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Western Union vs MoneyGram

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

Neither Western Union or MoneyGram is the cheapest option out there – but they have flexible transfer options and strong coverage. 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 12 July 2023.

1 - 2 of 2
Name Product Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer)
Western Union
Within minutes
From $0
Western Union sends money online to friends and family in 200+ countries around the world.
MoneyGram
Within minutes
From $1.99
MoneyGram has fast cash pick-up transfers to more than 350,000 agent locations worldwide.
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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 from $0, they can be tens or even hundreds of dollars when paying by credit or debit card for cash pickup 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, to send $1,000 to a bank account in India, you'll pay $2.99 in fees; if you send the same amount for a cash pickup, you'll pay over $7.

Trophy icon
Winner: Western Union

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 $1,000 and $5,000 to Europe

Julie wants to send money to her daughter in France, so she compares the cost of sending $1,000 and $5,000 via a bank transfer with Western Union and MoneyGram.

Sending $1,000 to Europe

Western UnionMoneyGram
Transfer fee$0$0
Exchange rate1 AUD = 0.6077 EUR1 AUD = 0.5966 EUR
Transfer speedWithin minutesWithin minutes
Total euros received€607.79€594.83
Receiver gets€12.96 more€12.96 less

As you can see, Western Union offers slightly better value for money when sending $1,000 to Europe.

Sending $5,000 to Europe

Western UnionMoneyGram
Transfer fee$0$2.99
Exchange rate1 AUD = 0.6078 EUR1 AUD = 0.5966 EUR
Transfer speedWithin minutesWithin minutes
Total euros received€3,039.28€2,981.61
Receiver gets€57.67 more€57.67 less

Once again, Western Union comes out on top, giving Julie's daughter an extra €57.67.

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 the country you're sending money to, a typical exchange rate at Western Union will range from 1.5% to 5% 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 Indian Rupee (INR):

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 AUD = 55.2419 INR
  • Western Union's exchange rate might be 1 AUD = 55.0734 INR

MoneyGram

MoneyGram adds a markup to exchange rates to make 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 China:

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 AUD = 55.2419 INR
  • MoneyGram's exchange rate may be 1 USD = 54.9660 INR

Trophy icon
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.

Trophy icon
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 Union
  • Bank transfer
  • Cash
  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Bank account
  • Cash pickup location
Minimum: $1

Maximum: $50,000

Within minutes138 currencies
Moneygram
  • Bank transfer
  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Bank account
  • Cash pickup location
  • Mobile wallet
Minimum: $1

Maximum: $13,750

Within minutes137 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. 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?

Our table below lets you compare services you can use to send money abroad. Compare fees, exchange rates and discounts from different money transfer services, and when you have made your choice, click Go to site.
1 - 25 of 25
Name Product Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer)
TorFX
24 hours
$0
TorFX sends money overseas in 40+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Xe Large Transfers
24 hours
$0
Xe has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
OFX
24 hours
$0
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 50+ currencies.
Send Payments
24 hours
$0

Send provides fee-free transfers via its 24/7 multi-currency payments platform with real-time quotes.
Revolut
Within minutes
$0
Send money with great rates and low fees in 30+ currencies.
Xe Money Transfers
Within minutes
$0
Xe has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
Instarem
Within minutes
From 0%
50% off first transaction fee from any country in APAC (outside India).
Minimum transfer of $250 and max transfer of $500,000
Wise (TransferWise)
Within minutes
From 0.43%
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 50+ currencies.
TorFX
24 hours
$0
TorFX sends money overseas in 40+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Remitly
Within minutes
From $0
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
WorldRemit
Within minutes
From $0.99
Use promo code 3FREE and pay no fees on your first 3 transfers. Conditions apply.
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Rocket Remit
Within minutes
From $0 to $5
Send money instantly to friends and family in over 45 countries using just your mobile number.
MoneyGram
Within minutes
From $1.99
MoneyGram has fast cash pick-up transfers to more than 350,000 agent locations worldwide.
SingX
Within minutes
From 0.5%
SingX offers the real exchange rate every time you make a transfer and can help you send money across the world.
CurrencyFair
Within minutes
€3
CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
OFX
24 hours
$0
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 50+ currencies.
Send Payments
Send Payments
24 hours
$0
Send provides fee-free transfers via its 24/7 multi-currency payments platform with real-time quotes.
MasterRemit
Within minutes
From $0
Get your 1st and 2nd money transfer for free with promo codes FIRSTFREE and MASTERFINDER!.
Send money in minutes at competitive exchange rates to the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.
Western Union
Within minutes
From $0
Western Union sends money online to friends and family in 200+ countries around the world.
Qantas Business Money
Within minutes
$0
Limited time offer: Earn up to 125,000 bonus Qantas Points as a first-time converter. Ends 30 April 2024. Conversion limits and T&Cs apply.
Set up accounts in 11 different currencies and get rewarded for global business payments by earning Qantas Points.
Airwallex
Within minutes
$0
Streamline global payments in 60+ currencies. Send & receive securely in 150+ countries, with fast settlements & competitive rates. Simplify book-keeping & manage everything in one place.
TorFX Business Transfers
24 hours
$0
TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. Conditions apply.
TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
OFX Business Transfers
24 hours
$0
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies.
WorldFirst
24 hours
From $0
Open bank accounts in Australia, the UK, US, Canada, Japan and Europe. Send and receive funds with zero fees for large sums, including same-currency supplier payments.
Send business
24 hours
$0

