Wise vs MoneyGram: Which One is Better?
If you need to send money overseas, or you’re looking for ways to manage your money across currencies, you may have come across Wise and MoneyGram as popular and established payment providers.
There’s some overlap in the services offered by Wise and MoneyGram – but the options available do vary significantly. If you’re struggling to choose, this guide is for you. We’ll run through features, fees and exchange rates for Wise and MoneyGram to help you pick.
Wise (TransferWise) vs MoneyGram – The Important Bits
Wise (formerly TransferWise)
Safety: Based in the UK, licensed and regulated by a range of global bodies
Rates: Mid-market rate (real exchange rate)
Fees: Percentage based fee
Speed: 50%+ of transfers arrive instantly, 90% arrive within 24 hours
Currency conversion: Instant
Trustpilot rating: 172,000+ reviews. Score 4.5/5 – Excellent
Safety: Based in the US, fully licensed and secure
Rates: Vary by transfer specifics and include a markup
Fees: Fees vary by destination
Speed: Cash collection take minutes; bank transfers arrive the same or next working day
Currency conversion: Instant
Trustpilot rating: 23,000+ reviews. Score 4.3/5 – Excellent
Wise vs MoneyGram in three important ways:
- MoneyGram supports payouts to more countries compared to Wise.
- Wise has a multi-currency account and linked card that support 50+ currencies – MoneyGram does not have that option.
- MoneyGram offers payouts for cash collection and home delivery, mobile wallet payments and as a card deposit – Wise does not.
Wise Vs MoneyGram features in more detail (features table) – side by side
|Feature||Wise (formerly TransferWise)||MoneyGram|
|Send payments to||80+ countries, 50+ currencies||200+ countries and territories|
|Multi-currency accounts||Available for 50+ currencies||N|
|Debit card available||Yes, Wise Debit Card||N|
|Cash payout available||N||Y|
|Mobile wallet payment||N||Y|
|Send to card||N||Y|
|Fully licensed and regulated||Y||Y|
Wise and MoneyGram – pros and cons
Wise vs MoneyGram – features conclusions
Wise was launched as TransferWise back in 2011 as a low-cost international payment provider. These days, Wise has upwards of 13 million customers, and also offers personal and business multi-currency accounts to hold and manage 50+ currencies, accept payments and spend using a linked Wise debit card.
- MoneyGram offers a range of payout options, and covers 200+ countries and territories. If you need a payment to be collected in cash the MoneyGram network of 400,000 locations may make this a strong choice for your transfer.
- Wise on the other hand is a specialist in transfers direct to bank accounts, and offers the mid-market exchange rate with low, transparent fees. Wise also offers a multi-currency account with a linked international debit card. If Wise supports payments to the country you’re sending to, and you want your transfer to be delivered to a bank account, they may be your best bet.
Wise vs MoneyGram: fees and exchange rates
Wise international transfers use the mid-market exchange rate and a transparent fee which you’ll be shown when you calculate your payment online or in the Wise app.
The Wise international transfer fee will depend on the value of your payment and the way you pay for it. There’s no cost added to the exchange rate, so you’ll be able to easily and instantly see the real price of your transfer.
MoneyGram fees can include a transfer fee and an exchange rate markup. The fee you pay may vary depending on how you pay – credit card payments are often more expensive and may also incur third party charges. It’s worth knowing also that the fee added to the exchange rate you get may change based on the pay out method. That may mean you get a worse exchange rate when you send money for cash collection compared with having it deposited directly to a bank account.
Wise vs MoneyGram: which is cheaper?
Using a specialist provider to send international transfers is usually cheaper than relying on your normal bank. However, different providers have different services on offer, and may use vastly different pricing systems, so you’ll still need to shop around to find the best one for you.
Let’s take a look at how Wise and MoneyGram measure up on a transfer example, funded by bank transfer and sent direct to a bank account.
|Amount & Currency||How much your recipient gets with Wise||How much your recipient gets with MoneyGram|
|1,000 USD sent to a EUR account||1,028.39 EUR||1,027.57 EUR|
|5,000 USD sent to a EUR account||5,154.72 EUR||5,137.87 EUR|
*Rates and fees correct at time of research – 27th September 2022
As you can see, in this comparison there’s not much in it for the lower value payments, while Wise comes out on top for the larger payment.
Wise is often the cheapest option if you’re looking to send a payment direct to a bank account, as there’s no fee added to the exchange rate which can make a big difference to the overall cost, particularly with higher value transfers.
If you’re looking for a cash collection payment, you may still want to compare MoneyGram to a few other similar providers to see if they suit your needs.
Can I open a business account with Wise or MoneyGram?
Both Wise and MoneyGram offer services for businesses, however the products available are quite different.
- Wise business accounts offer a way to accept, make and manage multi-currency payments for your business. The service is all online and in-app, with the option to allow team members to access and use account features, and smart ways to integrate and cut admin, like batch payments and cloud accounting software reconciliations.
- MoneyGram corporate services are tailor made for businesses looking to outsource tasks like payment processing, and offer a one stop solution for many types of business admin. Because MoneyGram is also involved in money order and check processing, you can access these services for your business by opening up a MoneyGram account and working with your dedicated account manager.
Here are some key features of the business offerings from both Wise and MoneyGram.
