Which is Better: Western Union or Moneygram?

Need to make an fast international money transfer? Western Union and MoneyGram can be cheaper alternatives than using a bank. Find out which option will better suit your needs.

The Important Bits

TransferWise

Safety:One of the largest payment companies in the world

Rates: Vary depending on the situation

Fees: Fee vary depending on product, country etc

Speed: Also depends on the service you use but can instant

Service: Offer online and in-store support

Western Union

Safety:One of the largest and oldest payment companies in the world

Rates: Vary depending on the situation

Fees: Fee vary depending on product, country etc

Speed: Also depends on the service you use but can instant

Service: Offer online, app and in-store support

The Verdict

Western Union and Moneygram are giants of the currency world and they share so much in common. Both have

  • Massive global networks of agents and banks
  • A good range of payment options like cash pick up or bank transfer
  • Complicated fee structures
  • Uncompetitive exchange rates

 

When we compared the cost to send cash overseas, there was no clear winner that was cheaper. It really comes down to the country you are sending the cash to.

For transfers to a bank account overseas, neither Western Union or Moneygram are particularly cheap. You can compare better options here

Learn more about Moneygram

Learn more about Western Union

Let's have a look at them in more detail

Western Union LogoWestern Union is one of the oldest and most popular money transfer companies in the world. Founded in 1851 and formerly known as the ‘New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company”, their operations grew rapidly and expanded internationally. The company moved into financial services and money transfers in 2009 when it acquired Canadian global payment company Custom House.

 

MoneyGram Logo

MoneyGram is the second largest provider of money transfers in the world. Their service is available in 197 countries with an huge network of agents including 7-Eleven and global convenience stores. There are two ways to use MoneyGram for international money transfers: online or through an agent.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is the government body that ensures and regulates fair and transparent conduct of financial services. Every company offering financial services must be granted an Australian Financial Service (AFS) licence by ASIC to carry out business in Australia.

 

Western Union MoneyGram
Western Union Online Limited is regulated by ASIC MoneyGram is provided by OFX which is regulated by ASIC
ARBN 141 662 633 Australian Financial Service Licence 226 484

Exchange Rates

Like banks, companies like Western Union and MoneyGram make their money in two main ways: Firstly, the margin from which they purchase currency at a wholesale rate and the cost of currency sold on to customers. Secondly, an additional transaction fee.

With Western Union and MoneyGram, the exchange rate can be widely varied, depending on the currency, country, and method of payment.

MoneyGram and rates are marked up depending on the amount you choose to transfer. The larger the amount, the better the rate. This is not to say that the company offers the best exchange rate.

At the time we researched this comparison, the mid-market exchange rate for AUD/USD was 0.76. To transfer 5000 AUD to USD, MoneyGram’s quote was 0.75 and Western Union's was 0.74.

To break it down, for every 1 AUD transferred, you would receive 75 US cents with MoneyGram and 74 US cents with Western Union.

Both options are expensive when compared to other online providers. Plus, fees have yet to be added into the equation.

Here are three ways to compare the rates offered by Western Union, MoneyGram and other providers:

  1. View live rates online at Western Union and MoneyGram
  2. Call Western Union at 1800 173 833 and MoneyGram at 1300 437 802 (within Australia)
  3. Compare exchange rates from other providers online with our comparison engine

Fees

Western Union and MoneyGram's fee structure are similar. Fees vary on the country, currency and the way you send money to your recipient.

For Western Union, their fees are also based on the method of transfer, You can choose to send money in cash for your recipient to pick up at a Western Union branch or through a direct bank transfer.

MoneyGram offers the same services, but their direct bank transfer doesn't cover all countries. Before you choose to use their service, find out individual country details.

Be mindful that there could be more fees invloved than the ones mentioned here. You could be charged a cash advance fee by your card provider. In addition, your recipient's bank could charge a deposit fee or corresponding bank fee to deposit the funds.

Here is the fee structure based on 5000 AUD:

 

Western Union MoneyGram
Direct transfer to bank

15 AUD (to send to UK or New Zealand)

No fee (to send to India)

Direct transfer to bank

180 AUD (to send to UK)

No fee (to send to India)

Recipient pick up money in cash

$30 AUD fee (to send to UK, US or New Zealand)

$25 AUD (to send to India)

Recipient pick up money in cash

AUD 180 (to send to UK, US, SIngapore)

AUD 20 (to send to New Zealand)

How Long Does It Take To Transfer Money With Western Union and MoneyGram

The transfer speed depends on the amount and type of currency, country of transfer and turnaround time of your bank to clear payment.

 

Western Union MoneyGram
Cash:

Within minutes

Bank transfer from Australia to:

UK: 3 – 4 working days

New Zealand: 3 working days

Cash:

Within minutes, depending on the country

Bank transfer from Australia:

1 – 2 working days

What Currencies Can I Transfer?

For an extensive list of currencies available for transfer with Western Union and Moneygram, check out our reviews for each company
Moneygram Review
Western Union Review

Customer Support

Should you have any queries, you can contact Western Union at 1800 173 833 or MoneyGram at 1300 437 802 (within Australia).

 

Final thoughts

Western Union and Moneygram are giants of the currency world and they share so much in common. Both have

  • Massive global networks of agents and banks
  • A good range of payment options like cash pick up or bank transfer
  • Complicated fee structures
  • Uncompetitive exchange rates

 

When we compared the cost to send cash overseas, there was no clear winner that was cheaper. It really comes down to the country you are sending the cash to.

For transfers to a bank account overseas, neither Western Union or Moneygram are particularly cheap. You can compare better options here

Learn more about Moneygram

Learn more about Western Union