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Updated on Thursday, March 14, 2019
MoneyGram is a widely-used money transfer service, and in our review, we found that it stacks up well against the competition in some areas, and not so great in others. If you’re looking for a way to send or receive money quickly, MoneyGram is certainly convenient and hard to beat — but if you’re looking for the most affordable option to send money, however, MoneyGram probably won’t make you happy.
The company traces its roots back to 1940, with the founding of Travelers Express Co., based in Minneapolis. Travelers Express went on to become one of the world’s largest processors of money orders and a key player in the electronic payments industry.
In 1998, Viad Corp (the parent company of Travelers Express) purchased a company known as MoneyGram Payment Systems Inc. MoneyGram Payment Systems itself had originally been founded a decade earlier in 1988. The acquisition lead the way for MoneyGram to become a globally recognized and well-trusted brand in the money transfer industry.
Keep reading for our full takeaway on MoneyGram.
MoneyGram key features
Large network: MoneyGram’s sizable international transfer network makes it more convenient to send money to friends and family members around the world.
Multiple ways to send and receive money: One area where MoneyGram stands out from competitors is in how many options the service has available to send and receive money. You can send money online, from MoneyGram’s mobile app (see below for details), or in person at a MoneyGram location. You can pay for your transfer in cash, with a bank account transfer, via credit card or debit card. Depending upon where your recipient is located, he or she may be able to receive the funds in a bank account, on a mobile wallet, or by picking up cash at one of the locations.
International and domestic money transfer capability: This service allows you to send money within the United States and abroad. That option isn’t available with all money transfer providers.
There’s an app for that: MoneyGram has launched a mobile app in the United States and 14 additional countries. The app makes it easier for customers to send and receive money from their smartphone or tablet.
Membership program: MoneyGram Plus Rewards is a membership program which rewards you every time you send money. The program offers you the opportunity to enjoy benefits such as:
- 20% off the fee of your second money transfer
- 40% off the fee after every fifth money transfer
- Special “member-only” promotional offers
- Premier status (after your fifth money transfer) with even more benefits
Sending a money transfer with MoneyGram
|How long does a transfer take? ||Many transfers may arrive in minutes, even to many international locations, but it varies. The actual time by which funds are available will depend on operating hours, regulatory requirements, destination and other factors, the company says.
|Where can you send money?||Money can be sent to 350,000 agent locations in more than 200 countries and territories around the globe (including over 30,000 locations in the United States).
|How much can you send?||For online transfers, send up to $6,000 for most countries per transfer. There is also a $6,000 maximum per every 30 calendar days.
*If you need to send more money, you may send additional funds in person from a MoneyGram agent location.
MoneyGram has numerous options for sending money, both in the United States and abroad. This makes it easier to find the solution which best fits your needs.
Sending money online
- Step one: Set up your online account
Provide your name, email address, mobile phone number, and address.
- Step two: Select your receiver
Provide MoneyGram with information about who you’re sending money to, the country where he/she is located, how your recipient wishes to receive the money, and how much you want to send.
- Step three: Choose how to pay
Select from payment options such as your credit card, debit card, or your bank account itself.
- Step four: Review the details of your transfer and send
Sending money in person
- Step one: Find a location
MoneyGram provides a location lookup tool online.
- Step two: Bring your information
Provide MoneyGram with information about your recipient, including name (which matches his or her I.D.) and location. Be sure to bring your I.D., and be prepared to provide your full name to the MoneyGram agent as well.
- Step three: Give the agent your money
Bring the cash you want to send (plus fees) to provide your MoneyGram agent.
- Step four: Review the details of your transfer and send
Transfering money to international bank accounts
- You can send money to an international bank account either online or in person. Just follow the appropriate steps above, based upon how you will be sending the funds.
Sending money to a mobile wallet
- Step one: Select a recipient
If you’re sending money online or via the MoneyGram app, choose who you are sending money to, how much you wish to send, and provide the recipient’s mobile number (including international dial code for transfers outside of the United States). You may also send money to a mobile wallet in person at a MoneyGram location — just remember to bring your receiver’s information, including mobile number and international dial code. It is also worth noting that mobile wallet transfers may only be available in certain countries, so make sure you confirm that it can be used where you’re sending your money.
