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MoneyGram vs. CurrencyFair

We take a look at a big name in international money transfers against the newer, simpler CurrencyFair.

Updated

Fact checked

MoneyGram is a well-known name in international money transfers, but it’s no longer your only option. Newer peer-based CurrencyFair offers competitive exchange rates through peer-to-peer services to earn your business loyalty.

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US residents are not eligible to use CurrencyFair.

To find a suitable alternative, compare money transfer specialists to find the best rates, fees and turnaround you’re eligible for.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
$1 Same day USD 8.00 0.825 EUR 4,117 Easily transfer cash to more than 350,000 locations around the world. Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.








MoneyGram and CurrencyFair: How they work

MoneyGram

With MoneyGram, you go to its site, enter the amount you need to transfer and confirm your payment and how it should be received. (You also have the option of visiting or calling an agent.) Once you approve the exchange rate and fees you’ll pay, MoneyGram converts and delivers your money to your recipient’s bank account or for cash pickup at locations worldwide.

CurrencyFair

CurrencyFair allows you to set the exchange rate that you’d like for your desired currency. Then you’re matched with someone willing to make the exchange. Once your currency is converted, CurrencyFair transfers it to your recipient’s bank account.

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Which offers 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. Unless you actually initiate a transfer, it’s not easy to find out up front how much you’ll pay. As an example, to send $1,000 to China from a bank account, you’ll pay $8 in fees; to pay for that same amount by credit or debit card, you’ll pay $48. To send $1,000 for cash pickup in the Philippines, it’s $4.99 from a bank account and $10 by credit or debit.

CurrencyFair

CurrencyFair charges a fee on the total amount of an exchange. If you’re able to find another CurrencyFair user with whom you can exchange your money, CurrencyFair charges 0.15% of the total transfer amount. If you exchange with CurrencyFair, that percentage jumps to 0.4% to 0.6%.

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Winner: CurrencyFair
Although CurrencyFair charges a higher rate if there’s no one to exchange currency with, this rate is generally between 0.4% and 0.6% — which comes in much lower than the average transaction with MoneyGram.
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Which 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.We’ll look at the rates that MoneyGram and CurrencyFair offer compared to the mid-market rate.

MoneyGram

Depending on where you’re sending money, the exchange rate with MoneyGram could be 5% or more above the mid-market rate. This translates to big profits for MoneyGram, at your expense.

Let’s look at the example of a transfer to euros:

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 USD = 0.96 EUR
  • MoneyGram’s exchange rate might be 1 USD = 0.87 DOP

CurrencyFair

Because CurrencyFair is a marketplace that matches users, your exchange rate will vary. But CurrencyFair takes a much smaller margin than MoneyGram, with rates that are usually within 0.5% of the mid-market rate.

Using the same example of a transfer to euros:

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 USD = 0.96 EUR
  • CurrencyFair’s exchange rate might be 1 USD = 0.94 EUR
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Winner: CurrencyFair
CurrencyFair’s competitive exchange rates edge out MoneyGram’s rates for most transfers. Its website also compares its rates and fees with those of your local bank side by side to help you make an informed decision.
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Which is faster?

MoneyGram

MoneyGram’s delivery speeds vary by transfer option. In-person and phone deliveries can occur within minutes, although at higher costs. MoneyGram’s cheaper options take two to four business days.

CurrencyFair

Depending on which method you use, it can take up to two days to send money to CurrencyFair. It then takes one or two business days for CurrencyFair to convert your money and send it to your recipient. (If you’re using an Irish debit card, however, your transfer is completed nearly instantly.)

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Winner: Tie
CurrencyFair is far more transparent about when your recipient will have access to the money you send. And MoneyGram offers faster delivery options at higher costs. However, the cheapest options for both MoneyGram and CurrencyFair will get your money where it needs to go in in about same time.
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Which offers more options?

Payment MethodsMinimum and maximum transfersDelivery methodsTransfer speedsCountries and currencies
MoneyGramBank account, credit or debit card, cashVaries by countryBank transfer, cash pickup, other options by location2–4 business days190+ countries and 45+ currencies
CurrencyFairBank account, debit card (Irish only)NoneBank transfer2–4 business days15 currencies
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Case study:$1,000 to New Zealand

Susan wants to send $1,000 to her daughter Ellie who is studying abroad in Auckland. Here’s what an online bank-to-bank transfer would look like for this transaction with MoneyGram and CurrencyFair.

MoneyGramCurrencyFair
Transfer fee$5$3.60
Exchange rate1 USD = 1.34 NZD1 USD = 1.39 NZD
Transfer speed2–4 business days2–4 business days
Total received1,333 NZD1,385 NZD

If Susan uses CurrencyFair for her transfer, she’ll saves a bit on transfer fees, but her daughter will receive 50 more New Zealand dollars.

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Bottom line

MoneyGram offers more flexibility when it comes to transfer methods, but CurrencyFair will generally save you more money with lower transfer fees and stronger exchange rates.

Because the exact cost of your exchange can fluctuate depending on your specific circumstances, compare your options to find a provider that makes the most sense for your situation.

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