Sending money abroad may seem like a difficult task at first, especially with so many choices available. Western Union vs MoneyGram: What are the differences?
The first thing you may want to do is to rely on a reliable money transfer comparison engine. This will help you automate the search and comparison of various remittance providers, and, therefore, help you save time and money.
Of the various available choices, Western Union and MoneyGram are two of the most well known global brands when it comes to international money transfers. In this comprehensive guide, we will compare Western Union and MoneyGram money transfer services, and present a detailed evaluation of their offerings on multiple criteria.
MoneyGram vs Western Union: Overview and company information
Western Union introduction
Western Union was originally founded in 1851 as the New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company in Rochester, New York. In 1856, the company changed its name to the Western Union Telegraph Company following a merger.
Over time, as telegraph and telegram related services became less prevalent, Western Union started focusing more and more on its money transfer business. Since 2006, Western Union solely focused on international money transfer.
Currently, Western Union is headquartered in Denver, Colorado, and is a global giant in money transfers.
Western Union fast facts and information
Founded in 1851 in Rochester, New York, United States
Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, United States
Publicly listed company (stock ticker WU)
12,000 global employees
MoneyGram was formed with the merger of Minneapolis-based Travelers Express and Denver-based Integrated Payment Systems Inc. MoneyGram later became independent before an acquisition by Travelers in 1998, and later became the MoneyGram International of today.
Headquartered in Dallas, Texas in the United States, MoneyGram has established itself as a global remittance ecosystem with a worldwide network of agents and financial companies.
MoneyGram fast facts and information
Founded in 1980 with the merger of Minneapolis-based Travelers Express and Denver-based Integrated Payment Systems Inc. in the United States
Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, United States
Publicly listed company (stock ticker MGI)
2,200 global employees
Now, we will do a head to head comparison between Western Union and MoneyGram on various criteria.
Difference between Western Union and MoneyGram
We will compare Western Union and MoneyGram on multiple parameters like corridor coverage, exchange rates and fees, transfer limits and timing of transfer, and numerous others.
For each comparison category, we will provide details of how Western Union and MoneyGram are different, and present a winner, if applicable.
Let’s dive right in!
When it comes to coverage of global countries and currencies, both Western Union and MoneyGram are worldwide players with operations in hundreds of countries.
Which countries does Western Union operate in?
Western Union operates all over the world, so you can use their services to send money from any country to another. While you can use online money transfers for many countries (like US, UK, etc.), some others (like Mexico) work through agents located throughout the country.
Western Union supports all global destinations to send money to.
Like Western Union, MoneyGram also services many countries worldwide. Almost all MoneyGram sending countries allow you to use their online platform to send money. You can also walk into an office or agent location to execute the transfer in person.
When it comes to destination countries, MoneyGram supports virtually every country to send money to.
MoneyGram vs Western Union: Who services more countries worldwide? Western Union 🏆
While both Western Union and MoneyGram allow you to send money to all countries worldwide, the support for sending countries is more robust in the case of Western Union.
Western Union 🏆 has better coverage of global countries and currencies as compared to MoneyGram.
Exchange Rates and Fees
Which is cheaper – Western Union or MoneyGram?
To compare Western Union vs MoneyGram exchange rates and fees, what better way than to test it out!
We did an online comparison between both companies to send USD 500 from the US to Mexico via a bank to bank transfer (both payment and delivery methods as a bank account). Below are the results (at the time of this writing).
For a USD 500 money transfer* from USA to Mexico, Western Union:-
Provided an exchange rate of 1 US Dollar to 20.3222 Mexican Pesos
Charged a USD 2.00 fee for the transfer
Yielded MXN 10,162.00 for the recipient
For the identical bank to bank transfer of USD 500* to Mexico from the US, MoneyGram:-
Had an exchange rate of 20.4833 Mexican Pesos to the US Dollar
Charged 0 fee for a bank to bank transfer
Provided a final payout of 10,244.00 MXN
The below table shows a side by side comparison of the above money transfer transactions.
Transaction fees come into play in a more drastic way with both companies when we choose other payment and delivery methods. For the same USD 500 transfer from the US to Mexico, we noticed the differences below.
If the transfer is paid for by a Credit Card:-
Western Union charges a transfer fee of 17.49 USD
MoneyGram charges a 20.49 USD fee
For a Debit Card payment method, the fees were as below:-
Western Union – USD 2.00 fee
MoneyGram – USD 1.99 fee
At the same time, we also compared another 1000 AUD transfer* from Australia to the Philippines, and the results were as below.
