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MoneyGram vs. Ria – who wins for international money transfers?

We compare two competing money transfer services on fees, rates and speed to get you the best deal.

MoneyGram is a household name when it comes to international money transfers. But newer companies like Ria are offering competitive exchange rates to save you money.

We compare these two options to help you choose the best one for your needs.

moneygramria
MoneyGramRia
FeesStarts from $4.99Starts from $5
Exchange rates5% or more above the mid-market rateCan be less than 1% on the mid-market rate
Speed15 minutes to 4 business days15 minutes up to 4 days
Max Transfer AmountVaries by country$2,999 a day or $7,999 a month maximum

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MoneyGram and Ria: How they work

Both options allow for easy online money transfers.

MoneyGram

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.

Ria

To transfer money online with Ria, go to its site, enter the amount you’d like to transfer and to which country, and choose your payment and payout methods. On the same page, you’ll see the exchange rate and transfer fee for your particular exchange.

Who 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. 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.

Ria

Money transfer fees with Ria also vary by payment method, country and the amount you’re sending. The cheapest way to send money is by bank transfer, with a typical fee that’s lower than $5. However, fees for credit card payments can be as high as $45.

  • Winner: It’s a tie.

MoneyGram and Ria offer similar transfer options and fees. Although if you’re planning to pay by bank transfer, Ria may have a slight edge.

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 Ria offer compared to the mid-market rate.

MoneyGram

Depending on where you’re sending your money, MoneyGram’s exchange rate could be 5% or more above the mid-market rate. This means that hundreds of dollars on a large transfer could be diverted to MoneyGram’s pockets. 66.78

We’ll use the example of a transfer to Indian rupees (INR)

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 USD = 66.78 INR
  • MoneyGram’s exchange rate might be 1 USD = 64.22 INR

Ria

Ria takes a smaller margin than MoneyGram, with rates that can be less than 1% on the mid-market rate.

Using the same example of a transfer to Indian rupees (INR):

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 USD = 66.78 INR
  • Ria’s exchange rate might be 1 USD = 66.47 INR
  • Winner: Ria

Ria’s competitive exchange rates make it the clear winner over MoneyGram.

Who’s faster?

MoneyGram

MoneyGram’s 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.

Ria’s

Ria’s transfer speeds also depend on the method that you choose to send your money. When you use your credit or debit card, the exchange typically takes 15 minutes or less. Cheaper transfers from your bank account can take up to four days.

  • Winner: It’s a tie.

A typical money transfer or instant transfer option, your money will likely get there in about the same time for both services.

Who offers more options?

ProvidersPayment methodsMinimum and maximum transfersDelivery methodsTransfer speedsCountries and currencies
MoneyGramBank account, credit or debit card, cashvaries by countryBank transfer, cash pickup, other options by location15 minutes to 4 business days190+ countries and 45+ currencies
RiaBank account,credit or debit card, cash$1 minimum; $2,999 a day or $7,999 a month maximumBank transfer, cash pickup15 minutes to 4 business days144 counries

Case study: Sending $2,000 to Germany

Mark’s nephew, Ethan, has just moved to Munich. 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 Ria.

MoneyGramRia
Transfer fee$5$5
Exchange rate1 USD = 0.93 EUR1 USD = 0.94 EUR
Transfer speed4 business days2–4 business days
Total received1,860 EUR1,880 EUR

If Mark uses Ria for his transfer, his nephew will receive 20 extra euros — and get them possibly a few days earlier.

Bottom line

MoneyGram and Ria offer similar options, but you could save money with Ria’s competitive exchange rates — and maybe even save a few days.

Ultimately, you’ll want to compare your options to find the service that best fits your needs.

See how MoneyGram and Ria compare to other money transfer companies

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USD 100 3 - 5 days USD 5.00 18.536 Online, Phone MXN 92,589 Transfer money into 20 currencies and schedule regular payments. $5 fee waived for transfers over $5,000. Go to site Show details
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