financial services

Western Union Intros My WU Customer Loyalty Program

Western Union recently rolled out My WU, a customer loyalty program in the money transfer space that reflects the company’s consumer-centric strategy to reward customers that share their resources with family and friends in the U.S. and around the world. Diane Scott, Western Union’s chief marketing officer, shares some insights on the program.

How important is a loyalty program to money transfer customers?

A loyalty or membership program is meaningful to money transfer customers for a host of reasons. Unlike any other retail purchase –every time one of Western Union’s customers sends  money – it is nearly always to support someone else. Our customers use Western Union services to share their resources with friends and family around the world—to cover education, medical and day-to-day expenses, as well as for gifting.



The Western Union My WU membership program is about recognizing the customer as a member and delivering value when they are using our services. The My WU program allows us to thank them while demonstrating our ongoing appreciation and strengthening our relationship with them over time.  We’ve also realized through speaking to our customers that they are not members in many other programs, so membership in the Western Union program is very special to them.

There are also other practical benefits of our loyalty program, which includes streamlining service times. As with any financial transaction there are procedures that are required, including enabling customers to keep track of their transactions – just like recordkeeping in traditional banking.

What are consumers looking for in such a program?

The bar is being raised on what customers expect from their experience with a brand or offering. In Western Union’s experience, money transfer customers are looking for convenience, simplicity and speed. When it comes to loyalty programs, they seek recognition, customized treatment, transparency and individuality and want us to communicate special offers with them. There is an underlying sentiment that membership programs become a hassle when it takes many purchases to become eligible for a reward, the reward points value is unfair, the benefits aren't that great, and/or the process for redeeming is difficult.

Western Union has taken a very consumer-centric approach to the creation of the My WU program. We did extensive customer analysis to identify the features our customers sought most in a membership program in the money transfer space.The program rewards members for sharing their resources with family and friends in participating remittance sending and receiving countries while offering them unlimited access (in-person and digitally) to the program’s personalized experience, convenience, reliability and value. The program was launched in 2013, and today is available in 17 countries including the U.S.  It builds on the Western Union Gold Card Membership Program that is available in over 65 countries.

In addition to offering membership and rewards, the My WU program facilitates faster and easier transfer and receipt of funds, special pricing, seamless control and support with customized account management. Even something as simple as keeping customers informed through their choice of SMS and email notifications throughout the transaction process adds to their peace of mind. All of this, and more, has been incorporated in the My WU program.

What are the benefits of securing the loyalty of both senders and receivers of money transfers?

We move money for family support, education, and gifting.  Every one of these transactions involves two individuals – a sender and receiver.  A unique aspect of the My WU program is that it offers membership and rewards to both senders and receivers of qualifying transactions.

Offering a program to customers on either side of the world cements our relationships and builds customer confidence in our service. This is a unique way for us to show appreciation for our customers. We believe there is value in making the extra effort to support receivers of money transfer transactions, as these are the people who ensure remittance funds are effectively put to use for often pressing needs

What are the not-so-obvious, yet crucial, components of a successful loyalty program?

Loyalty programs are about a consumer’s relationship with a brand. Behavioral economists say that economic decision-making is 70 percent emotional and 30 percent rational, which makes the overall experience -- above and beyond “points-based” programs -- crucial to loyalty program success.

We acknowledge the importance of our service to our customers and made great effort to design a program that enhances customer trust in us. By providing multiple benefits that are meaningful to members and giving them an experience that acknowledges them as special to us, we expect to tap into a deeper connection that has more to do with peace of mind than an offering of “perks,” which is what our customers tell us is most important.

What are the benefits of a loyalty program to the bottom line?

According to Maritz Loyalty Marketing, 67% of consumers will modify where and when they do business with a company and 50 percent will change brands depending on a loyalty program’s benefits.  We also know that after customers become members, they have higher  retention and deliver more revenue per year.

As a worldwide leader in money transfer, our My WU program provides access to better money transfer experiences. By offering membership to both transaction senders and receivers, we add a greater level of “stickiness” to our customer base. We are confident that this program, along with our long-standing best-in-class service and global reach as a company, will continue to be very effective in buildinglonger and more fruitful relationships with current customers, while attracting many new ones.

How does My WU reflect the needs and wants of today’s digital consumers?

Customer preference for money transfer services via digital and mobile channels is growing. The My WU program is designed to give customers the best possible money transfer experience that is widely available across the company’s multiple channels: retail brick-and-mortar locations, digital, mobile and retail kiosks. The My WU program offers multiple tools that provide enrolled customers with what they need to seamlessly manage their money transfers, according to their preferences.

How does it work for those using money transfer across more than one channel, i.e. retail, digital, mobile?

The My WU program is channel agnostic and inclusive, so that members can earn points and benefits based on providing their My WU number—also known as a Unique Member Number (UMN)—during their transactions.

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