Find out which service can best meet your money-transfer needs with our step-by-step breakdown.
MoneyGram is the second-largest provider in the world of international money transfer services, but Travelex offers services that extend far beyond simple transfers.
With more than 350,000 agent locations around the globe, MoneyGram makes it easy to send funds the way you want to the places you want. While Travelex doesn’t boast quite the same network, it still allows you to send money to 50 countries and change between 46 currencies.
|Fees||Varies by transfer||under $5,000 there’s a $5 fee, over $5,000 have no fees|
|Exchange rates||5% or more above the mid-market rate||Currency rates throughout the day|
|Speed||Minutes to 2 to 4 days||Two to four business days|
|Max Transfer Amount||Varies by country||$500 minimum; no maximum|
|Read review||Read review|
MoneyGram and Travelex: How they work
Which offers lower fees?
Your total fees can range from reasonable to incredibly steep with MoneyGram depending on where you’re sending your money, how much you’re sending and your payment method. Getting the total you’ll pay before you start filling out the information for the transfer can also be challenging. Here’s an example of potential fees: to send $1,000 to France you’ll either pay $25.99 if you use your checking account or $80.99 if you use a debit or credit card.
The fee structure for Travelex is quite simple. For transfers under $5,000 there’s a $5 fee, and transfers over $5,000 have no fees. Travelex also provides an International Payments Price Promise wherein if a competitor provides a transfer at a lower cost within 30 minutes of your transfer, Travelex will provide a better rate.
Straightforward, low-cost fees win this one easily.
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Which offers better exchange rates?
Typically MoneyGram has exchange rates that run 5% or more above the mid-market rate. This difference in rates provides an extra profit for the company. For example, if you’re sending money to Europe:
- If the mid-market rate is 1 USD = 0.81 EUR
- MoneyGram’s exchange rate may be 1 USD = 0.78 EUR
Travelex provides live updates on currency rates throughout the day, which you can lock-in with spot contracts. You can also take out forward contracts and limit orders. We’ll use the same example of sending money to Europe:
- If the mid-market rate is 1 USD = 0.81 EUR
- Travelex’s exchange rate may be 1 USD = 0.80 EUR
More options for purchasing currency and the International Payments Price Promise puts Travelex ahead, given the two companies have similar deviations from the mid-market rate.
Which is faster?
Transfer options greatly affect how long it takes to deliver your funds. Cash transfers potentially take just a few minutes at a higher cost, while cheaper options could take two to four business days.
Two to four business days is the standard transfer time when you go through Travelex.
MoneyGram has a lower minimum time, though it comes at a higher cost. With the same maximum, it’s able to beat out Travelex this round.
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|
|Travelex||Bank transfer||$500 minimum; no maximum||Bank transfer||2–4 business days||50 countries and 46 currencies|
Case study:$2,000 to Mexico
Erin needs to send $2,000 to his mom in Mexico. Erin’s mom initially asked that he just wire it to her bank, but after discussing prices she agreed they should use MoneyGram or Travelex. A $2,000 bank-to-bank transfer using MoneyGram and Travelex might look something like this:
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 18.29 MXN||1 USD = 18.26 MXN|
|Transfer speed||2–4 business days||2–4 business days|
|Total received||36,488 MXN||36,428 MXN|
MoneyGram takes out Travelex in this example. The exchange rate and the fee are better, getting Erin’s mom $60 pesos more and costing Erin $5 less. However, with Travelex’s International Payments Price Promise, you may be able to swing a lower rate and fee if you notify the company of MoneyGram’s lower offer.
Both companies have advantages depending on how much money you want to send and how you want to send it. MoneyGram has a low minimum and offers over 30,000 US locations to send from, and Travelex offers a straightforward fee structure and a best-price guarantee.
More than just these two services are out there, and you could find one that better fits your needs. Make sure you take the time to compare your options to get the one that best matches your situation.