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WU Netspend: Benefits, Fees Comparison, and Reviews Analysis

In this post about WU (or West Union) Netspend, we will learn the major benefits of the prepaid card. Plus, you will find out how most of the actual WU customers felt about the firm’s products and services (not just Netspend). Lastly, I will share some useful tips about Netspend. Before I list the benefits, let’s learn what WU Netspend is.

What is WU Netspend?

It will be easier to understand WU Netspend if you know Western Union and Netspend. Simply put, WU Netspend allows you to use a prepaid card everywhere in the world and, thanks to the WU’s global presence, you can use the card to transfer money. Let’s first learn about WU and Netspend.

Western Union

According to the Wikipedia page, the Western Union Company is an international financial service and communications firm based in the U.S. WU has several main businesses such as person-to-person money transfer, money orders, business payments, and commercial services.

Netspend

Netspend is a payment company owned by TSYS which is also a payment firm. TSYS processes whopping 27 billion transactions per year in 80 different countries. TSYS serves more than 50% of the world’s largest banks and provides solutions to merchants and businesses. Netspend, however, was not part of TSYS from the beginning.

Netspend was founded by Sosa brothers in 1999. In 2011, Netspend signed a partnership with PayPal. It was 2013 when the firm was acquired by TSYS. Netspend has two mainstream products – prepaid cards and business solutions.

WU and Netspend have different market segments. Netspend offers a business solution for prepaid cards and WU provides international money transfer service. WU Netspend was born by combining the merits of both services.

WU Netspend Benefits

We learned about WU and Netspend. Let’s find out the major benefits you can have by using WU Netspend.

Use Prepaid Card Globally

WU Netspend provides a prepaid Mastercard. With it, you can purchase items offline and online or withdraw cash at ATMs. You can basically use their prepaid card as you would normally do – grocery shopping, buying new clothes, healthcare bills, filling up at gas station, and even family vacation. You can use it anywhere that accepts Mastercard in the world.

Transfer Money Internationally

When you use Netspend only, it works great within the U.S. You can send money to someone else’s Netspend card. You can also easily reload money in major grocery stores such as Walmart or H.E.B. With WU’s global network, you can now make international transfer to over 200 countries. You can easily remit money online using their website without having to travel outside.

Pay Your Bills

You can use WU Netspend prepaid card to pay all sorts of bills including rent, gas, water, mortgage, cable TV, Internet, electricity, insurance, car loans, student loans, and others online.

Low Fees

WU Netspend has reasonable fee plans. When you Direct Deposit at least $500 of your salary or government benefits into your WU Netspend Card Account during one month, you can enjoy a $5 monthly transaction fee. That means you pay only $5 per month for purchase transactions within that month. Plus, if you have not enough cash, WU may cover you with a Purchase Cushion up to $10.

Saving Account

Western Union provides an option to create a Savings Account with the interest rate of 5% for $1,000 or less. Please note that if your daily balance is over $1,000, the rate drops to 0.49% with an APY (Annual Percentage Yield) of 0.50%

Easy Load

Adding money to your WU Netspend card is easy. You can visit one of the many (+130,000) reload locations to load your cash. If you want to load a check into your prepaid card, you can simply take a photo of it using the WU app.

Card Design Customization

You can customize your WU Netspend Prepaid card for free. You can put a picture of your partner, family, or even yourself.

Customer Reviews Analysis

When you consider using a service or buying a product, you will wonder what experiences other customers had. Investigating the reviews of other users can lead to a better decision, and it is a wise thing to do as a consumer. If people are dissatisfied, they will complain about it and express a negative sentiment. If they are happy, they will leave positive comments and share their great experiences. If we can compile and analyze those feedbacks, we can make a more accurate judgment about the product or the service.

That’s what I am going to do for you. I complied with more than 13,000 reviews people left on TrustPilot for Western Union and summarized those data to generate easy-to-understand graphs and charts. Those visuals will allow you to understand the overall sentiments the customers had toward the financial service. They are also extremely easy to understand.

Please note that these reviews were not specifically for WU Netspend, but for WU in general. It will show you the quality of their service.

Positive WU Word Cloud

In a word cloud, some words will appear bigger because those specific words were more frequently used among customers. So, the bigger the more frequent, thus, if those big words are positive, it proves that most of the customers had a positive experience. Have a look at the word cloud of Western Union.

WU Positive Word Cloud
WU Positive Word Cloud

The word cloud above should have given you a good impression of Western Union. The most frequent word that actual customers used in their reviews was “easy”, which is encouraging to see. Other big words are also positive – “great”, “fast”, “good”, “reliable”, and many more. Just by looking at the word cloud, we can learn that most of the people were satisfied with their product.

There are also neutral words that require some context. That includes “app”, “transfer”, and “send”. I found that these words also are used in a positive tone as below.

“The latest app is super easy to use”

“Easy money transfer without the hassles”

“Its been helping a lot to send money”

Some positive comments from TrustPilot

As you can see, those neutral words supported the positive sentiment of the word cloud.

