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MoneyGram vs. Wise (TransferWise)

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

Both MoneyGram and Wise will safely get your money where it needs to go, but Wise 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.

Name Product Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer) Learn More
MoneyGram
Within an hour
From $0

View details
MoneyGram has fast cash pick-up transfers to more than 350,000 agent locations worldwide.
Wise (TransferWise)
Within an hour
From $2.26

View details
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies.
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How they work

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 Wise 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 you need to get pounds to someone in the UK, Wise will find someone in the UK looking to send dollars to the US, essentially swapping your funds.

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.

Wise

Wise is a fully online process. You’ll need to create a free Wise 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 Apple, Google or Facebook 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.

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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.

Wise

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 Wise cost?” page.

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Winner: Wise

With consistently lower fees, Wise takes the lead.

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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 Wise 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 GBP
  • MoneyGram’s exchange rate may be 1 USD = 0.768 GBP

Wise

Exchange rates is where Wise 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 GBP, you’ll get that rate.

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Winner: Wise

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

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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.

Wise

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

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Winner: Tie

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

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Which offers more options?

Payment MethodsMinimum and maximum transfersDelivery methodsTransfer speedsCountries 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
WiseBank account$1 minimum; $36,000 maximumBank account1-4 daysNearly 40 currencies
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Bottom line

Wise 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.

Still looking for other options?

Our table lets you compare the services you can use to send money abroad. Compare services on transfer speeds and fees, then click Go to site when you're ready to send.
Name Product Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer) Learn More
OFX
24 hours
$0

View details
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies.
Dunbridge Financial
Dunbridge Financial
24 hours
$0

View details
Dunbridge Financial offers competitive exchange rates and zero fees on transfers to more than 120 countries.
CurrencyTransfer
24 hours
$0
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally £5,000)

View details
Exclusive: Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally $5,000).
CurrencyTransfer lets you shop around for the best exchange rate on its online marketplace.
XE
Within minutes
$3

View details
XE has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
WorldRemit
Within an hour
From $1.99

View details
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Wise (TransferWise)
Within an hour
From $2.26

View details
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies.
Instarem
Within an hour
$1

View details
Exclusive: Use code GET60 and save $30 on each transaction over $200. Valid for the first two transactions and till 31st July 2021. T&Cs apply.
Instarem offers zero transfer fees on all transfers.
Remitly
Within minutes
From $0
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers

View details
Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
Western Union
Within an hour
From $0

View details
Western Union sends money online to friends and family in 200+ countries around the world.
MoneyGram
Within an hour
From $0

View details
MoneyGram has fast cash pick-up transfers to more than 350,000 agent locations worldwide.
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Frequently asked questions

What does Wise 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.

What are the penalties for cancelling a transaction with Wise or MoneyGram?

There’s no penalty to cancel your Wise 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: Wise or MoneyGram?

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

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2 Responses

    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. You can check our guide on sending money to Nigeria to compare your options.

      Cheers,
      Joel

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