500 till Jan 20 2017

After faster initial growth, for the last three years Western Union’s business metrics have been flat. Reinvention requires a change in culture which won’t happen with existing management. Hence, with global growth in remittances slowing down, don’t expect a different picture in years to come:

Western Union Performance 2014-2017 Q3

That management rigidity was demonstrated in FTC’s lawsuit which Western Union settled in January 2017.

“Even though Western Union’s internal reports have identified agent locations where 5% to over 75% of the transactions constituted confirmed and potential fraud, and/or suspicious activities, Western Union has allowed many of these agents and subagents to continue operating, with only temporary suspensions, if any…”

But Western Union is still valued at around $9-10 billion, and a “slow decline” story doesn’t seem to be interesting enough for most of publications. Instead, we are being subjected to sensational reporting about Western Union’s being on the way to oblivion due to, again, some innovation du jour – this time, instead of “fax machine” or “Internet” from 20-30 years ago, it is Facebook or Bitcoin or FinTech startups.

The reasons for such sloppy reporting across Tech media, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and other publications are laziness and overconfidence plus host of cognitive biases. For example, it could be due to a powerful “projection bias” which makes us assume that everybody is similar to us or want to be similar to us. So if a reporter is eager to try sending money with mobile, Bitcoin, Facebook, then frequent senders of remittances shall be also very interested in such transfer method.

1. Western Union’s Market Share

As with most facts about international consumer remittances, Western Union’s market share presents a complex picture – over the last decade, it has declined slightly while the company cross-border transfer volume has been growing till 2014:

Western Union Revenue and Market Share 2006-2016

The market share decline till 2014 is due to a much faster increase in global transfer volumes over the same period. In 2015 and 2016 both global remittances and Western Union transfer volumes declined at a similar pace keeping the company’s market share unchanged. To make matters more complicated, the data on global transfer volumes is very hard to obtain. For directionally accurate information, The World Bank provides uniquely valuable resources; alternatively, for in-depth analysis of specific corridors one could hire an industry expert like Faisal Khan.

The remainder of the remittances market is highly fragmented, with dozens if not hundreds of providers of various sizes competing in each large corridor. Obviously, Western Union’s market share is also not evenly distributed across global corridors. For example, in the world’s largest corridor for remittances, USA-to-Mexico, Western Union’s market share is closer to 20% but is slowly declining:

Mexico Remittances Market Share Change 2014 2017


There are top corridors where its share is less than 10%, and there are very small corridors where it is approaching 50%. But, as we wouldn’t call a single gas station in a small town a “monopoly,” it seems odd to criticize Western Union for providing services in places where nobody else wants to compete.

2. Western Union’s track record of innovation

Many ardent fans of Bitcoin and FinTech startups love a story about Western Union’s rejection of “talking telegraph” in 1876, but seem to forget that Western Union had maintained a telegraph monopoly for the next 100 years launching many innovations in the process.

While PayPal was first with email transfers in 1999, in its more recent money transfer history, Western Union went first online in 2000, started singing up mobile partnerships in 2007, launched a smartphone application in 2011 when TransferWise and Remitly were just starting and before Azimo was founded. While TransferWise is known for innovative use of data for driving referral traffic and Remitly has positioned itself as a “mobile” innovator, Western Union has been leveraging the latest technologies in a more comprehensive way. Whether its extensive use of “big data”, exploring partnership with Ripple Labs, or investing in blockchain, the popular narrative about Western Union as backward and ignorant is not supported by facts:

Western Union was also the first to launch partnerships with WeChat and Viber. Why would such innovative providers partner with Western Union? Technically, because Western Union could execute such complex integration better than anybody, but primary reasons is that consumers trust Western Union much more when it comes to money transfers:

Western Union WeChat Viber

Western Union was already larger than Xoom prior to establishing a dedicated online-mobile unit, Digital Ventures, in San Francisco in 2011. Since then, the company has been growing its digital business 20-30% annually:

Digital remittance providers YoY Revenue Growth 2015-2017Q3

… and with no other provider close in sight except TransferWise which is growing faster in absolute terms as of late 2017:

Money Transfer Providers Digital X-border Revenue Comparison 2014-2017 Q3

It is also important to keep in mind that 80% of new customers are net new, i.e., they haven’t used Western Union in any capacity before. It means that there is relatively little cannibalization, around 2%, from Western Union’s offline to digital channels – instead, the company is managing to attract entirely new customer segments. There is a myth fueled by Fintech PR that younger consumers prefer new providers. Looking at actual demographics segmentation of customer base for incumbents across financial services, one would find that so-called “millennials” have a similar preference for trusted brands (aka “incumbents”) as other generations:

Millenials use Western Union Investor Day 2016

Western Union has accomplished a similarly strong growth in the online engagement across key social sites, coming up with an innovative idea to develop dedicated Facebook pages for Filipino, Indian, and Latino customers. As a result, its engagement metrics are 10x higher than of its main online competitors.

