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WIRING THE GREEN HELPS EASE THE HOLIDAY BLUES '...THE BILLS ARE ALL DUE AND BABY NEEDS SHOES AND I'M BUSTED...'

 DENVER, Dec. 1 ~PRNewswire~ -- It's not a popular carol, but many people will still be humming this Ray Charles blues tune during the holidays. That's because the holidays probably are the most financially stressful time of year. They're also the busiest time for electronic money wiring services, which people use to send money fast and help friends and family members out of holiday jams.
 Take, for example, a family in Muncie, Ind., having a holiday reunion, but their daughter in Dallas can't afford the trip home. One week before the reunion, the family calls to let her know they wired money for a bus trip home the next day. She makes it home in plenty of time for the holiday celebration. This is just one situation that might arise during this festive time of year.
 "The holidays create a need for getting money in a hurry," said Rob Ayers, executive vice president of marketing with MoneyGram(SM) from American Express, the worldwide money wiring service. "People run out of money after buying gifts and need rent money, or have unexpected expenses. And sometimes, like students, they run out of money to travel home."
 Ayers estimates that about 15 percent of the annual 16 million money transfers (worth more than $4 billion) take place in the few weeks around the holidays. The transfers are fast -- usually 10 minutes -- and can be sent or received at a variety of locations close to a person's home or work place. Many money transfer agents are grocery and drug stores, packaging~postal outlets, check cashers and travel agencies. The service is even available at many bus stations and airports.
 Wiring money is simple. Customers visit a money transfer agent and fill out a short form, which asks for: name, address, amount, receiver's name, etc. Payment can be made in cash, or with most major credit cards.
 The receiver leaves a similar location with the much needed cash usually just minutes later, or, if it's a large transfer, with an easily cashable bank draft. The services are far-reaching too. MoneyGram, for example, has over 12,000 agent locations and offers service to 63 countries.
 Earlier this year, MoneyGram added a feature Ayers believes will have great holiday appeal -- free long distance phone calls. MoneyGram customers get a free, three-minute call with each domestic transfer, and can make them from any touch-tone phone, even pay phones.
 "It's like a one-time credit card call," said Ayers. "A customer dials an access code, the other party's number, and the call begins. It eliminates an extra expense associated with money transfers, which is senders calling receivers to tell them money was sent. We didn't develop it for the holidays, but it's especially helpful this time of year."
 If interested in singing, "I'll be home for Christmas," instead of the holiday blues, MoneyGram's 24-hour, toll-free information line is 800-926-9400 or 800-955-7777 in Spanish.
 -0- 12~1~92
 ~CONTACT: Peter Ziverts for MoneyGram, 303-488-8017~


CO: ST: Colorado IN: SU:

SM -- NYHFNS5 -- 2181 12~01~92 06:50 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 30, 1992
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