You’ll often find MoneyGram locations at grocery stores, small corner shops and probably in many other places around your city. But the cost of convenience comes with a high price — more fees and weaker exchange rates than some smaller competitors. Often you may find that MoneyGram is one of your few choices, especially when sending to more remote locations worldwide.
Why should I consider MoneyGram?
Wide reach. MoneyGram has approximately 350,000 agent locations in more than 200 countries and territories — with more than 30,000 of those locations in the US.
Diverse transfer options. Customers can send money both online and in-person. Pay using credit and debit cards, bank wires and cash. Be sure to select the payment option that best balances your desired transfer speed with the associated fees.
Speed. With same-day delivery available at many locations (subject to the holiday hours and compliance with regulatory requirements), your recipient could have their money in as little as 10 minutes during normal business hours when picking up cash. When speed is important, cash pickup is typically your fastest option with MoneyGram.
Delivery options. Send money for pickup in different ways, including cash pickup, to a mobile wallet, directly to a Visa debit card in the US, to a bank account and even to inmates or to pay your bills.
Rewards. Sign up to MoneyGram Plus Rewards, which gives you discounts on fees every few transfers you send.
What to be aware of with MoneyGram
Low maximum limits. When sending online with MoneyGram, your transfer is limited to $10,000 per transaction. There is also a $10,000 per month limit. When you need to send more you can do so in-person from a MoneyGram agent location.
High fees. As with most money transfer services, MoneyGram’s international and domestic transfers incur a fee. Fees are often higher when paying with a credit or debit card and lower when sending from bank account to bank account.
No hedging options. MoneyGram doesn’t offer recurring transfers, scheduled transfers or any other hedging tools to help you save money. Hedging tools can help you save money when used appropriately to lock in an exchange rate for future transfers.
Inconsistent exchange rates. MoneyGram’s exchange rates vary depending on how you are paying for your transaction and how it will be received. Pay close attention to the exchange rate to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
When you need a money transfer sent fast, or to a remote destination, MoneyGram may be the choice for you. However, it is always a great idea to compare your options before making any transfer, as you never know how much fees and exchange rates may have recently changed.
Even if MoneyGram was the best deal in the past, you may find that a competitor is now offering better rates to save you money.
MoneyGram’s fees and exchange rates may vary between online and agent locations, but for online transfers we can offer some insights. To save money, test a few different payment methods and amounts for your transfer, as sending two smaller transfers may be cheaper than one large transfer.
MoneyGram bases fees on the amount you are sending. Fees typically increase around $500 and $1,000, sometimes doubling when you bump up to the next fee tier.
Cheap – Paying by bank and having the money delivered to a bank account is often the cheapest way to send money through MoneyGram.
Expensive – Paying by credit card and having the money available for cash pickup is often the most expensive way to transfer through MoneyGram.
MoneyGram exchange rate
MoneyGram makes money by adding a margin to the exchange rate in addition to any fees charged. These exchange rates may change depending on how you are paying and how the money is being received, so pay attention to the total amount expected to be transferred when deciding on how to send your money through MoneyGram. Finding the balance between low fees and strong exchange rates is key to saving the most money on your transfer.
Transfer speed will depend on the amount of fees you are comfortable paying and how quickly you need it to arrive.
Fastest option — as little as 10 minutes
Pay for your transfer with a credit or debit card. When using a card, you’ll pay a higher fee but your money will arrive in as little as 10 minutes. However, your credit card may charge a cash advance fee, further increasing the total cost of your transfer.
Cheapest option — up to five business days
Using a bank account to pay for your transfer is typically the cheapest way to send money, but is also almost always the slowest. For your first transfer through MoneyGram, you may have to verify your account, which can take four or more business days. After verification, your actual transfer may take an additional five business days.
Overall, MoneyGram reviews are positive, with more recent reviews tending to be more positive than older reviews. On Trustpilot, MoneyGram US’s ratings were 67% Excellent and Great, with 28% of reviews being Poor and Bad. MoneyGram has responded to 44% of the negative reviews on Trustpilot, and responses typically happen within two weeks. Many customers complained about customer service, while many other customers were happy when completing transactions entirely online.
Reviews accurate as of Dec 30, 2020.
4 out of 5, based on 3,911 customer reviews
1.6 out of 5, based on 60 customer reviews
3 out of 5, staff reviewed
Is MoneyGram safe to use?
After multiple legal cases, one in 2012 and another in 2016, MoneyGram has increased its fraud prevention protocols to keep customers safer. It does this by monitoring transactions, educating customers on the dangers of money transfer fraud and providing numerous resources to customers to report potential fraud.
Common consumer scams, according to MoneyGram, include:
IRS Extortion Scam. A person claiming to be from a government agency asks for money to cover back debts owed to the IRS. To do so, the person claims you must wire money or send a prepaid card to a “government account.”
