Western Union vs Moneygram

Information verified correct on October 28th, 2016

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 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.

The two money transfer companies have a number of similarities. MoneyGram is a little more straightforward when it comes to fees, 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 direct 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, the cost of the transfer depending on how the money is sent and received. Payments from a credit or debit card, for example, are quick albeit expensive. MoneyGram have a simpler ‘flat-fee’ approach to transfer fees, Western Union transfers can be more expensive, fees can be 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

AUDWestern UnionMoneyGram
USD1 AUD = 0.7333 USD (cash transfer)1 AUD = 0.715646 USD (cash transfer)
EUR1 AUD = 0.6376 EUR1 AUD = 0.648473 EUR
JPY1 AUD = 76.2754 JPY1 AUD = 75.893106 JPY (cash transfer)
GBP1 AUD = 0.5724 GBP1 AUD = 0.559635 GBP
CHF1 AUD = 0.7196 CHF1 AUD = 0.705915 CHF (cash transfer)
CAD1 AUD = 0.9473 CAD1 AUD = 0.945439 CAD (cash transfer)
HKD1 AUD = 5.7649 HKD (cash transfer)1 AUD = 5.822526 HKD (cash transfer)
BRL1 AUD = 2.3501 BRL (cash transfer)1 AUD =2.317174 BRL
CNY1 AUD = 5.0172 CNY1 AUD = 5.007243 CNY
CLP1 AUD = 490.4985 CLP (cash transfer)1 AUD = 479.140275 CLP (cash transfer)
  •  Rates correct 07/10/16
  • Western Union rates based on bank account transfer rates unless stated.

On face value, Western Union offer 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.

The difference between the two companies when sending Euros is less than a cent. There are exceptions. For example, there’s a considerable difference in the exchange rate offered on Chilean Pesos. The choice of company for your international transfer can influence the bottom line here. This is why it pays to company 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.

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Western Union vs Moneygram - 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 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 $20 using Western Union. The same transfer using MoneyGram will net you a small saving. MoneyGram charge $17.00 for this service. These fees vary greatly depending on the country you’re sending the money too and the payment and collection method, so be sure to compare your options for the country you want to transfer you to before you access and process the payment.

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Western Union vs Moneygram fees

Here’s a breakdown for a money transfer to the Philippines.

MoneyGram Western Union
Transfer fee - Pick up at an agent$10.00 AUD$28.00 AUD
Transfer fee - Bank deposit  - Smart Money (MoneyGram) / Mobile Money Transfer (Western Union).$10.000 AUD$10.00 AUD
Transfer fee - Bank deposit  - most banks$10.00 AUD Up to $25.00 AUD (For urgent payments)
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What’s the difference between Western Union and Moneygram?

While there are a number of similarities between Western Union and MoneyGram, there are some key differences too. The main difference between the two companies is the number of pickup locations. Western Union are ahead of MoneyGram, 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 offer telephonic transfers if working the internet isn’t your thing.

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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.
  • SMARTMoney. Get the funds sent to a smartphone mobile wallet using the MoneyGram SMARTMoney utility. Transfer limits apply.
  • Bank deposit. Get the funds send directly to a bank account.

Western Union

Western Union offer a similar choice of collection options.

  • Cash. Collect the funds as cash from a Western Union agent.
  • Mobile Money. Get the money deposited to a Western
  • Bank deposit. Funds can be sent direct to the recipient’s bank account.

Jacob Joseph

Jacob is a writer and video journalist with finder.com.au. Credit cards, personal loans and savings accounts are his bread and butter, and he likes nothing more helping people understand the sometimes overly complex world of personal finance.

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7 Responses to Western Union vs Moneygram

  1. Default Gravatar
    Barbara | September 6, 2016

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

    • Staff
      Chester | September 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.


    • Staff
      Shirley | September 6, 2016

      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.

  2. Default Gravatar
    Little | May 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?

    • Staff
      Shirley | May 24, 2016

      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.

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

    • Default Gravatar
      joseph094 | July 10, 2016

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

    • Staff
      Clarizza | July 11, 2016

      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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