Western Union vs MoneyGram

Discover where to find the best deal on your next overseas transfer.

Updated

Fact checked

Neither Western Union nor MoneyGram is the cheapest or fastest option out there – but they are the most visible. Which one is best for you depends on how much you’re transferring and how fast you need the money to arrive.

The fees and rates used in this comparison are accurate as of 21 February 2020.

Compare Western Union to Moneygram

Table: sorted by a combination of service offering and the amount your recipient will receive

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
GBP 1 Same day GBP 19.90 1.08 EUR
5,379
Send money online to friends and family around the world with Western Union. Show details
GBP 1 Within an hour GBP 210.00 1.079 EUR
5,170
Fast cash pick-ups to more than 350,000 agent locations worldwide. Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.
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Which has lower fees?

Western Union

Figuring out how much you’ll pay to transfer money internationally can be difficult. Although many fees start at around £2, they can be tens or even hundreds of pounds when paying by credit or debit card for cash pick-up in certain countries. However, fee-free transfers are available to selected destinations, including India and the Philippines, when you pay for your transaction with POLi.

MoneyGram

Fees vary depending on how much money you’re transferring, how you’re sending it and the country you’re sending it to. Unless you actually initiate a transfer, it’s not easy to find out upfront how much you’ll pay. As an example, it’s free to send £1,000 to a bank account in India; if you send the same amount for a cash pickup, you’ll be charged £3.99.

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Winner: Tie

There are several factors that affect transaction fees with Western Union and MoneyGram, so there’s no clear winner here.

Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending £500 to Australia

Western UnionMoneyGram
Transfer fee£24.90£3.99
Exchange rate1 GBP = 1.78 AUD1 GBP = 1.87 AUD
Transfer speedWithin minutesWithin minutes
Total AUD receivedAUD $891AUD $938
Receiver getsAUD $47 lessAUD $47 more

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.

Western Union

Depending on where 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 to Western Union.

We’ll use the example of a transfer to Chinese yuan (CNY):

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 GBP = 9.10 CNY
  • Western Union’s exchange rate might be 1 GBP = 8.66 CNY

MoneyGram

MoneyGram also skews exchange rates for a profit. Depending on where you’re sending your money, the exchange rate could be 6% 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 China:

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 GBP = 9.10 CNY
  • MoneyGram’s exchange rate may be 1 GBP = 8.82 CNY

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Winner: Tie

Exchange rate margins vary greatly depending on where you’re sending your money, so we couldn’t split Western Union and MoneyGram here.

Which is faster?

Western Union

Delivery speeds vary with transfer options. When you send a cash pickup transfer from an agent location or online, your transfer could be delivered in minutes (but will cost more). However, sending money to a bank account can take up to five days, depending on the country.

MoneyGram

Like Western Union, delivery speed with MoneyGram varies by transfer option, with cash transfers in person delivered in minutes (again with higher costs). However, bank deposits are typically processed on the same or next day.

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Winner: MoneyGram

There’s no question that these services are similar. Both allow you to send cash to a loved one overseas within minutes, but MoneyGram has shorter processing times for bank deposits than Western Union.

-General features

Payment methodsReceiving optionsMaximum and minimum transfersTransfer speedsCurrencies
Western UnionBank account, credit or debit card, cashBank transfer, cash pickup, ewalletMinimum: $1

Maximum: $50,000

Same day200+ countries
MoneyGramBank account, credit or debit card, cashBank transfer, cash pickup, other options by locationMinimum: $1

Maximum: $13,750

Within an hour190+ countries and 45+ currencies

Western Union

Western Union is a major player in the world of international transfers and allows you to send funds to more than 200 countries around the world. You can send money online, in person or via a mobile app, and the funds can be deposited into your recipient’s bank account or made available as cash for collection at more than 500,000 locations. To send a transfer online, you’ll need to register for a free account and then provide your recipient’s details and specify the amount you want to send.

MoneyGram

MoneyGram also offers in-person and online transfers, and it boasts almost 350,000 agent locations in more than 190 countries around the world. It allows you to send cash pickup transfers and bank deposits, while home delivery, mobile wallet deposits and loading funds directly onto your recipient’s debit card are also available in some countries. To send a transfer online, register for a free account, specify your payment amount and then enter your recipient’s details.

Bottom line

Western Union and MoneyGram are quite similar. Exchange rates vary greatly between the two providers depending on where you’re sending money, so it’s worth getting a quote from each provider for your specific transaction.

MoneyGram offers faster transactions if you’re sending a bank transfer (only available in selected countries). But 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 beat MoneyGram’s 350,000.

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

Looking for more options?

Input the details of your transaction into the calculator below to compare fees and exchange rates across a range of money transfer services.

Compare money transfer services

Table: sorted by a combination of service offering and the amount your recipient will receive

