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Western Union vs MoneyGram

Get the best rate for your next transfer overseas by comparing MoneyGram and Western Union.

We found that MoneyGram tends to be slightly cheaper and offer on-average faster transfer speeds than Western Union, but your experience may vary depending on your specific transfer. Because there are so many variables you’ll want to compare Western Union and MoneyGram against one another to see which is best for you.

Compare Western Union versus Moneygram

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
SGD 1 Within an hour SGD 65.00 0.722 USD
675
MoneyGram has fast cash pick-up transfers to more than 350,000 agent locations worldwide. Show details
SGD 1 Same day SGD 5.00 0.723 USD
719
Western Union sends money online to friends and family in 200+ countries 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.

How they work

The way you go about a transfer with Western Union is nearly indistinguishable from the same process with MoneyGram. So much, in fact, that we can describe them both in one shot: You go to their sites, enter how much you’re transferring and to where and see how much you’ll pay for the exchange.

With either service, you also have the option of visiting an office, calling or using a mobile app to initiate a transfer. And once complete, they convert and deliver your money to a bank account or for cash pickup at locations worldwide.

Who offers lower fees?

Western Union

Western Union typically offers fee-free transfers when you pay via a bank transfer or debit/credit card, or approximately S$4 if you pay in store, regardless of the amount you’re transferring or recipient’s country.

MoneyGram

In Singapore, transfer fees for MoneyGram starts from S$3 and may vary depending on how much money you’re transferring, how you’re sending it and the country you’re sending it to. MoneyGram has an online calculator on its website so that you can find out how much exactly your transfer will cost.

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Winner: Tie

Due to the competitive money transfer market, both MoneyGram and Western Union have significantly lowered their fees in the recent years.

Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending $1,000 to Mexico

Let’s say you want to send $1,000 to Italy, but you’re not sure which of these major companies is the right choice. Here are the fees and exchange rates offered by MoneyGram and Western Union when sending money to be picked up in cash and paying by bank transfer.

Western UnionMoneyGram
Transfer fee$0$3
Exchange rate1 SGD = 0.5904 EUR1 SGD = 0.6083 EUR
Transfer speedWithin minutesWithin minutes
Total received590.40 EUR606.47 MXN

*Fees and exchange rates for both providers are accurate as of 24 October 2020.

Based on rates when we checked, your recipient would receive about 16.07 EUR more if you sent your transfer through MoneyGram.

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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.

Western Union

Depending on the country you’re sending money to, a typical exchange rate at Western Union could be up to 6% above the mid-market rate. If you’re sending a large amount overseas, this means hundreds of dollars that goes straight into Western Union’s coffers.

We’ll use the example of a transfer to the United States (USD):

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 SGD = 0.74 USD
  • Western Union’s exchange rate may be 1 SGD = 0.69 EUR

MoneyGram

MoneyGram also skews exchange rates for a profit. Depending on where you’re sending your money, the exchange rate could be 5% or more above the mid-market rate. Like Western Union, this means hundreds of dollars on a large transfer diverted to MoneyGram’s pockets.

So if you’re sending money to the US:

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 SGD = 0.74 USD
  • MoneyGram’s exchange rate is 1 SGD = 0.70 EUR

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Winner: MoneyGram

Sending $1,000 to United States with MoneyGram could result in about $10 more to your recipient over Western Union.

Who’s faster?

Western Union

Delivery speeds varies with transfer options. At an agent location, your transfer could be delivered in minutes (at higher costs). For transfers via bank accounts or debit/credit cards, it could take up to 3 business days or longer, depending on the country.

MoneyGram

Unlike Western Union, delivery speed with MoneyGram varies by receive methods, with cash pickups delivered in minutes and bank transfers within a couple of hours

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Winner: MoneyGram

There’s no question that these services are similar. But MoneyGram’s competitive exchange rates could deliver your cash to loved ones and businesses abroad up to three days faster, depending on the country.

Who offers more options?

Payment MethodsMinimum and maximum transfersDelivery methodsTransfer speedsCountries and currencies
Western UnionBank account, credit or debit card, cashMinimum and maximum varies by countryBank transfer, cash pickupVaries from minutes to 3+ days200+ countries
MoneyGramBank account, credit or debit card, cashMinimum and maximum varies by countryBank transfer, cash pickup, other options by locationVaries from minutes to hours190+ countries and 45+ currencies

Bottom line

While Western Union and MoneyGram can appear similar, you may get a stronger exchange rate with MoneyGram — which is especially important for larger transfers.

Then, if it’s more important that your friends or family be able to pick up your money in cash, Western Union’s 500,000 agent locations worldwide beats MoneyGram’s 350,000.

These two services aside, you could almost always do better with another money transfer specialist. Be sure to compare your options to find a provider that’s perfect for your situation.

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