Refund scams. A person claims to be working for the FTC and promises to help you get a refund from the agency, sent directly to your bank account.
Disaster relief. After a major disaster, scammers set up fake charities and ask for donations through wire transfers.
Foreign lottery. A person contacts you claiming you won a foreign lottery or sweepstakes, but due to international tax laws requires you to pay a fee upfront to claim your price.
Buying a vehicle. An online or newspaper ad for a vehicle seems too good to be true, and to secure the vehicle you must send a down payment before meeting with the person. Typically they ask you to wire money, which after being sent cannot be retrieved.
What are all the ways I can send money with MoneyGram?
MoneyGram offers one of the widest ranges of ways to send money and ways for your receiver to get it. We’ll go through each of them and what the steps look like.
Options for setting up a transfer
Online via MoneyGram’s website
MoneyGram allows you to send money online to destinations around the world. To do so, you’ll need to:
Register for an account, or login if you already have one.
Select a receiving bank or MoneyGram agent location.
Choose how you want to pay
Alternatively, set up the money transfer online but pay with cash in-store. Make sure to bring valid ID and enough money to cover the transfer if you choose this option.
Another online option is using Facebook. Find the MoneyGram Sendbot on Facebook then follow prompts provided by the bot. You’ll need a Facebook account to send money this way.
In-person at a MoneyGram location
Agent locations are in almost every country in the world, so to take advantage of this network you’ll need to:
Head to MoneyGram’s website, where you can type in your location and all locations will appear.
Bring necessary documents: valid ID, receiver’s information, and the money you plan on sending.
Pay for your transfer with the agent and collect your receipt.
You’ll often be able to send a MoneyGram from your local Walmart or CVS, but it’s always best to verify with MoneyGram’s Find a Location tool before you head there.
Options for your receiver to get the money
Send to a bank account. Although slower, this lets your receiver get the money directly in their account.
Organize for it to be picked up in cash at a MoneyGram location. The money is ready at the location in as few as 10 minutes after you’ve sent it, dependant on the opening hours of the pickup location you’ve selected.
Send directly to someone’s debit card. Save your recipient the trouble of picking up or transferring money by sending it directly to their debit card. To do so, select Debit Card Deposit when choosing your receive method. This only works for Visa debit cards within the US.
Send to a mobile wallet. A mobile wallet is a place to store funds digitally, with actual wallet types varying by country and user preference. Read our starter guide on mobile wallets as a launching point for further research.
Delivered right to their door. In some locations, you can choose home delivery as a receiving method. Your money will be delivered by a local MoneyGram agent.
Pay bills through MoneyGram. MoneyGram supports bill payment to utility companies, credit cards and more. Use the online bill pay search to find out if the company you want to pay is supported by the MoneyGram network.
1. Search for the Facility on the Pay Bills page. 2. Choose your payment option online or visit an agent location. 3. Send your transfer and collect your receipt.
What do I need to send money online through MoneyGram?
Sending money with MoneyGram will require a few documents and pieces of information, including:
Contact information. Your full name and contact information is needed. Additionally, if you’re transferring money from your bank account, you’ll also need your banking information.
Proof of ID. A government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or passport.
Recipient information. Be prepared with your recipient’s name and contact information. If you’re transferring to a bank account, you’ll also need their bank name, SWIFT code and account number.
Payment method. A valid method of payment is necessary for all transfers. Online transfers can be paid for through a bank account, credit card or debit card. In person transfers you can also pay with cash.
How to track a MoneyGram transfer
Find your authorization or reference number on your receipt or in your email, if you placed an order online. To track, you can:
Use the online Track a Transfer tool by entering your last name with the authorization or reference number.
Contact customer service and provide the authorization or reference number to them, along with your last name, to check the status of your order.
Visit a MoneyGram location and provide your information to the agent to find out where your order is and if it has been picked up or not.
Is there a MoneyGram app?
Yes, MoneyGram has an app on both Google Play and the App Store. The app makes it possible to:
Scan your card. Use your phone’s camera to quickly scan your credit card, debit card and photo ID.
Log in using biometrics. Both face and fingerprint recognition can be used to log in.
Check exchange rates on the go. Current currency exchange rates and fees can be found in the app.
Share order details with your contacts. Sending key order information, like the tracking PIN number, to your recipient can be done with just a few taps.
Find an agent location using GPS. Use the in-app map to find agent locations based on your GPS or around the world.
Zak Killermann is a writer at Finder. He’s ghostwritten hundreds of articles on fintech, finding his love for publication at St. Cloud State University. Traveling internationally for nearly half his life — and getting burned once by an OTC money exchange — Zak's vowed not to settle for anything short of the mid-market rate again.
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