For a Debit Card to bank transfer, Western Union provided a payout of 35,787.72 PHP with an exchange rate of 1.00 AUD = 35.7877 Philippine Peso (PHP) and 2.90 AUD fees
For a Debit Card to bank transfer, MoneyGram used a 35.9200 PHP exchange rate to the Australian Dollar, 2.99 AUD fee and a final 35,919.98 PHP payout
The table below captures the above Australia to Philippines transfer comparison between Western Union and Moneygram.
Below are some additional observations for the AUD to PHP transfer.
If a Credit Card was used to pay for the transfer, Western Union charged an AUD 2.90 fee, while MoneGram charged a 17.99 AUD transfer fee
MoneyGram did not support paying for the transfer via a Bank Account, while Western Union did. If paying for the transfer with a direct bank transfer, Western Union charged 0 fee
*Exchange rates and fees as on December 25, 2021
Western Union vs MoneyGram exchange rates: which is better? MoneyGram 🏆
MoneyGram has slightly better rates than Western Union. That said, the difference in Western Union and MoneyGram exchange rates is very small, and since exchange rates fluctuate a lot, both companies are very competitive when it comes to the best rates.
Which is cheaper Western Union or MoneyGram? Western Union 🏆
When comparing Western Union vs MoneyGram fees, we found that fees are similar for Bank Account and Debit Card payment methods. However, if a Credit Card is used to pay for the transfer, Western Union fees are much lower than those of MoneyGram.
If Western Union vs MoneyGram cost is a major factor in play (for example, when sending small amounts overseas frequently), then we recommend choosing Western Union.
Overall winner for Western Union vs MoneyGram rates and fees – It’s a tie!
Western Union and MoneyGram provide similar payouts. Western Union tends to provide cheaper fees while MoneyGram generally provides better exchange rates.
Compare Western Union and MoneyGram with other providers to get the best exchange rates
Money Transfer Limits
The transfer amount limit is the maximum amount you can send via your money transfer. When comparing Western Union and MoneyGram for transfer limits, a lot depends on which countries are chosen for the transfer.
How much money can I send with Western Union?
With Western Union, the maximum amount you can send** from the United States is 50,000.00 USD, while that from Australia is 50,000.00 AUD.
Corresponding sending limits from the UK and Canada are 50,000.00 GBP and 5,000.00 CAD, respectively.
How much money can I send with MoneyGram?
MoneyGram sending limits** from Australia, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom are 10,500.00 AUD, 990.00 CAD, 18,000.00 USD, and 6,000.00 GBP, respectively.
**Sending limits as on February 05, 2022
From the above comparison, we can see that Western Union tends to provide higher transaction limits.
What’s better Western Union or MoneyGram for sending large amounts? Western Union 🏆
Western Union has higher transfer limits compared to MoneyGram for most countries, and is a winner in this category.
Choose Western Union 🏆 if you need to send large amounts in a single money transfer.
Money Transfer Speed
The speed of your money transfer depends on various factors that include the source and destination currencies, the payment and delivery method of the transfer as well as the amount sent.
Additionally, financial institution types (global, national, regional, or local) as well as bank holidays will also play a part in determining money transfer speed.
With Western Union, you can pay for your money transfer by any of the following ways.
Direct bank account transfer
Cash at a Western Union branch or agent location
Numerous regional payment methods in specific countries; for example, POLi in Australia and New Zealand, iDEAL in the Netherlands, Trustly in Sweden, and so on. Make sure to check the Western Union website or app in your country to see if your local payment methods are supported.
What payment methods does MoneyGram support?
MoneyGram also allows you to pay for your remittance in a multitude of ways. These include the below.
Direct bank transfer
Cash at a MoneyGram local office or money transfer agent location
Who has more payment methods Western Union or MoneyGram? Western Union 🏆
While MoneyGram supports the most prevalent payment methods as well, Western Union has a much more comprehensive coverage as it also supports numerous local payment methods. This gives you more choices to fund your international remittance.
Western Union 🏆 has better support for numerous payment methods, including local country-specific payment options.
Delivery Methods Available
A delivery method is how the recipient receives money sent via an international money transfer. Both Western Union and MoneyGram provide good coverage of payout options; let’s check them below.
What delivery methods does Western Union support?
Western Union permits you to use any of the following payout options for your recipient to receive the funds.
Direct bank account transfer
Cash Pickup at a Western Union branch or agent location
Mobile Wallet credit (not available in all countries)
Direct deposit to a card (not available in all countries)
What delivery methods does MoneyGram support?
MoneyGram allows your recipient to receive money with any of the following delivery options.
Direct bank transfer
Cash Pickup at a MoneyGram local office or money transfer agent location
Deposit to a debit card (not available in all countries)
Mobile Wallet credit (not available in all countries)
Who has more delivery methods Western Union or MoneyGram? It’s a tie.
