Sending money across countries is a common practice among a lot of people, including expats. Whether it’s to support their dear families, lend a hand to...
Need to send money overseas? There are lots of ways to do it, including using your bank. But for a faster, more convenient and cheaper way to make an international payment, there could be a better way.
Online money transfer services such as MoneyGram are becoming increasingly popular. They let you set up and send transfers online, to hundreds of locations all over the world. But are they the right choice for you?
In this guide, we’ll be taking a close look at what MoneyGram has to offer. This includes how it works and how much it costs, as well as anything else you need to know.
Don’t forget though that there are plenty of alternatives available. For example, you can send money worldwide with Wise for low fees and fair exchange rates. And for some transfers, it could work out cheaper than using similar providers like MoneyGram.
But for now, let’s focus on MoneyGram.
MoneyGram is a US-based money transfer company, which provides its services to users all over the world. In fact, it claims to have around 150 million customers.¹
It started life as Travelers Express over 80 years ago, but officially became MoneyGram International in 1998.¹
With MoneyGram, you can send money online, in the mobile app or even in person at one of over 380,000 physical locations.¹
Payments can be sent to your recipient’s bank account, or they can collect in cash (depending on the country you’re sending to).
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.
Ready to send your first transfer? Here’s a step-by-step guide to sending money online with MoneyGram:²
- Go to the MoneyGram website, and register or login to your account
- Enter the details of your recipient
- Enter the amount you want to send
- Choose a delivery method (e.g. bank transfer or cash collection)
- Choose how you want to pay for your transfer (e.g. debit card)
- Check the details, fees and exchange rate - and hit ‘send’.
The process is similar in the mobile app. But if you want to send money in person at a MoneyGram location, you’ll need to bring a form of ID with you as well as the cash for the transfer.³
It all depends on where you’re sending to and from, as well as the payment and delivery methods you choose. But MoneyGram claims that many transfers can arrive in a matter of minutes.²
MoneyGram gives you a choice of ways to pay for your transfer, and for your recipient to receive it. These vary from country to country.
When sending from the UK, you’ll have a choice of these payment methods:
- Debit card
- Credit card
- Bank account
- Cash at an agent location.
Your recipient can have their money deposited in their bank account, or they can collect it from an agent location in cash (if available in their country).
In some locations, you can send money directly to your recipient’s debit card or mobile wallet account. There’s even the option for home delivery in cash in a limited number of countries.
When using MoneyGram in the UK, you can send to over 200 countries and territories worldwide.⁴
The company doesn’t show on its website how many currencies it supports, although all major currencies are covered. You can check whether a particular country or currency is supported using the fee calculator tool on the MoneyGram website.
Now we come to the important part, looking at how much MoneyGram charges in international transfer fees.
There is no set charge per transaction with MoneyGram. Instead, it charges varied fees according to the method of transfer used, the amount and the destination. In some cases, there may be no upfront fee to pay.
As a general rule though, transferring directly from your bank is usually cheaper than by credit card or in cash through an agent.
Alongside the transfer fee, it’s just as important to check the exchange rate you’re offered when sending money overseas. In fact, it could be the most critical thing to look at.
This is because 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 the fairest rate 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.
So as you can see, it’s all about that exchange rate. In this example, Wise is the cheaper option even when MoneyGram doesn’t charge an upfront fee. Your money goes further and your recipient gets more when you get a better exchange rate, as less is lost in currency conversion.
MoneyGram does have limits covering how much you can send at once, or within a set period.
However, it doesn’t make these publicly available as they’re subject to change, so you’ll need to check within your MoneyGram account for more information.
MoneyGram takes security seriously, so it’s safe to use provided you follow their fraud awareness guidance.
The company monitors transactions and carries out identity verification checks for customer accounts, which keeps your money and your data more secure.
- MoneyGram - About MoneyGram
- MoneyGram - Send Online
- MoneyGram - Send at a location
- MoneyGram - FAQ - Sending Money
- 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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