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MoneyGram vs. Ria

Find out which international money transfer service comes out ahead in our comparison of fees, exchange rates and speed.

MoneyGram is a giant in the international money transfer industry, but younger online services like Ria offer competitive rates that can help you save money. We compare fees, exchange rates and transfer speed between MoneyGram and Ria to find out which one comes out ahead.

Which offers lower fees?

MoneyGram

MoneyGram’s fees vary depending on the destination country, transfer amount, payment method and receiving method. Most online transfers cost just $4.99. But if you opt to pay in cash at an agent location in Canada, the fee is usually around $10.00.

Ria

Money transfer fees with Ria also vary based on the destination country, transfer amount, payment method and receiving amount. It’s generally cheaper to pay by debit and send to a bank account than it is to pay by credit and send funds for cash pickup.

Fee amounts typically start around $3 but can go as high as $65 for transfers at the maximum amount ($2,999). Some types of transfers come with zero fees.

Trophy iconWinner: Ria
Ria’s minimum transfer fee is lower than MoneyGram. The fact that Ria’s maximum fee is higher than MoneyGram’s makes sense given that Ria lets you send more online. Plus, Ria regularly offers zero fees for some transfers, putting it ahead in our comparison.

Which offers better exchange rates?

The midmarket rate is the “true” exchange rate between 2 currencies, or the real value of one currency when exchanged for another currency. The exchange rate you get from money transfer services like Ria and MoneyGram is the midmarket rate minus a small fee worth a percentage of the midmarket rate. This fee is sometimes referred to as a markup on the exchange rate.

A lower exchange rate means more of your money is pocketed by the transfer service and your recipient gets less money. A higher exchange rate means the transfer service pockets less of your money and more goes to your recipient.

MoneyGram

We found that MoneyGram’s exchange rates are often anywhere from just under 1% to 4% less than the midmarket rate, depending on the destination country. For perspective, a 2-3% margin on the exchange rate means you could lose hundreds of dollars on transfers of $10,000 or more.

Here’s how MoneyGram’s exchange rate markup could work if you’re sending CAD to euros (EUR):

  • If the midmarket rate is 1 CAD = 0.7297 EUR
  • MoneyGram’s exchange rate might be 1 CAD = 0.7113 EUR (2.52% markup)

Ria

Ria takes a substantially smaller margin than MoneyGram, typically between 1% and 3% or more.

Here’s how Ria’s exchange rate markup could work if you’re sending CAD to euros (EUR):

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 CAD = 0.7297 EUR
  • Ria’s exchange rate might be 1 CAD = 0.7068 EUR (3.14% markup)
Trophy iconWinner: Tie
We found that the exchange rate margin deducted by Ria and MoneyGram is similar, although the exact rate you get from either could differ depending on the type of transfer.

Which is faster?

MoneyGram

The amount of time it takes to send funds through MoneyGram depends largely on the receiving method. Transfers for cash pickup are usually available within minutes of sending funds. Funds deposited into bank accounts are usually available within several hours.

Ria

Ria’s transfer speed depends on the way you pay. When you use your credit or debit card, transfers typically arrive within 15 minutes. Transfers funded from your bank account can take up to 4 business days.

Trophy iconWinner: MoneyGram
Both services offer transfers that can be completed within minutes. However, unlike MoneyGram, some transfers through Ria may take up to 4 business days, giving MoneyGram the winning edge.

MoneyGram vs. Ria: Sending $500 to the Philippines

Here’s how fees, exchange rates and transfer speeds break down if you send $500 from Canada to the Philippines through MoneyGram and Ria. In this example, we assume funds are sent to a bank account, payment is made by debit and the fee is paid on top of the sending amount (not deducted from it). This information is current as of March 26, 2022.

MoneyGramRia
Transfer fee$4.99$5
Exchange rate1 CAD = 41.3979 PHP1 CAD = 40.8666 PHP
Transfer speedWithin hoursWithin minutes
Total received20,698.95 PHP20,433.30 PHP

In this case, MoneyGram and Ria charge basically the same transfer fee, but MoneyGram offers a stronger exchange rate, resulting in your recipient getting more money.

