Hi, I’m Quinn Askeland. In 2016, I started Transumo after experiencing expensive, slow, and frustrating international transfers and payments through banks. My mission is simple: to help others simplify and reduce the cost of transfers and payments. Fortunately, today, there are excellent alternatives for international money transfers and payments. See My Full Bio.
Choosing between MoneyGram and Wise depends on your specific needs and preferences.
- Wise is good for sending money from your bank account or card to another bank account. MoneyGram lets you pay and receive money in more ways than Wise.
- MoneyGram can send money to more than 200 countries, while Wise can only send to more than 160 countries.
- When it comes to fees, Wise charges less than MoneyGram. MoneyGram has a complicated fee structure that depends on several factors. But both are secure and faster than regular banks.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and savings on transfers if you use some of the links! For more information, see my disclosures here.
Quick Comparison: Wise Vs MoneyGram
You can rely on Wise and MoneyGram for your money transfer needs. On Trustpilot, Wise has “Great” rating at 4.2/5 (196k+ reviews) while MoneyGram has “Excellent” rating at 4.5/5 (36k+ reviews). Wise is ideal for bank-to-bank transfers, while MoneyGram is ideal for cash pickups.
As we found in our review of Wise, it is leading the way for inexpensive money transfers since 2010. Wise cuts costs and pass the savings on, by being online only and focusing on bank-to-bank and card-to-bank transfers.
Meanwhile MoneyGram (review) has been around since before the internet (est. 1980) when people needed to send and receive cash and they still can help you with that.
As Wise says they, “make transfers up to 8x cheaper than banks”. See for yourself what you will pay with the Wise calculator (opens new tab).
The best bit: Wise continually improves its offerings further reducing fees and increasing transfer speeds.
- Send money to over 160 countries
- Affordable and transparent fees – no markup on the exchange rate
- Fast transfers
- Available for both personal and business
- Multi-currency account for frequent travelers, freelancers, and growing global businesses
- MasterCard debit card for traveling, online shopping, or business expenses
- Excellent customer service
- No cash transfers
- Potentially better options for amounts over $7000 USD See Wise Vs OFX.
- Both online and offline transfers
- Send money to 200 countries in 100+ currencies
- Send cash, bank transfer, mobile wallet transfer
- Send money via Facebook messenger
- Set up bill payment (utilities like gas, water, automobile insurance, etc.)
- Often expensive fees and complicated fee structure (compared to Wise) but more similar to Ria (review) and WesternUnion (review)
- Customer support
1. Real Fees & HIDDEN Fees
- Transfers at the mid-market or interbank rate (no mark up)
- Low percentage service fees (generally between 0.35% to 2%) depending on the amount and currency
- Transfers funded by bank account are the most affordable
- Transfers funded by credit cards attract a 3-5% cash advance fee (charged by card issuer)
- Removes or minimizes hidden fees (sending and receiving bank fees) with local bank accounts in all the areas they service
- Relatively high fees are built into the exchange rate offered. (For example, $1000 USD included a 3.4% margin on the exchange rate offered)
- Payment Options: Credit Cards, Debit Card, Online Bank Accounts and Cash all attract additional fees. (For example, $1000 by Credit Card was 3.5%, Debit Card 1.5%, and Bank Account 0.5%)
- Receiving banks may charge receiving fees
- “Cash at Location” fees vary and are unknown until you select a pick up location.
2. Are They Safe?
- Wise is regulated by, authorities such as Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (USA), the UK Financial Conduct Authority (UK), National Bank of Belgium (Europe) as an Authorised Payment Institution, the Australia Securities and Investments Commission (Australia), Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (Canada) and Financial Customs and Excise Department (Hong Kong). It is also regulated in India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the UAE.
- Wise keeps their customer’s money separate from their operating funds
- They have a dedicated fraud detection team and are regularly audited by various financial and IT authorities
- You’ll get real-time notifications for account activities
- Their website has an authentic and valid SSL certificate and their app uses two-factor authentication to keep your money and personal information safe
- 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.
