Tesco money transfer: Fees, rates and transfer times


Sending money overseas has never been easier… but in a way, it’s also never been more difficult. How are you meant to choose between the huge numbers of competing services that have sprung up to offer you a way to send your money abroad? It’s not just banks and specialist providers any more - these days you can even send money to foreign countries via your local supermarket.

That’s right: you can send money overseas from over 820 Tesco stores around the UK, thanks to their partnership with MoneyGram.¹

This article will explain how this works, as well as explaining how to be sure you get a decent deal when sending money abroad - whichever provider you choose to use.

A quick comparison between Tesco and Wise for an online transfer of 1000 GBP to an EUR bank account in France. Read on after that for the full information.

Service Tesco (via Moneygram) Wise
Fees £6.49 ⁴ £4.29From GBP to EUR the fee is: 0.35% of the GBP amount + £0.80
Exchange rate Exchange rate + possible markup ¹ The mid-market exchange rate
Supported currencies You can send money to over 200 countries ¹ Transfers to 48 currenciesTransfers from 22 currenciesMore information on the supported currencies FAQ page

Banks and money transfer providers often give you a bad exchange rate to make extra profits.

Wise is different. Its smart new technology skips hefty international transfer fees by connecting local bank accounts all around the world. Which means you can save by using Wise when you send your money abroad.

Check out how to make your first transfer with Wise. And give it a try.

Oh, and while you’re at it, check out Wise’s borderless multi-currency account. Where you can manage and send dozens of currencies all from the same account.

Now, back to what you came here to read.

How does an international transfer with Tesco work?

Tesco has a partnership with MoneyGram, which is one of the leading players in international money transfers.

Though MoneyGram offers its own online services, their partnership with Tesco connects these with actual branches of the supermarket - the same places you go for your bread, ready-meals, toothpaste, and everyday essentials.

To make such a transfer, this is what to do:

  1. Find the MoneyGram service point at your local Tesco (check there is one first - there are over 820 around the country). It’s often located at the customer service desk.³
  2. Show some ID - a driving license or passport should work well.
  3. Give details of your recipient, and specify how they want to receive the money.
  4. If you’re sending more than £800, you’ll also need to complete an extra security step. Using the transaction reference number you’ll get from Tesco you’ll need to visit id.moneygram.com, and provide them a photo of your ID. Your transfer will be on hold until you’ve done this.¹

There are 3 potential ways that your recipient can get the money, although they're not all available in all destination countries:¹

  • Cash: they simply collect cash from a MoneyGram branch near them.
  • Bank account: the money goes directly into their bank account.
  • Mobile account: the money goes into their mobile wallet.

This service from MoneyGram is reliant on you making a trip to a Tesco store near you. There’s no rule that says you have to leave the house in order to make an international money transfer, though. In fact, there are many online options that can save you not only time, but also money. Wise, for instance, offers international money transfers that aim to provide a far better deal than many competitors. All from the comfort of your own home. There are also other MoneyGram branches in the UK, which you can find here.

What are the fees when you want to transfer money overseas with Tesco?

Tesco’s website points your attention towards MoneyGram on this question,¹ so the below is an overview of fees from their site for when you make a transfer from an agent location (such as Tesco).²

Fees to consider when sending money through MoneyGram:

  • Payment Method Transfer Fee: depending on how you decide to send your money to MoneyGram - if it be via an online payment (bank transfer or credit/debit card) or by dropping the money into a service point at your local Tesco store - this fee may vary
  • Receiving Fee: how the recipient also decides to receive the money on their end also makes a difference. For instance, cash pickup may cost substantially more than a bank transfer.
  • Exchange Rate: Mid-market rate + likely markup

So what does any of the above, actually mean? We have a quick example of how the sending fees can differ on a 1000 GBP to EUR (France) transfer:

  • Option 1: Pay online and pick-up cash: 24.99 GBP
  • Option 2: Pay online and pay direct to a recipient’s bank account: 6.49 GBP
  • Option 3: Pay in-person and pick-up cash: 43.90 GBP
  • Option 4: Pay in-person and pay direct to a recipient’s bank account: 6.99 GBP

Not a great number of fees, then, but be sure to get an estimate before you commit to a transfer. All of the above-mentioned estimates are valid on 07/02/2019. As MoneyGram fees can differ please always check the official Fee Estimator⁴ on the MoneyGram site.

