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Western Union vs. MoneyGram
Get the best rate for your next transfer overseas by comparing MoneyGram with Western Union.
MoneyGram leans slightly cheaper and averages faster transfer speeds than Western Union — but your experience may vary depending on your specific transfer. Because there are so many variables, you’ll want to compare Western Union and MoneyGram against one another to see which is best for you.
Compare Western Union versus MoneyGram
How they work
The process to transfer money over Western Union is nearly the same with MoneyGram. So much so, we can describe them both in one shot: You go to their sites, enter the amount you’re transferring, its destination and see how much you’ll pay for the exchange.
Both services also give the option to call, visit an office or use a mobile app to transfer money. After the transaction is complete, it converts and delivers your money to a bank account or makes it available for cash pickup at any location worldwide.
Who offers lower fees?
Figuring out how much you’ll pay to transfer money internationally is tricky. Fees start at around $5-$7 but can be tens or even hundreds of dollars when paying by credit or debit card for cash pickup in certain countries. But when sending money to high-traffic countries such as Mexico or India, agents offer free transfer options.
Fees vary depending on how much money you’re transferring, how you’re sending it and the country you’re sending it to. Unless you actually initiate a transfer, it’s challenging to find out up front how much you’ll pay. For example, to send $750 to a number of countries such as India, France and Mexico, you’ll pay $4.99 in fees for a bank transfer. But if you want to pay in cash at an agent location, the fee could be higher.
Whether MoneyGram or Western Union offers lower fees may depend on where you’re sending the money, how you choose to pay and how your recipient chooses to receive the cash.
Who offers better exchange rates?
Depending on the country you’re sending money to, a typical exchange rate at Western Union could be up to 5% (or higher in some cases) above the mid-market rate. If you’re sending a large amount overseas, this means hundreds of dollars straight into Western Union’s coffers.
We’ll use the example of a transfer to euros (EUR):
- If the mid-market rate is 1 CAD = 0.68 EUR
- Western Union’s exchange rate might be 1 CAD = 0.65 EUR
MoneyGram also skews exchange rates for a profit. Depending on where you’re sending your money, the exchange rate could be between 0.5% and 10% above the mid-market rate. Like Western Union, this means hundreds of dollars on a large transfer diverted to MoneyGram’s pockets.
So if you’re sending money to Europe:
- If the mid-market rate is 1 CAD = 0.68 EUR
- MoneyGram’s exchange rate may be 1 CAD = 0.66 EUR
Sending $750 to Europe with MoneyGram could result in about 7.50 more euros to your recipient over Western Union.
Delivery speeds vary with transfer options. At an agent location, online or by phone, your transfer could be delivered in minutes — at higher costs. Sending to a mobile wallet or bank account could take 2-3 business days.
Like Western Union, delivery speed with MoneyGram also varies for some types of transfers, but most transfers arrive in minutes. If you need to verify your account before sending your first transfer, you could be looking at a delay of up to 4 business days.
Moneygram offers delivery within minutes for most types of money transfers.
Who offers more options?
|Payment Methods||Minimum and maximum transfers||Delivery methods||Transfer speeds||Countries|
|Western Union||Bank account, credit or debit card, cash||Minimum and maximum varies by country, but you can’t send more than $7,500 CAD online (limit is higher for in-person transfers)||Bank transfer, cash pickup, e-wallet||Varies from minutes to 3+ days||200+ countries|
|MoneyGram||Bank account, credit or debit card, cash||Minimum and maximum varies by country, but you can’t send more than $990 CAD online (limit is higher for in-person transfers)||Bank transfer, cash pickup, other options by location||Usually minutes (if account verification is required, it could take days)||200+ countries|
While Western Union and MoneyGram can appear similar, you may get a stronger exchange rate with MoneyGram — which is especially important for larger transfers. But if your recipient needs to pick up your transfer as cash, Western Union’s 500,000 agent locations worldwide beats MoneyGram’s 350,000.
These two services aside, you could almost always do better with another money transfer specialist. Be sure to compare your options to find a provider that’s perfect for your situation.
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