Send and receive money
Western Union

Western Union is a fast, reliable and convenient way to send or receive money around the world. This service is only available via our digital channels (internet and/or cellphone banking). It gives you access to over 500 000 Western Union agent locations in 200 countries and territories. Please note that in certain countries only the ‘receive money’ service is available.

Why should I use Western Union?


  • Each transfer can be tracked using a Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN)
  • This number is given to the receiver only ensuring that only the receiver can collect the money


  • Western Union Money Transfer service uses advanced technology and a unique, worldwide computer network to ensure quick payout in more than 200 countries and territories around the world
  • Money is available for collection in minutes, subject to agents operating hours and differences in time zones


  • If you are an Absa customer and a registered user you can experience the convenience of sending or receiving money with internet banking and/or cellphone banking
  • The money is available within minutes, depending on when the banks are open and the time differences around the world

As this service is only available through our digital channels (internet banking and/or cellphone banking), you will need an Absa Bank transactional account in order to make use of Western Union. Please contact our branch network to assist you in opening a bank account and register for internet banking and/or cellphone banking.

Regulations and documentation

According to South African Reserve Bank Exchange Control Rules and Regulations, only the following types of Western Union Receive Transactions are allowed:

  • Foreign tourists visiting South Africa receiving funds from abroad relating to their holiday or business visit to South Africa
  • Foreign students studying in South Africa receiving funds from abroad to pay for their living expenses, tuition, books, etc
  • Earnings of SA resident temporarily abroad
  • Monetary gifts received from abroad - gifts, other than to charitable, religious, cultural or educational organisations

The following persons cannot perform a Western Union Money Transfer transaction:

  • Residents of Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia
  • Section 22 permit holders (asylum seekers)
  • Non-residents are not allowed to send funds from South Africa via Western Union Money Transfer
How it works online and/or for cellphone banking:

An Absa Online and/or cellphone banking registered customer (individual only) can make use of the Western Union service by clicking on the International Funds Transfer gadget under the Payments function.

The below options can be used to transfer money using Western Union:

  • Pay Beneficiary: This transaction will enable you to send money to an individual or business entity as registered with Western Union in another country making use of the Western Union network of agents.
    • You will need to first create a Western Union beneficiary by using any of the following options:
    • Under the Payments menu select the International Funds Transfer option
      • Open the Add beneficiary tab
      • Select the type of international service as Western Union from the drop-down and capture the information against the mandatory fields
      • Once created, there will be a waiting period of an hour as part of the Absa validation process
      • Once done, you can send money to the beneficiary created by using the Payments menu and selecting the Pay beneficiary option
      • Follow the step-by-step process as indicated on the Pay beneficiary menu option.
      • You can e-mail documents for Balance of Payment (BoP) categories selected, with quote available real-time.
      • You can also send money overseas using the once-off payment option.
      • A SureCheck will be sent to you followed by a second SureCheck which will be sent before the result screen.
      • You have the option to add the once-off payment as a beneficiary for future payments.
  • Receive Money: This transaction will enable you to receive money from a person or business entity registered with Western Union in another country making use of the Western Union network of agents
    • You can perform a receive money transaction by selecting the Payments menu and the International Funds Transfer option
    • Open the Receive Money tab
    • The Western Union transactions will be pre-populated after capturing a valid Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) as would have been received by the sender of monies overseas
    • Follow the step-by-step process as indicated on the Receive Funds screens
  • Cancel Send Money: This functionality will allow you to initiate a cancellation enquiry. On confirmation that the funds have not been paid out, you will receive notification that the ‘send’ transaction has been cancelled and you can claim the money back via an inbound or receive money transaction using the ‘Nature of Payment’ Refund code
    • You can raise an enquiry to cancel your Western Union Send money transaction online
    • This can be done by selecting the International Funds Transfer container under the Payments option
    • Select the Manage beneficiary tab
    • You will be required to select the specific beneficiary from the list displayed
    • Then select the transaction you want to delete and click on the cancel outbound money transfer icon
    • You will be required to enter a reason for cancellation and an email address so that we can contact you about your cancellation request
    • Note: There is a turnaround time of up to 3 working days for the cancellation request to be affected
  • Trading hours: The Western Union Money Transfer service will only be available online in the following time frames:
    • 08:00 to 17:00 Mondays to Fridays
    • 08:00 to 12:00 Saturdays
    • This transaction type is not available on Sundays and Public Holidays
    • Note: The service will also not be available during Public Holidays in countries where there is a Western Union presence
  • Transaction limits: A maximum amount of R30 000 per transaction is allowed for this transaction type, but your normal Absa Online Payment limit will also apply. This means that if your payment limit is less than R30 000, the lowest limit will apply. In addition to this, a South African Reserve Bank Exchange Control limit will be applied per “Nature of Payment” (BoP code)
    • The charge for this transaction type will not form part of your Absa Online monthly charge. The charge will be affected at time of transaction and will be shown to you before you accept the Western Union send money transaction (quote online). You will accept the quote and the charge, together with the principal amount, will be debited from your ‘from’ account as selected.
  • Deal Receipts: You can view or save the Western Union Money Transfers deal receipts in PDF which is available online under the Receipts History option and the Manage beneficiary option under the International Funds Transfer option
    • The deal receipts are only available for successful transactions.
    • The deal receipt can be presented to Reserve Bank (SARB) on demand as it is an official Absa document.
  • Endorsed documents: You can view the endorsed documents in PDF which is available online under the Manage beneficiary option under the International Funds Transfer option
    • The documents are only available against successful Western Union Money Transfers against which documents were uploaded.
    • The documents will be endorsed with the Absa eStamp and such endorsed documents can be presented to Reserve Bank (SARB) on demand
    • The documents are only applicable for outgoing transactions and not applicable to incoming transactions
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0860 151 151
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