Western Union Celebrating 5MM Facebook "likes" - June 2015

Western Union Celebrating 5MM Facebook “likes” – June 2015

However, at SaveOnSend, we are skeptical of any online engagement metrics. In case of Western Union, like with many other remittance providers, users from Russia seem to be significantly more proactive than the ones from the US which is somewhat unexpected:

CTLDs Distribution - Western Union June 14, 2015

CTLDs Distribution – Western Union June 14, 2015

Western Union’s on-going digital transformation is not just focused on a customer engagement. Over 2016-2017, the company is spending $120 million on “WU Way,” an efficiency program, mostly on severance (40% of all costs) and consultants (25% of all costs) with an objective to digitize its operations, consolidate 55 off-shore IT locations, and lay-off material portion of staff, hoping to realize $20-25 million in annual savings.

Hence, Western Union’s performance in digital is hard to interpret. Despite solid growth, it fell far short from its own expectations in 2012 to reach $500+MM in Digital revenue by 2015. Western Union’s USA website is still only available in English and Spanish, and its outbound digital services are available in around 20% of countries (41 as of August 2017):

WU Digital Coverage May 2017

After on-boarding 20 countries by 2010, and 23 in 2011, Western Union added only 2 countries to its digital footprint in 2012-2014, but then added 9 in 2015. It is now covering 90+% of the world outbound send countries by transfer volume, and remaining ones are either too small or are constrained by government regulations that prohibit online remittances. When UAE, among top-10 countries in outbound remittance volumes, decides to allow digital money transfers, there is little doubt that Western Union’s effort in securing its digital market share there would be immediate and massive. 70+% of Western Union customers have bank accounts, but only 10% of consumer revenue comes from digital channels, and it is not because the company doesn’t have the right digital offering. The usage of digital channel varies dramatically by corridor or, to be more precise, by ethnicity. As we discuss later, there are many fundamental differences among Indians, Filipinos, Chinese, Mexicans and other major migrant groups living in USA. One such difference is a ratio of disclosed income. For Indians, who happened to be mostly in white-collar jobs, that ratio is very high. But many other nationalities get paid in cash and avoid taxes (think of your typical babysitter, a gardener, or a cab driver). Using digital channels is not a consideration for those groups because while saving few dollars they have a much more significant concern about being reported to IRS.

Such prioritization across corridors also makes sense in the offline word. Western Union’s agent network went from 200K agents in 2006 to 485K in 2011. By 2017, that number only increased to 550,000. Why such slowdown in adding new agents? Because around 30% of those agents are already not seeing any remittances according to 2016 annual filing:

“As of December 31, 2016 , more than 70% of our locations had experienced money transfer activity in the previous 12 months”

Western Union is not unique in its business-savvy prioritization of where to offer its services. For all their posturing about helping “poor” and “unbanked,” FinTech remittance startups continue setting up offices in the world’s wealthiest cities targeting well-off and tech-savvy senders while conveniently accusing Western Union of being a high-price monopoly. Here are the world’s most expensive corridors – check which startups are offering services for those:

Most expensive remittance corridors 2015


Talk is cheap, but VCs could be very impatient, and selecting a smaller corridor with a small percentage of tech-savvy users is just not lucrative enough. Here is how Remitly’s founder explained his motivation when launching the startup in 2011 (read full story here):

Remitly Founder on reason for startup Oct 2011

Source: GeekWire, October 28, 2011

Words like “kid”, “education”, and “Africa” must be a part of any pitch deck, and, apparently, the only practical way to send money from USA to Kenya in 2011 was to start another company. So which destination did Remitly start with? It must have been Kenya? Nope, too small volume – $0.5B per year, plus that kid didn’t seem to care for school anyway. Maybe it was Nigeria? At least it is in Africa and among Top-5 global destinations. Nope, still not big and tech-savvy enough… so Remitly started with Philippines and 3 years and $20MM+ in funding later continued with India, then with China and in 2016 with Latin America. Remitly also expanded into its outbound business beyond the US into Canada and UK, but… Africa just has to wait.