Send provides fee-free transfers via its 24/7 multi-currency payments platform with real-time quotes.
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12 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    MikeJuly 9, 2017

    I have an invoice for 1000 euros from Lithuania, I live in Singapore & have Singapore dollars. Can I do that?

      Default Gravatar
      LiezlJuly 10, 2017

      Hi Mike,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      Just to confirm, do you wish to send money to Lithuania to settle the 1000 euro invoice? If so, you may do that either through the Western Union or Moneygram. Both let you send money online and in person. You may also send the money directly to a bank account through electronic transfers.

      If this is not what you’re asking about, please do not hesitate to message us again and we’ll be happy to assist.

      Cheers,
      Liezl

    Default Gravatar
    PrajeeshDecember 30, 2016

    How about comparison between XE and these money transfer companies?

      AvatarFinder
      MayJanuary 1, 2017Finder

      Hi Prajeesh,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      You may want to read our XE Trade Money Transfer guide where you can read our review. Meanwhile, you may also like to check the list of international money transfer service providers featured on our website to learn more about your options.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      May

      Default Gravatar
      PrajeeshJanuary 1, 2017

      Thanks May for your prompt reply. It sure is helpful.

    Default Gravatar
    BarbaraSeptember 6, 2016

    I want to send money via western union. Do I need an ID to Send Money?

      Default Gravatar
      ChesterSeptember 6, 2016

      Hello Barbara,

      Thanks for your question .

      You’ll need to register with Western Union in order to use its money transfer services. To do this, you’ll need an Australian driver’s licence, passport or Medicare card for identification purposes.

      Once your profile has been created, you can lodge transfers online or in person at a branch. You’ll simply need to supply your recipient’s full name and address, plus a credit, debit or prepaid Visa or MasterCard issued by an Australian bank. Of course, you’ll also need to be over 18 years of age.

      Though funds availability can be affected by factors such as agent location hours, funds are typically available for your recipient to pick up within minutes.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers!
      Chester

      AvatarFinder
      ShirleySeptember 6, 2016Finder

      Hi Barbara,

      Thanks for your question.

      You must have an accepted form of government-issued photo ID. Acceptable ID includes:
      All passports (Australian and overseas)
      Australian-issued drivers license
      Australian-issued 18+ proof of age cards; and/or Photo Card

      Hope this helps.

    Default Gravatar
    LittleMay 15, 2016

    I am sending $600 to Istanbul, Turkey. I am going to use a credit card, probably pay pal. Which is cheapest to send it on line Moneygram, Western Union, or PayPal?

      AvatarFinder
      ShirleyMay 24, 2016Finder

      Hi Little Sue,

      Thanks for your question.
      Based on our research and case study, your recipient receives more if you use Western Union. However, please note that services charge different fees and rates depending on the currency and send amount. You can learn more about this through our guide where we compared MoneyGram, Western Union, and PayPal.

      We recommend that you conduct your own comparison for your personal situation to find the best deal for you.

      Regards,
      Shirley

      Default Gravatar
      joseph094July 10, 2016

      Please I want to pick up money which one is the higher money between money gram and western union?

      AvatarFinder
      ClarizzaJuly 11, 2016Finder

      Hi Joseph,

      Thanks for your question.

      Based on the case study on this page, Wester Union tends to offer higher exchange rates. However fees may vary so we recommend looking into the cost of transferring along with the exchange rate offered. Remember, fees will also depend on the country you are sending money to or where you’re picking up the cash. As we are a comparison site, we provide general advice only.

      Hope this helps.

      Clarizza

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