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Western Union vs. MoneyGram

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

MoneyGram leans slightly cheaper and averages 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

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.
Western Union
Within an hour
From $0

View details
Western Union sends money online to friends and family in 200+ countries around the world.
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How they work

The process to transfer money over Western Union is nearly the same with MoneyGram. So much so, we can describe them both in one shot: You go to their sites, enter the amount you’re transferring, its destination and see how much you’ll pay for the exchange.

Both services also give the option to call, visit an office or use a mobile app to transfer money. After the transaction is complete, it converts and delivers your money to a bank account or makes it available for cash pickup at any location worldwide.

Who offers lower fees?

Western Union

Figuring out how much you’ll pay to transfer money internationally is tricky. Although most fees start at $5, they can be as much as $45 when paying by credit or debit card for cash pickup in certain countries. But when sending money to high-traffic countries such as Mexico or India, agents offer free transfer options.

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 challenging to find out up front how much you’ll pay.

For example, to send $1,000 to India, you’ll pay $6 in fees for a bank transfer or $13 for a cash pickup. To compare, sending $1,000 to Brazil, it’s $9.99 for either a bank transfer or a cash pickup.

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Winner: Tie

Whether MoneyGram or Western Union offers lower fees may depend on where you’re sending the money, how you choose to pay and how your recipient chooses to receive the cash.

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

Let’s say you want to send $1,000 to Mexico, 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 for cash pickup and paying by bank transfer.

Western UnionMoneyGram
Transfer fee$5$9.99
Exchange rate1 USD = 19.803 MXN1 USD = 19.921 MXN
Transfer speed0-4 business days0-5 business days
Total received19,803 MXN19,922 MXN

Based on rates when we checked, your recipient would receive about 119 pesos more if you sent your transfer through Western Union.

Code exclusive

WorldRemit: First Transfer FREE

You first transfer is free with WorldRemit when you use this coupon code. Send or pick up cash in the US or around the world.

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 straight into Western Union’s coffers.

We’ll use the example of a transfer to euros (EUR):

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 USD = 0.94 EUR
  • Western Union’s exchange rate might be 1 USD = 0.86 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 Europe:

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 USD = 0.94 EUR
  • MoneyGram’s exchange rate may be 1 USD = 0.91 EUR

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Winner: MoneyGram

Sending $1,000 to Europe with MoneyGram could result in about 50 more euros to your recipient over Western Union.

Who’s faster?

Western Union

Delivery speeds vary with transfer options. At an agent location or by phone, your transfer could be delivered in minutes — at higher costs. Your cheapest options could take five days or longer, depending on the country.

MoneyGram

Like Western Union, delivery speed with MoneyGram also varies by transfer option, with cash transfers in person or by phone delivered in minutes, again with higher costs. MoneyGram’s cheaper options take two to four business days for receipt.

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Winner: It depends

These services are similar enough that the time it takes to deliver your cash will depend on the country, your payment method and how your recipient chooses to receive the transfer.

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 pickup, e-walletVaries from minutes to 5+ days200+ countries
MoneyGramBank account, credit or debit card, cashMinimum and maximum varies by countryBank transfer, cash pickup, other options by locationVaries from minutes to 4+ days190+ 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. But if your recipient needs to pick up your transfer as 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.

Looking for more 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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Compare up to 4 providers

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8 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    MariaMarch 3, 2019

    How much does it cost to send 150.00 to cities in Texas, in minutes and pay by credit card ofrdebit, sender is also in Texas and receiver is also in Texas

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      johnbasanesMarch 4, 2019Staff

      Hi Maria,

      Thank you for reaching out to Finder.

      Based on the information you provided. Please see the following fees for sending money interstate.

      Western Union
      Cash pick up:
      Debit card: $18.99
      Credit card: $22.47

      Bank account:
      Debit card: $8.00
      Credit card: $8.00

      Moneygram:
      Online Bank account: $9.00
      Credit/Debit card: $16.99

      These are the fees as of today. These may change in the future though. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

    Default Gravatar
    eniolaSeptember 27, 2018

    hey…please is money order same as money gram or western union? thanks

      Default Gravatar
      AshSeptember 27, 2018

      Hi Eniola,

      Thank you for contacting finder.

      No, Money Order is different from MoneyGram and Western Union as those 2 are providers for Money Transfers. On the other hand, Money Order is a form of payment for a specific amount which is more trusted than a check.

      I hope this helps.

      Please do not hesitate to reach out again to us if you have additional questions.

      Cheers,
      Ash

    Default Gravatar
    NickAugust 7, 2018

    Apologize if dumb question but,

    If I send USD internationally, can it be received in USD or will it be the local currencry?

      Default Gravatar
      joelmarceloAugust 7, 2018

      Hi Nick,

      Thanks for leaving a question on Finder.

      Yes! MoneyGram, Ria, and Western Union all offer the same currency transfers around the world from the U.S. Your beneficiary can then collect the funds you send from a transfer branch location nearby, often within minutes.

      You may also consider the same currency transfers.

      Cheers,
      Joel

    Default Gravatar
    ShanteFebruary 27, 2017

    can i wire money through moneygram using my debit card from my phone

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      AnndyJune 27, 2017Staff

      Hi Shante,

      Thanks for your question.

      With MoneyGram, you can send money online using any device. You can also pay using a debit card. Other payment options are bank transfer and credit card.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

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