Western Union Vs MoneyGram

About Author: Hi, I’m Quinn Askeland. In 2014, I started Transumo after experiencing expensive, slow, and frustrating international money transfers and payments through banks. Once I discovered how to manage my own international currencies much better, I became driven to help others improve their transfers and payments. Fortunately, today, there are many excellent options. See My Full Bio.

Western Union has more locations and agents around the world, while MoneyGram has better overall customer satisfaction on Trustpilot.

Comparing Western Union with MoneyGram

In this comparison of MoneyGram and Western Union, I will tell you more about the fees, the best features, the speed, and the customer feedback in more detail. I will also look at the negative reviews and see what they say.

So you can pick the right option for your needs.

Let’s get started!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links where you might be able to save money. For more information, see our disclosures here.

1. Snapshot

MoneyGram has a higher Trustpilot score of 4.3/5, with Western Union at a surprisingly respectable 3.9/5. However while both services offer rates that may not be the most competitive, Western Union excels in global reach and extensive agent network, while MoneyGram stands out with it’s user-friendly online platform and solid customer service.

MoneyGramWestern Union
🏛️Established1980, Texas (the US)1851, NY (the US)
💁🏼‍♂️ClientsPersonalPersonal and Business
💱Currencies48 global currencies130 global currencies
⚖️RegulationRegulated in the USRegulated in the US
⭐Reviews“Excellent” – 4.5/5 on Trustpilot with over 38,000 reviews (January 2024)“Great” = 4/5 on Trustpilot with over 63,000 reviews (January 2024)
💰FeesDepends on target currency, funding method, and amountDepends on the service chosen, amount, currency pair, and funding method
🌐Official WebsiteVisit MoneyGramVisit Western Union

2. What is Western Union?

Western Union (see the review) is the oldest and largest money transfer company in the world. 

Wester Union

They’ve been operating since 1851 and continue to be top of mind for money transfers within the US or to 200 countries abroad.

Western Union has a great presence in North America (many Walmarts have a Western Union money services center built in) as well as agent locations worldwide.

You also get multiple options to send money (in 130+ currencies) including cash (usually sent in minutes with a guarantee), bank transfers, mobile wallet transfers, and even bill payments. 

Western Union is available for both personal and business transfers.


Licensed and regulated money transfer service

Available for personal and business

Send cash, bank transfers, mobile wallet transfers, and bill payments

Send money in 130+ currencies

500,000 agent locations worldwide

Set up transfers offline and online

Guarantee for the Money in Minutes service where cash can be received in 10 minutes


Not the cheapest

Only for small amounts

3. What is MoneyGram?


MoneyGram (check out the review) is the second largest money transfer company in the world that lets you send money to 200+ countries in 48 currencies. 

They’re integrated into most Walmarts in the US – a transfer set up from a Walmart MoneyGram kiosk can be received at most agent locations in the US and abroad (including Ria and Western Union agent offices). 

MoneyGram is available for personal transfers only and have a higher cash transfer limit than Western Union ($10,000 USD vs $2,500 USD).


Licensed and regulated money transfer service

350,000 agent locations worldwide

Send cash, bank transfers, mobile wallet payments, and bill payments 

Send more cash – up to $10,000 USD per transfer


Fees can be expensive

Not for business transfers

4. Transfer Fees

Western Union

Fees depend on

  • Currency Pair
  • Amount
  • Funding method
  • Payout method
  • Service (One-day transfers, Money in Minutes, etc.)

In a few tests we ran, Western Union charged approximately 5% – 7% margin on the exchange rate as well as other fees including agent fees and a service fee (which depends on the variables above).

This usually makes transferring cash with them quite expensive – but they do have huge flexibility and a massive agent network.

You can estimate how much you’ll pay in fees on their price estimator.


Fees depend on 

  • Target currency
  • Amount
  • Funding method

Like Western Union, MoneyGram also charges a margin on the exchange rate – approximately 5% of the amount. 

Other charges like agent fees or MoneyGram’s transfer fee, etc. are also included.

The best way to check the fees you will pay is to start with an estimate on MoneyGram’s website.

Winner: Tie

Western Union and MoneyGram have a similar fee structure and neither are transparent as they could be about the fees.

For example, it can be difficult to understand the exchange rate they’re offering because it’s padded with their margin (which is the way money transfer companies make a profit from our transfers). 

Some other fees to consider are credit or debit card fees charged by your bank if you fund your transfer with these methods. 

Overall, when you send cash this means physical locations and any service with this much convenience and flexibility often means more fees. 

However, newer money transfer companies like WorldRemit (see review) and Remitly (see review) are making cash transfers more affordable by removing a lot of inefficiencies and costs without compromising on speed, reach, or transfer experience.

You should also consider bank-to-bank transfer options if possible and Wise (see review) is our top choice.

5. Locations and Currencies

Western Union

  • Available in most countries
  • Send money to 200 countries
  • Supports 130+ currencies


  • Available in most countries
  • Send money to 200 countries
  • Supports 48 global currencies

Winner: Western Union

Both MoneyGram and Western Union are available pretty much anywhere and let you send money to 200 countries.

