TransferWise-vs-MoneyGram-featured-image

MoneyGram vs. TransferWise

We compare a popular service with a relative newcomer to see how they stack up on fees, rates and speed.

Both MoneyGram and TransferWise will get your money where it needs to go, but which one will end up in a better deal for you?

The fees and rates used in this comparison are accurate as of 20 November 2018.

Rates last updated October 19th, 2019
Name Product Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Services Description Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received
TransferWise International Money Transfers
CAD 1
1 - 2 days
Online
Make online transfers with transparent exchange rates, low fees and low minimum amounts.
MoneyGram International Money Transfers
CAD 1
1 day
Online, Agent, Bank Account to Bank Account, Cash Transfer, International Money Order
Easily transfer cash to more than 350,000 locations around the world.
The ‘Rate’ and ‘Amount Received’ displayed are indicative rates that have been supplied by each brand or gathered by Finder.

Exchange rates are volatile and change often. As a result, the exchange rate listed on Finder may vary to the actual exchange rate quoted for the brand. Please confirm the actual exchange rate and mention “Finder” before you commit to a brand.

Compare up to 4 providers

Which has lower fees?

MoneyGram

Fees vary depending on how much money you’re transferring, how you’re sending it and the country you’re sending it to. It’s difficult to pin down exactly how much you’ll pay to send money internationally without actually initiating a transfer.

As an example, to send $990 (the maximum amount you can send per day) to a cash pick-up location in India, you’ll pay $12 in fees. The same amount to the United States will cost you $5 in fees.

TransferWise

Fees depend on where and how you’re sending money. They range from 0.45–1.5% of your transaction and can sometimes be a bit higher, depending on the currency you’re transferring to. There’s also a small flat-fee with each transfer, that’s often only a few dollars.

TransferWise allows transfers above $990 per day, but for the purposes of comparison we’ll use the same amount. To send $990 to India, you’ll pay 0.7% of your transaction (or $7.56, including the $0.70 flat fee). To the US, the fee drops to 0.5% and a $0.75 fee, which ends up being $5.66 in fees.

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Winner: TransferWise

You’ll pay less on fees when sending money with TransferWise, although MoneyGram might have lower fees for a couple of currencies.

Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending $990 to Vietnam

To put this more into context, let’s compare TransferWise and MoneyGram when sending a money transfer to Vietnam. Keep in mind that other currencies will have different fees and transfer times.

Sending $1,000 to Vietnam
MoneyGram TransferWise
Transfer fee $50.00 $23.62
Exchange rate 1 CAD = VND 17,504 1 CAD = VND 17,347
Transfer speed Instant 1 day
Total Vietnamese dong received VND 17,090,578 VND 17,174,069
Receiver gets 83,491 less 83,491 more

For both transfers, you end up getting more money with TransferWise. However, MoneyGram is the faster service, so it depends on what you’re transferring for. Keep in mind, the most money you can transfer per day with MoneyGram is $990. With TransferWise, you can send up to $9,500 for direct debit and $3,000 when you pay with a credit or debit card.

Which offers better exchange rates?

MoneyGram

MoneyGram makes its money from transfer fees and by skewing the exchange rate for a profit, also referred to as adding a margin. The margin added could be anywhere between 0.6% and 10%, depending on where you’re sending. On average, it tends to be around the 5% mark added on the mid-market rate.

TransferWise

Exchange rates are where TransferWise shines. It’s one of the only money transfer services that offers you the mid-market rate. So if you’re sending $1,000 to the UK and the mid-market rate is 1 CAD = 0.66 EUR, that’s the rate you’re going to get.

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Winner: TransferWise

There’s no denying the power of paying the mid-market rate. TransferWise wins in this category by quite a way with its mid-market rate offering.

Which is faster?

MoneyGram

Delivery speed varies with transfer options. At an agent location or by phone, your transfer could be delivered in minutes (though with higher costs). In general, your cheaper options will take two to four business days for receipt. A bank transfer may take several days.

TransferWise

Depending on the currencies involved and your payment method, it could take up to four business days for your recipient to see your cash. Paying by card will get your transfer there almost instantly, but will incur an extra fee.

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Winner: Tie

Your average transfer may take about the same time with both services, so we’re calling this one a tie.

General features

Payment methods Receiving options Minimum and maximum daily transfers Transfer speeds Currencies
MoneyGram Bank transfer, credit card, debit card, cash Bank account, cash pick-up location Minimum: $1

Maximum: $990

Within an hour 100+ currencies
TransferWise Bank transfer, credit card, debit card Bank account Minimum: $1

Maximum: $3,000 – 9,500 depending on payment type

1 - 2 days 45+ currencies

MoneyGram

You can either use MoneyGram online or at one of its agent locations around Canada. Once you enter how much and which currency you want to send, you’ll confirm the exchange rate and pay. MoneyGram will then convert and deliver your money to your recipient’s bank account or to a cash pick-up location.

TransferWise

TransferWise is solely online, which means you’ll need to create an account and be verified. To send money, select the currencies you are exchanging and indicate how much you want to send. After reviewing your rate and fee, money is pulled from your bank account.

Bottom line

TransferWise is the new kid on the block that offers easy, secure transfers online in over 40 currencies around the world. Real-time mid-market exchange rates and low fees crush MoneyGram’s often complicated fee structure.

But if you don’t have time on your side, you may opt to pay more with MoneyGram to get it there faster or in cash. Ultimately, you’ll need to compare your options to find the service that’s right for you.

Looking for more options?

Check out what fees and exchange rates some other money transfer services are offering with our calculator below.

Rates last updated October 19th, 2019
Name Product Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Services Description Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received
WorldRemit International Money Transfers
CAD 0
Within an hour
Online, Bank Account to Bank Account, Cash Transfer
Use code FINDERCA and pay zero fees on your first transfer. Conditions apply.
An online money transfer service with cash pick-up, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available.
XE International Money Transfers
CAD 0
1 day
Online, Phone, Bank Account to Bank Account
Send money in more than 60 currencies. Fee-free international money transfers with a global brand.
Exclusive: OFX (Ozforex) International Money Transfers
USD 150
1 day
Online, Phone, Agent
Exclusive offer: Discounted exchange rates for your first and ongoing transactions. $0 transfer fee.
A higher exchange rate applies to non-finder customers. Send money in 45 currencies.
CurrencyTransfer International Money Transfers
GBP 5,000
1 - 2 days
Online, Phone, Bank Account to Bank Account, International Money Order
Aimed at larger transfers, CurrencyTransfer is an online marketplace that lets you shop around for the best exchange rate.
TorFX International Money Transfers
CAD 2,000
1 day
Online, Phone, Agent
TorFX guarantee to beat any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction. Conditions apply.

Send money overseas in 45 currencies.
Venstar Exchange International Money Transfers
CAD 7,000
1 day
Phone, Bank Account to Bank Account
Venstar Exchange offers competitive exchange rates and zero fees on large transfers over US$10,000.
The ‘Rate’ and ‘Amount Received’ displayed are indicative rates that have been supplied by each brand or gathered by Finder.

Exchange rates are volatile and change often. As a result, the exchange rate listed on Finder may vary to the actual exchange rate quoted for the brand. Please confirm the actual exchange rate and mention “Finder” before you commit to a brand.

Compare up to 4 providers

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