UPPER SADDLE RIVER, N.J. (AP) _ The Securities and Exchange Commission approved a Western Union Corp. plan to swap $530 million in debt for new notes and stock in an effort to avert bankruptcy.

The company plans to issue new notes and common shares in exchange for up to $530 million of its outstanding debt, including 19 1/4 percent senior secured notes due Dec. 15, 1992, and 16 percent notes due June 15, 1991. A $51 million payment on the notes is due Friday.

The offering begins today and runs through July 13. Western Union has told federal regulators that mounting interest payments could force it to see bankruptcy court protection.

Under the offer approved Thursday, for each $1,000 in face amount of the old notes, Western Union would issue two classes of new notes and common stock.

Note holders would receive $450 worth of new first priority notes due Sept. 14, 1992, $550 worth of 8 percent second priority notes due Dec. 31, 1995, 150 common shares, 225 Class C common shares and 275 Class D common shares.

The company could opt to extend the maturity date of the new notes to Dec. 15, 1995, for first priority and to April 30, 1997, for second priority.

The offer is part of a Western Union recapitalization plan that also includes a proposed reclassification of the company's Class A senior preferred shares and Class B convertible preferred shares into common shares. The company is proposing to issue 50 common shares for each Class A share and 10 common shares for each Class B.