Banking: The Fastest Way To Make Money

As migrant workers send more cash around the world, Western Union collects a lucrative and growing toll. But big banks are muscling in on its business

Mention Western Union to an American, and chances are he or she will think of telegrams and maybe that '60s frat-rock song of the same name. But in the rest of the world, Western Union means money. Having converted its wire traffic from text messages to cash, Western Union increasingly serves as a rough-and-ready bank for millions of migrant workers who send part of their pay to loved ones back home, whether from an Arizona broccoli field to a Mexican village or from a Saudi oil field to Bombay. As the pace of global migration quickens, so does the business of...

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