Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.

MoneyGram vs. TransferWise

We compare TransferWise with MoneyGram to see how each compares on fees, rates and transfer speeds.

Updated . What changed?

Fact checked

Both MoneyGram and TransferWise will safely get your money where it needs to go, but TransferWise is superior to MoneyGram in a few key areas. However, if your recipient needs to pick it up in cash, you may find that MoneyGram has a slight edge.

To quickly see how much each could cost for your transfer, select where you want to send to and enter how much you want to send and we’ll compare MoneyGram and TransferWise prices for you.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
$1 1 - 2 days USD 40.00 0.849 EUR
4,210
Enjoy high maximum transfers into more than 20 currencies while saving up to 90% over local banks. Go to site Show details
$1 Within an hour USD 8.00 0.83 EUR 4,142 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.

When it comes to international money transfers, you’ve probably heard of MoneyGram. MoneyGram is a major player that has been sending money overseas since 1940 to more than 200 countries worldwide.

On the other hand, UK-based newcomer TransferWise is a fundamentally different way to send money online. Using peer-to-peer technology, it matches users looking to send money in one currency with customers in other countries looking to receive the same money. So if need to get pounds to someone in the UK, TransferWise will find someone in the UK looking to send dollars to the US, essentially swapping your funds.

MoneyGram and TransferWise: How they work

MoneyGram

With MoneyGram, you go to its site, enter how much you’re transferring and confirm how you’re sending it and how it should be received. (You also have the option of visiting or calling an agent.) Once you’ve approved the exchange rate and fees you’ll pay, MoneyGram converts and delivers your money to your recipient’s bank account or for cash pickups at locations worldwide.

TransferWise

TransferWise is a fully online process. You’ll need to create a free TransferWise account, but it’s easy to set one up at the same time of your transfer. You also have the option of signing in with your existing Google+, Facebook or PayPal account.

To send money, you go to its site, select the currencies you are exchanging and indicate how much you want to send. After reviewing your rate and fee, money is pulled from your bank account.

Back to top

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. It’s difficult to pin down exactly how much you’ll pay to send money internationally without actually initiating a transfer. 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.

TransferWise

Fees depend on where and how you’re sending money. They range from 0.55% to 2.35% of your transaction, plus a fixed fee depending on the currency you’re transferring to. To send $1,000 to China, you’ll pay 1.1% of your transaction (or $12) plus a fixed fee of $8; to the Philippines, the fee drops to 0.75% ($7.50) plus a fixed fee of $3.50. You can easily find out what you’ll pay by visiting its “How much does TransferWise cost?” page.

Trophy icon
Winner: TransferWise

With consistently lower fees, TransferWise takes the lead.

Back to top

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.

MoneyGram and TransferWise have two very different approaches when it comes to respecting the mid-market rate.

MoneyGram

MoneyGram makes its money from transfer fees and by skewing the exchange rate for a profit, also called “padding” the rate. Depending on where you’re sending your money, the exchange rate could be 5% or more above the mid-market rate. If you’re sending a large sum, this means hundreds of dollars that goes straight into MoneyGram’s coffers.

Say you’re sending $1,000 to the UK:

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 USD = 0.82 EUR
  • MoneyGram’s exchange rate may be 1 USD = 0.768 GBP

TransferWise

Exchange rates is where TransferWise shines. It’s one of the only money transfer services that offers you the mid-market rate. So if you’re sending $1,000 to the UK and the mid-market rate is 1 USD = 0.82 EUR, that’s the rate you’re going to get.

Trophy icon
Winner: TransferWise

There’s no denying the power of paying the mid-market rate.

Back to top

Which is faster?

MoneyGram

Delivery speed varies with transfer options. At an agent location or by phone, your transfer could be delivered in minutes (though with higher costs). In general, your cheaper options will take two to four business days for receipt.

TransferWise

Depending on the currencies involved and your payment method, it could take up to four business days for your recipient to see your cash.

Trophy icon
Winner: Tie

Your average transfer may take about the same time with both services.

Back to top

Which offers more options?

Payment MethodsMinimum and maximum transfers Delivery methods Transfer speeds Countries 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
TransferWiseBank account$1 minimum; $36,000 maximumBank account1–4 daysNearly 40 currencies
Back to top

Case study:$1,000 to Italy

Lesley wants to send $1,000 to her daughter Rory, who is studying in Rome. She wants to send money from her bank account and initially thought she’d just wire the money from her local bank. But after speaking with well-traveled friends, she looked into comparing the services of MoneyGram and TransferWise to see which has better exchange rates and fees.

MoneyGramTransferWise
Transfer fee$4.99 $7
Exchange rate1 USD = 0.9218 EUR1 USD = 0.9401
Transfer speed2–4 business days1–2 days
Total received917.20 EUR933.50 EUR
      

By going with TransferWise, Lesley saves $2 in fees over MoneyGram. Not only that, but Rory gets an extra $16 for books and other necessities.

Back to top

Bottom line

TransferWise is the new kid on the block that offers easy, secure transfers online in 40 currencies around the world. Real-time mid-market exchange rates and low fees crush MoneyGram’s often complicated fee structure. But if you don’t have time on your side, you may opt to pay more with MoneyGram to get it there faster or in cash. Ultimately, you’ll need to compare your options to find the service that’s right for you.

Frequently asked questions

Does either TransferWise or MoneyGram charge extra for business transactions?

Neither service differentiates between business and individual users. That said, frequent users of both types may qualify for benefits or better rates.

>Are there penalties for cancelling a transaction with TransferWise or MoneyGram?

There’s no penalty to cancel your TransferWise transaction at any time before it’s complete. If the transfer has already gone through, you have options, but fluctuations in the exchange rates will affect the amount you’re ultimately refunded. MoneyGram does not charge to cancel a transfer, but it could take up to 10 days for you to see your refund.

Who offers better customer service: TransferWise or MoneyGram?

Both make it easy to reach customer support. The expert team at TransferWise offers support via live chat, phone, email and Twitter. MoneyGram is available 24/7 by email or phone.

Will my bank charge me for using TransferWise?

If you opt to wire money to TransferWise, or recieve a transfer as a wire transfer, your bank may charge you. However, calling your bank ahead of time is the best way to find out if there will be any bank fees when using TransferWise.

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and finder.com Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.

2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    BlancaMay 21, 2018

    How much Naira will my family receive if I send $600 U.S.dolars?

    • Default Gravatar
      joelmarceloMay 22, 2018

      Hi Blanca,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      If you send 600USD to Nigeria, there will be a 13USD transfer fee. The recipient will get 211935NGN if you send it today. If you would like to compare in sending money to Nigeria, please click here.

      Cheers,
      Joel

Go to site