Western Union Retail Payments
Western Union Retail Payments are a unique disbursement service offered through Procurement and Payment Services.
This service allows units to issue payments to independent contractors and consultants abroad or provide travel advances to Cornell affiliates for pick up at Western Union® Agent locations.
Western Union Retail Payments service may be used by units when:
- Payments are less than $1,500 (USD)
- Goods and services cannot be paid for by means other than cash payment or wire transfer
- Funds are required in countries where mail delivery is unreliable, or banking restrictions pose problems
- There is no better or equally efficient and safe way to transfer funds internationally
To pay international independent contractors and consultants:
- Follow the process for International Consulting Agreements. This process can take two or more weeks, so please plan well in advance.
- Once the engagement has been approved, and the international independent contractor or consultant has signed the negotiated agreement, submit an "I Want Doc" for the goods or service needed. Be sure to mention in the notes that a request for a Retail Payment is being made and attach any supporting documents that you have (e.g, pro forma invoice).
- Procurement Services will issue a purchase order.
- Vendors approved for payment via Western Union must provide invoices that identify Western Union as the payment method.
To issue an advance to a Cornell affiliate who needs funds to work abroad:
When faculty, staff, or graduate students conduct research in remote areas and need cash to make payments where ATMs are not available or credit cards are not accepted, please follow the standard "I Want Doc" process to request an advance. A disbursement voucher will be issued.
Business Service Centers
- Using the procurement decision flowchart in Buying Manual section 200, determine the appropriate type of transaction required (Cash Advance, Disbursement Voucher, Purchase Order).
- Follow the standard vendor registration process. Use PaymentWorks to invite new disbursement voucher vendors or provide a contact name and email address in the requisition for new purchase order vendors. The procurement agent will register the new PO vendor using PaymentWorks. (Note: advance payments to Cornell faculty, staff, or graduate students do not require vendor registration.)
- The name of the person picking up the funds from Western Union must exactly match the person's identification (e.g., driver's license, passport, national ID card). If the name of the individual picking up the funds from Western Union differs from the payee name, add a note to the disbursement voucher or payment request.
- When completing the Disbursement Voucher or Requisition, be sure to include the name of the individual receiving the payment as it appears on a nationally recognized form of ID in the Notes and Attachments tab.
- Request and submit a copy of the individual's ID picking up the funds. The ID is needed to verify the information, as Western Union will not allow anyone to pick up funds if the name on the wire does not match the name on the ID exactly.
- Provide a valid email address for the individual picking up funds in the Notes and Attachments tab. The email provides reference information once the payment has been funded.
- Provide the currency type to be issued to the payor upon receipt.
- Ensure all international tax documents for the transaction process have been completed. International vendors must complete and submit the appropriate IRS Form W-8BEN or Certificate of Foreign Status form as part of the vendor registration process. A vendor/payee cannot be registered without the appropriate documentation.
- Submit all other relevant documents necessary to the transaction process to Procurement Services by attaching them to the requisition. If the transaction is below $25,000, mark it as line-item restricted.
- When creating the DV, complete the information in the Foreign Draft tab.
- Select how the payment amount is stated in the eDoc
- In the currency type field, provide the currency the funds are to be paid in followed by "Western Union" (e.g., "GBP-Western Union")
- Add "***Payment to be made via Retail Western Union***" to the notes field.