8 Things You Need to Know
In 5 minutes or less I am going to show you 8 things to consider to see if you can trust MoneyGram for your money transfers.
This is not just another “MoneyGram is awesome” type review, I am going to show you where MoneyGram may not be the best option and even who else to consider. 🙂
Here’s the deal:
I will uncover the good, the bad and I even dig into the ugly, so that you can make the best call.
- Widely available – send money to and from 200 countries (over 350,000 agent locations world wide)
- Supports cash payouts in most countries with home delivery in some
- Most transfers are settled instantly
- Strong presence in North America, UK, Europe, and Australia
- Complicated fee structure (See “Rates, Fees & Hidden Costs” below)
- Limited funding options outside US and Canada (only debit or credit card only | only cash at agent location)
- Not all agent locations support all available services (See “MoneyGram near me” below)
- Customer service is difficult to reach
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Many might save you money and we sometimes suggest deals that can make things even cheaper. For more information, see our disclosures here.
- MoneyGram Near You
- When MoneyGram Works (and When It Doesn’t)
- Rates, Fees and (Hidden) Costs?
- What the Reviews Really Say
- MoneyGram Alternatives
- How to Sign Up
- Safety and Security
1. MoneyGram Near You
Typically, MoneyGram sending and receiving kiosks are integrated with many Walmarts in the US, throughout the UK, Shoppers/Canada Post in Canada and 7-Elevens in Australia.
While MoneyGram has over 350,000 agent locations in its supported sending and receiving countries, not all agent offices are a one-stop shop for all services offered by MoneyGram.
So before you make a trip to your nearest MoneyGram kiosk/agent office, here’s an easy way to find out whether the specific spot offers the services you need.
- Go to the “Find a location” tab on MoneyGram’s website
- Type in your area postal code
- After the list populates, you’ll see an option to “filter by service” (Send Money, Receive Money, Pay bill, Add Minutes to Phone)
- Now, filter based on your needs to find the right MoneyGram kiosk/agent office near you
If you don’t see an agent office near you to send money, you can always opt for an online transfer however there are other services in the next section which you should consider.
2. When MoneyGram Works (and When It Doesn’t)
MoneyGram can be convenient but that does come at a price!
2.1 When It Works
They support sending and receiving money to and from over 200 countries (including many developing countries and island nations) in 100+ currencies (both major and exotic currencies). With MoneyGram you can pay your friends and family with: cash payouts, mobile wallet transfers, bank transfers, home delivery), pay bills, and top up prepaid mobiles.
Sending money to almost anywhere including remote locations in exotic currencies.
MoneyGram supports transfers to many developing countries as well as island nations in Asia and Africa. You can check the list of supported receiving countries and available currencies from your location on MoneyGram’s pricing calculator.
MoneyGram not only supports instant cash transfers, you can also send money directly to your recipient’s debit card or mobile wallet. These payments are usually settled instantly and your recipient can access the funds within 15 minutes.
2.2 When It Doesn’t
There’s a flip-side to MoneyGram’s worldwide presence – they command premium fees in many currencies.
Moreover, their fee structure is complex and not as transparent as some others.
We cover this more in a moment and also suggest some alternatives.
2.2.2 Large Transfers
MoneyGram limit transfers to $3000 USD per month.
2.2.3 Business Transfers
MoneyGram doesn’t offer dedicated business accounts to pay your overseas employees.
You might also like Ria VS MoneyGram VS Western Union where we found both Money Gram and Western Union do have dedicated business accounts.
3. Rates, Fees and (Hidden) Costs?
Typically there are four main main fees:
- Bank Sending Fee
- Small Fixed Fee
- Margin on the Exchange Rate
- Bank Receiving Fee + Other Hidden Fees?
Here is a short video we made to help explain fees:
3.1 Bank Sending Fee
This fee can be charged by your bank. MoneyGram says, “our global network includes more than 400 banks around the world” which should mean these fees do not exist.
3.2 Small Fixed Fee
The small fixed fee can range from $0.00 to $14.99 depending a lot on your funding method. Online bank accounts are the least expensive and debit/credit cards are more.
Fees vary for cash.
3.3 Margin on the Exchange Rate
This is often the largest part of transfer.
In our testing, the exchange rate margin can be quite competitive (to some countries like India) but can also exceed 5% of the interbank rate (which is very high) for some currencies and countries.
To know if you are getting a competitive rate you have to calculate the percentage difference from the interbank rate which we show here.
Typically, you can save on your transfer with MoneyGram if you fund your transfer from your bank account and send it to your recipient’s bank account.
But here’s the catch:
MoneyGram doesn’t support funding transfers with a bank account outside the US and Canada.
So your options are card-to-bank (debit and credit cards), card-to-card (to a recipient’s debit card), cash-to-bank or cash-to-cash transfers.
These generally lead to higher fees if you are outside of the US or Canada, but these can be just a few dollars or so.
One fee we consider to be hidden is the fee banks charge at the receiving bank.
3.4 Bank Receiving Fee
These fees can often be reduced or eliminated by money transfer companies (through local bank accounts worldwide).
One again the “400 banks around the world” Moneygram has should take reduce these fees to most countries.
