Western Union versus MoneyGram
Western Union versus MoneyGram . Which one is the solution for you and your money transfer needs? Which option should you choose if you need to send or receive money internationally? Check out our comparison of the pros and cons of each money transfer service.
Our recommendation: Western Union is a better deal
Western Union is one of the world’s most recognized and largest worldwide money transfer companies in the industry best known for their cash pay-in and payout options. They have over 550,000 agent locations across 200 countries and territories globally. They also offer online money transfers.
MoneyGram is the second-largest money transfer company (Western Union has the number one spot). It enables customers to send and receive cash at over 350,000 agent locations across over 200 countries and territories.
Both money transfer companies are excellent choices, but in general, Western Union is the better option because they have more competitive prices, are easier to use, have more locations and rank higher in terms of customer satisfaction and user experience.
Western Union VS MoneyGram
Western Union wins the comparison with a score of 7.1/10 versus 3.5/10 for MoneyGram.
What we like about Western Union
An enormous network of agent locations (over 550,000) across the world that enable cash pickup, and the ability to send and receive money in over 200 countries
Money can be sent both through several channels, including at Western Union agent locations, on its website, mobile app, or over the phone
Wide variety of services available for consumers and businesses
What we dislike about Western Union
Sending to certain countries or sending cash at an agent location can be expensive
Not all channels are available in every country
Exchange rate margins are not transparent
What we like about MoneyGram
Large network of agent locations in the world, allowing cash to be sent and received in 200 countries
Flexible: Money transfers can be received in cash but also in bank accounts and on mobile wallets
Most transactions settle instantly, which makes MoneyGram a good choice for urgent transfers
What we dislike about MoneyGram
Outside the US and Canada, you can only pay with a debit or credit card, or in cash at an agent location.
More expensive than specialized online providers on average
Highly variable fees
Detailed breakdown of our comparison between Western Union & MoneyGram
With a score of 6.6/10, Western Union has a more competitive pricing than MoneyGram.
Western Union received a better score (5.8/10) than MoneyGram in our "ease of use" evaluation
Western Union scores 8.5/10 against 6.3/10 for MoneyGram for our credibility & security criteria
MoneyGram's coverage and diversity of services isn't as good as Western Union's who get a score of 9.5/10.
Western Union has a higher number of positive customer reviews than MoneyGram
We rated MoneyGram's customer support at 7/10, better than Western Union's 6.5/10 score.
Western Union wins the "transparency" competition with a score of 5/10
How Western Union & MoneyGram Services, Fees & Exchange Rates compare
How Western Union works:
Western Union is customers have the option to send and pick up money in cash, receive funds in a bank account, onto a mobile wallet or on a prepaid card. You are always able to pay with with your debit or credit card, and from some locations you can send money from our bank account via a local bank transfer, by using an online payment system (such as SOFORT, Trustly or iDEAL). Western Union also has a mobile app available in online, through Western Union’s mobile app. The also offer bill payments as well as money orders.
How MoneyGram works:
With MoneyGram, you can send money online on MoneyGram.com in over 20 countries, or through the MoneyGram app (available for both Android and iOS). In some countries, your can send money to a bank account, mobile wallet, prepaid card or delivered in cash from your debit card, credit card or bank account (US only, or in Canada via Interac online). In general, MonyGram's user experience has not been particularly high either, a reality that was also verified in our User Experience of Sending Money Online report.
Fees at Western Union vary --it depends on how much money you send, the countries you're sending money from and to, plus the pay-in and pay-out methods you choose. Paying for your transfer with a credit or debit card and receiving the money in cash is sometimes the most costly mix. Overall, picking up money at agent location usually incurs higher costs than when you send money online.
MoneyGram fees vary greatly too, depending on the amount sent, the send and receive countries, as well as the payment and receive methods. The lowest fees are available if you send money online with MoneyGram and pay via bank transfer (only available in the US and Canada); if you send to a bank account it is usually less expensive than sending money for cash pick-up. Fees at agent locations can also vary depending on which location you choose.
Western Union also takes a margin between the exchange rate they offer their customers, and the mid-market exchange rate. Overall, during out tests we found that Western Union can sometimes make up on average to 20% of its profit via exchange rate margins, though is not common. Note that exchange rates vary according to pay-in and payout methods Exchange rates are sometimes better if you send larger amounts of money.
MoneyGram takes a margin on the exchange rate., in other words, the exchange rate offered to MoneyGram customers is not as good as the real mid-market exchange rate, and MoneyGram profits from this difference (usually you pay a couple percentage points of the amount you are sending). The amount you will pay above the mid-market exchange rate can occasionally exceed 5%, which is quite high compared to other money transfer providers.
- When it comes to fees, Western Unions fluctuates so much according to pay-in and payout methods as well as country combination that it is possible that sometimes, fees may be less for a transaction compared to MoneyGram.
- In terms of exchange rates overall, Western Union is generally better is better, period. .
- Western Union also ranks better in terms of how easy it is to use their services and how happy customers are with their service
"Western Union usually offers better exchange rates and definitely offers a better customer experience"