Why is this anecdote relevant to our question about Western Union’s leadership position? It is representative of a mindset common for remittance startups. Rather than challenging Western Union’s market share where it doesn’t have an online presence, they are going after the same “top” corridors where Western Union’s Digital Ventures is already well-established:

Top 10 Remittance Corridors 2015


Instead of Lagos and Sao Paulo, they open regional offices in Denver and New York, coming to Western Union’s home turf where it has proven to take “full-measure” when warranted.

Money transfer illustration of competitiveness

3. Western Union’s competitive zeal

Western Union strategy is both complex and assertive. While overall commanding 15% pricing premium for its brand, Western Union applies substantially different margins across corridors. It is frequently adjusting fees across transfer amounts and send-receive methods. While such practice is consumer-unfriendly, it shows that Western Union takes a considerable effort in order to maximize profits.

For example, Western Union’s FX markup for sending money from USA to India is one of the lowest, for USA to Philippines, till recently, it was one of the highest:

FX margins comparison across providers - remittances from USA to India till July 7 2017

FX margins comparison across providers - remittances from USA to Philippines till July 7 2017

What could explain such difference in tactics for two corridors that are quite similar in size and located in the same region on a global scale? Let’s review how Indian and Filipino migrant groups living in USA are comparing in income and education:

Migrants in USA by income and education

Because Indians are so far ahead of other main migrant groups in education, they are quite unique in their engagement when it comes to remittances. More than 80% of money transfers by this group in USA are conducted online. From a cultural standpoint, Indians are significantly more likely to compare prices using sites like SaveOnSend, and are more likely to switch providers:

Customer complaints about Xoom's higher prices and switches to TransferWise

For other migrant groups, the average use of digital for money transfer is less than 10%, for Filipino senders from USA being slightly higher. Other migrant groups also seem to conduct less price comparison and seem to be less prone to switching providers. As a logical consequence, Western Union has to be and is far more competitive in the USA-to-India corridor. In a related example, after noticing TransferWise activity in UK, Western Union reduced margins and offered specials to ensure its market share. With Chinese customers, the issue has more to do with a culture of secrecy and mistrust of formal channels. So Western Union at times would be offering literally free transfers for some send-receive methods in order to gain a foothold in this segment:

“…We do have corridors, which is zero FX. We do have corridors, which are higher FX, zero fees. We do have corridors where there’s both are that. It’s really like an airline management where you fly from one destination to another destination, which seats you for use, and that’s exactly what we are doing with our teams. I think, in the portfolio management, the team is impressive. It’s really looking at every corridor, understanding the customer needs on FX side.”

Yes, some money transfer providers might be more aggressive or even apply misleading tactics like in the case of TransferWise, but to assume that startups’ innovative capabilities are beyond Western Union’s reach is ill-informed at best. Read this amusing article by The Guardian hailing WorldRemit’s mobile payments to Africa… 8 years after Western Union began piloting same services. Also, listen to Faisal Khan‘s response when a co-founder of a brand-new startup comments on being more agile than Western Union (25:40-29:30 segment in this Around The Coin podcast).

“Experts” who forecast Western Union’s imminent demise also don’t seem to realize that the company could simply acquire smaller providers in order to preserve its market share. Western Union has proven to be an ardent supporter of such strategy with myriad of acquisition throughout the years like Vigo in 2005 or Finint in 2011.

4. Western Union’s Financial Health

However, having a sizable leadership in remittances volume and in the digital segment or establishing an adaptable strategy might not be enough for the long-term market leadership if the underlying business model is not sound. Western Union, with its previous “near-death” experiences, knows this better than anybody else. Why don’t investors seem to take seriously the commonly accepted narrative in publications on remittances about Western Union’s imminent disruption? Because that narrative contradicts facts. Investors could have “bullish” or “bearish” mood swings, but only actual results, revenues and profits, really matter to them in the long-term. Take another look at the chart of Western Union’ stock prices since IPO at the beginning of this article. You might notice two massive sell-offs around financial crisis in 2008 and when Western Union warned about precipitous reductions in margins in 2012. But then results came in, and, quarter after quarter, Western Union hasn’t been doing as bad as was initially expected:

Money Transfer Providers Total X-border Revenue Comparison 2014-2017 Q3

Stricter government regulations that are meant to mitigate terrorism and money laundering are driving banks to reconsider costs-vs-benefits of servicing smaller money transfer providers. As the result, there have been a wave of shutdowns since 2013 and it is likely to continue (read Faisal Khan’s post on this topic). Naturally, displaced customers would then seek the most established replacement, avoiding another small player or startup, with Western Union being the obvious choice.