It’s important to check all the details of your transfer. Lower fees might not mean your recipient gets more money. Similarly, a stronger exchange rate might not mean every other features of a transfer service is also advantageous.

MoneyGramRia
Availability200+ countriesApprox. 160 countries
FeesStarts around $4.99Starts around $3 ($0 fee for some transfers)
Exchange ratesTypically from just under 1% to 4%Typically between 1% and 3%
SpeedMinutes to hours15 minutes up to 4 business days
Transfer limits
  • Minimum: None
  • Maximum: $990 CAD per online transfer. Send more in person at an agent location.
  • Minimum: $1.00
  • Daily maximum: $2,999
  • 30-day maximum: $7,999
Payment methods
  • Debit
  • Credit
  • Cash
  • Debit
  • Credit
  • Bank account
  • Cash
Receiving methods
  • Cash pickup
  • Direct deposit to bank account
  • Mobile wallet
  • Cash pickup
  • Direct deposit to bank account
  • Home delivery (available for select countries)
How it works
  1. Visit MoneyGram’s website or login to the mobile app.
  2. Select the destination country.
  3. Enter the sending or receiving amount.
  4. From here, you can see the exchange rate and the total cost. Choose your payment method and the way you want the money received.
  5. Enter your receiver’s details, and complete the transaction.
  1. Visit Ria’s website or login to the mobile app.
  2. Enter the destination country, sending amount, currency, payment method and receiving method. You can see details like the fee, receiving amount and transfer time.
  3. Enter the recipient’s information.
  4. Enter the details of the receiving method (i.e. bank deposit)
  5. Enter your payment information, and complete the transfer.
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Compare international money transfer services

Our table below lets you compare services you can use to send money abroad. Compare fees, exchange rates and discounts from different money transfer services, and when you have made your choice, click Go to site.
1 - 16 of 16
Name Product Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer) Learn More
OFX
24 hours
From $15

View details
Exclusive offer: Discounted exchange rates for your first and ongoing transactions. $0 transfer fee.
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies.
TorFX
24 hours
$0

View details
TorFX guarantee to beat any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction. Conditions apply.
TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over GBP £100.
CurrencyTransfer
24 hours
$0

View details
CurrencyTransfer lets you shop around for the best exchange rate on its online marketplace.
XE Money Transfers
Within minutes
$0

View details
XE has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
Simplii Financial
Within minutes
$0

View details
Up to $300 off your first Global Money Transfer with our code GMTEVENT depending on the amount you send. For cash pickups instead, earn $50 using code CASH. Limits and regulations apply.
Send money without fees and at competitive exchange rates to 130+ countries.
Wise (TransferWise)
24 hours
From 0.35%

View details
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies.
Remitly
Within an hour
$1.99

View details
Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
Dunbridge Financial
24 hours
$0

View details
Dunbridge Financial offers competitive exchange rates and zero fees on transfers to more than 120 countries.
Africhange
Within an hour
$0

View details
Send money in CAD to Africa on this blockchain and P2P powered provider.
XE Money Transfers
Within minutes
$0

View details
XE has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
Wise (TransferWise) - Under 10k
24 hours
From 0.35%

View details
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies.
Remitly
Within an hour
$1.99

View details
Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
Instarem
Within minutes
From $0

View details
Exclusive: Use code FINDER10 to receive US$10 off your first transaction.
InstaReM offers simple transfers with a flat 0.5% transfer fee for most transfers.
Simplii Financial
Within minutes
$0

View details
Up to $300 off your first Global Money Transfer with our code GMTEVENT depending on the amount you send. For cash pickups instead, earn $50 using code CASH. Limits and regulations apply.
Send money without fees and at competitive exchange rates to 130+ countries.
WorldRemit
417 days

View details
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
XE Business Transfers
XE Business Transfers
Within minutes
$0

View details
XE Money Transfer can help your business unlock international transfers. Forward contract and limit order options available.
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Bottom line

Both MoneyGram and Ria offer competitive money transfer services. MoneyGram transfers may sometimes be faster, but Ria might offer lower fees for some types of transfers. Before sending an international money transfer, carefully compare your options to find the best service for your needs.

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