Both Western Union and MoneyGram support all the popular payout options for your money transfers. This affords you and your recipient a lot of flexibility in how to receive funds.
Both Western Union and MoneyGram offer numerous choices for your recipient to receive money.
Deals, Promotions and Offers
When it comes to coupons and promotions, both Western Union and MoneyGram provide offers from time to time. These are sometimes ongoing, or seasonal around major holidays like Christmas and New Year.
Below are a couple examples of currently active Western Union and MoneyGram promotions active for RemitFinder customers.
MoneyGram is also licensed and authorized to operate in all of their target markets. As an example:-
In the US, MoneyGram is an authorized money transmitter and is licensed by the New York State Department of Financial Services (Seller License # CS0025, Foreign Transmittal License # FT89432, NMLS # 898432). Additionally, MoneyGram is also licensed by the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance ( NMLS #898432)
In the UK, MoneyGram is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (registration no. 502639) and is registered with UK Companies House (registration no. 03287157)
For its European operations, MoneyGram is registered with the National Bank of Belgium (registration no. 0671.690.653)
You can double check MoneyGram’s regulatory and licensing information for your country by looking at this info (generally available in the footer) on their website for your country.
Who is safer, Western Union or MoneyGram? It’s a tie!
Western Union and MoneyGram are trusted and well known global brands when it comes to international money transfers. It is, therefore, no surprise that both companies take security and compliance very seriously.
When it comes to security, you can trust either of them with your money.
Both Western Union and MoneyGram implement numerous security measures to keep your money and information secure.
As a consumer, you should ensure that you also follow best practices to ensure the safety and protection of your account at all times.
Customer Ratings and Reviews
Ratings and reviews are an important factor you would want to consider when choosing between Western Union and MoneyGram. Below, we present various customer ratings on both these providers.
Western Union reviews
We checked Western Union reviews^ on various platforms, and below is a summary of how customers rate their services.
Now that we have compared Western Union and MoneyGram on various important criteria, it’s time to summarize our overall findings and recommendations.
Who’s better Western Union vs MoneyGram: Summary
Both Western Union and MoneyGram have their distinct advantages when it comes to sending money abroad. In the following sections, we will capture scenarios where it may be better to use Western Union or MoneyGram.
When to use Western Union to send money?
In our analysis, we find Western Union to be strong in the below areas as compared to MoneyGram.
Western Union has a very wide coverage of global countries and currencies
Western Union is a cheaper way to send money overseas
Western Union allows sending large amounts abroad
Western Union has a comprehensive support for many local payment methods, many of which entail 0 or low fees in the local market
RemitFinder likes Western Union for charging lower fees, allowing sending higher amounts, worldwide coverage and support for local payment methods.
Due to the above strengths of Western Union money transfer, we recommend Western Union for the following scenarios.
If you send smaller amounts of money frequently, choose Western Union as they tend to have lower fees. This will help you minimize your overall fee payments over a large time period. For example, if you send a portion of your income back home on a weekly or monthly basis, Western Union could be a good choice as you will pay less in fees over several months and years.
Since Western Union generally allows sending higher amounts, it would be a good choice if you need to send more money in a single transaction.
Western Union’s comprehensive payment method support makes it an attractive choice to fund your money transfers in your local payment options. Using a local payment method (vs a credit or debit card) generally affords lower (sometimes 0) fees.
The biggest areas where MoneyGram tends to do better than Western Union are:-
better customer feedback as demonstrated by higher ratings
While the exchange rate between any two currencies fluctuates rapidly, in general, MoneyGram’s rate tends to be slightly higher than that provided by Western Union.
RemitFinder likes MoneyGram for providing better exchange rates and having better customer ratings. Keep an eye on money transfer fees to maximize payout.
That said, you would want to look at fees, where MoneyGram tends to be less cost effective than Western Union. This is important as the payout the receiver gets is calculated using the amount you send, exchange rate offered and associated fees applicable.
We recommend MoneyGram for sending money if you can utilize payment and delivery method combinations with low (or ideally 0) fees. For example, bank to bank transfers are generally free, and would be a great way to tap into MoneyGram’s generally better exchange rates.
What’s better Western Union or MoneyGram: Our Recommendation
Both Western Union and MoneyGram are globally trusted and well established remittance service providers, and there is no clear winner amongst the two. While there are certainly key differences in their service offerings, there is no major disadvantage to using one over the other.
You cannot go wrong with either Western Union and MoneyGram as both companies have very good money transfer services.
This concludes our detailed head to head comparison between Western Union and MoneyGram. We hope you have enjoyed reading and are now more aware of how to choose between these two global money transfer companies.
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