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Banking

MoneyGram Money Transfer Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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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.

ProsCons
  • Speedy same-day delivery within minutes may be an option when using a debit card or credit card.
  • Wide variety of transfer options including online transfers, transfers via the app, in store transfers, and cash (in store) transfers.
  • Send money to more than 200 countries and territories with MoneyGram’s large network (30,000 locations in the U.S. and 350,000 global locations).
  • Transfer money 24/7 to a bank account online.

  • May be expensive when compared with alternative money transfer services.
  • The cost and fees for transfers will vary depending on where you’re sending the money, how much you’re sending and your method of payment. If you use a bank account (must be a U.S. checking account) to pay for your transfer, it will generally cost less; debit or credit card transfers cost more. MoneyGram does provide a tool so you can estimate fees in advance.

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.

OFX

  • 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.

Western Union

  • 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.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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Banking

Chase vs Wells Fargo

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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Chase and Wells Fargo are two of the “Big Four” banks in the U.S. along with Bank of America and Citibank. Chase and Wells Fargo both offer a full range of traditional bank products including checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), retirement products, credit cards, auto loans and home mortgages, commercial accounts and student loans. Both offer other financial services products, including brokerage services, through subsidiaries.

In this review, we’ll see how Chase and Wells Fargo compare on what really matters to customers: rates on deposit accounts, types of accounts offered and fees and fine print.

Chase vs Wells Fargo: History

Both Chase and Wells Fargo have been around at least a century, but Chase has Wells Fargo beat on this front. Chase Bank’s founding goes back to 1799 when the Bank of The Manhattan Company was founded by Aaron Burr (yep, that Aaron Burr!). After a 1955 merger, the bank was known for many years as Chase Manhattan until it merged with JP Morgan & Co. in 2000 and became known as Chase Bank. Today, Chase is a national bank headquartered in New York City with nearly 5,000 branches in 23 states.

Wells Fargo is a diversified financial services company with roots in the California gold rush. Founded in 1852, its iconic stagecoach delivered passengers, mail and even money throughout the west. Today, through a series of mergers, the bank has nearly 5,600 branches located in 40 states across the United States.

Chase vs Wells Fargo: How their rates compare

Like most full-service banks around the country, both Chase and Wells Fargo offer similar interest rates on the products consumers want the most, including checking and savings accounts and CDs. The chart below shows the rates available in comparison to those that online banks offer.

 ChaseWells FargoNational average*Online bank average*
Savings0.01% to 0.05% APY depending on account type and balance0.01% to 0.02%; Special rate of 0.90% APY for one year on balances over $25,0000.270% APY1.52% APY
Checking0.01% APY0.01% to 0% APY depending on account chosen0.192% APY0.41% APY
1-year CD0.02% to 0.10% APY depending on amount deposited0.01% APY1.322% APY2.09% APY
5-year CD0.75% to 1.01% APY depending on amount deposited0.02% APY for retirement CD. Maximum quoted term for regular CD is 39 months at 0.30% APY Contact Wells Fargo for more information. 2.236% APY2.70% APY

While “standard” interest rates between Chase and Wells Fargo are similar, Wells Fargo seems to offer more—and higher—special rates. For example, Wells Fargo offers a special rate on a 39 month CD of 0.30%. Special rates vary so check the Wells Fargo website for regular updates. This is significantly higher than the rates Chase offers for a longer term. While this is a special rate that is only good for the advertised period, if you are willing to put the money away for required time, there might be a benefit to taking advantage of it. With interest rates so low, even small differences in rates have a huge impact on earnings.

Still, neither bank really beats out online banks in terms of their rates, so you may be better off shopping for high-rate deposit accounts from some of the best online banks first.

Chase vs Wells Fargo: Which has better account options?

Both Chase and Wells Fargo offer three different checking account options. Chase offers a regular checking account plus the Premier and Sapphire accounts. The latter two options provide access to more services that Chase offers, such as free cashiers checks and money orders for Premier clients (also offered to Sapphire clients) and no fees on incoming and outgoing wire transfers or insufficient funds for those with Sapphire accounts. The checking account levels at Chase require different minimum balances or use of services to avoid monthly fees.