So maybe Western Union’s revenues will keep stagnating or even start declining, but to expect a significant drop would seem unreasonable. Besides, while having by far the largest digital presence, Western Union’s valuation multiple remains reasonable:

Remittance providers - Latest Market Cap or Valuation, Dec 24 2017

5. Room for disruption

Influenced by few examples like Google, Apple, and Amazon, we seem eager to assume a similar possibility of so-called “game changer” for international consumers remittances, something that would address a consumer unmet need in a fundamentally new way (Skype) or even create a new demand (eBay). Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on one’s perspective, neither one has been the case for Western Union’s dominant role in cross-border consumer remittances:

Money Transfer Providers X-border Volume Comparison for Previous 12 Months 2017 Q3

Besides reasons for Western Union’s market leadership discussed above, a more fundamental reason for the unlikely change is consumers. They will continue sending cash for decades to come with transition from offline (aka, “cash agents”) to online is crawling at 2% per year. What we discovered at SaveOnSend is that an average frequent sender doesn’t seem too eager to save $10/month if it requires switching from a routine he/she has grown to cherish.

Looking at the long line at expensive coffee shops, it would seem odd to consider those consumers as victims of a latte monopoly that takes advantage of its customers with a slow and expensive service. Why shall we think differently about consumers who stay in line to Western Union’s cash agent and like that experience? And if you are confused by irrationality of those who like expensive coffee and cash agents, you really don’t want to know how much consumers spend on cigarettes (the answer is here).Long line in Starbucks
It wasn’t always the case, but these days consumers are generally satisfied with their options for cross-border remittances. There are very few complaints and half of those are about fraud (read report here), while the margins have been falling over the last 3 decades, dropping 30% in the last 7 years alone to less than 6% today (global weighted-average):

WorldBank Ave and WAve Price Index till Q2 2017


For top global corridors, margins are even lower, especially, when sending money via online-mobile. Western Union’s global weighted-average margin is ~5% (for Ria Money Transfer, it is ~4%). For in-depth analysis of specific innovations in consumer remittances, read our other posts on P2P and Bitcoin/Blockchain.

6. Western Union’s real contender


Let’s consider if Facebook could be a real contender for a shot to reach Western Union’s market share in the next 10 years. Embracing a tough reality that consumers are generally not looking for an alternative provider, new transfer method, or, especially, for some new type of currency, could Facebook offer a superior use case while investing hundreds of millions of dollars in acquiring and retaining cross-border remittance customers?

While it is unlikely to offer enough on both dimensions in order to take over Western Union’s leadership spot, there are objective reasons why Facebook might be the best contender:

a) master of localization: top remittance providers still only have its USA site in English and Spanish, while many larger ethnic groups among senders might strongly prefer to engage using their native languages

b) efficient customer acquisition: with margins approaching 0% for online money transfer while cost per customer acquisition is getting close to $50, leveraging its own massive global reach and advertisement-based business model would allow Facebook to drive margins even lower, burning competition in the process

c) sufficient “war chest”: with $10+B on hand Facebook could buy up likes of Ria Money Transfer and TransFast in order to get a quick international foothold and cherry-pick best processes in those companies (e.g., risk management)

d) spillover into “unbanked”: in some top remittance destinations, Facebook’s penetration is high enough to capture a significant portion of “unbanked” – Facebook could leverage this via its existing local partnerships to “cash-out” Facebook accounts.

One likely hurdle for Facebook would be to overcome its “sharing-app” image among consumers, especially, in the 30+ age range (who are the majority of remittance senders). While a larger proportion of millennials and Generation Z is open to using apps like Venmo, even those users of SaveOnSend were against the Facebook registration option out of fears that it might make their remittance comparison information public. There is already some anecdotal evidence that a relatively slow uptake of Facebook domestic transfers for USA has been also driven by privacy concerns.