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
GBP 2,000 1 day GBP 0.00 1.114 EUR
11,136
TorFX guarantee to beat any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction (conditions apply)
(Conditions apply)
Go to site Show details
GBP 5,000 Same day GBP 0.00 1.114 EUR
11,136
Universal Partners FX offers competitive exchange rates and same-day transfers for 100+ currencies. Go to site Show details
GBP 2,500 Same day GBP 0.00 1.114 EUR
11,136
Central FX’s dedicated private client team will guide you through the money transfer process from first call to final payment. Go to site Show details
GBP 1 1 - 2 days GBP 0.00 1.114 EUR
11,136
Whatever amount you transfer, XE will not charge you a fee for using their service. Go to site Show details
GBP 3,000 1 day GBP 0.00 1.114 EUR
11,136
Get no fees as a Finder customer when you transfer your money overseas with Global Reach. Go to site Show details
GBP 5,000 1 day GBP 0.00 1.114 EUR
11,136
Take advantage of fee lock-ins and live bookable rates, helping you save up to 85% in hidden bank fees. Go to site Show details
GBP 1,000 Same day GBP 0.00 1.114 EUR
11,136
Clear Capital specialises in sending 150+ currencies abroad for individuals and businesses, with a dedicated account manager to help you. Go to site Show details
GBP 2,000 1 day GBP 0.00 1.114 EUR
11,136
Make transferring money abroad as simple and safe as possible with bank-beating exchange rates - online, via the app or over the phone. Go to site Show details
GBP 2,500 1 day GBP 0.00 1.114 EUR
11,136
With 17 years of foreign exchange expertise, OFX know the money transfers business very well, offering facilities for one-off and recurring transfers. Go to site Show details
GBP 1,000 1 - 2 days GBP 0.00 1.114 EUR
11,136
Better exchange rates for Finder customers.
Send 60+ currencies at competitive rates and no fees. If you find a better eligible quote, WorldFirst will beat it.
Go to site Show details
GBP 1 1 - 2 days GBP 1.99 1.104 EUR
11,033
Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Quick, affordable transfers around the world with both express and economy options.
Go to site Show details
GBP 5 2 days EUR 3.00 1.112 EUR
11,125
Special offer: Zero fees on your first 10 transfers.
Get bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Go to site Show details
GBP 10 Within an hour GBP 2.00 1.112 EUR
11,119
First two transfers free for new customers.
Instant or 1 hour transfers to over 50 countries, send money directly to bank accounts or over 280,000 cash pickup points.
Go to site Show details
GBP 50 Same day GBP 2.99 1.107 EUR
11,065
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.
An online money transfer service with cash pick-up, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available.
Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
GBP 2,000 1 day GBP 0.00 1.114 EUR
11,136
TorFX guarantee to beat any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction (conditions apply)
(Conditions apply)
Go to site Show details
GBP 5,000 Same day GBP 0.00 1.114 EUR
11,136
Universal Partners FX offers competitive exchange rates and same-day transfers for 100+ currencies. Go to site Show details
GBP 2,500 Same day GBP 0.00 1.114 EUR
11,136
Central FX’s dedicated private client team will guide you through the money transfer process from first call to final payment. Go to site Show details
GBP 1 1 - 2 days GBP 0.00 1.114 EUR
11,136
Whatever amount you transfer, XE will not charge you a fee for using their service. Go to site Show details
GBP 3,000 1 day GBP 0.00 1.114 EUR
11,136
Get no fees as a Finder customer when you transfer your money overseas with Global Reach. Go to site Show details
GBP 5,000 1 day GBP 0.00 1.114 EUR
11,136
Take advantage of fee lock-ins and live bookable rates, helping you save up to 85% in hidden bank fees. Go to site Show details
GBP 1,000 Same day GBP 0.00 1.114 EUR
11,136
Clear Capital specialises in sending 150+ currencies abroad for individuals and businesses, with a dedicated account manager to help you. Go to site Show details
GBP 2,000 1 day GBP 0.00 1.114 EUR
11,136
Make transferring money abroad as simple and safe as possible with bank-beating exchange rates - online, via the app or over the phone. Go to site Show details
GBP 2,500 1 day GBP 0.00 1.114 EUR
11,136
With 17 years of foreign exchange expertise, OFX know the money transfers business very well, offering facilities for one-off and recurring transfers. Go to site Show details
GBP 1 1 - 2 days GBP 1.99 1.104 EUR
11,033
Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Quick, affordable transfers around the world with both express and economy options.
Go to site Show details
GBP 1,000 1 - 2 days GBP 0.00 1.109 EUR
11,091
Fast, fee-free transfers and great exchange rates. Book transfers over the phone through a dedicated dealing team or by using Virgin Money’s 24/7 online platform. Show details
GBP 2,500 2 days GBP 10.00 1.112 EUR
11,114
Make the most of your money with Foremost Currency Group - excellent personalised service and bank-beating rates. Show details
GBP 1 Same day GBP 0.00 1.113 EUR
11,130
Make simple, fast, secure payments online or over the phone - simply choose the service that best meets your needs. Go to site Show details
GBP 5 2 days EUR 3.00 1.112 EUR
11,125
Special offer: Zero fees on your first 10 transfers.
Get bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Go to site Show details
GBP 2,500 1 day GBP 0.00 1.11 EUR
11,102
Frontierpay has a proven reputation for competitive rates and a refreshingly open and honest approach to transferring money worldwide. Show details
GBP 1,000 1 - 2 days GBP 0.00 1.114 EUR
11,136
Better exchange rates for Finder customers.
Send 60+ currencies at competitive rates and no fees. If you find a better eligible quote, WorldFirst will beat it.
Go to site Show details
GBP 5,000 Same day GBP 0.00 1.11 EUR
11,102
London-based and operating for over 10 years, so you can feel confident in the knowledge that your money is in expert hands. Show details
GBP 1,500 2 days GBP 0.00 1.109 EUR
11,091
Send money overseas for a range of reasons, including regular payments and buying overseas property. 97% Trustpilot score. Show details
GBP 2,500 1 day GBP 0.00 1.111 EUR
11,113
Send money abroad with the longest standing and largest full service specialist currency provider in the UK. Show details
GBP 2,500 2 days GBP 0.00 1.107