Banking » Guides » Western Union vs. MoneyGram: Which Is Better for Wire Transfers?
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Western Union vs. MoneyGram: Which Is Better for Wire Transfers?

Between Western Union and Moneygram, which money transfer service is the solution for you and your money transfer requirements?
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor, which helps consumers make better financial decisions.  Silvermann’s areas of expertise include investing, banking, and credit cards. Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more. Aside from being a finance expert, his background includes working as a business and financial analyst. Above all, he is passionate about teaching people how to manage their money and helping millions on their journey to a better financial future.
Interest Rates Last Update: September 20, 2023
The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor, which helps consumers make better financial decisions.  Silvermann’s areas of expertise include investing, banking, and credit cards. Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more. Aside from being a finance expert, his background includes working as a business and financial analyst. Above all, he is passionate about teaching people how to manage their money and helping millions on their journey to a better financial future.
Interest Rates Last Update: September 20, 2023

The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.

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You always want to pick the more economical option when you are sending money to friends or family through a wire transfer.

Moneygram and Western Union are the two most important money transfer services globally, and they offer several methods to transfer funds.

However, which one do most people consider the better option for wire transfers? To answer that question, let us take a closer look at both of these services and see how they stack up against each other.

What Is Western Union?

Western Union is one of the world’s largest and most recognized money transfer organizations in the industry. They are popular for their cash pay-out and pay-in options.

They have more than 450,000 agent locations across a staggering 200 countries and territories worldwide. Western Union also offers online money transfers.

With Western Union, you have the option to pick up and send money in cash, receive funds on a pre-paid card, mobile wallet, or in a bank account.

You can always pay with your credit or debit card, and from certain locations, you can send money through a local bank transfer by making use of an online payment system.

Western Union also boasts a mobile application, which you can use to pay your bills and send money.

  • 450,000+ agent locations
  • 150,000 kiosks and ATMs worldwide
  • Receive money via bank account, cash, pre-paid card or mobile wallet
  • Trading in more than 120 currencies
  • An online security center available that includes a fraud hotline lest any suspicious activity happens
  • Points based reward system leading to monetary discounts
  • Contactable via Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, phone or email

What Is Moneygram?

MoneyGram is the second biggest money transfer organization (Western Union occupies the first spot). It enables customers to receive and send cash at over 300,000 agent locations across 200 territories and countries.

With this money transfer company, you can send over money on MoneyGram.com (online) in more than 19 countries or via the MoneyGram mobile application (this app is available for both iOS and Android).

In some countries, you can send money to a pre-paid card, mobile wallet, or bank account, or deliver in cash from your credit card, debit card, or bank account.

  • Carry out transfers online or in-person
  • Depending on location, some transfers are completed within minutes.
  • £6,000 maximum transfer amount with a minimum of £1
  • Transfers made via several methods of payment including cash
  • Android and iOS applications available for Moneygram members
  • Official website available in several languages, including French, Chinese, German, Italian, Indonesian, Japanese, Polish, Norwegian, Swedish, and Spanish.

Western Union Vs. Moneygram: How They Compare?

Between Western Union and Moneygram, which money transfer service is the solution for you and your money transfer requirements? Which option should you pick if you want to receive or send money internationally?

To find answers to these questions, you need to consider various parameters for both services, such as fees, speed of service, and exchange rates.

Read on for a detailed comparison between Western Union and Moneygram in terms of these parameters.

Western Union
Moneygram
Methods of Payment
Debit or credit card, bank account and cash
Debit or credit card, bank account and cash
Maximum and Minimum Transfers
Maximum and minimum varies according to  country
Maximum and minimum varies according to  country
Methods of Delivery
Cash pickup, bank transfer and e-wallet
Cash pickup Bank transfer, and other options depending on location
Currencies and Countries
More than 200 countries
More than 190 countries and 40+ currencies
Transfer Speeds
Varies from a few minutes to more than five days
Two to four days

The fee that you pay at Western Union varies contingent on how much money you are sending, the countries you are sending money to and from, and the pay-out and pay-in methods you select. Keep in mind you can use a price estimator to understand the fees you'll pay.

Generally speaking, although most fees begin at $5, the amount can go up to as high as $45 when you pay by debit or credit card for cash pick-up in some countries.

On the other hand, some agents offer transfer options in which there is no fee involved when you send money to high-traffic nations such as India or Mexico.

With Moneygram, the fee varies, depending on how you send money, how much of it you transfer, and the country you are sending it to. It is not easy to find out in advance how much you will be paying unless you begin a transfer.

As a case to point, you will pay $8 in fees to send over $1,000 to China from a bank account. In contrast, you will be forking out $48 when you pay for that same amount ($1,000) by debit or credit card. Similarly, in the Philippines, sending $1,000 for cash pick-up will cost you $10 by debit or credit and $4.99 from a bank account.

When it comes to fees, although MoneyGram might be slightly more straightforward, Western Union provides a higher number of ways to pay.

To comprehend and compare exchange rates between Western Union and Moneygram, you first have to look at the mid-market rate.

