Comparing Western Union and MoneyGram in Canada

Piyush Singh

Western Union® and MoneyGram® are both common money transfer services, letting you send international transfers online or in person. In this article, we’ll take a look at MoneyGram vs Western Union in Canada, including a comparison of transfer limits and exchange rate fees.

We’ll also take a look at Wise as your global transfer alternative. Send money across the world at the mid-market exchange rate. No hidden fees, no stress!


Table of contents

Key features of MoneyGram and Western Union in Canada

MoneyGram’s services in Canada

MoneyGram offers a range of services for Canadians to send and receive money across the world. You can send your money through a local agent or using MoneyGram’s online banking services.

Use MoneyGram Canada to:

  • send cash at over 4500 MoneyGram locations¹
  • send and receive money in your MoneyGram mobile wallet
  • access deals and discounts when you sign up for an account

Your recipient should receive their MoneyGram payment almost immediately, helping you send quick and convenient transfers abroad.²

Western Union’s services in Canada

As one of the largest worldwide money transfer services, Western Union specializes in cross-border and cross-currency transactions.

You can use Western Union to:

  • access cash pickup at more than 2500 locations in Canada
  • move money from Canada to more than 200 countries
  • track your money in real-time³

You can pay for your transaction by bank transfer, credit card, debit card, or cash.⁴

Comparing the two services in Canada

Countries covered

You can use both Western Union and MoneyGram to send your money to over 200 countries, with multiple convenient transfer methods for Canadian customers.⁵

Currencies allowed

Both Western Union and MoneyGram support multiple currencies. You can send money in 130 currencies with Western Union Canada.⁶

In comparison, MoneyGram supports around 50 currencies⁵, with cash pick-up in 45 currencies at locations across Canada.⁷

Transfer Limits

For both Western Union and MoneyGram, your transfer limits may depend on how you send your money – and which currency your recipient needs to receive.

For example, you can send up to 5000 CAD to the US with Western Union.⁸ In comparison, you can send up to 990 CAD online through MoneyGram.¹⁰

Sending and receiving options

You can use Western Union to send money online or via your mobile app. If you’re receiving money from Western Union, access your money directly in your bank account or via cash pickup.

Use MoneyGram to send money to your recipient’s bank account or mobile wallet. You can also use a MoneyGram agent to send cash abroad, with over 4500 locations across Canada. If you want to send an Interac® e-Transfer, you can use MoneyGram to deliver your funds, including instant pickup.¹¹


Western Union transfer fees depend on how much money you send – and how you send it. For example, you’ll experience a different fee for sending money online, compared to an in-person agent.

Your fee may change without notice – so make sure to double-check before you transfer your money.⁸

Similar to Western Union, MoneyGram makes money from transfer fees. These fees vary depending on your transfer amount, payment type, delivery method, and pickup location.⁹

Exchange rates

You may be charged for sending your money abroad, including an exchange rate fee. Many money transfer services add a margin to the standard mid-market rate. This is how they make their money – but it can add a sizeable charge to your transfer.

The Western Union currency exchange rate depends on when you send your transfer – and the rate changes constantly.

Western Union has stated that they earn a revenue from the difference in the exchange rate provided to them vs the exchange rate provided to you.³ Check out Wise to make the most of your money.

MoneyGram also charges an exchange rate varying with each currency, for their international transfers.

If your recipient receives their money in a currency other than CAD, you may also pay a currency conversion fee either upfront or in the form of an expensive exchange rate.

Moneygram mentions that they may make money from the currency exchange.2 Looking for a better solution? Check out Wise’s exchange rate.

Let’s take a look at a few popular currency exchange rates for MoneyGram vs Western Union, as seen on 22 December 2023 at 05:18 EST.

CurrencyMoneyGram exchange rate14Western Union exchange rate15
USD1 CAD = 0.74 USD1 CAD = 0.735 USD
EUR1 CAD = 0.67 EUR1 CAD = 0.66 EUR
PHP1 CAD = 41.24 PHP1 CAD = 41.91 PHP
CNY1 CAD = 5.28 CNY1 CAD = 5.26 CNY
GBP1 CAD = 0.57 GBP1 CAD = 0.57 GBP
INR1 CAD = 61.58 INR1 CAD = 62.99 INR

Make the most of your money with Wise

You’ll always know exactly how much you’re spending with Wise!

Use your Wise to:

  • send money at a mid-market rate – for every transfer
  • hold 40+ currencies including CAD, USD, EUR, GBP, and AUD with the Wise Account.
  • send money to 70+ countries
  • receive transfers in 9 currencies

Avoid exchange rate fees or hidden transaction rates – and transfer your money across the world at the touch of a button.

Let’s take a closer look at Western Union vs MoneyGram vs Wise in Canada

Key FeaturesMoneyGramWestern UnionWise
Countries200+ countries200+ countriesSend money to 80 countries
Currencies50 currencies130+ currenciesHold money in 40+ currencies

Receive money in 9 currencies

Transfer limitsUp to 990 CAD (online transfer)Up to 5000 CAD to USUp to 9,500 CAD per day
FeesDisplayed when transaction is about to be madeDisplayed when transaction is about to be madeNo hidden transfer fees - displayed upfront
Exchange RateEarns a revenue from currency exchangeEarns a revenue from currency exchangeStandard mid-market exchange rate
Online transfer/Cash pickupOnline transfer and cash pickup options - 4500+ local agentsOnline transfer and cash pickup options - 2500+ local agentsOnline transfer options
Transfer speedWithin a few hours - restrictions may apply²Within minutes - restrictions may apply³It can depend on the country, currency, payment method, and when you send your transfer
Customer SatisfactionTrustpilot: 4.512Trustpilot: 413Trustpilot: 4.216


Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

Final verdict

Choosing between Western Union or MoneyGram depends on what you need from your transfer service. There are a few key differences between MoneyGram and Western Union:

  • You can transfer in 130+ currencies with Western Union, compared to 50 with MoneyGram
  • Both MoneyGram and Western Union offer online and cash pickup options – but there are more in-person MoneyGram agents in Canada
  • You can send up to 5000 CAD to the US with Western Union, compared to 990 CAD with MoneyGram

Wise is your handy international alternative. Use Wise to transfer your money across the globe at no extra cost – with transparency assured for every transaction.

To start exploring your international spending options, check out Wise.

  1. Scrape Hero
  2. MoneyGram
  3. Western Union
  4. Western Union
  5. Finder
  6. Finder
  7. Finder
  8. Western Union
  9. MoneyGram
  10. MoneyGram
  11. Interac
  12. Trustpilot
  13. Trustpilot
  14. Moneygram rates and fees calculator
  15. Western Union - Send Money estimate details
  16. Trustpilot - Wise

Sources verified on 22 December 2023

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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