Western Union vs MoneyGram

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

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Neither Western Union nor MoneyGram is the cheapest 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 5 August 2019.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
AUD 1 Same day AUD 20.00 54.152 INR
Western Union sends money online to friends and family in 200+ countries around the world. Show details
AUD 1 Within an hour AUD 2.99 55.61 INR
MoneyGram has fast cash pick-up transfers 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.

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 $5 or less, 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.


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 $8 in fees; if you send the same amount for a cash pickup, the transaction fee rises to $18.

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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 $300 and $1,000 to Europe

Julie wants to send money to her daughter in France. She wants to send the funds as quickly as possible, so she compares the cost of sending $300 and $1,000 for cash pickup with Western Union and MoneyGram.

Sending $300 to Europe

Western UnionMoneyGram
Transfer fee$35$30
Exchange rate1 AUD = 0.5587 EUR1 AUD = 0.5779 EUR
Transfer speedWithin minutesWithin minutes
Total euros receivedEUR€148.06EUR€156.03
Receiver getsEUR€7.98 lessEUR€7.98 more

As you can see, MoneyGram offers slightly better value for money when sending $300 to Europe. Not only does MoneyGram allow Julie to save $5 on transfer fees, but it also allows her to send an extra €8 to her daughter.

Sending $1,000 to Europe

Western UnionMoneyGram
Transfer fee$35$60
Exchange rate1 AUD = 0.5587 EUR1 AUD = 0.5779 EUR
Transfer speedWithin minutesWithin minutes
Total euros receivedEUR€539.15EUR€543.23
Receiver getsEUR€4.08 lessEUR€4.08 more

As you can see, the cost of this transaction is quite similar with both Western Union and MoneyGram. While using MoneyGram will cost Julie $25 extra in transfer fees, its higher exchange rate allows her to send an additional €4 to her daughter.

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 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 AUD = 4.71 CNY
  • Western Union's exchange rate might be 1 AUD = 4.64 CNY


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 AUD = 4.71 CNY
  • MoneyGram's exchange rate may be 1 USD = 4.65 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.


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 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.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
GBP 0 1 - 2 days AUD 3.99 55.778 INR
Azimo sends money directly to a bank account or over 280,000 cash pick-up points. It also has fast transfers to 50+ countries. Go to site Show details
AUD 1 Same day AUD 0.00 55.772 INR
XE has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools. Go to site Show details
AUD 1 Same day AUD 3.99 55.89 INR
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Go to site Show details
AUD 1 1 - 2 days AUD 6.00 55.829 INR
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 50+ currencies. Go to site Show details
AUD 200 1 - 2 days AUD 5.00 56.028 INR
New customers sending over AUD 500 from Australia use code FINDER50 to get AUD 50 off. Valid till 30th June 2021. T&Cs apply.
InstaReM offers simple transfers with a flat 0.5% transfer fee for most transfers.
Go to site Show details
AUD 1 1 day AUD 4.50 56.058 INR
Pay no fees on your first two transfers, up to $3,000.
SingX offers the real exchange rate every time you make a transfer and can help you send money across the world.
Go to site Show details
AUD 10 Within an hour AUD 2.99 55.722 INR
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.
Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

More guides on Finder

International Money Transfer Offers

Important Information*
Logo for Azimo International Money Transfers
Azimo International Money Transfers

Azimo sends money directly to a bank account or over 280,000 cash pick-up points. It also has fast transfers to 50+ countries.

Logo for TorFX International Money Transfers
TorFX International Money Transfers

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.

Logo for OFX (Ozforex) International Money Transfers
OFX (Ozforex) International Money Transfers

$0 transfer fees for Finder customers.
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies.

Logo for WorldFirst International Money Transfers
WorldFirst International Money Transfers

Better exchange rates for Finder customers.
WorldFirst sends 60+ currencies at competitive rates. If you find a better eligible quote, WorldFirst will beat it.

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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.


    Default Gravatar
    PrajeeshDecember 30, 2016

    How about comparison between XE and these money transfer companies?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayJanuary 1, 2017Staff

      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.


      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.


      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ShirleySeptember 6, 2016Staff

      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 Customer Care
      ShirleyMay 24, 2016Staff

      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.


      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 Customer Care
      ClarizzaJuly 11, 2016Staff

      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.


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