MoneyGram provides a quick and flexible service for basic transfers and cash pickup. However, it is expensive and has low transfer limits.
|Transfer speed:||1-3 days|
|Trustpilot score:||4 stars|
|Our score:||2 stars|
What we like
- Flexible delivery, such as cash pickup
- Large network of agents all over the world
- Funds available almost instantly
What we don’t
- Low transfer limits
- Poor reputation for customer service
Over its history, MoneyGram has adapted its business model many times on its way to becoming one of the most popular services in the world. Its brand has fostered a lot of trust among the public for being a safe and reliable provider of international remittances.
While the company is best known for allowing its customers to send money through its network of retail agents, it is also adapting to the digital age. MoneyGram is working hard to stay relevant in an industry that is quickly changing.
To learn more about this service and see if it’s right for you, read on for our in-depth MoneyGram review.
Affiliate disclosure: If you sign up with a money transfer service after being referred from our website, we might earn a referral fee. Learn more.
What is MoneyGram all about? Let’s begin our MoneyGram review with some general information about the service.
MoneyGram, as we know it today, was formed in 1998 when two separate companies, Travelers Express and MoneyGram Payment Systems, were combined under common ownership. The scheme to marry the two firms was adopted by Viad Corp, a large conglomerate, which is probably best known for operating the Greyhound bus service for many years.
Since the merger and the adoption of a single brand, MoneyGram has quickly become one of the largest providers of money transfer services in the world. It currently sits only second to Western Union in terms of annual transfer volume. Then in 2004, Viad sold its interest and MoneyGram was eventually listed on the NASDAQ as a publicly-traded company.
MoneyGram is currently led by Alex Holmes as CEO, who has over 10 years of experience at the company. He is supported by Larry Angelilli who acts as Chief Financial Officer, and Kamila Chytil who is Chief Operating Officer. Andres Villareal oversees all regulatory challenges as Chief Compliance Officer.
MoneyGram is headquartered at the following address:
MoneyGram International Inc.
2828 N. Harwood Street
Dallas, TX 75201
MoneyGram has established local offices in the following countries:
- South Africa
- Spain, Sweden
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
Supported countries and currencies
MoneyGram supports money transfer to approximately 194 countries. To accomplish this, the service has established a network of international bank accounts using its own locally domiciled subsidiaries. This allows MoneyGram to facilitate many transfers without actually having to enter the currency market. It may also utilise the SWIFT network.
What is the limit to send money through MoneyGram?
MoneyGram has a minimum transfer value of £1. There is a maximum transfer value of £5,000, so the service is most suitable for relatively small amounts. In addition to a per-transaction limit, there is also an aggregate limit of £5,000 each month. For any values larger than this, you will need to approach one of MoneyGram’s retail agents and arrange an in-person transfer.
MoneyGram exchange rate and fees
What are MoneyGram exchange rate and fees? It will take a few minutes to explore the foreign exchange market, so we can properly consider this question.
How the foreign exchange market works
Let’s begin with how the foreign exchange market works. Banks and other money transfer services will buy foreign currency at a price very close to the mid-market rate. They will then sell this currency to you, the customer, for a higher rate than they bought it for, taking a margin in between – known as “the spread”.
The spread is essentially a hidden cost that is not disclosed to you during the transaction. Then, in addition to the spread, some services will charge a transaction fee on top – which is typically the fee that they quote to you. In any case, the total cost of a transfer for you, the customer, is the combination of the two; the spread + transaction fee.
Q. Does the MoneyGram exchange rate include a spread?
A. Yes, there is a spread.
Q. What about MoneyGram money transfer fees?
A. Yes, there is a transaction fee of between £5 and £85.
But for the moment, don’t pay too much attention to the details. Rather, for the purpose of our MoneyGram review, let’s consider the overall cost.
Why focus on overall cost?
If you focus on the spread or transaction fee in isolation, it is easy to become lost in marketing gimmicks. Instead, it is more helpful to consider the overall cost when these factors are combined. For example, a typical bank will charge up to 5% of the overall transfer value in spread and transaction fee to complete a transfer on your behalf. Not great.
But what about MoneyGram? To determine its overall cost we need to compare a transfer with a benchmark, the mid-market rate, which in theory has no cost. Practically speaking, it is unlikely that you will ever receive the equivalent of the mid-market rate, however, your goal should be to get as close as possible.
