Shoppers Strapped for Time This Holiday Season Turn to the Perfect Gift: Cash

The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU), a worldwide leader in money movement, found in a recent survey conducted with Wakefield Research that only 13 percent of consumers have finished their holiday shopping. As of the first week of December, 41 percent of those surveyed said they had not started purchasing gifts, 24 percent were halfway done, and 17 percent were almost finished, for a total of 82 percent of consumers still shopping for holiday gifts*. Additionally, 41 percent responded they will likely exceed their budgets, saying they are willing to spend more if they find that special gift.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of last-minute shoppers agree that giving cash this holiday season would make it easier to finish their shopping.

Sending the gift of cash also takes away the pressure of resorting to the extreme measures that more than two-thirds (69%) of shoppers have done to avoid being a holiday grinch. Hiring a personal elf is a popular quick-fix: 33 percent have commissioned someone else to shop for them. Twenty-eight percent of those surveyed admitted to skipping work, arriving late or taking an extra-long lunch to shop, while 25 percent of respondents are shopping online at work. Re-gifting is popular as well, though women are more likely to be re-gifters (26%) compared to their male counterparts (17%).

“By giving the gift of cash, consumers eliminate the last-minute gifting pressure of choosing something that family members or friends simply don’t need, want, or like,” said Victoria López-Negrete, Senior Vice President and GM, U.S. Money Transfer Product Management, Western Union. “Through Western Union, sending the gift of cash is as simple as getting online or heading into your local store. You can even send the gift of cash the night before and know your loved ones will receive it on time the next day.”

Giving the gift of cash isn’t copping out of holiday giving, it’s what consumers really want. When given a choice of gifts, more than half of those surveyed (51%) would choose to receive $100 in cash, with only 12 percent wanting a specific gift valued at $100.

To facilitate gift-giving solutions this holiday while helping consumers adhere to their budgets, Western Union is offering “$50 for $5.” Consumers can send up to $50 to loved ones in the U.S. for five dollars; or send a Western Union® Visa gift card** with a personalized greeting card and voice message, available exclusively at

For more information on Western Union’s last-minute gifting solutions, go to

The survey, commissioned by Western Union and conducted by Wakefield Research, polled 1,000 nationally representative U.S. adults aged 18 years old and older between December 2 and December 7, 2010.

The additional survey, commissioned by Western Union and conducted by Wakefield Research, polled 1,000 nationally representative U.S. adults aged 18 years old and older between October 1 and October 6, 2010.

*Five percent do not know or do not plan to give gifts this holiday season.

**The Western Union® Visa Gift Card is issued by MetaBank™ pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. MetaBank; Member FDIC. A $2.50 per month servicing fee applies after 12 consecutive months of non-use.

About Western Union

The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. The Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services are offered through a combined network of approximately 435,000 Agent locations in 200 countries and territories. In 2009, The Western Union Company completed 196 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $71 billion of principal between consumers, and 415 million business payments. For more information, visit


Dec 15, 2010