What are the currencies that Tesco supports?

Via MoneyGram, you can send money to over 200 countries around the world - including European destinations, the USA, Ghana, India, and Nigeria. As you’d expect, your money will arrive in any of these countries in the national currency.¹

What is the exchange rate you get with Tesco?

If you use Tesco for your money transfer, you’ll be getting the exchange rate offered by MoneyGram at its agent locations. But what exchange rate is that?

Foreign exchange rates may differ depending on the sending option”¹, according to Tesco’s webpage. So it’s impossible to give a definitive answer right now, but this does mean that the exchange rate will be different if you decide to pay in cash or online - so always check the rate before you send your money.

However, the simple fact that the exchange rates differ suggests that MoneyGram isn’t able to always offer the the mid-market rate. Also known as the interbank rate, this is an average of all the exchange rates currently in use between two currencies.

Banks use the mid-market rate to trade between themselves, but they don’t tend to pass this onto consumers - nor do most specialist money transfer providers. Instead, such providers “markup” this exchange rate whereby they charge a less favourable rate - so that they benefit slightly more from your money themselves.

Oh well that’s life, you may think. But actually, it’s perfectly possible to get an international transfer at the real mid-market rate, and know exactly what the real cost of the transfer is. For instance, Wise offers the real mid-market rate on all its transfers.

Are there any limits to the amount that you can transfer with Tesco?

The amount that you can send depends on how you choose to send your money and how you want your recipient to receive the money. As this can vary between countries and currencies you will always need to check via the Fee Estimator on the MoneyGram site.

How long does an international transfer with Tesco take?

If your recipient is picking up the money in cash, the transfer should be very fast - typically just a few minutes. To a bank account, it’ll likely take longer.¹

How can you contact Tesco about international transfers?

You have a few options:

  • For a quote or further information check out the Customer Services Desk in your local Tesco store or call 0800 026 0327.⁵
  • You could also check out the MoneyGram website⁶ for any queries about their service.

If you’re a regular at Tesco, using MoneyGram in store might be an appealing option for you - especially if you avidly collect Clubcard points, as you might be able to earn a little extra. But, do check you’re getting a good deal, once you factor in both the transfer fee and the exchange rate.

The most competitive exchange rates on offer are often to be found online these days. As mentioned above, MoneyGram offer different exchange rates depending on how you make your transfer. So if you consider using MoneyGram online, don’t be surprised if you get a different quote from the one you get from MoneyGram in a Tesco store.

So it is worth it? MoneyGram’s partnership with Tesco may create a level of convenience by allowing you to transfer money internationally in the midst of your weekly shop - but are you really getting the best deal out there? Some potential drawbacks of this service are that their fee structure may not be the most clear and you are not getting the real mid-market rate, and - you have to leave your house. There are many online options that can also save you money and offer you the real exchange rate, such as Wise, so you can rest assured there isn’t a better exchange rate just around the corner. You can even get an borderless multi-currency account too - for no monthly fee - where you can hold over 40 currencies in virtual balances to send to whoever at a time and rate that suits you.

Sources used for this article:

  1. https://www.tesco.com/international-money-transfer/
  2. http://moneygram.co.uk/faq
  3. https://www.tesco.com/store-locator/uk/
  4. https://secure.moneygram.com/mgo/gb/en/estimate
  5. https://www.ourtesco.com/imt/
  6. https://secure.moneygram.com/mgo/gb/en/
    All sources checked on 07/02/2019

*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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