If you can achieve a total cost of less than 1% of the overall transaction value then you are on the right track. However, it really depends on what your needs are and if you are willing to pay a little bit extra for additional features, advice, or research. To find out the mid-market rate of any currency pairing, use this calculator at xe.com.
What are MoneyGram charges for sending money?
To calculate the cost of MoneyGram, we received three quotes to exchange British Pounds (GBP) into Australian Dollars (AUD) – for low, medium, and high values. The overall cost of each transaction was then compared against the mid-market rate and represented as a percentage of the transfer value.
Here is the calculation:
|Transfer value||Overall cost|
An average cost of 1.16% means that for every £1,000 sent, on average £11.60 will be lost in spread + fees. By using this figure, we can make a general representation of MoneyGram across a range of transfer values. Of course, it is not a perfect representation by any means, but it is helpful for comparative purposes.
Important note on SWIFT: You should be aware that any transfer conducted via the SWIFT network may incur additional hidden charges by correspondent banks; the exact cost depending on the amount of the transfer and the recipient bank. In my experience, these fees can be as high as £25 per transaction.
MoneyGram review: Market comparison
So, how does MoneyGram compare to other services in the market? To help you determine its relative competitiveness, we have prepared a chart. Beside the name of each service, we have listed its average cost, speed of transfer, receiving countries, and our review score – sorted from highest to lowest.
To sort this chart by column, click its respective headings. If you are reading on mobile, you may need to scroll horizontally to view all fields.
|wdt_ID||Service||Ave. cost||Speed||Countries||Our score||Review|
|1||Azimo||0.89%||1-3 days||200||2 stars||Read review|
|2||OrbitRemit||0.43%||1-3 days||43||4 stars||Read review|
|3||MoneyGram||3.50%||1-3 days||194||2 stars|
|4||CurrencyFair||0.45%||2-4 days||157||5 stars||Read review|
|5||OFX||1.20%||3-5 days||226||4 stars||Read review|
|6||Currencies Direct||1.79%||2-4 days||188||3 stars||Read review|
|7||Paysera||0.97%||3-5 days||174||3 stars||Read review|
|8||RationalFX||1.16%||1-3 days||201||3 stars||Read review|
|9||Remitly||0.77%||1-3 days||58||2 stars||Read review|
|10||Ria Money Transfer||3.06%||1-3 days||158||2 stars||Read review|
If you would like to learn more about the rationale of our MoneyGram review, take a look at our review methodology.
MoneyGram time limit for transfer
A typical transfer with MoneyGram takes 1-3 business days, from sending to receipt. The exact duration will depend on a few factors, including the currency pairings involved, the transfer value, as well as the particular systems of the sending and receiving bank.
Key payment features
How do payment features affect our MoneyGram review? Let’s take a look at its capabilities.
A spot contract consists of a single payment from one currency to another at the currently available exchange rate. If you need to send money right away, simply login to the MoneyGram app or website and with a couple of clicks a transfer can be arranged.
A cash pickup payment allows you to transfer money to a person in another location, whereby they can pick up the payment in cash – typically from a physical branch. It is the easiest way to send money to family or friends who need quick and flexible access to funds.
MoneyGram customer service representative
A MoneyGram customer service representative can be contacted by phone or email. Here are the contact details for a few of its offices:
+61 2 8037 5390 (Australia)
+44 800 026 0535 (United Kingdom)
+1 800 666 3947 (United States)
In our experience, we found MoneyGram customer service to be friendly and helpful. We did not have to wait too long to speak with someone on the phone, and our queries by email have been answered in a prompt and professional manner.
Is MoneyGram safe?
As a customer, is MoneyGram safe to use? Let’s take a look at some of its security measures.
MoneyGram is regulated by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network in the USA. Its international subsidiaries are regulated by the relevant authorities in the jurisdiction of their operations, such as the FCA in the UK and ASIC in Australia.
Customer funds are held in trust
In accordance with the standards imposed by government regulators, the funds of MoneyGram customers are held in segregated accounts and are kept apart from the company’s own operating accounts. This ensures the security of customer funds, should MoneyGram encounter financial difficulty.
