By Björn König | Jun 16, 2022 7:54 p.m
Anyone who wants to send cash to other countries has certainly heard of Western Union. Branches of the US financial service provider can be found in Germany, among other things, in train stations or the post office. Recently, Western Union also offers a smartphone checking account. TECHBOOK did the check.
N26, Vivid Money or Nuri: You can get a smartphone account from all of these banks. With "WU+", Western Union now also offers a corresponding account, which, however, stands out from the competition with a few interesting extras. The target group is primarily bank customers who frequently travel abroad and also need or want to deposit cash there.
The WU+ account balance
With "WU+", new customers also receive three free Western Union cash transfers and collect so-called "My WU" points, which can be redeemed for discounts on transfer fees, for example. The paid account model also includes up to five additional currency accounts and up to four target savings accounts. There are also reduced exchange rates on card transactions and other benefits.
Also interesting: The savings bank app in the test
From our point of view, the most interesting feature of the “WU+” smartphone account is the option to deposit cash into one’s own account at any Western Union branch. This option is becoming all the more attractive as more and more banks close their branches.
Western Union also offers its services through Postbank Finanzcenter and Deutsche Post partner agencies. This means that the service can also be used in smaller towns. For corresponding deposits, 2.90 euros are charged. At first glance, that's not a lot, but we would have expected a free service for Western Union customers.
App still has weaknesses
In our test, however, we still had a few problems with the smartphone account. Logging in using the fingerprint scanner was particularly problematic. The ticket order was also not possible due to an error message. In addition, important functions such as setting up, changing and deleting standing orders or creating scheduled transfers are still missing. Customers also do not receive a German, but an Austrian IBAN.
What also bothered us: If you want to make a SEPA transfer to a third-party account, you first have to enter the recipient's mobile phone number and, in addition to the IBAN, a Bank Identifier Code (BIC). The latter step in particular is usually unnecessary, since the recipient bank is already assigned using the IBAN.
Conclusion on the Western Union smartphone account
Overall, Western Union's "WU+" smartphone account seemed immature. The only real plus is the ability to deposit cash at Western Union branches. However, this is not free either. The app itself is still stuck in many places and, at least for the moment, cannot keep up with N26 & Co.