Western Union vs MoneyGram

Need to make an fast international money transfer? Western Union and MoneyGram can be cheaper alternatives than using a bank. Find out which option will better suit your needs.

Western Union vs MoneyGram

What you'll find in this review

  • Safety
  • Exchange Rates
  • Fees
  • How To Get Started With Western Union and MoneyGram
  • Payment Types and Min & Max Amounts
  • Business Payments
  • Supported Currencies & Countries
  • How Long Does It Take To Transfer Money With Western Union and MoneyGram
  • Customer Support

Western Union Logo

Western Union is one of the oldest and most popular money transfer companies in the world. Founded in 1851 and formerly known as the 'New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company", their operations grew rapidly and expanded internationally. The company moved into financial services and money transfers in 2009 when it acquired Canadian global payment company Custom House.

MoneyGram Logo

MoneyGram is the second largest provider of money transfers in the world. Their service is available in 197 countries with an huge network of agents including 7-Eleven and global convenience stores. There are two ways to use MoneyGram for international money transfers: online or through an agent.


The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is the government body that ensures and regulates fair and transparent conduct of financial services. Every company offering financial services must be granted an Australian Financial Service (AFS) licence by ASIC to carry out business in Australia.

Western Union MoneyGram

Western Union Online Limited is regulated by ASIC

MoneyGram is provided by OFX which is regulated by ASIC

ARBN 141 662 633

Australian Financial Service Licence 226 484

Winner: Tie. Both companies hold an AFSL and are regulated by ASIC. In order for any company to provide financial services in Australia, it must be registered with the Australian government body.

Related: Can You Trust Currency Exchange Websites

Exchange Rates

Like banks, companies like Western Union and MoneyGram make their money in two main ways: Firstly, the margin from which they purchase currency at a wholesale rate and the cost of currency sold on to customers. Secondly, an additional transaction fee.

With Western Union and MoneyGram, the exchange rate can be widely varied, depending on the currency, country, and method of payment.

MoneyGram and rates are marked up depending on the amount you choose to transfer. The larger the amount, the better the rate. This is not to say that the company offers the best exchange rate.

At the time we researched this comparison, the mid-market exchange rate for AUD/USD was 0.76. To transfer 5000 AUD to USD, MoneyGram’s quote was 0.75 and Western Union's was 0.74.

To break it down, for every 1 AUD transferred, you would receive 75 US cents with MoneyGram and 74 US cents with Western Union.

Both options are expensive when compared to other online providers. Plus, fees have yet to be added into the equation.

Here are three ways to compare the rates offered by Western Union, MoneyGram and other providers:

  1. View live rates online at Western Union and MoneyGram
  2. Call Western Union at 1800 173 833 and MoneyGram at 1300 437 802 (within Australia)
  3. Compare exchange rates from other providers online with our comparison engine

Winner: MoneyGram. Their exchange rates are slightly better than Western Union.

Compare Australian Banks and Money Transfer Specialists

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Western Union and MoneyGram's fee structure are similar. Fees vary on the country, currency and the way you send money to your recipient.

For Western Union, their fees are also based on the method of transfer, You can choose to send money in cash for your recipient to pick up at a Western Union branch or through a direct bank transfer.

MoneyGram offers the same services, but their direct bank transfer doesn't cover all countries. Before you choose to use their service, find out individual country details.

Be mindful that there could be more fees invloved than the ones mentioned here. You could be charged a cash advance fee by your card provider. In addition, your recipient's bank could charge a deposit fee or corresponding bank fee to deposit the funds.

Here is the fee structure based on 5000 AUD:

Western Union MoneyGram

Direct transfer to bank

15 AUD (to send to UK or New Zealand)

No fee (to send to India)

Direct transfer to bank

180 AUD (to send to UK)

No fee (to send to India)

Recipient pick up money in cash

$30 AUD fee (to send to UK, US or New Zealand)

$25 AUD (to send to India)

Recipient pick up money in cash

AUD 180 (to send to UK, US, SIngapore)

AUD 20 (to send to New Zealand)

Winner: Western Union. Their fees are much lower than MoneyGram for most countries.

Related: How Much It Really Costs To Transfer Money Overseas

How To Get Started With Western Union and MoneyGram

To transfer money overseas with either of the providers online, you must register an account to get started. We review the steps for each provider below:

Western Union MoneyGram

1. Sign up on westernunion.com

1. Register an account on moneygram.com.au

2. Verify identity with valid ID (passport, drivers license, proof of age or photo cards)

2. Call 1300 437 802 (in Australia) to verify your account

3. Choose to send online or through a branch

3. Get a quote

4. Select Delivery Method: Send cash to recipient, direct bank transfer or to a mobile phone

4. Enter your recipient's account details

5. Provide recipient's details

5. Confirm transaction and make payment

6. Pay with debit or credit card

6. MoneyGram exchanges currency and transfers to recipient

Winner: Tie. Registering an account and making a transfer with Western Union and MoneyGram is straightforward and easy.