Website is securely protected
The MoneyGram website is protected with TLS encryption, which prevents sensitive data from being intercepted during your visit. You can confirm that this is in place by recognising a green padlock next to the website’s URL on your browser.
Is MoneyGram legit? A look at its reputation
Does MoneyGram scam – or is MoneyGram legit? Let’s take a look at its reputation.
As of publication, MoneyGram has received over 3,000 reviews on Trustpilot with an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars; representing a positive experience in only 68 percent of interactions with its customers.
Here are our observations of the feedback posted:
- No issues reported from those receiving funds
- Accounts suspended and closed without explanation
- Excessive requests for personal information
- Poor customer service in general
- Customers are subject to aggregate transfer limits each month, however, these limits are not disclosed
Upon viewing the Facebook and Twitter feeds of MoneyGram, we can see a range of interactions between the service and its customers. Because MoneyGram is a popular service, it receives a lot of messages on these platforms. The responses of MoneyGram appear to be prompt and helpful,.
MoneyGram has quite an active presence on social media. It posts a variety of general cultural news to engage with its customers.
MoneyGram is often in mainstream media reporting. As a publicly listed company, its stock price receives a bit of attention. From time to time there is speculation on mergers and acquisitions; such as a rumoured merger with Western Union in 2012 and the attempted purchase by Ant Financial in 2018. It has also received quite a bit of bad press due to customer complaints of excessive fees.
MoneyGram and Ripple are teaming up.Business Insider
MoneyGram fined $100 million for wire fraud.Krebs on Security
“Rip-off” money transfer companies under fire in the U.K.The Guardian
MoneyGram online transfer experience
How does product design affect our MoneyGram review? Let’s take a look at its user experience.
The MoneyGram website has been designed thoughtfully, with special attention being paid to user experience and simplicity. As it is a global brand, its platform is available in many languages.
A MoneyGram app has been developed for Apple and Android devices. By using the MoneyGram app you can access your account at any time and use its core features, such as initiating new payments or tracking the status of in-progress transfers.
The registration process takes around 5 minutes and is relatively straight-forward. You begin by entering your email and a password, before providing essential contact information such as name, address and phone number.
Before you can commence transferring funds with MoneyGram, you will first need to verify your identity. This will typically require providing two types of documents:
- Photo identification, such as a passport or drivers licence
- Proof of address, such as a bank or utility statement
How does MoneyGram work?
As a part of our MoneyGram review, we will take you through an example transaction. If you would like some guidance in navigating your own account, you can follow along below.
Step 1 – Sign up and login
Visit moneygram.com, sign up and login. To begin a transfer, click Send to Someone New.
Step 2 – Enter recipient details
First, enter the name of your recipient and the country where they reside. Then select your intended delivery method and click Next.
Step 3 – Enter payment amount
To formalise your quote, enter the value of either the sending or receiving currency. click Next.
Step 4 – Enter payment details
Enter your payment details and click Next.
Step 5 – Security reminder
MoneyGram inserts a short warning about the possibility of fraud. Click Almost Done.
Step 6 – Confirm transaction
The terms of the quote are presented. When you are happy to proceed, click Send Now.
Step 7 – Track Moneygram
When your funds are received by MoneyGram, it will complete the final leg of the transfer. You can track its status online or with the MoneyGram app. You will also receive email updates throughout the process.
Finally, once the transfer is complete its status will be updated accordingly. The funds should arrive in your recipient’s bank account shortly.
In our experience, the MoneyGram platform was simple to use and we were satisfied with the instructions provided along the way. The entire process took only a few minutes, and we were able to pick up cash from a local convenience store later the same day.
MoneyGram review: Final thoughts
If you have simple requirements, MoneyGram can be a very useful service. The instant delivery of funds certainly has its benefits. However, with this flexibility, the service also attracts high fees and poor exchange rates. Although the service is effective, the pricing may penalise those who don’t know any better.
As an online platform, MoneyGram is quite limited. Low transfer limits and no advanced functionality, make this suitable for basic transfers only. Those wanting a modern service may like to consider WorldRemit or TransferGo. If you wish to take the next step, TransferWise is probably the way to go.
If you have any questions or feedback about our MoneyGram review, let us know in the comments below.