MoneyGram Review

MoneyGram is one of the largest money transfer services in the world, with more than 430,000 agent locations across the globe. So there’s a good chance you’ve already come across MoneyGram in your research, but with so many options out there, it can be tough to know who to choose.

How do you know if MoneyGram is the best provider for your needs? 

Well, stick around for this MoneyGram review, which will answer your questions, provide a breakdown of the firm’s services, and present an unbiased view of its strengths and weaknesses. Our research is a combination of our own experience trialling the firm, in addition to the thousands of verified MoneyGram reviews regarding the firm’s overall service and its mobile apps.

In short, MoneyGram can deliver your funds quickly and securely, offering many convenient collection options. But this convenience comes at a price, as they are one of the most expensive international money transfer companies in the industry..

How Did We Review MoneyGram?

Our first step was registering a new account, to review MoneyGram’s signup process and position us to make a test transfer. We did not make MoneyGram aware that the account was created for review purposes, to ensure we received a genuine service and could represent the firm fairly to potential users.  

Whilst assessing the ease of registration and the money transfer process, we considered both user friendliness and efficiency, as well as considering how useful we found other available features.

Our review process also included an analysis of MoneyGram’s: 

  • Compliance and regulation
  • FX rates and fees
  • Service quality
  • Customer reviews
  • Australia-specific features and feedback

Based on all the above, we scored MoneyGram across 5 performance indicators, before surmising these to produce MoneyGram’s overall review score.

Key Information

AttributeDetail
Established1998
Launched in Australia1998
HeadquartersTexas, U.S.A
OfficesUK, Australia, Ireland, France, Spain, U.S.A, and Romania
RegulationNo specific Australian regulation (operates under an international licence from Belgium)
No. of customers150 million+
No. of currencies135+
Transfer feesVariable fee from AU$0-AU$2.99
Customer reviews (Overall)4.5/5, 41,446+ reviews
Customer reviews (Australia)N/A 
Annual trading volume (Overall)£300 billion
Minimum transfer$0
Maximum transferAU$13,500 per month in most cases
Online platformYes
Mobile appYes
Account managerNo

Pros and Cons

  • Fast transfers – MoneyGram has a good track record of delivering funds fast, particularly if your recipient is collecting cash
  • Wide reach - MoneyGram can deliver your funds to most countries, and deals with an impressively high number of currencies
  • Multiple delivery methods – MoneyGram specialises in non bank transfer collection, so whether it’s via mobile money or cash pickup you can still get your funds to those in need
  • Restrictive send limits - MoneyGram is unsuitable for large transfers due to low monthly send limits
  • Very poor exchange rates - depending on the currency, in some instances MoneyGram’s rates are among the worst in the industry
  • Technical issues with digital service - there are a significant number of reviews that detail technical issues with the MoneyGram app and digital platform

About MoneyGram

MoneyGram built its brand and reputation from a business model based largely on physical locations, where customers could visit and pay for overseas transfers using cash. Physical locations still play a key role in MoneyGram’s service offering, whether for customers to pay for transfers, or for recipients to collect cash, however the firm is shifting toward a more digitally led service. The firm launched its digital service in Australia in 2018.

Throughout its history MoneyGram has experienced several extreme highs and lows, and as a publicly traded company for 19 years from 2004 to 2023, saw its shares fall by as much as 96% during its biggest skid. Despite all the turbulence, MoneyGram has fought hard to remain a mainstay in the remittance industry, and in what is considered a very rare occurrence as a publicly traded firm, MoneyGram was acquired by Madison Dearborn Partners in 2023 for an impressive US$1 billion in cash.The decision was made to allow more autonomy for the firm to focus on realigning its service to be more intune with the digitally dominated market, without the pressure from shareholders for a more immediate ROI. 

The firm certainly seems to have recognised the importance of moving with the times. In 2023, as part of its marketing strategy to reach a younger and more tech savvy audience, MoneyGram became the title sponsor for Haas F1 team as of 2023. The relationship is said to be thriving and has earned MoneyGram an impressive 11-point increase in global awareness and a huge boost in earned media impressions. General Manager, Edwina Johnson has stated “MoneyGram is transforming a legacy brand into a digital first business…(concerned) not just in meeting but leapfrogging the current status quo”. 

At the time of writing, more than 50% of all MoneyGram transactions are now digital, suggesting the firm is on the right trajectory.

MoneyGram Currency Exchange Services

MoneyGram only offers a spot transfer service, meaning you won’t have any access to hedging tools like forward contracts or limit orders, so you can’t secure a desired rate for a future transaction. 

However, users do have the ability to schedule transfers in the MoneyGram app, but by automating a transfer, you won’t know the exact exchange rate that you’ll receive.

How to pay for your transfer

If you’re sending money online, you can pay with a credit or debit card (Visa or MasterCard), or directly from your bank account. 

If you’re planning on visiting a physical agent location, cash is the only payment form accepted in the majority of cases, which includes paying for any associated fees. 