Wells Fargo also offers three levels of checking accounts, including regular, Preferred and Portfolio checking. Like Chase, each level of service that Wells Fargo provides requires different minimum balances or use of services to avoid the monthly fee. Preferred checking accounts offer depositors services such as account alerts for low balance, 24/7 security and access to Wells Fargo Mobile. Premier, the highest level of checking account service, provides depositors additional benefits such as a waiver of ATM fees and discounts on loan rates.

Both Chase and Wells Fargo offer savings accounts that can be linked to your checking account although there are differences in the rates the two banks offer. Both offer a full range of CDs, although Wells Fargo seems to offer depositors a fuller range of customizable CDs in terms of length of deposit and also offers higher promotional interest rates on some of these products. Based on rates alone, since services offered and fees are equal, Wells Fargo appears to be a better choice for consumers.

Chase vs Wells Fargo: How they compare on fees

 ChaseWells Fargo
Standard savings account$5 monthly fee applies unless:

-The balance at the beginning of each day is $300 or more, or
-There is at least one repeating automatic transfer of $25 or more from your personal Chase checking account or Chase Liquid® Card, or
-The account owner is under age 18, or  
-The account is linked to a Chase Premier Plus or Sapphire checking account or Chase Private Client checking
$5 monthly fee applies unless:

- The account has a $300 minimum daily balance, or
-You make an automatic transfer of $25 or more a month from a Wells Fargo checking account.  
Standard checking accountMonthly service fee of $12.

Fee can be waived if the account has $500 or more in direct deposits or a $1,500 balance at the beginning of each day, or an average beginning of day balance of $5,000 or more or is linked to qualifying Chase checking, savings or other balances.
Monthly service fee of $10.

Fee can be waived if the account has 10 or more posted debit card purchases or qualifying deposits of $500 or more or $1,500 minimum daily balance or is linked to a Wells Fargo Campus ATM or Campus Debit Card (for college students) or the primary account owner is between 17 and 24 years old.
ATM feeNo charge for Chase ATMs

$2.50 per use for non-Chase ATM in U.S. Fees waived for certain checking accounts.
No charge for Wells Fargo ATMs

$2.50 per use for non-Wells Fargo ATM. Fees waived for certain checking accounts.
Overdraft fee$34 per item for insufficient funds or returned items to a maximum of three fees per day.$35 per item, $15 per item for Teen Checking. Limit of three fees per day for consumer accounts and two for Teen Checking

The fees that Chase and Wells Fargo charge for similar banking services are essentially the same or have very small differences or slightly different ways to avoid paying the fee. This means that the two banks have essentially the same fee structure and that fees do not represent a significant factor in choosing one bank over the other. Consumers should instead base their decisions on other factors such as secondary services the bank may offer or convenience of local branches.

Who should bank with Chase?

As with any brick and mortar bank, many consumers who decide to bank with Chase do so because of convenience. Perhaps a Chase branch is located closest to your home or a branch is located in the building where you work. The basic banking services that Chase offers, including, checking and savings, as well as credit cards, loan services and commercial banking products are similar to those their competitors offer. Interest rates on those products that pay interest are very similar to their competitors, particularly to Wells Fargo. Why should you bank with Chase? Because convenience is the most important factor to you.

Who should bank with Wells Fargo?

Similarly, many consumers will decide to bank with Wells Fargo for the similar factor of convenience and because being able to walk into the bank where they do business is important to them. One additional factor seems to weigh in favor of Wells Fargo. They offer a number of promotional interest rates on savings and CD products to attract new depositors. In a time of low interest rates, the small difference in rates is significant to many depositors. When the promotional period is up, you can weigh current rates at that time to decide whether to remain a depositor or move to a different institution. Otherwise, the products offered and fees charged by Wells Fargo are comparable with their large competitors and with Chase Bank in particular.

Alternatives

If you aren’t sure a large bank is the best option for you, there are alternatives. In recent years, online banks have become more common and offer low fees and interest rates that are frequently higher than those offered by the big banks. If you aren’t committed to being able to visit a branch and are willing to conduct your business online, you can search online at MagnifyMoney.

