MoneyGram review

MoneyGram Review

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Looking to send and receive money across borders?

Discover the advantages and disadvantages of using MoneyGram, how it stands out from the competition, real customer reviews, and much more.

Read on to find out if MoneyGram is for you.

What is MoneyGram and How is it Different?

MoneyGram offers money transfer and other financial services all over the world through online media as well as retail locations. These include bank transfers, cash pickup, and directly to your mobile wallet. The services mentioned above may or may not be available depending on your location. Boasting a network of around 350,000 agent locations, MoneyGram’s cash pickup services are remarkably convenient. 

MoneyGram also has a reputation for quick and secure transfers, although the downside is that it’s more expensive than its competitors. Bank transfer remittance using MoneyGram typically takes at least an hour, depending on the country. On the other hand, most remittance companies take two to five business days for the same service. Thus, MoneyGram is your best bet if you don’t mind paying higher fees for quick delivery.

Pros and Cons – MoneyGram Review

Pros:
  • Services are open to anyone; no bank account or credit card is needed
  • Cash pickup remittances arrive in as little as 10 minutes.
  • Offers automatic or recurring money transfers
  • Available in more than 200 countries and territories
  • In addition to cash pickup, mobile wallet, debit account, and bank account deposits, MoneyGram offers home delivery in some countries.
  • Clear and organized FAQs on their website
  • Reliability and experience in the field
Cons:
  • More expensive than other money remittance services
  • Phone support is not available
  • Low transfer limits
  • Agents may arbitrarily void transactions
  • Up to 3% exchange rate markups
  • Some services are not available in certain locations

Who is MoneyGram For?

As a money remittance company operating for over 70 years, MoneyGram has built a name in the industry. MoneyGram provides a fast and dependable solution for individuals and companies to send money to loved ones all around the world through a network of agents and financial institutions. Their delivery methods are varied, which allows people to decide which option is best for them.

However, MoneyGram’s services come at a cost. If you’re working in the United States or the United Kingdom and plan to send money back home, the “spread” in the exchange rate is high. These markups may increase or decrease depending on how competitive the currency is.  

That said, only a few companies are as consistently reliable in cross-border money transfers as MoneyGram. If you want to send money to your family as quickly and securely as possible, fees notwithstanding, you can do much worse than using MoneyGram’s service. Their website is particularly helpful if you want to estimate your fees, and then, you can make your decision from there.

Lastly, if you’re comfortable enough doing transactions on your mobile phone, you can save time and money using their app. It will be more convenient, too, if the receiving party has a bank account. This way, they can receive the money directly and avoid the hassle of going into agent locations.

How Does MoneyGram Work?

MoneyGram’s transfers are quick and easy, and the process is similar whether you’re using their website or app. Here are the steps to send money through MoneyGram:

  1. Go to their website and sign up for a free account if you don’t have one. Remember that you may still use their fee estimation tool without logging in or signing up.
  2. Provide your recipient’s contact information. This includes the country or territory to which you are sending money.
  3. Indicate how much money you want to send and how you want to pay for it. You can pay using a bank account, a credit card, or a debit card if you’re sending from the United States. You may finance a transfer from Canada using Interac, a credit card, or a debit card. In some territories, you can only send money using a credit or debit card. 
  4. Another option is to go to the nearest agent location and do the transactions there. You may pay the agent location directly or send the money to a bank account or mobile wallet.
  5. MoneyGram then transfers the money to the recipient. Depending on local restrictions, some take only a few minutes to process.

Is MoneyGram Safe and Legit?

Anything involving money is a sensitive subject for many, but MoneyGram is as safe and reliable as any money remittance service. It is permitted to operate in all 50 states and U.S. territories, such as Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. FINTRAC, Canada’s national financial intelligence agency, monitors MoneyGram’s activities. It’s also permitted to operate in British Columbia, the United Kingdom, and other countries. 

You can count on the fact that whatever territory or country has a MoneyGram agent location, the company already took care of any regulatory requirements. Needless to say, MoneyGram takes regulatory compliance very seriously. Of course, there will be issues every now and then as indicated by user reviews, as do other companies, and it’s mostly about user errors (sending money to the wrong bank account, etc.). Nevertheless, compared to the billions of transactions they do, it’s negligible.

Another reason you can trust MoneyGram’s safety and legitimacy is its tracking service. You will have information about the transfer every step of the way. On top of that, their website is validated by Entrust, Inc., a leading provider of Internet security services and solutions.

What are MoneyGram’s Fees (for US customers)?

For senders from the United States, the flat fee is $1.99 if you use your debit card or online bank transfer and send it to the recipient’s bank account. Also, remember that MoneyGram makes a profit in the foreign exchange spread. 

If you’re using a credit card to send money, the fees are higher, depending on where you send it. For instance, sending $500 to India through a credit card transfer to the recipient’s bank account costs a whopping $20.49, according to MoneyGram’s rates & fees estimator. 

Sending to a mobile wallet within the United States costs less than a credit card transfer. MoneyGram tops it at $3.99. On the other hand, cash pickup fees are exorbitant. For example, a $500 cash pickup from a credit card transfer costs $83.49, while a debit card transfer costs $68.99. However, like true MoneyGram fashion, your transaction will be done in minutes.