For now, Facebook is experimenting with its long-rumored acquisition target Azimo. In August 2016, they launched a cumbersome 3-step service virtually assuring Western Union of no imminent threat:

Facebook Azimo Integration Aug 2016


So, based on the above, would Western Union likely remain the leader of international consumer remittances for the next decade? Probably. While its market share might fall to 10% in the next 5 years, there doesn’t seem to be any innovation or a provider who could take over Western Union’s lead in this time frame. The environment is simply too competitive already, consumers are already pretty satisfied, and Western Union has proven its grit time and time again.

At the same time, we would encourage all our users to try other providers. Western Union’s pricing is often on a high end (you pay for a trusted brand) and is constantly changing, so consumers can never really have a piece of mind and have to conduct a comparison shopping on sites likes SaveOnSend every time before using Western Union. Instead, try using Western Union’s competitors – maybe it would help to make the company more customer friendly and less expensive.

Hopefully, you found this overview helpful in developing your own point of view on Western Union’s chances to preserve its position. Which other provider do you think has a practical chance to reach Western Union’s market share in the next 10 years? Please explain your brief rationale in the comments below.

We will be keeping this post regularly updated, so come back soon!

  • Jeffrey Maxim

    What is your source for Western Union’s 2011 digital remitance volume?

  • Magnus38

    “Investor concern over the threat of new technologies is overstated.” —Blockbuster analyst report, 1999

    • thanks for sharing – if you read this article carefully, you will see that Western Union was on a forefront of innovation in digital payments. Please see this article:

    • John Smith Jr

      as the article illustrates the biggest impediment to adoption of a new service is human behavior inertia. This is compounded by an increasing lack of trust in an arena where consumers are naturally cautious. Finally, vendors that continue to bait and switch consumers and violate their privacy will find that the loss of trust will preclude them from ever being a success in areas like money transfer. Data broker ad tech companies like google and FB will find it particularly difficult as it becomes increasingly apparent to consumers the true cost of the loss of their privacy.

  • Haseeb Awan

    This article is certainly spot on. When it comes to consumer to consumer transactions, WU own it for offline transactions with almost no competition.

  • Evgeny Kozlov

    Thank you for an interesting article!
    For the diagram “x-border transfer volume” – what are your estimates based on?

    • Thanks, Evgeny! For public MTOs – from their SEC filings and for banks – from Call reports. For startups – lots of triangulation based on their filings, public pronouncements, and inside information, so those are only directionally accurate.

  • Evgeny Kozlov

    Would you like to extend this chart with new data?
    I work for a major money transfer system based in Russia and the CIS. Comparing our numbers with the chart – we would be among the top.
    Let me know if you are interested to make the chart more informative 😉

    • Of course, thank you Evgeny! Please send us your company’s performance data at the email address specified at the very top of the page.

  • Excellent article. It is very well researched and it shows a deep understanding of the Remittance Industry. Congratulations.

    • Dear Hugo, thank you very much for reading the article and your kind words – it is an amazing compliment coming from you.

  • Trevor Newman

    Anybody who uses Western Union is being ripped off there are so many better alternatives especially XAPO, Cashea setc which cost virtually nothing and are simple.

    • Hi Trevor, thanks for commenting. We at SaveOnSend, and many of our readers continue using Western Union in some specific cases among other providers while are being perfectly aware of various Bitcoin options. If you want to understand why we are not feeling ripped off, please read again this article about Western Union and then compare its findings with our analysis of Bitcoin-blockchain options here: Please let us know your thoughts afterwards.

  • John Smith Jr

    very good article thanks for all the effort – lots of words of wisdom in here

  • researcher

    What a wonderful post!
    Quick question, how did you caclulate Western Union’s share of the global remittance market? Have been looking on their 10-K and haven’t found anything to use a figure for a reasearch project I am working on.

    • Hello Researcher! 🙂 Thank you so much for reading our blog and your kind comment. You can find Western Union’s transfer volume in their quarterly/annual report (it is in a text within the C2C segment section). For denominator, we use totals from World Bank. Let us know if you can’t find either.

      • researcher

        Could you direct to me the specific figures you’re using?

        I can’t seem find to find a total remittance volume to compare to the world bank’s figures. Can only find # of transactions!

