Our Rich History

Western Union has been making our customers' lives a little better for more than 160 years.

Founded as the New-York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company in 1851, Western Union continues to span distances with innovative technology. For more than 160 years, we have been a powerful force fueling global economic growth and innovation.

Today, we promote global economic opportunity and growth by bridging gaps in the financial services sector. Our growing product portfolio includes business solutions, consumer-to-consumer money transfer, bill-payment services and stored-value options such as prepaid cards. Online, by phone, from more than 100,000 ATMs and through more than 500,000 Agent locations worldwide, Western Union aims to move money anytime, anywhere and any way our customers choose, helping consumers and businesses grow.

See our highlights below, or learn more about our colorful heritage of progress from our expanded timeline at right.

Western Union Through the Years

1851

Western Union founded as the New-York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company.

 

1856

Changed our name from the New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company to Western Union. The new name marked consolidation of several lines in the western-most reaches of the U.S. telegraph system.

1861

Completed the first transcontinental telegraph line across North America.

 

1865

First traded on NYSE under ticker symbol WU.

 

 

1869

Introduced the first successful stock ticker.

 

 

1871

Introduced money transfer.

 

 

1884

Named one of the original 11 stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

 

 

1890s

Provided service to Europe, Northern Africa, North and South America, Australia and Asia.

 

1914

Introduced the first customer charge card.

 

 

1933

Delivered the first singing telegram.

 

 

1943

Pioneered the first commercial inter-city microwave communications system.

 

 

1974

Introduced the first commercial satellite in the U.S.

 

 

1980

Money transfer revenue exceeded telegram service revenue for the first time.

 

 

1982

In 1982, we introduced EasyLink email service to consumers.

 

 

1995

Acquired by First Data Corporation.

 

 

2000

Launched westernunion.com to provide consumers with fast, convenient ways to send money online.

 

2001

Celebrated 150th anniversary by expanding to more than 100,000 Agent Locations worldwide.

 

2006

Spun off as independent company; traded on NYSE under ticker symbol WU.

 

2007

Announced partnership with GSMA to develop mobile money transfer.

 

2009

Expanded pre-paid card business.

 

2009

Acquired Custom House to grow cross-border business-to-business payments.

 

2010

Created Western Union Business Solutions.

 

2011

Acquired Travelex Global Business Payments to grow Western Union Business Solutions.

 

2012

Opened 500,000th Agent location1.

 

2012

Completed 231 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $79 billion of principal between consumers, and 432 million business payments.

 

2013

Celebrated five years of the Our World, Our Family® program: five years, $50 million, five million lives made better.

 

2013

Consumers can now send and receive money via more than 100,000 ATMs.

 

Western Union World

Every day at Western Union, we are moving money for better.

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