We compare a well-known money transfer service with a newer digital competitor to help you save money.
MoneyGram is a household name when it comes to international money transfers. But newer online providers like HiFX are on the scene to offer stronger rates with lower fees. Learn how these two options compare to help you choose the right one for your needs.
MoneyGram and HiFX: How they work
Both options allow for easy online money transfers.
To make an online transfer with MoneyGram, you go to its site, enter how much you’re transferring and to where and see how much you’ll pay for the exchange. You also have the option of visiting an agent location, calling or using a mobile app to initiate a transfer. And once complete, it converts and delivers your money to a bank account or for cash pickup at locations worldwide.
To use HiFX, you’ll need to first create a free account as part of your first transfer.
Once complete, you go to its site and enter the amount you want to send, after which HiFX converts your money and sends it to your recipient’s bank account.
Who offers lower fees?
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. For 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.
HiFX’s fee structure if far more transparent: For all transfers below $5,000, HiFX charges a $5 fee, and you’ll pay no fee for transfers of $5,000 or more.
When it comes to transfer fees, HiFX edges out MoneyGram thanks to its clear and simple fee structure, as well as the extra savings it offers when transferring larger sums of money.
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.
Let’s look at the rates that MoneyGram and HiFX offer compared to the mid-market rate.
MoneyGram skews exchange rates for a profit. Depending on where you’re sending your money, the exchange rate could be 5% or more above the mid-market rate. This means hundreds of dollars on a large transfer diverted to MoneyGram’s pockets.
We’ll use the example of a transfer to Swiss francs (CHF):
- If the mid-market rate is 1 USD = 1.01 CHF
- Western Union’s exchange rate might be 1 USD = 0.97 CHF
HiFX tends to keep its exchange rates within 0.4% of the mid-market rate.
In other words:
- If you’re sending money to Switzerland and the mid-market rate is 1 USD = 1.01 CHF
- HiFX’s exchange rate could be 1 USD = 1.00 CHF
True to its promises, HiFX offers highly competitive exchange rates with a minimal spread against the mid-market rate.
Delivery speeds vary by transfer option. Transfers in person or by phone can be delivered in minutes, although at higher costs. MoneyGram’s cheaper options take two to four business days.
HiFX recommends allowing up to three business days for it to receive your money. You should also allow up to four business days for your transfer to be cleared by your recipient’s bank.
Although you’ll likely pay more for faster delivery, MoneyGram’s instant transfer option can be helpful in a pinch.
Who offers more options?
|Payment methods||Minimum and maximum transfers||Delivery methods||Transfer speeds||Countries and currencies|
|MoneyGram||Bank account, credit or debit card, cash||varies by country||Bank transfer, cash pickup, other options by location||2–4 business days||190+ countries and 45+ currencies|
|HiFX||Bank transfer, credit or debit card||$50 minimum; no maximum||Bank transfer||1–7 business days||19 currencies (online); 800+ currencies (phone); all currencies (regular transfers)|
Sending $2,000 to Switzerland
Mark’s nephew, Ethan, has just moved to Switzerland. Mark wants to send Ethan $2,000 to help with moving expenses. Here’s what Mark would pay for an online bank transfer with MoneyGram and HiFX.
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 0.97 CHF||1 USD = 1.01 CHF|
|Transfer speed||2–4 business days||1–7 business days|
|Total received||1,938 CHF||2,004 CHF|
If Mark uses HiFX for his transfer, not only will he save $20 in fees, but his nephew will have receive 66 more Swiss francs to ease his recent move.
With competitive exchange rates and little to no transfer fees, HiFX is a deal that’s hard to beat. Unless you’re looking for an instant transfer (which costs extra with MoneyGram), HiFX is the clear winner.
Ultimately, you’ll want to compare your options to find the service that best fits your needs.