How to send money with MoneyGram: exchange rates, fees and alternatives

Zorica Lončar

If you want to send money to friends and family overseas, or perhaps make international business payments, there are better options than using your bank.

Online money transfer services like MoneyGram are growing in popularity. MoneyGram offers a quick, easy and relatively affordable way to send international transfers to 200+ countries.¹ But how exactly does it work?

In this guide, we’ll run through how to send money with MoneyGram. This includes how to sign up and the steps to make your first transfer. And of course, how much it’ll cost you in fees.

We’ll also take a quick look at MoneyGram alternatives, including Wise.

How to send money with MoneyGram - a step-by-step guide

There are several ways you can send international payments with MoneyGram, including:

  • Online at at the MoneyGram website
  • Via the MoneyGram mobile app
  • Send in person at an agent location.
  • Start the transfer in the app and pay at an agent location.

The first thing you’ll need to do is sign up for a MoneyGram account. It’s free, and should only take a few minutes. You can do it online, or by downloading the MoneyGram app for Apple or Android.

Sending money online

To send a transfer online at the MoneyGram website, follow these steps:²

  1. Register or login to your account
  2. Enter the details of your recipient
  3. Enter the amount you want to send
  4. Choose a delivery method (e.g. bank transfer or cash collection)
  5. Choose how you want to pay for your transfer (e.g. debit card)
  6. Check the details, fees and exchange rate - and hit ‘send’.

Sending money in the MoneyGram app

Prefer to send money on the move with the MoneyGram mobile app? Here’s how to do it:³

  1. Download the MoneyGram Online Money Transfer app from Google Play or the App Store.
  2. Create a profile or log in. If you’re registering a new account, you’ll need to enter some details to verify your identity.
  3. Enter your recipient’s details and the amount you want to send.
  4. Choose a payment and delivery method.
  5. Check the details and send.

Sending money in person

A third option with MoneyGram is to send money in person at a MoneyGram agent location. You can find your nearest here. There are a couple of ways you can do this:

  1. Visit your nearest MoneyGram location, taking along your ID and the money you want to send.⁴
  2. Set up your transfer online or in the app, then visit your selected MoneyGram transfer location in person to pay in cash. You’ll need to do this within 24 hours of setting up the transfer online, and remember to take your photo ID along with you.⁵

Fees and exchange rates

Now we come to the critical question - how much does it cost to send international transfers with MoneyGram? There are two main things you need to take into account. These are the upfront transfer fee, and the exchange rate.

Transfer fees

MoneyGram does charge transfer fees, but the amount can vary. It charges varied fees according to the method of transfer used, the amount and the destination. Although in some cases, there may be no upfront fee to pay.

As a general rule, transferring directly from your bank tends to be cheaper than by credit card or in cash through an agent.

Exchange rates

As well as the upfront fee, it’s just as important to check the exchange rate you’re being offered. This can make a big difference to how much your transfer costs overall.

Some providers add a markup or margin to something called the mid-market exchange rate. Also called the interbank rate, this is generally considered to be one of the fairest rates you can get.

MoneyGram is likely to add such a margin to the exchange rate when converting currency for your transfer. This could make it more expensive, even if there’s a low upfront transfer fee.

To give you an idea of the difference this can make, let’s run a quick hypothetical transfer.

Let’s imagine you want to send £500 in GBP to a friend in France (EUR). Here’s how much it’ll cost with MoneyGram compared to Wise, which only ever uses the mid-market rate with no margins added on top.

ProviderTransfer feeExchange rateRecipient receives
MoneyGram⁵£01.12345€561.73 EUR
Wise£2.35 (bank payment)1.15241 - the mid-market rate€573.50 EUR

Correct as of 26th May 2023

So as you can see, with Wise your recipient will get more money on the other side - even though MoneyGram charges no transfer fee.

Ultimately, your money goes further when you get a better exchange rate, as less is lost in currency conversion.

Join Wise today

Please see the Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise fees & pricing for the most up-to-date information on pricing and fees.

How long do MoneyGram transfers take?

Once you’ve sent your money on its way, you’ll naturally want to know how long it’ll take to reach your recipient.

MoneyGram says that many transfers sent from the UK to overseas bank accounts arrive within a few hours. In some cases, it can take just minutes. For some locations though, your payment could arrive the next day.¹

Alternatives to MoneyGram

Of course, MoneyGram isn’t the only international transfer service around. There are lots of alternatives to choose from, including Western Union, Remitly, OFX and Xoom.

For consistently low fees and margin-free exchange rates, Wisecould be the best choice. It’s quick and easy to open a Wise multi-currency account online, and from there you can send money worldwide in just a few clicks.

There’s also the handy Wise app for managing and tracking transfers on the move.

And that’s pretty much it - everything you need to know about sending international transfers with MoneyGram.

It’s easy and convenient to use, with a huge global reach. It could be great value too, if you can get a fee-free transfer. Just make sure to compare the exchange rate you’re offered with other providers, so you can see if you’re getting the best deal.

Sources used:

  1. MoneyGram - FAQ - Sending Money
  2. MoneyGram - Send Online
  3. MoneyGram - Money Transfer App
  4. MoneyGram - Send at a location
  5. MoneyGram - Start online, pay with cash
  6. Wise - Send Money

Sources last checked on date: 27-Apr-2023

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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