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Western Union VS MoneyGram: Which Should You Use When Sending a Money Transfer?

Business Woman Thinking
December 3rd, 2013

Do you have a loved one abroad who needs some quick cash for an emergency? Maybe you’re a foreign worker and you want to send money back home, or perhaps you’re just a generous soul who wants to send some money for disaster victims located three thousand miles away. No matter what your reason may be, you can easily send money even without having to go through your bank. You can use Western Union or you can use MoneyGram for this purpose.

Similarities Between Western Union and MoneyGram

MoneyGram and Western Union both offer convenient ways of sending money abroad, and they’re both reputable enough that they are often mentioned side by side when money transfer methods are discussed. Both offer just about the same convenience, and safety is fairly level as well.

Case in point, both companies follow similar procedures when it comes to sending money overseas. You find the nearest agent location by going to the company’s website and using the location finder. You go to that location, and bring a valid ID with you like a passport or a driver’s license.

You are then asked to complete a form indicating the names and addresses of the sender and recipient, and of course you also indicate how much you want to send. Both companies will charge you a transaction fee, and they also make money when they convert your money into the local currency of the country where the recipient is located.

Once all that is done, you’re given a special number which you then forward to the recipient (either through email or over the phone). At the other end, the recipient then shows their own valid ID and then discloses the special number to prove that they are indeed the rightful recipient of the money you sent.

The other main similarity is that both Western Union and MoneyGram are favorite channels of scam artists for duping innocent and naïve individuals of their money. Once you’re tricked into sending them money, there’s generally no way of ever getting your money back.

Differences Between Western Union and MoneyGram

While there may be a lot of similarities, there are some differences as well. Perhaps the most obvious difference is that Western Union locations are much more ubiquitous. There are more than 515,000 Western Union locations all over the world, compared to about 320,000 locations for MoneyGram. Western Union also operates in more countries than MoneyGram as well.

Western Union also offers more conveniences than MoneyGram, although the latter is trying hard to improve. You can send money over the phone with Western Union, but you can’t do that with MoneyGram yet.

Western Union also serves more customers than MoneyGram, but that may be because Western Union was founded way back in the 1850s and therefore much more well-known. But although Western Union is more famous and serves more people, there are also more complaints online about Western Union than there are about MoneyGram.

On the whole though, while there may be some differences, the level of ease and convenience offered by both are basically equal. You can’t go wrong with either one if you want to send money abroad.


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