Western Union vs MoneyGram

Which money transfer company should you use for your next international payment?

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Western Union and MoneyGram are two of the top players when it comes to international money transfers, collectively reaching over 200 countries in the world with more than 900,000 agent locations. From small businesses and global corporations to families near and far away, both of these reputable services offer a convenient, secure and affordable way for Canadians to send money overseas.

Western Union vs MoneyGram

Rates last updated December 12th, 2019
Name Product Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Services Description Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received
Western Union International Money Transfers
CAD 1
Same day
Online, Phone, Agent, Bank Account to Bank Account, Cash Transfer, International Money Order
Send money online to friends and family around the world with Western Union.
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.

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What are the main differences between both services?

While we don’t claim to have all the answers, we’re dedicated to helping you select the best option for your unique needs. The table below provides a quick snapshot of the structural differences between Western Union and MoneyGram, with the rest of this post dedicated to which option can help save you the most money.

Agent LocationsPayment LocationsPayment methodsPick-up Methods
Western Union550,000+Online or in-branchCredit/Visa Debit or CashBank-to-bank or cash
MoneyGram350,000In-branch onlyCredit/Debit or CashBank-to-bank or cash

Features as of 25 May 2018 (subject to change)

How much does it cost to transfer money with both services?

It’s free to get a quote for your transaction with both Western Union and MoneyGram, which should take into account exchange rates and fees. The tables below compare the costs to send $1,000 from Canada to three different countries with both money transfers services. MoneyGram offers more competitive exchange rates in most cases while Western Union typically offers lower fees. The examples below demonstrate how much fees and exchange rates can vary by company depending on your destination country. One thing to keep in mind: if the difference between services isn’t significant, it might be worth your while to use Western Union’s online service since you don’t have to go into a branch to make your transfer.

United States

Fees (CAD)Exchange ratesTotal received (US)
Western Union$300.7550$754.91
Moneygram$560.7497$749.69
Verdict: The cheapest option in this case is Western Union, which charges $26 dollars less in fees and around $7 less in exchange rates, for a total savings of $33. Rates as of 21 May 2018 (subject to change).

India

Fees (CAD)Exchange ratesTotal received (INR)
Western Union$2552.05352,050.82 ($979.21)
Moneygram$1252.61552,615.13 ($989.84)
Verdict: The cheapest option in this case is MoneyGram, which delivers around $10 more to recipient while also charging $13 less in fees, for a total savings of $23. Rates as of 21 May 2018 (subject to change).

Germany

Fees (CAD)Exchange ratesTotal received (EUR)
Western Union$300.6275627.42 ($945.65)
Moneygram$500.6419641.89 ($968.10)
Verdict: The cheapest option in this case is MoneyGram, which delivers around $22 more to recipient, despite charging $20 more in fees, for a total savings of around $2. Rates as of 21 May 2018 (subject to change).

As you can see, it’s difficult to determine which service is the best fit for you without comparing the two services with up-to-date exchange rates and fees. If you’re planning to send money with either Western Union or MoneyGram, it’s best to plug the total amount you want to send into each company’s transfer calculator to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

Western Union vs MoneyGram fees

Transfer fees will differ based on which transfer service you choose as well as which delivery method you opt to use. The following table breaks down the transfer fees to send money to the same three countries outlined in the above examples (United States, India and Germany) using both bank transfers and cash pickup.

CountryTransfer methodMoneyGram Western Union
United StatesCash pickup$56$30
United StatesBank-to-bank depositN/A$25
IndiaCash pickup$12$25
IndiaBank-to-bank deposit$12$5
GermanyCash pickup$50$30
GermanyBank-to-bank deposit$50$20

Rates as of 25 May 2018 (subject to change).

Western Union offers more competitive fees than MoneyGram in most of the cases outlined above, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that the company will deliver the most savings. Exchange rates can really eat into your bottom line, and Western Union often offers less competitive exchange rates than MoneyGram, despite charging lower fees.

What are the delivery options for each service?

MoneyGram
  • Cash. Send money to one of over 350,000 agent locations in 200 countries.
  • Bank deposit. Transfer funds directly into bank accounts at more than 400 banks around the world.
  • Mobile wallet. Top up a mobile wallet using an M-Pesa account in Kenya, Tanzania and Romania or Econet in Zimbabwe.
Western Union
  • Cash. Send money to one of over 550,000 agent locations in 200 countries.
  • Bank deposit. Transfer funds directly into bank accounts in various destination countries.
  • Mobile Money. Top up a mobile phone in certain destination countries (so long as Western Union works with your recipient’s mobile phone provider.

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