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?
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.
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
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 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.
Which 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. 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.
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.
With consistently lower fees, TransferWise takes the lead.
Which offers better exchange rates?
MoneyGram and TransferWise have two very different approaches when it comes to respecting the mid-market rate.
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
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.
There’s no denying the power of paying the mid-market rate.
Which is faster?
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.
Depending on the currencies involved and your payment method, it could take up to four business days for your recipient to see your cash.
Your average transfer may take about the same time with both services.
Which 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|
|TransferWise||Bank account||$1 minimum; $36,000 maximum||Bank account||1–4 days||Nearly 40 currencies|
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.
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 0.9218 EUR||1 USD = 0.9401|
|Transfer speed||2–4 business days||1–2 days|
|Total received||917.20 EUR||933.50 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.
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
How do international money orders work?
Using international money orders to send money overseas? Learn about better options.
This digital bank account features cashback rewards and a built-in envelope budgeting system.
Charles Schwab vs. TD Ameritrade
Pros and cons to consider before opening an account with either of these brokerages.
TD Ameritrade vs. Vanguard
Features, fees and investor feedback to consider for these two platforms.
Fidelity vs. TD Ameritrade
Pros, cons and platform features that separate these online brokerages.
Fidelity vs. Vanguard
Compare features, feedback and research tools for these two platforms.
New OFX Global Currency Account offers banking for international businesses
Cut costs by sending, receiving and holding seven major currencies in a single bank account.
How do we pick the top money transfer services?
Our top picks are our selection of the best money transfer services, based on our extensive research and market experience. Here’s how we choose them.
TransferWise joins trend to send money to Chinese smartphones
It’s the latest Western money transmitter to partner with Alipay, the world’s largest mobile payment provider.
Sending money internationally during the coronavirus pandemic
Learn about how COVID-19 may affect the ways you transfer cash around the world.
Ask an Expert