4. What the Reviews Really Say
MoneyGram is rated 4/5 on Trustpilot with over 3000 reviews, where 53% of the reviewers said they had an “Excellent” experience with MoneyGram. Overall, they loved the easy-to-use mobile app and fast transfers in most cases.
However, an alarming number of reviewers – 24% reported a negative experience and we want you to know what the main reasons were.
After trawling through hundreds of negative reviews, we found the top causes of user dissatisfaction were:
- Unexpected cancellations (accounts/transactions)
- Poor customer service
- Transfer delays
4.1 Unexpected cancellations (accounts/transactions)
As a registered and regulated financial services provider companies like MoneyGram frequently audit transfers to prevent financial crimes such as money laundering, theft, and fraud.
But the numbers of negative reviews MoneyGram receives regarding cancelled transactions and accounts being closed are significantly higher than their competition.
Mark of Conroe Review: 9 Aug 2020 I have used Moneygram for over 7 years generally through an agent location. Yesterday I created an online account to send money to a long time supplier .... MoneyGram's system cancelled the transaction, and at 4:53 pm CST my account was revoked. Source: consumeraffairs
4.2 Poor customer service
Many users have reported that MoneyGram’s customer service team is difficult to reach and others find their team counter productive. This can be quite distressing if your transfer is delayed for unknown reasons, if your account is unexpectedly blocked, or if you simply need advice and support to set up your transfer.
4.3 Transfer delays
The third most frequent issue is something others services face. MoneyGram settles most transfers pretty much instantly, however, their transfer speed can vary based on the currency corridor. And, while bank-to-bank transfers are more affordable, they’re also much slower.
MoneyGram has a month limit of $3000 USD, so we will focus on amounts below that.
WorldRemit and Remitly both offer cash pick up options which are almost certainly going to be cheaper and based on the reviews of others, you will have a better experience.
Ria offers similar services to Moneygram and generally has fees in a similar range, but their customer service rankings are considerably better.
5.2 Card to Bank or Bank to Bank
If you can make transfers without sending cash Wise (formerly TransferWise) is our top choice and we compare Wise Vs MoneyGram.
CurrencyFair (review) is another great option especially if you want the most money to arrive.
6. How to Sign Up
6.1 Signing up
You can sign up in just a few minutes by visiting MoneyGram’s website.
- Tap the “Sign up” button, enter your name, email, phone number and set up a strong password
- Next, you’ll be prompted to create your profile. You may also need to verify your account with a government issued ID such as your passport or driving license
- Once your account is set up, you can either log back in on the website or set up your transfer on their mobile app (available for both iOs and Android)
- If you’d like to send money or pay bills offline, allow at least 24 hours after your account has been created before you visit the agent location. Also, make sure you carry your ID, recipient’s details, and the amount you need to transfer in cash (should be enough to also cover agent fees).
6.2 Setting up your transfer
In the US and Canada, you can fund your transfer from your bank account, with a credit or debit card, or cash at a kiosk or agent office.
Other countries only support debit or credit cards (for online transfers) and cash (at agent offices).
MoneyGram offers bank transfers, cash payouts, home delivery (depends on the sending and receiving country), mobile wallet transfers, and prepaid phone top ups.
Before you hit “Send” double check your recipient’s information to avoid unprecedented transfer delays.
And if your recipient is picking up cash, they need to carry a valid government-issued ID as well as the reference number of your transfer to verify their identity at the agent office in their country.
6.3 Tracking your transfer
Track your transfer securely on MoneyGram’s website by entering the transfer reference number and your last name.
7. Transfer Speed
MoneyGram settles most transfers instantly, unless it has been funded by a bank transfer. In this case, it usually takes 3-4 business days for the money to reach your recipient.
Card-to-card, card-to-bank, card-to-cash, cash-to-cash are near instant (within 15 minutes and more expensive)
The transfer speed for card-to-bank varies according to the receiving country’s banking regulations, business hours, and holiday schedule. This table on MoneyGram’s FAQs section will give you a fair estimate.
8. Safety and Security
MoneyGram is a registered and licensed financial services provider in most of the areas they serve – for example, they’re licensed and regulated by the HMRC in the UK, Authorized to do business in all 50 states, D.C. and all U.S. territories, the National Bank of Belgium in Europe.
MoneyGram uses robust anti-phishing measures to protect your personal data and money online.
Additionally, MoneyGram advises their users to double check their recipient’s credentials, make sure their recipient’s carry a valid ID, and never respond to any emails from MoneyGram asking for passwords and other personal details.
Is MoneyGram the right international money transfer service for you?
MoneyGram is clearly aimed at people sending money home with cash pick up as an option.
If you really need a physical presence to send cash and for family or friends to pick up cash MoneyGram goes head to head with Western Union (review) and Ria (review).
All three however tend to have higher fees to pay for the convenience they offer.
Paying for convenience is fine in our book but not at the expense of questionable service.
If you absolutely need the convenience of a place to take your cash with cash pickup, Ria (review) rates 4.4/5 with only 11% of reviewers having a bad experience compared to 24% for MoneyGram.
MoneyGram however operates remote locations (like island countries) or to countries where people have limited access to bank accounts and need cash payouts. It can also offer reasonable exchange rates for some countries but can also be at the high end, often over 5%.
However for more common destinations or if bank accounts can be used there some some alternatives (above) you should consider.