Using Western Union in China

I usually never complain about the things I experience in the daily life here in China, even though very often the most simple daily chores becomes frustrating complicated because I do not speak the language. But I want to share what happened yesterday when I went to one Shanghai Pudong Development Bank branch to receive some money my father sent to me using Western Union.

First I explained to the the lady who greet everybody who enter the bank branch what type of service I am looking for. I told her receive money using Western Union. She went to ask one of the cashiers if it is possible to do in this branch, then below is the communication that followed:

“I want the money to be paid out to me in CNY”

“What currency did the sender use to pay?”

“Well he is in Sweden so it was Swedish SEK”

“Oh, sorry, we can only do it if the sender used USD or Euro”

“But really? Does it matter since I want the money in CNY?”

“Yes it matters! But we can try if it works”

I think a little bit more education of their agents from Western Union’s side wouldn’t hurt. After one hour I got the money so they could do it even though the sender didn’t use USD or Euro. 🙂

I admit yesterday I felt frustrated and annoyed while going through this at the bank but I don’t blame them at all. I think it would have been a smoother experience if I knew how to speak Chinese or they better English, and since I am in China it is primarily up to me first to learn their language.

(Another thing that would have made it easier is if Western Union actually taught their agents more about their service.)