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’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.
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.
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.
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 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)
Which is faster?
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’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.
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.
|Exchange rate||1 CAD = 41.3979 PHP||1 CAD = 40.8666 PHP|
|Transfer speed||Within hours||Within minutes|
|Total received||20,698.95 PHP||20,433.30 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.
|Availability||200+ countries||Approx. 160 countries|
|Fees||Starts around $4.99||Starts around $3 ($0 fee for some transfers)|
|Exchange rates||Typically from just under 1% to 4%||Typically between 1% and 3%|
|Speed||Minutes to hours||15 minutes up to 4 business days|
|How it works|
|Read our review||Read our review|
Compare international money transfer services
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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