What are MoneyGram’s International Fees

MoneyGram has expanded its business to over 200 countries and 350,000 pickup locations. Its digital services are available in 70 of these territories. The company earns revenue on foreign exchange markup and transaction fees. 

For example, a customer in the United Kingdom sends 1,000 GBP for cash pickup to the Philippines. MoneyGram sets the exchange rate at over PHP 66 for 1 GBP instead of PHP 67. The flat transaction fee is 3.99 GBP. However, there are no fees for online bank, credit, and debit card transfers.

Of course, everything depends on the sending and receiving countries. For example, sending money from New Zealand to Pakistan has a flat fee of 19 NZD if the sender uses a credit card. A debit card transfer directly to a bank account or mobile wallet has a flat fee of 1.99 NZD, while cash pickup is 4.99 NZD. 

MoneyGram’s Customer Reviews

Most MoneyGram users with favorable experience cite the company’s fast and no-hassle service. These customers noted how smooth the overall process was. The app also added another level of convenience since it allows you to transfer money anytime you want. One user said he encountered issues but applauded the company’s customer service for going out of its way to explain matters.

Speaking of issues, they are expected for a business of this magnitude. For example, some of the negative reviews complain about MoneyGram closing their accounts without a clear explanation. Some lament losing money in the transfer, and MoneyGram allegedly does nothing to refund the transaction. 

Overall, MoneyGram still receives mostly favorable reviews, especially from the users of its iOS app

MoneyGram Alternatives

If you are looking for a more established alternative to MoneyGram, you don’t have much choice. That distinction goes exclusively to Western Union. WU has a more extensive network than MoneyGram, but depending on the location, the former may charge higher fees.

Outside Western Union, your best choices are:

Wise

Wise offers no markup fees included in the exchange rate. Transfers always use the mid-market exchange rate, and their fees are considerably cheaper than other companies.

See our review of Wise and Wise Vs MoneyGram Comparison.

WorldRemit

The company is still dozens of countries short compared to MoneyGram, but 130 covered territories is very good coverage, nonetheless. WorldRemit does not have a minimum transfer amount, while its website is easy to use and takes seconds to create an account.

See our review of WorldRemit.

PayPal

PayPal does not have physical agent locations, but its online banking network is extensive. Its rates rival other digital banking services; however, it’s only suitable for specific payment purposes. For instance, many users prefer online shopping with PayPal because of its extra encryption feature that hides their account information from the merchants.

See our review of PayPal.

Xe

Xe offers its services to 170 countries worldwide. The company allows you to send as much as you want, and its fees and exchange rates are quite competitive.

See our review of Xe.

CurrencyTransfer

CT’s network is not as big as MoneyGram, but it doesn’t have fees for bank transfers of any amount. The exchange rates are also better than MG, although it has limited sending and receiving options.

See our review of CurrencyTransfer.

Verdict

MoneyGram wouldn’t have been in its position today if not for its excellent business practices, quick service, and competitive rates. They still have their work cut out for them as they continue to compete with the old industry leader and spry newcomers. But from what they have shown so far in decades of existing in the money remittance industry, they have the tools to do it.

FAQs

Are MoneyGram and Ria the same?

No, MoneyGram and Ria are competitors. Ria has lower exchange rates, but MoneyGram operates in more countries. MoneyGram is a better option for credit card payments since Ria’s fees could go as high as $45. MoneyGram also does not charge fees for online bank transfers for specific places, while the cheapest bank transfer fee using Ria is over $4.

Does MoneyGram have a transfer limit?

According to MoneyGram’s FAQ page, they only allow a maximum of $10,000 for most countries. Furthermore, you may only send up to $10,000 for 30 calendar days, or the transfer won’t go through. Sending money from the U.S. could go as high as $15,000 if the recipient is in one of 42 specified countries. The maximum amount limits may vary according to trends and security needs.

Which is cheaper, MoneyGram or Western Union? 

Generally speaking, MoneyGram is faster and slightly cheaper than Western Union, but individual experiences may vary. It matters where the recipient is situated, local restrictions, or specific bank regulations. That said, the difference in rates is often negligible, so it’s recommended to try both and base your decision on your experience.

Which is faster, MoneyGram or Western Union?

MoneyGram was observed to carry out slightly faster transactions, but the difference is often considered insignificant. Many users cannot choose one or the other, judging by these companies’ speed. The best way to decide is to look at the best deal you can get and which company offers services that suit your specific needs.

Can you use MoneyGram everywhere?

MoneyGram operates in over 200 countries, so there’s a good chance it’s available in your country or territory. Some services, especially digital ones, may not be available in a particular country. MoneyGram currently suspends its operations in Russia but is still available in the Balkans, Israel, and even the occupied Palestinian territory.

Sources

  1. MoneyGram Lawsuit
  2. MoneyGram Fees Estimate
  3. MoneyGram Website
  4. Regulatory Compliance
  5. Suspends Russian operations
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