What should you look for? While this depends on the products and services you need based on your situation, in addition to low fees and high interest rates, look for banks that offer the kind of services you want. This includes an 800 number to resolve account problems, the ability to make deposits easily using your phone and a robust website to find out about account services and resolve account questions. What doesn’t matter? Where the bank is located because all of your business is online.

*National and Online bank averages and any fees mentioned in this article were compiled and are accurate as of the date of publishing.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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Banking

How to Cancel a Check Quickly

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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Canceling a check after it’s been lost or stolen is undoubtedly a stressful situation. It can be made even more stressful by the fact that you have to act quickly once you’ve discovered a check is missing.  Requesting a stop payment order — the formal term for cancelling a check — if it hasn’t been cashed yet. These are the five steps you’ll need to take if you have to cancel a check.

How to cancel a check: Step by step

Step 1: Check to see if the check has cleared

Before you try to cancel a check, review your bank account to see if the check has been posted in your transaction history. If the check hasn’t cleared yet, you’ll need to act fast to call the bank or submit a request to stop payment online — especially if you suspect the check was stolen.

Step 2: Get the check details

Again, speediness is key when you’re trying to get a check cancelled before it’s been deposited. Before you contact your bank, you should have the following information available to you:

  • Your account number
  • The number of the check you’d like to cancel
  • The exact amount written on the check.

You may also need this information at the ready:

  • The date on the check
  • Name of the check recipient (aka the “payee”)
  • Name of the person who signed the check

Step 3: Call your bank to request to cancel the check

Before a check can be cancelled, you have to give your bank notice either orally or in writing (depending on your bank’s protocol). If you’re not sure what the best way to contact your bank is regarding check issues, try making a request online, at the branch, or by calling the phone number found on the back of your card. If the check hasn’t already been processed, you should be in luck. As soon as the bank authorizes your request, the check should be canceled immediately.

Step 4: Prepare to get hit with a fee

Cancelling a check may save you money, but it will also cost you. Most banks have fees associated with putting a stop payment on a check. Before you cancel the check you should ask your bank about fees. Here are some of the check cancelling fees associated with popular banks.

Bank fees for canceled checks
Bank of America$30

Waived for: Customers with Advantage Relationship Banking, Advantage with Tiered Interest Checking, Advantage Regular Checking accounts and Preferred Rewards.
Chase$25 if paid online or by automated telephone banking.
$30 if paid during a customer service call or at branch.

Waived for: customers with Chase Sapphire Checking.
Citibank$30

Waived for: Customers with Citigold and Citi Priority accounts and Private Bank clients.
Capital One$25


TD Bank$30

Waived for: customers with TD Relationship Checking & Savings, TD Premier Checking, Private Tiered Checking and Private High Yield Savings accounts.
Ally$15
Wells Fargo$31
PNC$33

Waived for: customers with Performance Select Checking.
U.S. Bank$35 for general customers.
$20 for Premium and Platinum Checking customers.
$0 for members of the military.

If you need to cancel multiple checks, some banks (such as Navy Federal Credit Union and Pentagon Federal Credit Union) may give you a discount. Stoping payment on multiple checks at once may not cost much more than the first cancellation.

Step 5: Check the fine print

Do note that just because a check has been cancelled, it does not mean the cancellation is permanent. Generally, stop payment orders last around six months, though sometimes they can last a year or longer, depending on the bank. Make sure to review the fine print regarding when the cancellation order ends so you can renew it for another period. Although, most banks don’t cash checks that are older than six months, you may want to renew the cancellation period as an added precaution.

How to stop a fraudulent check

If a stolen or missing check is cashed before you cancel it, there are still steps you can take to protect yourself. If you report a fraudulent check to the bank, even after it’s been cashed your bank may remove the charges, if the fraud is reported to them in a timely manner.

The recurring theme of the day? Act quickly when you suspect a check is lost or stolen in order to take advantage of any check cancelling options that may be available to you.

If you believe you’ve been tricked by a counterfeit check scam, after you’ve dealt with your bank directly you should report the fraud to the following agencies:

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.