Fact Check: Romanians CAN Still Use Western Union or MoneyGram to Receive Cash

Fact Check

  • de: Ioana Burtea
Fact Check: Romanians CAN Still Use Western Union or MoneyGram to Receive Cash Cash Not Gone

Are Romanian citizens no longer able to use services such as Western Union or MoneyGram to receive money in cash? No, that's not true: Both services are still active in Romania and are even expanding their operations.

The claim originated in a video originally published on November 16, 2023 on TikTok by @breakingnews1479. It's no longer available, but the archive is. The caption on the image (translated from Romanian to English by Lead Stories staff) was:

You won't be able to withdraw through Western Union or MoneyGram!

The text continues:

80% of Ploiești banks have closed down. Banks are disappearing so that you won't be able to withdraw cash from your card!

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-11-22 at 15.33.19.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Wed Nov 22 13:05:48 2023 UTC)

There is no proof that Western Union or MoneyGram are withdrawing from Romania or that they are eliminating cash services.

On the contrary, in March 2023, Western Union marked one year since it launched a digital banking app in Romania and three other European countries. The app allows people to send money in different currencies, and the amounts can be withdrawn in cash.

In September 2023, MoneyGram announced that its Romanian customers could send or withdraw money in 140 new locations across the country through a partnership with Arsis Trading.

And while it is true that more than 40 percent of Romanian banks' physical locations have closed down since 2008, there is no indication that banks in Ploiești have suddenly disappeared. An online list of banks in Ploiești shows that all the main Romanian banks have branches there.

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  Ioana Burtea

Ioana Burtea has worked in journalism for over 15 years. She started her career at Mediafax news agency in Bucharest and has written for DoR magazine for over seven years. Her collaborations include publications like Europe & Me, New Eastern Europe, Balkan Insight and Washington Post. Ioana published pieces on the justice system in Romania, social affairs, politics and personal essays. In 2018, she became a fellow of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network. In 2021, she received the first prize in the Portrait category at the national Superscrieri journalism awards. Her first non-fiction book, Fara instructiuni de folosire (transl. No operating instructions), was launched in 2023. 

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