Our Rich History
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
Western Union founded as the New-York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company.
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.
Completed the first transcontinental telegraph line across North America.
First traded on NYSE under ticker symbol WU.
Introduced the first successful stock ticker.
Introduced money transfer.
Named one of the original 11 stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Provided service to Europe, Northern Africa, North and South America, Australia and Asia.
Introduced the first customer charge card.
Delivered the first singing telegram.
Pioneered the first commercial inter-city microwave communications system.
Introduced the first commercial satellite in the U.S.
Money transfer revenue exceeded telegram service revenue for the first time.
In 1982, we introduced EasyLink email service to consumers.
Acquired by First Data Corporation.
Launched westernunion.com to provide consumers with fast, convenient ways to send money online.
Celebrated 150th anniversary by expanding to more than 100,000 Agent Locations worldwide.
Spun off as independent company; traded on NYSE under ticker symbol WU.
Announced partnership with GSMA to develop mobile money transfer.
Expanded pre-paid card business.
Acquired Custom House to grow cross-border business-to-business payments.
Created Western Union Business Solutions.
Acquired Travelex Global Business Payments to grow Western Union Business Solutions.
Opened 500,000th Agent location1.
Completed 231 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $79 billion of principal between consumers, and 432 million business payments.
Celebrated five years of the Our World, Our Family® program: five years, $50 million, five million lives made better.
Consumers can now send and receive money via more than 100,000 ATMs.