Sending money abroad online is now easier than ever, but how simple is it really?

After Western Union, MoneyGram is the company most people associate with transferring money. It is therefore quite natural that we included them in our benchmark study on the user experience of sending money online.

This post is the 6th one in our series, in which we have already analyzed the process of transferring money with TransferWise, TransferGo, Western Union, WorldRemit, and CurrencyFair. We asked a new panel of testers who had never used MoneyGram before to try and make a transfer from the United Kingdom to France, while observing them through UserBrain’s remote testing solution.

Every week, we are publishing the highlights of our analysis of a new provider, and will release the full report this summer which you can read for free:


Read  the full report for free

A cash-first service offering online transfers

Most of our testers weren’t already familiar with MoneyGram, but they all understood pretty quickly that it was all about sending money abroad.

“I get the impression from the homepage, from the easy structure, that this is a website that helps me transfer money. It’s quick, it’s accessible from various locations, cheap from the low fees … “

“I understand directly that it is to send money online.”

“It does do more than just sending money online”

Although it is indeed possible to send money online with MoneyGram from a few countries, the majority of MoneyGram’s customers still go to an agent location to pay for their international transfer in cash.

On their website, MoneyGram advertises their online service alongside their agent location network, which made it a bit more complicated for our users to understand exactly what service was offered and how they could use MoneyGram.

After scrolling through the homepage, it wasn’t obvious to most of our users what were the next steps to take. Indeed, there are a myriad of ways in which users can start their transfer: either by clicking on the “Send Money” or “Estimate Fees” links in the navigation menu, the “Start Sending Money” button in the middle of the page, or the “Sign Up” button in the top right corner.

Quite a few obstacles on the way of sending money

While it is true that MoneyGram’s website looks modern and offers an appealing design, our panel of testers encountered quite a few obstacles and some infuriating errors throughout the money transfer process.

Our users were asked to use fake information to log-in and some of them used very common email addresses that were already taken, which lead to an error page with no further explanation than “We’ve encountered an error.” This error would probably not happen outside of a “test” scenario, but it is symptomatic of the kind of issues our users encountered later on.

Many of our users were indeed confronted with an equally confusing error message after entering their detailed information and clicking on the “Finish Setup” button: a black overlay, a small pop-up indicating “Bad Request” with no further information about what was wrong.

“Just tell me what I did wrong, don’t just say bad request and nothing else…”

“It did not tell me exactly why that was a  bad request … I am not sure what I’m doing wrong … they should tell me what is wrong …” 

“I don’t understand why there isn’t a message stating what is wrong, and just this bad request error. Honestly, I don’t understand why … “

“I actually can’t progress anymore… “

Users were really confused as they had no way to figure out what was wrong. One of our testers tried for more than 9 minutes to make changes to the information she entered to try and validate the sign-up form!

It turns out in many cases it was a problem with the address field, but many of our users focused on another confusing part of the form where they thought the error might be. Just below the phone number field, users are prompted to select three check-boxes to decide if they want to receive text message notifications, but there is a confusing message above saying that text notifications are actually not available – so why show those options, our users wondered?

For the testers who managed to reach it, the account dashboard was also confusing, with no clear next steps. The first thing they see is an empty list of “transactions in progress” and an equally empty summary of their activity for the last 30 days.

At this point, many of our testers clicked on the “Send money” or “Estimate Fees” links in the navigation rather than the small “Send to someone new” button at the bottom of the screen which is the faster option to get started.

“Now that I’ve signed up, looks like I have to do this again … it would have been nice if it had remembered what I filled out before … like the destination country and the amount”

All those hurdles combined with the fact that the progress bar at the top of the screen never seems to move more than 25% of the way, signing up with MoneyGram is a lengthy and cumbersome process.

These errors also had an impact on the perceived trustworthiness of the website.

“I know that that error is in no way related to the security of this website, but still it does influence my perception… it took away some of my trust in this website to handle my money.”

Fees and amount received are clear, but most users are not aware of what they lose on the exchange rate

Unless you use the “estimate fees” form from the navigation menu, you won’t know how much your transfer will cost until after you signed up with MoneyGram, as the homepage doesn’t include a transfer calculator.

After selecting the receiving country, the payment and delivery options, as well as the amount of the transfer, users can clearly see the fees they will have to pay, along with the amount received by the recipient in the local currency. No indication at all is made about the margin taken on the mid-market exchange rate, which usually accounts for more than half of the cost of the transfer.


MoneyGram’s clear value proposition is their agent of network locations (the second largest in the world after Western Union), but when it comes to sending money online to a bank account in another country, MoneyGram’s service has its shortcomings.

“There was that issue with the signing-up that took way too long, the overall experience would be 5/10”

“It’s a mostly easy website to use, I would give it a 7/10 or 8/10, the colors are nice, the flow is quite intuitive, but I also had two errors which I meant I was unable to proceed.”

Some users were more forgiving than others of the small quirks they encountered when rating MoneyGram at the end of the test:

“I would say, 10/10, because it was really easy to understand everything, so I didn’t have any doubt apart from the registration, but I think it was my fault.”

“That was very very easy, it’s as easy as sending money with PayPal as far as I can tell…”

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Get the tear-down of the user experience of MoneyGram and 9 other leading online money transfer companies in our full report, to be published in the coming weeks:


Read the full report for free

We would like to thank Userbrain for providing us with the panel of testers for this analysis of MoneyGram’s british website. If you want to start testing your website and get a constant stream of feedbacks, give UserBrain a try!