- Robust anti-theft and anti-fraud measures adopted online and at agent locations (no cash disbursal without valid Govt-issued ID)
- Multi-tiered strategy that encompasses the networks, computers and programs throughout their entire organization to protect customers’ money and data
3. Ease of Use – Some BIG Differences
- Handle everything online – from checking rates to setting up transfers
- Multi-currency account (review) and debit card (review) options for frequent travelers, freelancers, and global businesses – easy to hold, manage, and convert between multiple currencies
- Mobile app (Android and iOS for tracking rates, setting up transfers, tracking transfers, etc.)
4. Reviews (inc. Negative Ones) — What Others Are Saying
Wise is rated 4.4/5 on Trustpilot with over 180,000+ reviews, which is considered “Excellent.”
- Fast transfers
- Easy transactions
- Affordable rates
- Great for handling international money
“Quick easy transactions– Nicola Keen on Trustpilot
Safe place for money when travelling abroad”
“I’ve been using (Transfer)Wise services for a few years already, mostly to send money between Poland and Australia, but for travel (support for balances and transactions in plenty of currencies) and paying with their debit card for everyday expenses. It all works just great, the FX rates and international transfer fees are much better than at the banks, funds are transferred within 1 business day. Easy app gives access to all functions, including real-time status updates. Recommended.”– Tom on Trustpilot
- Extensive document verification
Many users were dissatisfied when Wise asked for additional documentation for some transfers. However, as a licensed money transfer company, Wise needs to conduct regular audits to keep their users’ money and data safe.
MoneyGram is rated 4.4/5 with over 28,000 reviews, which is considered “Good.”
- Efficient and consistent service
- Fast transfers to anywhere
“I’ve always had a good experience using Moneygram. Transfers are quick and the process is easy.”– Kevin on Trustpilot
“This was the most seamless process when I went to retrieve my cash. The Representative was efficient and polite. This is my first choice to receive and send funds from and to family and friends. I highly recommend MoneyGram. I’m 100% satisfied!– Joycelyn on Trustpilot
Thank you, you very happy customer.”
- Poor customer service
Moneygram’s users complained of poor customer service for a number of reasons. For one, the responses to complaints filed online can take a lot of time. Second, agents and other customer service representatives tend to display a lack of understanding or empathy if any bottlenecks come up, which can be frustrating. As a legacy remittance service, this is a major area of improvement for MoneyGram.
- Too many checks
MoneyGram requires you to submit additional documentation if you send money above a certain amount or send a specific currency. This is to comply with the anti-theft and anti-fraud regulations as a licensed financial service provider.
5. Transfer Speeds
- Wise processes popular currencies (like USD, GBP, EUR, AUD, CAD, NZD, SGD) from within a few hours to a few days. Card transfers are also processed near-instantly.
- Transfers in exotic currencies can take longer, as do bank-to-bank transfers (3-5 days) where the banks at either end can slow up the process.
- Cash transfers
For these transfers, money is ready to be picked up almost instantly. However, weekends and public holidays may lead to delayed pick ups.
- Bank Transfers
Most payments are completed within a few hours to a day. For example, your transfer from the US to India will go through in 3-5 hours, to Canada in an 1 hour, while transfers to European countries, including the UK can take 1 day. This is the typical speed for currencies popularly traded on MoneyGram.
Exotic currencies can take 3-5 days.
- Bill Payments
These are processed instantly, unless you set it up over a weekend or holiday.
6. Customer Service and Support
- Online support only
- Proactive customer service and can be reach by phone, chat, or email
- Extensive FAQs section
- Both online and offline support (agent locations)
- Reach customer service by filing a complaint on their website. Option to resolve issue by email or by receiving a call back – customer service can be hard to reach
- Country-specific FAQs
Wise wins in 2 categories and they both tie in the 4 categories but they are really great for different needs. Trustpilot backs up our view as both are considered “Good” to “Excellent.”
What is the deal?
If you can do without cash, Wise is easily our top choice for bank-to-bank and card-to-bank transfers below $7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/AUD.
Through the Wise calculator (opens new tab) you can see the fees you pay without signing up for the amount and currencies you want to transfer.
But if you’re looking for money transfers to both popular and exotic locations – especially in cash, MoneyGram is a solid choice for its wide coverage, fast options and respectable customer service.
Finally, if you need to transfer more than $7000 USD check out our Wise Vs OFX comparison to see why we think OFX might be better.