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A company that provides a service that is used to transfer money around the world, to those who do not have access to PayPal. Their fees for providing this service are very high.

Money transfer is done via a modem connection into a central server. How the process works is this:

  1. Sender makes a connection with Western Union, and gives identifying information for him/herself, identifying information about the recipient, the expected place of delivery, and a method of payment.
  2. Western Union connects with the central server, which then processes the payment and the ID information. When done at an office terminal, this connection is via modem; when done via the website, it's done (presumably) over Ethernet.
  3. Recipient goes to Western Union office, and fills out a form, listing the same information that the sender gave.
  4. Western Union office connects to central server via modem connection. Central server validates the input (possibly using fuzzy matching), and sends authorization to the office terminal to print a check with the amount sent.
  5. Check gets printed, and in most locations the recipient can endorse the check and get cash instantly.
The fees for this service are, as mentioned, very high -- $43.00 for $500 sent (US to US, no message attached), or $15.00 for $50 sent (US to US, no message attached). An alternative service, at least in the US, is MoneyGram.

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