Customer Sentiments

The word cloud tells you what descriptive words people used for the product. There is another angle we can use to understand the WU customer reviews. That is by categorizing the reviews into a type of 10 sentiments. While I used the review titles for the word cloud above, I used the review contents for the sentiment analysis. The result is the graph below.

Positive Sentiments toward WU

I was able to run my sentiment analysis code to find out what specific sentiments people had over the WU products and services. As we could guess from the word cloud, more than half of the review contents were positive. Of course, people shared negative experiences. I haven’t seen any review that is all positive. Despite the negative reviews, overall, people left positive comments on the WU products.

WU Netspend Interest Trend

Another type of analysis I often use for a product review is using Google Trend. It is an extremely helpful service by Google that gives you a historical Google search trend. The idea is that if a product or a company can maintain or can increase its search volume over the years, it can indicate the quality of the product. Then, how has the trend of WU Netspend been?

The blue line shows the changes in the Google search volume of “wu netspend” over the past 5 years. The trend seems to have gradually gone down over that period although it has been able to maintain the base level for the past 2 years. What does that mean? Does this mean Western Union and Netspend have been dying? I don’t think so.

If you see the trend of both big brands – blue for WU and red for Netspend -, they have been able to maintain consistent interest from people. The interest trend of Western Union seems to have been slightly increased.

Given the stable trend of the two firms, I guess that the reason behind the declined interest in WU Netspend might be related to the appearance of more competitors in the market.

Transfer Fees Comparison with Xoom and MoneyGram

As I analyzed the customer reviews, two names appeared frequently – Xoom and MoneyGram. In this section, I will share my comparison analysis among the three companies. Western Union, however, does not clearly state transfer fees by saying.

No fee to accept a money transfer to your Card Account.

Fees to send a money transfer from your Card Account will vary based on a number of factors, such as amount sent, delivery method and receiving country.

Western Union Terms document

If you want to check, you will need to sign in to their Online Account Center. Let’s find out the transfer fees of Xoom and MoneyGram.

Just like Western Union’s transfer fee policies, both firms have different fees depending on various factors. So, I’ll give you three fee examples that you can refer to.

Domestic Transfer within the U.S.

Let’s check how much it will cost if you want to transfer $3,000 within the U.S.

XoomMoneyGram
Transfer fee$9.99USD for the following payment options:
– Paypal
– Bank account
– Debit/credit card
– $1.99 by Bank Account
– $51.99 by debit/credit card
Receive methodNo available option to choose
– Bank deposit is not possible.
– Pick up is possible for $500 or below.
Available options:
– Debit card deposit
– Cash pick up

It was meaningless to check the transfer fees of Xoom for domestic transfer because there was no option I could select. If you want to transfer $500 or less, you can select cash pickup. In contrast, MoneyGram offers a lower fee for Bank Account payment. You can send money to someone else’s debit card or a cash pickup location.

From the U.S. to India

Let’s check the fees if we want to transfer $3,000 to India.

XoomMoneyGram
Transfer fee$0USD
– No transfer fee
– $0 by Online Bank Account
– $34.99 by debit/credit card
Receive methodFor $3,000, only bank deposit
– Bank deposit
– Cash pickup for $730USD or lower
Available options:
– Bank deposit
– Cash pickup
Money to receive
(As of March 13, 2020)
220,528.00 INR221,430.00 INR

Transferring $3,000 to India will not incur a transfer fee if you pay it by bank account. MoneyGram will charge you $34.99 if you pay the fee by debit/credit card. MoneyGram offers two receipt options while Xoom has only one for that amount. It seems that MoneyGram offers a better exchange rate for transfer to India.

From the U.S. to China

Let’s check the fees if we want to transfer $3,000 to China.

XoomMoneyGram
Transfer fee$0USD
– No transfer fee
– $0 by Online Bank Account
– $34.99 by debit/credit card
Receive method– Bank deposit only– Bank deposit only
Money to receive
(As of March 13, 2020)
20,733.30 CNY20,828.15 CNY

Transferring $3,000 to China will not incur a transfer fee if you pay it by bank account. MoneyGram will charge you $34.99 if you pay the fee by debit/credit card. This time, both Xoom and MoneyGram offer one receipt option – bank deposit. In terms of exchange rate, it seems that MoneyGram offers a better exchange rate for transfer to China.

Transfer Comparison Summary

It was unfortunate that Western Union does not share clear fee plans or calculator to estimate fees. Between Xoom and MoneyGram, it seems that MoneyGram has better fee plans and offers a good exchange rate.

If you already a member of Western Union or plan to be a member, log in to Online Account Center to check their fees and compare theirs to Xoom and MoneyGram.

Conclusion

We learned the major features of WU Netspend and looked at my analysis on customer reviews and interest trend. As we learned from the customer sentiments, most of the customers were happy with WU Netspend. The gradual decline in people’s interest might be discouraging, but if you want a prepaid card that can transfer money internationally, I think WU Netspend can be a great choice.

Useful Links

If you want to check my full reviews of other money transfer services, check these posts: