Which money transfer company should you use for your next international payment?
Western Union and MoneyGram are number one and number two in the international money transfer business. Western Union is almost synonymous with international payments and continues to be a leader in the increasingly competitive money transfer space.
Compared to Western Union, MoneyGram is a relatively new player. MoneyGram as we know it now joined the market in 1998. We take a closer look at these two providers in this guide.
You can use the table below to compare money transfer services. Enter your transfer amount and destination to see the most suitable providers for your needs.
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Western Union vs MoneyGram
The two money transfer companies have a number of similarities. MoneyGram is a little more straightforward when it comes to fees, while Western Union provides more ways to pay and has more agents and collection points across the world.
Both Western Union and MoneyGram let you send money online and in person and make funds available to collect from an agent in minutes once a payment has been made. Electronic transfers allow money to be sent directly to a bank account as well.
The services on offer vary based on where you’re sending the money. For example, MoneyGram transfers to Hong Kong can be collected in person only, whereas there’s the option of agent pickup or bank account deposit for transfers to India. Western Union give a similar range of options.
Western Union and MoneyGram do charge fees, and the cost of the transfer depends on how the money is sent and received. Payments from a credit or debit card, for example, are quick albeit expensive. MoneyGram has a simpler ‘flat-fee’ approach to transfer fees, while Western Union transfers can be more expensive with fees up to 10% of the total transfer amount.
Both Western Union and MoneyGram make a small margin on the exchange rate for international payments. Be sure to compare the different payment providers as services and fees vary depending on what you’re looking to do.
Western Union vs MoneyGram exchange rates
|USD||1 AUD = 0.7555 USD||1 AUD = 0.7353 USD (cash transfer)|
|EUR||1 AUD = 0.6342 EUR||1 AUD = 0.6514 EUR|
|JPY||1 AUD = 84.5022 JPY||1 AUD = 84.0824 JPY (cash transfer)|
|GBP||1 AUD = 0.5647 GBP||1 AUD = 0.5606 GBP|
|CHF||1 AUD = 0.7147 CHF||1 AUD = 0.7180 CHF (cash transfer)|
|CAD||1 AUD = 0.9336 CAD (cash transfer)||1 AUD = 0.9416CAD (cash transfer)|
|HKD||1 AUD = 5.9845 HKD (cash transfer)||1 AUD = 5.8300 HKD (cash transfer)|
|BRL||1 AUD = 2.3811 BRL (cash transfer)||1 AUD =2.3299 BRL|
|CNY||1 AUD = 5.2262 CNY||1 AUD = 5.2418 CNY|
|INR||1 AUD = 49.5323 INR (cash transfer)||1 AUD = 49.5692 INR (cash transfer)|
|CLP||1 AUD = 497.9618 CLP (cash transfer)||1 AUD = 488.0758 CLP (cash transfer)|
- Rates are correct as at 17 July 2017. You should always seek a quote for current rates and fees.
- All rates based on bank account transfer rates unless stated as cash transfers.
On face value, Western Union offers slightly better exchange rate than MoneyGram, but the above rates don’t factor in transfer fees. Western Union charge transfer fees that vary depending on the payment and method of collection. Unless you’re sending a large sum of money, the rates on offer won’t affect the bottom line too much.
As you can see, there’s a considerable difference in the exchange rate offered on Chilean Pesos (CLP). The choice of company for your international transfer can influence the bottom line here. This is why it pays (literally) to compare all your options before you agree to a transfer.
Shop around between money transfer companies to make sure you’re getting the best deal on your international exchange, particularly for currencies that are less common. Scroll down to see which provider is cheaper.
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Western Union vs Moneygram fees – which is cheaper?
It can be hard to compare these two companies as there are a number of factors which influence the overall cost of your transfer. To compare apples with apples, the following example puts Western Union and MoneyGram side by side for a transfer of AUD $1000 to India.
Sending money to India
Using a credit or debit card to pay for a transfer to India and selecting cash as a collection option will cost you AUD$20 using Western Union.
The same transfer using MoneyGram will net you a small saving. MoneyGram charges AUD$18.00 for this service, and it also offers a slightly better exchange rate as we can see in the table above.
These fees vary greatly depending on the country you’re sending the money to and the payment and collection method. Be sure to compare your options for the country you want to transfer to before you access and process the payment.
Western Union vs MoneyGram pick-up locations
The main difference between the two companies is the number of pick-up locations. Western Union is ahead of MoneyGram, as they offer over half a million places all over the world where you can collect your money in person compared to MoneyGram’s 300,000+.
Another key difference is the payment options. Western Union offers telephone transfers if using the Internet isn’t your thing.
Western Union and MoneyGram pick-up options
Moneygram gives you the following options for collecting money.
- Cash. Collect the funds as cash from a MoneyGram agent. In Australia, you can send the make cash transfers at 7-Eleven stores.
- SMARTMoney. Get the funds sent to a smartphone mobile wallet using the MoneyGram SMARTMoney utility. Transfer limits apply.
- Bank deposit. Get the funds sent directly to a bank account.
Western Union offers a similar choice of collection options.
- Cash. Collect the funds as cash from a Western Union agent.
- Bank deposit. Funds can be sent direct to the recipient’s bank account.
Got it – what now?
Now that you have a better understanding of the different services provided by Western Union and MoneyGram, it's time to compare your options and get a quote.
Use the comparison table above to compare the features of a range of services and, after selecting a couple that you believe would meet your needs, click the green "Go to Site" button to source quotes for your transfer. You can also check out our guide to see how Western Union and MoneyGram compare against PayPal for sending money overseas.