What Happens to Western Union Unclaimed Money?
Western Union (WU) is one of the largest cash transfer companies in the world. The service allows you to wire money to over 200 countries and has become vastly popular not only for transfers between over-the-seas family members but as a form of payment for services and products.
Assuming you are a WU user, the first question you should ask is what happens to the cash you send if no one picks it up?
What Is Unclaimed Western Union Money?
Western Union unclaimed money refers to any funds that haven't been picked up by the recipient or refunded to the sender.
When you send cash to someone, they can pick it up almost immediately or anytime within the next 45 days. After those 45 days, you can request a Western Union refund.
If you don't request a refund, your funds will remain in the WU system for up to nine months, after which the process can go three ways:
- The money will be returned to you automatically—If you used your bank account to make the transfer
- WU will contact you to ask about the best way to return your money—In case you paid in cash
- The company will keep the funds until legally required to turn it over to the state, which can last up to six years—This happens if you didn't leave your current contact info when making the transfer
This last option is technically WU unclaimed money and the reason for the class-action lawsuit against the company. People claim the service doesn't bother reaching out to senders and even brags about the cash accumulated this way in their financial reports.
This concept is also the foundation for many WU-related unclaimed money scams.
To avoid the scammers, you should know when and how to look for money from failed WU payments.
Ways To Handle Western Union Unclaimed Money
If you want your money back from WU, there are a few ways to go about that. The method depends on when you made the transfer and whether it's been picked up.
Here is an overview of ways to get your money back:
You can cancel a transfer only if the recipient has not picked it up yet. This option is available anytime during the first 45 days of the transfer
Request a Refund
You can go with this option in case:
Claim Your Unclaimed Assets From the State
If you believe you have some long-forgotten failed WU payment, it might be listed on the website of the institution responsible for unclaimed money in your state
Refunds and cancellations are possible online, over the phone, or in person, depending on how you wired your money.
In case the recipient has picked up the payment, you cannot cancel it or request a refund. If you believe you were scammed, you should report the fraud to Western Union.
Claiming Western Union Unclaimed Money From the State
Whenever a company has extra funds unreturned to their customers, they have to:
- Do their best to reach out to said customers and return the money
- Turn those assets over to the government after a certain period if they cannot reach the client
The period during which the company holds the money varies from State to State. It also depends on the type of asset. For Western Union unclaimed transfers, it can be up to six years.
Once the money is turned over to the state, you can find it by going through the online unclaimed-money database.
This works for any type of unclaimed assets, not only WU. You can search for lost inheritance money and other assets from deceased relatives, funds from old bank accounts, such as Wells Fargo or Bank of America, unclaimed insurance money, etc.
Usually, you only need to provide your name and last known address, but sometimes extra info like your Social Security number or last employer may be required.
The main issue with the search process is that there is no unique database for unclaimed assets in the U.S. You would have to search for WU unclaimed money for every state you've lived in separately—unless you use DoNotPay!
How To Find Western Union Unclaimed Money With DoNotPay
If you want to look for forgotten WU assets regardless of the state you live in, DoNotPay is here to help. Our AI-powered search engine can locate any assets under your name and file a claim in under five minutes.
Follow these steps to reclaim you Western Union money:
- Access DoNotPay account from a
- Click on the Missing Money feature
- Give us some basic info—your full name and your current and previous addresses
- Click on Claim My Property to file a claim
That’s it! DoNotPay will file a claim on your behalf, and you can expect an answer via email!
How To Find Western Union Unclaimed Money by Yourself
Another option is to check the unclaimed assets database for the state you live in (or have lived in before). Each state has its own website, which means that you must repeat the search for separate locations.
One advantage is that you can visit the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) website because it contains info about institutions responsible for unclaimed assets in each state.
Follow these steps to check how to file a claim:
- Visit the NAUPA website
- Scroll down until you reach the Search for property in your state or province section
- Click on the state you want to find unclaimed assets in
- Follow the guidelines of the page you get redirected to
You will usually be able to file a claim online, but in some cases, you may need to call or write a letter and send additional documents.
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