What Is MoneyGram? Fees, Pros & Cons, Alternatives + More

Adam Rozsa
26.01.22
6 minute read

MoneyGram¹ is the second-largest money transfer company in the world, offering money transfer services, bill payments, and a range of corporate products and services. You can send money with MoneyGram online, in-app, or via an agent, and pay by cash, wire transfer, debit or credit card. Payments can be sent to your recipient’s bank account or mobile wallet, or arranged for cash collection.

MoneyGram has convenient cash collection payments globally - but if you’re sending a payment from the United States to a bank account abroad, they may not be the cheapest option. To help you save money, we’ll also introduce Wise for international transfers which use the mid-market exchange rate with no hidden costs, and low transparent fees.

Get a free Wise account today

📝 Table of contents

what-is-moneygram

MoneyGram: Pros & Cons

Let’s start with a quick review of some of the advantages and disadvantages of using MoneyGram to send payments overseas. Read on for all you need to know including - what is MoneyGram, and how does it work, what is MoneyGram used for and what does a MoneyGram international transfer cost?

ProsCons
  • 200+ countries and territories covered
  • 400,000 agents globally
  • Send money online, in-app or in person
  • Exchange rate markups apply¹
  • Fees vary based on destination, payout method and transfer value
  • Not all services are available in all destinations
  • May not be the cheapest option

How do I use MoneyGram?

On to the big question: how does MoneyGram work?

For international payments, MoneyGram offers several options:

  • Send money online
  • Send money on the MoneyGram app
  • Send in person at an agent location
  • Start the transfer in the app and pay at an agent location

You’ll be able to send payments to your recipient’s bank account or mobile wallet, or have them collect the money at an agent near them. There are some 400,000 MoneyGram agents around the world, making this a convenient service if you’re sending for cash collection. In the US, you can also use MoneyGram to pay bills and send money to an inmate. The fees and exchange rates you’ll be offered do depend on the type of payment you’re making, as well as the value and destination country.

The easiest way to send a MoneyGram payment is through their online and in-app service. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Register a new account or log in if you’ve used the service before
  • If you’re sending to someone new, you’ll need to enter their details - if it’s a repeat payment, you can select the recipient from within your account
  • Enter how much you want to send or how much you want the recipient to get in the end
  • Confirm the payment method, and how you want the recipient to get the money
  • Check over the exchange rate and fees which are shown on screen
  • Pay with your credit or debit card, or using a bank transfer

If you’re sending money to a bank or mobile wallet account, the recipient won’t need to do anything. The money simply gets deposited once the payment is processed. If you want your recipient to collect their money in cash, you’ll need to give them a transaction number for security. They can then take this along with their government issued ID to an agent near them to collect their cash payment.

💡 MoneyGram also offers some corporate services including payment processing and billing, and international money orders. Learn more about MoneyGram international money orders with this full guide.

How much does it cost to send money via MoneyGram?

MoneyGram fees vary based on where you’re sending money to, how you pay, and how you want your recipient to get the money in the end.

MoneyGram fees can include:

  • Transfer fee
  • Exchange rate markup¹
  • Third party charges³

The transfer fee is easy to see before you confirm your MoneyGram payment. This is often the smallest charge, although it’ll vary depending on whether you pay by bank transfer, card or cash. Credit card payments might be the costliest.

The exchange rate markup may be usually trickier to spot, and could be the highest cost you pay overall. MoneyGram adds a markup¹ - an extra fee - to the rates applied, and the exact cost may depend on how you arrange your payment. To see the fee being used here, you’ll need to compare the MoneyGram exchange rate against the mid-market exchange rate for your currency. The difference is the markup.

Finally, third party charges may apply³. These don't go to MoneyGram, but you’ll pay them nonetheless. Credit card cash advances are a common third party fee, although you may also have to pay a fee to your bank if you fund your payment with a bank transfer.

Since fees can vary greatly when sending money with MoneyGram, it’s best to see how much you have to pay with this calculator – you might save money with Wise:

The true cost of sending USD to EUR

Send money overseas with Wise – and save up to 6x

If you need to send a payment overseas, and want it to be deposited into your recipient’s bank account, MoneyGram may not be the cheapest option. Check out Wise for international transfers which use the mid-market exchange rate with no hidden costs, and low transparent fees, all transfers online.

Set up your Wise transfer online or in the Wise app, without ever needing to leave your home. You’ll see the full costs of sending money, and how much your recipient will get in the end. Transfers are secure and can arrive instantly on major currency routes.

If you send and receive international payments often, you can also benefit from the Wise account. Open your account in just a few minutes to hold and exchange 50+ currencies, and send payments to 80+ countries.

It’s fast, it’s safe, and it can save you 6x compared to using a normal bank.

Open a Wise account in minutes

what-is-moneygram

Can you get scammed with MoneyGram?

While convenience and cost are important when sending money, the key question for many people will always be: can you trust MoneyGram services?

MoneyGram is a safe service to send money. However, you’ll need to use it within MoneyGram’s own guidelines, which includes only ever sending money to people you know and trust. That’s because services which send cash for collection are often targeted by scammers and criminals looking to take advantage of vulnerable people. As cash payments can be available almost instantly, by the time you realize you’ve fallen victim to fraud it may be too late. Once money has been collected, it’s hard to trace, and you may never get your payment back.

MoneyGram offers a range of advice to customers to help them stay safe. This includes giving details of common consumer scams which you’ll want to avoid. You can learn more about known scams, and keep up to date with ways to stay secure when sending MoneyGram payments, online².

what-is-moneygram

MoneyGram vs. Other providers

If you’re unsure about whether or not to use MoneyGram to send a payment, it makes sense to compare their service with a few other providers. Here’s a quick summary of MoneyGram compared with some other major international transfer services to help you decide.

How much?How fast?What’s the maximum amount?
MoneyGram

Fees vary based on destination, payout method and payment value

Exchange rates include a markup

Cash collection transfers are instant

Payments to bank accounts can take several days

Daily, weekly, monthly and yearly limits apply. These vary based on the market, and in response to legal and security needs
WiseMid-market exchange rate and low, transparent feesPayments may be instant - most delivered within 24 hoursLimits based on currency - default is the currency equivalent of 1 million GBP
Western Union

Fees vary based on destination, payout method and payment value

Exchange rates include a markup

Cash collection transfers are instant

Payments to bank accounts can take several days

Payments vary by location, transaction history, and the service you select
Xoom

Fees vary based on destination, payout method and payment value

Exchange rates include a markup

Cash collection transfers are instant

Payments to bank accounts can take several days

24 hour, 30 day and 180 day limits apply. Limits based on your account tier and the payout method you select

Bottom line

MoneyGram has a great range of services including payouts to mobile wallets and for cash collection at hundreds of thousands of agents globally. You can get money to more or less every country in the world, with cash payments arriving instantly or in just a few minutes. That makes this a great option if you need to get cash quickly to someone on the other side of the world.

However, when it comes to payments which are being sent to a bank account directly, MoneyGram may not be your cheapest or fastest option. You might be better off with Wise and the Wise account for international transfers which use the mid-market exchange rate with no hidden costs, and low transparent fees.

At the end of the day, whether MoneyGram is right for you will depend on the specific transfer you need to make. Use this guide to how MoneyGram works, and all the information provided about MoneyGram’s fees, exchange rates and services, to help decide if they’re right for you.


Sources:

1]MoneyGram US homepage
2]MoneyGram fraud prevention
3]MoneyGram Terms & Conditions

All sources checked on 25 January 2022


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 TransferWise 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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