But Western Union supports more currencies – you get the option of transferring in both major and exotic currencies if that’s what you’re looking for.

6. Transfer Speed

Western Union

Cash with Money in Minutes service: 10 minutes (guaranteed)

Mobile wallet: Available within minutes

Bank transfers (Same Day transfer service): 24 hours

Bank transfers (regular): 2-5 days


Cash: Available within minutes

Mobile wallet: Available within minutes

Bank transfers: Depends on the sending and receiving countries, usually 1-5 days

For example, UK to India bank transfers can be completed in 3 hours according to MoneyGram’s website, while UK to Germany or Belgium transfers are completed the next day

Get an estimate of transfer speeds here.

Winner: Western Union

Both Western Union and MoneyGram have competitive transfer speeds.

But Western Union has an edge here because they have designated services depending on how soon you want your money to arrive for both cash and bank transfers. Their cash in minutes service even comes with a guarantee.

Note: Transfer delays can be caused if you set up a transfer after banking hours, on a weekend, or a holiday.

7. Safety & Security

Western Union

  • Licensed and regulated in the US
  • Mandatory KYC 
  • Advanced online encryption methods 
  • Govt ID for cash pick ups
  • Track your transfer easily


  • Licensed and regulated in the US
  • Listed on the NASDAQ
  • Encrypted website and app 
  • ID required for cash pick up
  • Track your transfer easily

Winner: Tie

In most cases, all three services are completely secure and can be trusted with your money. They also continue to educate their customers about online scams so you can stay safe.

8. Third party reviews – Can You Trust Them?

Western Union

Western Union is rated 4/5 on Trustpilot with over 63,000 reviews. 

75% of the reviews are 4- and 5-star reviews where people said they loved Western Union’s consistently good service and the fast transfers. 

But about 17% of the reviews were “Poor” – or 1-star reviews, and we were curious to dig into those too. 

Here the top causes of dissatisfaction:

Transfer delays: Many users were annoyed when their money took longer to arrive or when their transfer was paused. 

During this time many users were also prompted to share additional documentation. 

Delays can be caused when you’re setting up a transfer on a holiday or a weekend. Or if your transfer raises a red flag – sending an unusually large amount or sending money to a blacklisted receiver (usually businesses). 

Western Union audits these transfers to help you avoid scams and keep your money safe. 

High fees: Many users commented that Western Union’s fees were almost 3 times more than their competitors’.

This can be prohibitive to many users – it’s true Western Union’s fees are on the higher side.

Fortunately there are alternatives: Check out our Review of WorldRemit WorldRemit (see our review) and Remitly (see our review) who can help you send cash abroad fast and affordably.


MoneyGram is rated 4.5/5 on Trustpilot with over 27,000 reviews.

Of these, 81% are 4-start and 5-star reviews and their users love their website and app are easy to use and money goes through fast in 99% cases.

However, 11% of the reviewers reported that they had a poor experience (1-star) with MoneyGram.

Here’s why:

Transfer delays: Many users were disappointed that their transfers took much longer to complete than what was promised by MoneyGram. 

The truth is – unlike Western Union, MoneyGram doesn’t have services based on transfer speed. 

And since they support so many currencies and locations, delays can be caused if there are any transfers that go against the receiving country’s regulations or MoneyGram’s terms of use.

Complex and high fees: Like Western Union, MoneyGram’s users were also disappointed at the high fees, especially since many of them have been loyal users for years and were expecting a reward program..

Winner: Tie

Both Western Union and MoneyGram are good services that offers wide reach and flexibility for your international money transfers (or domestic transfers in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, etc.).

Transfer delays are an unavoidable part of sending money abroad. However, if you set up your transfers during regular banking hours and stick to a service’s terms of use, you can avoid delays. 

But we do agree that Western Union and MoneyGram can be expensive – fortunately, there are alternatives like WorldRemit, Remitly, and Wise that help you send money affordably and fast.


With 2 wins for Western Union and 3 ties, it can be difficult to say which service is better. 

Overall if you are happy to pay a little extra in fees and you’re looking for a guaranteed date for your money to arrive (both cash and bank transfers) or want to transfer money in both major and exotic currencies, Western Union may be the better pick. 

However MoneyGram is our top pick of the two overall because of its better Trustpilot score as well as it’s strong service offering.

Happy Transfers!

Is MoneyGram cheaper than Western Union?

The cost of using Western Union or MoneyGram depends on several factors such as the amount being transferred, the destination, the payment method, and the exchange rate. Generally, MoneyGram has lower fees than Western Union, but Western Union may offer better exchange rates.

What are the differences between Western Union and MoneyGram?

Both Western Union and MoneyGram are popular money transfer services, but they differ in terms of fees, exchange rates, transfer options, and coverage. Western Union has more physical agent locations across the globe than MoneyGram, but MoneyGram supports more countries for online transfers. MoneyGram also allows customers to transfer up to $10,000, unlike Western Union, which allows only $5,000.

Is it safe to use Western Union or MoneyGram for money transfers?

Both Western Union and MoneyGram are reputable and secure money transfer services that use encryption technology to protect customers’ personal and financial information. However, customers should always be cautious of scams and fraudsters who may impersonate these services to steal money.

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