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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

1 - 2 of 2
Name Product _compare_ Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer)
MoneyGram
Finder Award
MoneyGram
Within minutes
From $4.99
For a limited time, get $0 fees on your first money transfer from Canada. Conditions apply.
MoneyGram has fast cash pick-up transfers to more than 350,000 agent locations worldwide.
Western Union
Within minutes
From $0
Western Union sends money online to friends and family in 200+ countries around the world.
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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?

Western Union

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.

MoneyGram

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.

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Winner: Tie

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.

Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending $600 to Mexico

Let’s say you want to send $600 to Mexico, but you’re not sure which of these major companies is the right choice. Here are the fees and exchange rates offered by MoneyGram and Western Union when sending money for cash pickup and paying by bank transfer.

Western UnionMoneyGram
Transfer fee$17.00$4.99
Exchange rate1 CAD = 15.5461 MXN1 CAD = 16.0292 MXN
Transfer speed0-4 business days0-5 business days
Total received9328.00 MXN9,618.00 MXN

Based on rates when we checked, your recipient would receive about 290 pesos more if you sent your transfer through Moneygram.

Who offers better exchange rates?

To understand who offers better exchange rates, you’ll need to first look at the mid-market rate. This is the true exchange rate that averages the buying and selling rate of a global currency — and the rate banks and transfer services use when they trade among themselves.

Western Union

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

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

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Winner: MoneyGram

Sending $750 to Europe with MoneyGram could result in about 7.50 more euros to your recipient over Western Union.

Who’s faster?

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.

MoneyGram

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.

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Winner: Moneygram

Moneygram offers delivery within minutes for most types of money transfers.

Who offers more options?

Payment MethodsMinimum and maximum transfersDelivery methodsTransfer speedsCountries
Western UnionBank account, credit or debit card, cashMinimum 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-walletVaries from minutes to 3+ days200+ countries
MoneyGramBank account, credit or debit card, cashMinimum 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 locationUsually minutes (if account verification is required, it could take days)200+ countries

Bottom line

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.

Looking for more options?

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 - 9 of 9
Name Product _compare_ Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer)
Wise (TransferWise)
24 hours
From 0.41%
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies.
RemitBee
New Customer Offer: Free transfer + bonus exchange rate
Within minutes
From $0
Send money to 80+ countries via Debit Card, EFT, e-Transfer, and more or exchange USD/CAD between bank accounts online.
Xe Money Transfers
Within minutes
$0
Xe has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
Instarem
Within minutes
From $0
Use code HELLO to get $20 off on first two transfers on a min transfer of $250. Valid until November 30, 2023.
Instarem offers zero transfer fees on all transfers.
Africhange
Within minutes
From $0
Send money in CAD to Africa on this blockchain and P2P powered provider.
Remitly
Finder Award
Remitly
Within minutes
From $0
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.
WorldRemit
Within minutes
From $0
Use promo code 3FREE and pay no fees on your first 3 transfers. Conditions apply.
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
MoneyGram
Finder Award
MoneyGram
Within minutes
From $4.99
For a limited time, get $0 fees on your first money transfer from Canada. Conditions apply.
MoneyGram has fast cash pick-up transfers to more than 350,000 agent locations worldwide.
OFX
Finder Award
OFX
24 hours
$0
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 50+ currencies.
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