Payment Types and Min & Max Amounts

Western Union MoneyGram

Payment Types Accepted

Check Mark Visa

Check MarkMastercard

Check Mark Debit or Credit Card*

Check Mark Electronic Funds Transfer

Check Mark BPay

Minimum Transfer Amount

AUD 0.01

AUD 250

Maximum Transfer Amount

AUD 5,000

AUD 100,000

*Paying with debit or credit may carry a cash advance fee

Winner: Tie. Depending on your preferred payment type and transfer amount, you may want to consider one company over the other.

Business Payments

Money transfers for business are specifically supported on Western Union Business Solutions. MoneyGram does not support business payment plans, but they offer spot transfers, forward contracts, limit orders and regular payments.

Winner: Western Union. They offer risk management for businesses and access to an expert in business solutions.

Supported Currencies and Countries

This is an extensive list of currencies available for transfer on TransferWise and World First. Note that TransferWise can send and receive the currencies listed below. There are certain currencies the company can only send. Find out more on their website.

Western Union MoneyGram

Albania Lek (ALL)

Angola Kwanza (AOA)

Armenia Dram (AMD)

Australia Dollar (AUD)

Bahamas Dollar (BSD)

Bangladesh Taka (BDT)

Belize Dollar (BZD)

Bhutan Ngultrum (BTN)

Botswana Pula (BWP)

Brunei Dollar (BND)

Burundi Franc (BIF)

Canada Dollar (CAD)

Cayman Island Dollar (KYD)*

China Yuan (business or offshore only) (CNH)

Colombia Peso (COP)

Commuanute Financiere BEAC Africaine Franc (XAF)

Costa Rica Colon (CRC)

Cyprus Pound (CYP)

Denmark Krone (DKK)

Dominican Republic Peso (DOP)

Egypt Pound (EGP)

Eritrean Nafka (ERN)

Ethiopia Birr (ETB)

Falkland Island Pound (FKP)

French Polynesia (Tahiti) Franc (XPF)

Georgia Lari (GEL)

Gibraltar Pound (GIP)

Guatemala Quetzal (GTQ)

Guyana Dollar (GYD)

Honduras Lempira (HNL)*

Hungary Forint (HUF)*

India Rupee (INR)

Iran Rial (IRR)

Israel New Shekel (ILS)

Japan Yen (JPY)

Kazakhstan Tenge (KZT)

Kuwait Dinar (KWD)

Laos Kip (LAK)

Lebanon Pound (LBP)

Liberia Dinar (LRD)*

Macau Pataca (MOP)

Madagascar Ariary (MGA)

Malaysia Ringgit (MYR)

Malta Lira (MTL)

Mauritius Rupee (MUR)

Moldova Leu (MDL)

Morocco Dirham (MAD)

Myanmar Kyat (MMK)

Nepal Rupee (NPR)

New Zealand Dollar (NZD)

Nigeria Naira (NGN)

Oman Rial (OMR)

Papua New Guinea Kina (PGK)

Peru Nuevo Sol (PEN)

Poland Zloty (PLN)

Republic of Congo Franc (CDF)

Russia Ruble (RUB)

São Tomé and Príncipe Dobra (STD)

Serbia Dinar (RSD)

Sierra Leone Leone (SLL)*

Slovakia Koruna (SKK)

Solomon Islands Dollar (SBD)*

South Africa Rand (ZAR)

Sri Lanka Rupee (LKR)

Sudan Pound (SDG)

Swaziland Lilangeni (SZL)

Switzerland Franc (CHF)

Taiwan Dollar (TWD)

Thailand Baht (THB)

Trinidad and Tobago Dollar (TTD)

Turkish Lira (TRY)

Uganda Shilling (UGX)

United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED)

Uruguay Peso (UYU)

Vanuatu Vatu (VUV)

Vietnam Dong (VND)

Yemen Rial (YER)

Zambia Kwacha (ZMW)

Algeria Dinar (DZD)

Argentina Peso (ARS)

Aruba Guilder (AWG)

Azerbaijan Manat (AZN)

Bahrain Dinar (BHD)

Barbados Dollar (BBD)

Bermuda Dollar (BMD)

Bolivia Boliviano (BOB)

Brazil Real (BRL)

Bulgaria Leva (BGN)

Cambodia Riel (KHR)*

Cape Verde Escudo (CVE)

Chile Peso (CLP)

China Yuan (CNY)

Commuanute Financiere BCEAO Africaine Franc (XOF)

Comoros Franc (KMF)

Croatia Kuna (HRK)

Czech Republic Koruna (CZK)

Djibouti Franc (DJF)*

East Carribbean Dollar (XCD)

El Salvador Colone (SVC)

Estonia Kroon (EEK)

Euro Member Countries Eur (EUR)

Fiji Dollar (FJD)

Gambia Dalasi (GMD)

Ghana Cedi (GHS)

Great Britain Pound (GBP)

Guinea Franc (GNF)

