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The Western Union Company – History


Western Union was founded in 1851 as the New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company.

The company changed its name to Western Union in 1856 to mark the consolidation of several telegraph lines in what was then the Western-most reaches of the American telegraph system.

Western Union completed the transcontinental telegraph line across North America in 1861. The first stock ticker was introduced by Western Union in 1869.

Western Union introduced money transfer in 1871.

Western Union introduced the consumer charge card in 1914. In 1933, Western Union delivered the first singing telegram.

Western Union started the commercial inter-city microwave communications system in 1943.

The commercial satellite in the US was introduced by Western Union in 1974.

In 1993, Western Union introduced the prepaid, disposable telephone card.

Western Union Financial Services, a subsidiary of the company, completed the purchase of a 30 percent equity interest in Finint, one of Western Union’s authorized agents in Italy in 2005.

In January 2006, Western Union signed an exclusive agreement with Travelex for money transfer services.

Western Union Financial Services, a subsidiary of the company, made a strategic relationship with Bank Al Bilad of Saudi Arabia to provide money transfer services to its customers in Saudi Arabia in February 2006.

The Western Union Company acquired Servicio Electronico De Pago (SEPSA) in December 2006.

The company made an agreement to offer Western Union Money Transfer services via Caixa Galicia’s offices in Spain in May 2007.

In November 2007, Western Union acquired 25% Stake in GraceKennedy’s Remittance, Cambio and Bill Payments Businesses in the Caribbean.

Western Union partnered with Penn Traffic Company to offer Money Transfer, Money Order Services, in March 2008.