Consumers on a Holiday Budget, But Likely to Bust

Consumers on a Holiday Budget, But Likely to Bust

Western Union Survey Reveals Half of Those with Budgets Overspent Last Year


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ENGLEWOOD, Colo., Nov. 16, 2010 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU), a leader in global payments, found in a recent survey conducted with Wakefield Research, 54 percent of consumers say they are likely to create a budget this holiday season.

Even as indicators show signs of a more conservative consumer approach to everyday money management and personal finances, nearly half, 48 percent, of those who created a holiday budget last year spent more than they originally planned. The survey also revealed that if you are a parent, the possibility of over-indulging on little ones during the holidays makes your risk higher, with 57 percent of parents over spending versus 41 percent of non-parents.

Of those surveyed, 36 percent with a budget still had unforeseen expenses, with the top offenders including gasoline and parking costs (18 percent), holiday cards and postage (15 percent), and teacher’s gifts (11 percent).

“Developing a budget can help minimize overspending during the holiday season, but mishaps can still happen at any moment – especially if consumers are unprepared,” said Victoria Lopez-Negrete, Senior Vice President and GM, U.S. Money Transfer Product Management, Western Union.

The same survey, revealed that more than half, 53 percent, of last year’s Black Friday shoppers admit that it’s likely they spent more than they saved, even though they shopped on what is typically dubbed the year’s best “deal day.” On average Black Friday shoppers, according to the survey, spent $136 on non-gifts. This includes items such as gasoline, babysitters, food and parking. Consumers may have not added these expenses in their holiday budget, but they definitely add up.

More than half of those surveyed, 52 percent, will give the gift of CASH this year because they think people can use it, given the state of the economy, up sharply from last year’s 44 percent.

“Consumers need convenience and money management solutions that help them stay within their holiday budget, whether it’s sending the gift of CASH to a charity, family or friend around the corner, or around the world,” added Lopez-Negrete. “Western Union places a special emphasis on the holidays and we are pleased to offer consumers gifting solutions to make the season even more memorable.”

To facilitate gift giving solutions this holiday, and help consumers be mindful of 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 the gift of CASH on a Western Union prepaid gift card, via overnight home delivery with a personalized greeting card and voice message, available exclusively at www.westernunion.com

To officially launch the 2010 holiday giving season, Western Union and six-time Grammy-Award winning recording artist, musician and actor John Legend have joined forces to create 50 Days of Giving, a national campaign designed to help raise charitable-giving awareness.

The campaign benefits Boys & Girls Clubs of America, CARE, Mercy Corps, Save the Children and UNICEF. As part of the campaign, Western Union unveiled www.50daysofgiving.com – an online voting site to encourage consumers to take an active role in supporting one of the five charities this holiday season. In addition to the initial $100,000 in total grants to the five charities announced November 9, the organization with the most online consumer votes, by December 25, will receive an additional $150,000 grant from Western Union.

According to the same Western Union survey, 66 percent of consumers plan to give to charities this holiday; while 36 percent believe it’s their duty to donate to philanthropic causes regardless of their personal financial situation.

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

The Western Union® 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.

ATM Cash Withdrawal Fee of $1.00, plus applicable ATM operator fees apply.

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 Custom House branded payment services. Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, as well as send payments and purchase money orders. The Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services are offered through a combined network of approximately 430,000 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 www.westernunion.com

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SOURCE The Western Union Company

Consumers on a Holiday Budget, But Likely to Bust