- Step two: Choose “Account Deposit” as the receive option
- Step three: Enter the amount you wish to send.
- Step four: Select your payment option
You can choose from credit card, debit card, or bank account.
- Step five: Verify your identity
- Step six: Review the details of your transfer and send
Fees and fine print
MoneyGram transfers are often convenient, though that convenience can come at a hefty price.
Moneygram fees may vary widely based upon where you’re sending money, how much you’re sending, and how you’re paying. Fees are generally lower if you use a bank account to transfer funds (U.S. checking accounts only). If you pay with your debit or credit card, fees will be higher. MoneyGram does allow you to estimate fees in advance to see how much a transfer will cost.
In an estimate using MoneyGram’s Estimate Fees feature, a $1,000 transfer to Ontario, Canada, was estimated to cost $19.99 if sending funds through an online bank account, $61 if sending cash from a MoneyGram location, or $95 if using your credit or debit card.
When compared with other competitors, the cost of sending funds through MoneyGram is often higher and may include additional transfer fees.
|Fees and Penalties
|Transfers Within the United States:||Fees will vary based upon the payment method you’re using to send funds. If you are using a credit card or debit card to pay for a transfer, expect higher fees. You can use the “Estimate Fees” tool to get exact pricing for your domestic money transfer.
|International Transfer Rates:||Once again, MoneyGram fees for international transfers can vary based upon a variety of factors, including how you will sending the money and where you will be sending it. You can use the “Estimate Fees” tool to get exact pricing for your domestic money transfer.
Alternative money transfer options
Want to compare other options? Here are a few alternative money transfer services to consider.
- Where can you send money? Send money to over 190 countries in 55 different currencies. (Transfers within the United States are not available.)
- How long does a transfer take? Transfers generally take 1 to 4 business days. Times vary based upon the country where you are transferring funds.
- How much can you send? Unlike many online marketplaces, OFX does not have a maximum limit on the amount you can transfer. (Certain currencies may be subject to limits due to government regulations.)
- Fee to send money: OFX does not charge any transfer fees, but makes its money by charging you a markup on the foreign exchange rate. These markups (also called margins) are often less than 1% with OFX. By contrast, banks often charge you as much as 5% on your foreign exchange transfers, with extra fees added on top of that. However, some online competitors might still beat OFX prices depending upon where and how you’re sending money. It’s smart to estimate and compare fees from a number of websites to try to get the best deal available.
The best perk which OFX has to offer is the ability to save money on many transactions. If cost is your primary concern, OFX may be a good choice.
- Where can you send money? You can send money to more than 200 countries and territories worldwide through Western Union’s network of over 500,000 agent locations.
- How long does a transfer take? Send and receive money in minutes in 130 currencies to over 200 countries and territories. (Factors like the service selected, destination country, regulatory issues, etc. may impact delivery time.)
- How much can you send? The maximum amount you can send can vary based upon several factors. These include your Western Union transaction history, the country where your recipient is based, your country and state, and the service selected. Based upon these factors, limits may range from $300 per money transfer to $10,000 per transaction.
- Fee to send money: Despite the convenience it offers, Western Union may not be the most affordable way to send money internationally. Compared with competitors, exchange rate fees may sometimes be higher and you may be faced with transfer fees as well (though it really depends upon where you’re sending money and how you’re sending it). You can estimate the cost of sending money using Western Union’s online fee calculator — your best bet is always to estimate fees from a few competitors to see who will give you the best price.
Western Union stands out for its convenience and speed. With over 500,000 agent locations worldwide, it may be easier to find a place to send or receive money with Western Union versus another provider.
Is MoneyGram a good money transfer service to use?
Although MoneyGram can sometimes be a bit pricey, it is still a decent money transfer option. The conveniently large number of locations and the potential for fast, same-day transactions can be helpful if you need to send or receive money in a hurry. MoneyGram also shines for people who need to send or receive cash without using a bank account or debit/credit card as part of the process.
If you’re not in a rush, however, an alternative option might be available at a lower cost. Because money transfer fees vary so widely based upon where you’re sending money and how you’re sending it, your best bet is to estimate and compare fees first. You can estimate fees with MoneyGram plus one or more competitors to see who will offer you the best deal for your specific situation.