Wise business features
- Hold 50+ currencies and send payments around the world
- 31 USD one time set up fee for full account access, then no monthly charge
- Payments can be 6x cheaper than regular banks and 19x cheaper than PayPal
- 50%+ of payments are instant
- Invoice to local receiving accounts in 10 currencies to get paid easily from around the world
- Cut admin time with batch payments
- Integrate with QuickBooks or Xero accounting software
- Give team members access
MoneyGram business features
- Outsourcing services for businesses to cut admin time
- International and domestic payments to 200 countries
- Single point of service platform for all business transfers
- Money orders and check processing for business
- Biller solutions to let customers pay you more easily
- Tailor made solutions for businesses, not an off the shelf package
Wise vs MoneyGram: which is faster?
50%+ of Wise payments arrive in seconds, and most transfers arrive within a day. You’ll see the estimated delivery time when you set up your transfer, and can always track it online or in the Wise app.
MoneyGram cash collection payments arrive in minutes. Bank transfers can take anything from a few hours to a day or so – you’ll see an estimated delivery time when you set up your payment online or in the MoneyGram app.
With Wise you can send money to 80 countries and hold and convert 50+ currencies in your Wise account.
MoneyGram serves 200+ countries and territories with a digital service, and a network of 400,000 agents.
How do they work?
Wise offers payments online and via an app. The process is simple once your account is all set up – here’s what you do:
- Log into your account
- Type in how much you want to transfer, or how much you need the recipient to get
- Enter the recipient’s details – bank account number or email
- Check over the details
- Fund your payment using a card or bank transfer
- Confirm and your money will be on the move
Wise payments don’t work like international transfers through a regular bank. Instead of sending money through a series of intermediaries, which is expensive and slow, Wise uses its own network of local bank accounts. This means you can pay for your transfer in US dollars and then Wise will make a payment of the equivalent amount in your preferred currency, from their account in the destination country. No money actually moves across borders, so it’s faster and cheaper than traditional international payments.
Wise services are available in all but a small handful of countries – you’ll be able to check what types of payments and accounts are available wherever you are, on the Wise website. Simply choose your country from the handy dropdown box to see what’s on offer.
MoneyGram has a network of agents in 200 countries, as well as online and mobile services. Online services are not necessarily globally available, although in many cases you’ll be able to send payments in person via an agent even in countries where the digital payment service is unavailable. You can check the availability in your region and country on the global MoneyGram website
MoneyGram is licensed in the countries and territories in which it trades.
Wise is also globally regulated. In the US Wise operates under its own license in some states, and in other locations it offers services through Community Federal Savings Bank.
Ease of use
Creating an account:
- Wise accounts are opened and operated online or using the Wise app.
- MoneyGram allows customers to create online and in-app accounts, or set up an account at an agent location.
Making a money transfer:
- Wise international payments can be made online or in the Wise app.
- MoneyGram payments can be made online, in app or in person at an agent location.
Ways to send money:
- Wise transfers can be funded by bank transfer, credit or debit card.
- MoneyGram accepts bank transfers, credit or debit card payments online, or cash at an agent location.
- Wise offers global support in a range of languages, online, using the app, and by phone.
- MoneyGram has an online service, and agent locations where you may also find face to face support.
Minimum & maximum amounts for transfers:
- Wise limits depend on which currencies you send to and from, and how you pay. However, you may be able to make several smaller transfers if your ideal transfer amount exceeds the limit for the specific payment.
- MoneyGram online transfers are capped at 10,000 USD/month for most countries, with higher limits of 15,000 USD/month for 42 delivery locations. You may be able to send more than this from an agent location.
Conclusion: Which is better Wise or MoneyGram?
MoneyGram and Wise offer a different suite of services. Which is best for you may depend on exactly what you’re looking for.
MoneyGram has an impressive reach covering 200+ countries and territories, and its agent network of 400,000 locations also allows it to offer a comprehensive cash collection and payment service. If you’re looking for a transfer to a mobile wallet, or for cash collection or home delivery, MoneyGram may be a strong choice for you.
Wise’s stand-out feature is its low costs and convenience for international bank transfers. Because you get the mid-market exchange rate every time, with a low, transparent fee, it’s easy to see the true cost of your transfer – and you may find you save compared to other providers. Wise also offers a multi-currency account for individuals and businesses which can be handy if you need to send, receive, hold or convert currencies.
FAQ s on MoneyGram vs Wise
Is Wise or MoneyGram cheaper?
In our comparison, Wise was cheaper than MoneyGram for our example payments to euros. Check out which is cheaper for your transfer based on live rates and fees at the time of your payment.
What is the difference between Wise and MoneyGram?
Wise is a specialist in digital transfers to bank accounts, and multi-currency account products for individuals and businesses. MoneyGram also offers payments to bank accounts, alongside transfers to mobile money accounts and for cash collection.
Is Wise or MoneyGram faster?
Wise payments can arrive instantly, with most being delivered within 24 hours. MoneyGram transfers to be collected in cash can be ready instantly, bank transfers may take an hour to a day to arrive.
How many currencies do Wise and MoneyGram support?
Wise customers can send payments to 80+ countries, and hold and manage 50+ in their Wise accounts. MoneyGram offers payments to 200+ countries and territories, although not all services are available in all destination countries.