Haiti Gourdes (HTG)*

Hong Kong Dollar (HKD)

Iceland Krona (ISK)

Indonesia Rupiah (IDR)

Iraq Dinar (IQD)

Jamaica Dollar (JMD)

Jordan Dinar (JOD)

Kenya Shilling (KES)

Kyrgystan Som (KGS)

Latvia Lat (LVL)

Lesotho Loti (LSL)

Lithuania Litai (LTL)

Macedonia Dinar (MKD)

Malawi Kwacha (MWK)

Maldives Rufiyaa (MVR)

Mauritania Ouguiya (MRO)

Mexico Peso (MXN)

Mongolia Tugrik (MNT)

Mozambique Metical (MZN)

Namibia Dollar (NAD)

Netherland Antilles Guilder (ANG)

Nicaragua Cordoba Oro (NIO)*

Norway Krone (NOK)

Pakistan Rupee (PKR)

Paraguay Guarani (PYG)

Philippines Peso (PHP)

Qatar Rial (QAR)

Romanian New Leu (RON)

Rwanda Franc (RWF)

Saudia Arabia Riyal (SAR)

Seychelles Rupee (SCR)

Singapore Dollar (SGD)

Slovenia Tolar (SIT)

Somalia Shilling (SOS)

South Korea Won (KRW)

St. Helena Pound (SHP)

Suriname Dollar (SRD)

Sweden Krona (SEK)

Syria Pound (SYP)

Tanzania Shilling (TZS)

Tonga Pa'anga (TOP)

Tunisia Dinar (TND)

Turkmenistan Manat (TMT)

Ukraine Hryvnia (UAH)

United States Dollar (USD)

Uzbekistan Som (UZS)*

Venezuela Bolívar Fuerte (VEF)

West Samoa Tala (WST)*

Zambia Kwacha (ZMK)

Zimbabwe Dollar (ZWL)

AED - United Arab Emirates DIrham

AUD - Australian Dollar

BND - Brunei Dollar

CAD - Canadian Dollars

CHF - Swiss Franc

CZK - Czech Koruna

DKK - Danish Krone

EUR - Euro

FJD - Fiji Dollar

GBP - Great Britain Pound

HKD - Hong Kong Dollar

HUF - Hungarian Forint

IDR - Indonesian Rupiah

ILS - Israeli Shekel

INR - Indian Rupees

JPY - Japanese Yen

KRW - South Korean Won

KWD - Kuwaiti Dinar

LKR - Sri Lankan Rupee

MAD - Moroccan Dirham

MGA - Malagasy Ariary

MYR - Malaysian Ringgit

MXN - Mexican Peso

NOK - Norwegian Krone

NZD - New Zealand Dollar

OMR - Omani Rial

PEN - Peruvian Nuevo Sol

PGK - Papua New Guinea Kina

PHP - Philippine Peso

PKR - Pakistan Rupee

PLN - Polish Zloty

SAR - Saudi Riyal

SBD - Solomon Island Dollar

SCR - Seychelles Rupee

SEK - Swedish Krona

SGD - Singapore Dollar

THB - Thai Baht

TOP - Tongan Pa anga

TRY - Turkish Lira

TWD - New Taiwan Dollar

USD - United States Dollar

VND - Vietnamese Dong

VUV - Vanuatu Vatu

WST - Samoan Talar

XOF - CFA Franc

XPF - CFP Franc

ZAR - South African Rand

Winner: Depending on the currency and country you are sending funds to, we'll let you decide who's the winner of this segment.

How Long Does It Take To Transfer Money With Western Union and MoneyGram

The transfer speed depends on the amount and type of currency, country of transfer and turnaround time of your bank to clear payment.

Western Union MoneyGram


Within minutes

Bank transfer from Australia to:

UK: 3 - 4 working days

New Zealand: 3 working days


Within minutes, depending on the country

Bank transfer from Australia:

1 - 2 working days

Winner: Tie. Both companies allow you to get money overseas within minutes. When it comes to bank transfer, MoneyGram tends to be slightly faster.

Customer Support

Should you have any queries, you can contact Western Union at 1800 173 833 or MoneyGram at 1300 437 802 (within Australia).

Winner: Tie.

Final Verdict

Western Union is the overall winner.

Both companies excel in convenience and global presence. Dending on your needs, you may want to choose one over the other.

Generally, we found Western Union's fees cheaper than MoneyGram. If you need to send funds overseas urgently, both companies are a good choice, but Western Union can do it cheaper.

If you have more time to spare, you might want to consider MoneyGram's parent company, OFX. They offer direct to bank transfers that takes between 1 -2 working days to arrive in most countries.

Just remember to compare the exchange rates before you decide to transfer as rates change all the time.

Fee Free Offer

OFX is a trusted partner of The Currency Shop. OFX customers using this link through The Currency Shop will not incur a transfer fee for their international money transfers, regardless of the size of the transaction.

Learn More

Minimum transfer $250. Please note that the receiving bank or intermediary bank may charge fees on transactions.

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