This mid-market rate is the true exchange rate, which averages the selling and buying rate of a global currency and the rate that transfer services and banks utilize when they trade between themselves.

Western Union

A standard exchange rate at Western Union can be up to 6 percent higher than the mid-market rate depending on the country where you are sending money.

If you send over a large amount of money overseas, several hundred dollars go straight to Western Union.

Let us consider an example of a transfer to Euros: If the mid-market rate is 1 American dollar = 0.94 Euros, the Western Union’s exchange rate may be 1 American Dollar = 0.86 Euros.

MoneyGram

Like Western Union, MoneyGram leverages exchange rates for a significant profit as well. The exchange rate can be 5 percent or higher than the mid-market rate, depending on where you are sending your money.

What this means is that similar to Western Union, MoneyGram collects hundreds of dollars on every large transfer.

Hence, if you are sending money to anywhere in the European Continent, and if the mid-market rate is 1 American dollar = 0.94 Euros, the exchange rate of MoneyGram’s might be 1 American Dollar = 0.91 Euros.

Overall, Moneygram offers better exchange rates (sending around 1000 American dollars to Europe via MoneyGram can result in about 45 more Euros to the recipient compared to Western Union).

The transfer speeds of both Western Union and Moneygram depend on the type and amount of currency, your bank’s turnaround time to clear payment, and country of the transfer.

Western Union

Western Union’s delivery speeds vary according to the transfer options. Your transfer can be delivered in a few minutes (for a higher fee) by phone or at an agent location.

On the flip side, the cheapest options can take around five days or sometimes even longer than that.

MoneyGram

Similar to Western Union, MoneyGram’s delivery speed varies with the transfer option as well. MoneyGram’s cheaper delivery options take around 2-4 business days for receipt, whereas it takes less than a day or just a few minutes cash to transfer by phone or in-person (again with a higher fee).

On the whole, Moneygram is the winner when it comes to speed of service.

Compared to Western Union, when you use any of MoneyGram’s cheaper delivery options, you can send cash to businesses abroad and loved ones up to 3 days quicker, depending on the country.

Alternatives to Western Union and Moneygram

Some of the popular alternative payment options to Western Union and Moneygram include:

Paypal is one of the best options for both Western Union and Moneygram. In addition, many regard it as one of the most famous payment systems for wire transfers, paying for services, and buying goods.

Paypal is a very convenient means to transfer money to individuals internationally or in the same country if they also use this payment system.

It is essential, however, to keep a couple of things in mind if you are planning on using Paypal to transfer money. First of all, the individual you send money to should also have a PayPal account for the transaction.

Moreover, PayPal does not provide cash pick-up, which is not necessarily cheaper than Moneygram and Western Union.

Paypal might be expensive internationally, but sending money to the same country is an excellent option.

Furthermore, this payment system accepts several payment methods, and their process is very straightforward.

An online money transfer service, WorldRemit is quite popular among those who also use Western Union. Cash pick-up is an essential element common in both WorldRemit and Western Union.

Although WorldRemit does not offer this service for each location to which they can transfer money, it is worth checking out. More often than not, you will see that the rates they offer are significantly better than the exchange rates of Western Union.

Compared to Western Union, you can make a higher transfer with WorldRemit. For example, Western Union’s transfer limit is $5,000, whereas you can send up to $10,000 (depending on the currency) when you use WorldRemit.

Other advantages of using WorldRemit include the following:

  • The low fee suits exchange rates for transfers to the Philippines, India, South America, and Africa.
  • WorldRemit is a splendid alternative when you require cash pick-up.
  • Their app and website are straightforward to use and allow you to pay by debit or credit card.

Summary

There is no denying that Western Union and Moneygram are at the fore of the currency domain and are popular services for wiring money globally. They also share much in common.

These money transfer organizations have uncompetitive exchange rates, substantial global networks of banks and agents, and an extensive range of payment options such as bank transfer and cash pick-up.

On the flip side, there are specific differences between Western Union and Moneygram. For instance, Moneygram is generally better in terms of exchange rates overall.

However, Western Union comes out on top regarding how content customers are with their service and how easy it is to use these services. Western Union also has a more significant number of agent locations worldwide than Moneygram (500,000 Vs. 350,000).

More areas mean more places to receive and send money globally. This is especially helpful if other options, such as computers and phones, are unavailable to transfer funds.

Eventually, it all comes down to your individual needs when deciding between Western Union and Moneygram as to which is better for wire transfers.

Sometimes, one money transfer service works better for you than the other, and vice versa. Seemingly, minor disparities such as amount, destination, and transfer method can make quite a difference.

Hence, it always pays to research before selecting which money transfer service to use for wiring your money.

Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor, which helps consumers make better financial decisions.  Silvermann's areas of expertise include investing, banking, and credit cards. Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more. Aside from being a finance expert, his background includes working as a business and financial analyst. Above all, he is passionate about teaching people how to manage their money and helping millions on their journey to a better financial future.
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