        • Hi Researcher, thank you for following up. Here are the steps to finding WU’s quarterly transaction volume, for example in Q2, 2016:
          1. Open a quarterly filing:
          2. Search for “cross-border principal” text
          3. You got it: “…for the three months ended June 30, 2016 and 2015, respectively, of which $18.5 billion and $18.8 billion related to cross-border principal, for the corresponding periods described above…”

  • atriusny

    The article is misleading when it comes to bankruptcy of Western Union. Western Union never went bankrupt. It was its parent company New Valley Corp that filed for chapter 11 while its subsidiary Western Union was in financial sound condition. In fact, the sales of Western Union in auction overseen by the bankruptcy court went so well that the creditors of New Valley Corp were paid 100 cent on the dollar, yes you didn’t read it wrong,

    Logic dictates if New Cop Valley span off Western Union while they could, they wouldn’t have to file for Chapter 11. They simply didn’t know the value of their assets or the more likely scenario, potential bidders didn’t step in until New Corp Valley filed for Chapter 11 in hopes for a better deal or both.

  • Sheki Amiti

    very good article. But i need more information’s about the real market share between MG and WU per transactions.

    • Hello Sheki, thank you for reading and a kind comment. What do you mean by “per transactions?”

  • Aguibou Barry

    Hi, first of all it is an amazing article! I read it several times and shared it to many of my friends and relatives.
    At one moment you said “What we discovered at SaveOnSend is that an average frequent sender doesn’t seem too eager to save $10/month if it requires switching from a routine he/she has grown to cherish.” what would the “$xx/month” amount be for European residents making money transfer to developing countries, especially to African countries?

    • Hello Aguibou, thanks for reading! Each corridor has a different value of average transfer. South Africa and Egypt are higher, Sub-Saharan countries receive smaller amounts. $200-300 range is a good rule of thumb

  • Tiffany

    Hi, this is one of the most thorough article I have read and amazing research! I was wondering if you could clarify the data on the Digital Money Transfer Providers by Revenue chart. What are the specific figures for 2017 Q1 for each company and how did you guys calculate that? Is that for global remittance or just US?

    • Hello Tiffany, thank you for reading our blog and kind words! The numbers are for global remittances. For public companies like Western Union and MoneyGram, you could find precise data in SEC filings. For UK-based startups – in Companies House, but it is not a quarterly data, so we do some extrapolation. In other cases, we triangulate based on various public sources such as company blogs and interviews. If you find better sources that contradict our information, please share it here.

  • Chris Perkins

    Hi, thank you for the very well written article. I’m very interested in this space as I am previous sender of remittances to family in Brazily. Would you mind sharing your data source for the Money Transfer Providers: X-border Volume Comparison for Previous 12 Months chart? If you used SEC fillings, which were most helpful?


    • Hello Chris, we are grateful that you liked our article. Please see our answer to Tiffany among the comments below – we use the same approach to data sources for both charts. Most useful SEC filings for us are quarterly reports, aka “10-Q”, rarely, an annual report, aka, “10-K”, would have additional insights.

  • wu insight

    Hi, very informative article on a segment that is quite challenging to analyze. I have 2 questions that would be extremely helpful if you have any insight on either. 1) how was 70% calculated for WU’s customer bank account percentage? and 2) Is there any insight concerning revenue percentages for specific corridors? Say top 5 or top 10 revenue generating corridors. I am only able to find percentages of revenue for each continent, nothing specific.

    • Hello, thank you for kind words! 70% is stated by WU, there is link if you click on that number from 2011 but it hasn’t changed much. For revenue from US corridors, you could try ballparking their overall US outbound revenue and then allocating it in proportion to US corridors. For other major outbound counties, you could apply similar proportions based on their outbound volume from WolrdBank data as % of the total, then normalizing for that region’s share in the overall WU revenue.

  • El prestigioso

    Is there any statistics on the impact of small and medium size money transmitters on the global remittance industry. Is there any data on their combined market share?

    • It would vary significantly by a corridor, but overall their share is declining (major factors: consolidation, de-risking, competition) and is currently in 10-20% range for major corridors. If you are looking for something more precise, this consulting firm is primarily focused on that segment:

      • El prestigioso

        Thank you so much

      • El prestigioso

        Thank you so much. Wow that is huge. This places them as the second largest money transmitters with MoneyGram trailing behind at 5% market share. In fact estimating US SME alone based on 23% US global remittance puts them at 2–5% market share comparable Money Gram’s entire market share. That is significant!!!

Advertising Disclosure: is an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. SaveOnSend may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website.