Delivery methods 

MoneyGram offers various ways for your beneficiary to receive their funds, which can prove particularly useful in emergencies or when your recipient does not have a bank account. 

Here’s a list of MoneyGram’s delivery methods: 

Cash pickup – MoneyGram has an extensive partner network consisting of more than 430,000 pick up locations worldwide, where your recipient can collect cash within minutes.

Mobile wallet – In many parts of Asia and Africa, mobile wallets are more common than bank accounts. MoneyGram lets you deposit funds directly to a recipient’s mobile account. 

Bank transfer – They also offer the more traditional route of a bank transfer, but you’ll need to check your destination country to see if this option is available in your desired region.

Debit card – MoneyGram lets you send funds directly to a recipient’s bank, using only their debit card information. This service is currently available in 25 destination countries. 

Limits

We found MoneyGram’s help section on its Australian site to be particularly sparse compared to other regions, as it lacked any detailed info regarding send limits. It simply states that limits vary by payment method, send country, receive country, and receive method, directing users to enter their specific transfer details to see whether or not this is within MoneyGram’s limits. 

As a very rough guide to MoneyGram’s online service, most regions allow you to send up to US$10,000.00 every 30 calendar days. When inputting a variety of sample transfers to various destinations, the digital send limit was AU$13,750.00 in most cases.

MoneyGram fees & exchange rates

Fees 

MoneyGram charges a small variable fee determined by the send total, destination country, payment method, and delivery option. 

As a general summary, out of all of our test transfers or sample transfers using the MoneyGram currency converter, no fee exceeded AU$2.99. Still, we consider these fees to be unnecessary given the majority of leading providers nowadays charging zero fees. 

Exchange rates   

On average, MoneyGram has some of the worst exchange rates of all the non-bank providers. MoneyGram adds a significant fx margin for many popular currency pairs, but some are more competitive than others. For example, at the time of writing, MoneyGram adds an fx margin of 1.1% for an AUDUSD transfer. This rate is significantly cheaper than you’d get with the majority of the big four Australian banks, and you get the added convenience of multiple delivery options. 

Sadly though, USD seemed to be the exception to the rule amongst popular currencies, as MoneyGram was applying between 2-3% to convert AUD to EUR, CAD, or NZD, all the way up to a staggering 6.08% when converting AUD to GBP. Even for a provider offering a range of convenient pick up options, this is still extremely expensive. 

For comparison, for those looking to send money directly to a recipient’s bank account, you can expect an fx margin as low as 0.2-1% from leading providers, depending on the currency pair and how much you’re sending.

So whilst MoneyGram may make it easier for your recipients to collect the funds, you have to ask yourself, how much is the cost of convenience really worth?

Is there a MoneyGram App?

Yes, MoneyGram has a popular mobile app available on both Google Play and the App Store. The Apple version of the app also runs on iPad and compatible MacBooks.

The app has received mostly positive reviews. 
4.8/5 on the App Store, based on 23.1K reviews 
4.5/5 on Google Play, based on 64.2K reviews

Globally, the app has more than 5 million downloads, but these review scores are specifically for Australian users. 

The MoneyGram app has a well designed user interface, and many positive reviews praise its layout and navigation as it allows them to easily browse and quickly find the feature they’re looking for. Another common theme throughout positive reviews is the app offering a ‘fast and smooth’ transfer process, with many users being particularly fond of convenient features including ‘1 click repeat transfers’.

The less favourable reviews tell a slightly different story. 

Some users have found the app to be unstable, with repeated experiences of the app crashing after successfully entering their password to login. Both Apple and Android users have reported issues of being stuck at the login page, experiencing various unsuccessful login messages.

Another fairly common frustration is having to re-enter an existing recipient’s details from scratch, seemingly highlighting a bug that is preventing the app from saving contacts.

Overall, despite a couple of bugs to be addressed by the development team, the MoneyGram app proves popular with users and has a high average rating across both devices.

The MoneyGram app is well designed, positioning the firm to continue driving more business online

Is MoneyGram Safe?

Yes, MoneyGram is a well established money transfer service that can be trusted to facilitate secure overseas transfers. 

The firm is not specifically authorised or regulated in Australia, instead operating as the international entity ‘MoneyGram International SA’, which is a licensed payment institution regulated by the National Bank of Belgium. This should not pose any concern, as MoneyGram are legally authorised in all of their operating territories, and they are well regulated in other major territories like the UK, who have famously stringent standards.  

The firm also invests an average of $50 million USD annually into its compliance program, which clearly demonstrates MoneyGram’s commitment to continuing to operate safely in all new and existing territories.

safe tofx


MoneyGram Reviews

MoneyGram has an impressive online reputation, and as of March 2024, holds an ‘Excellent’ rating on TrustPilot, with an average score of 4.5 out of 5 stars. This is based on 41,446 reviews, so a large enough sample to draw insights from, but not a huge amount of reviews considering the firm has been offering international money transfers for well over two decades. 

85% of verified MoneyGram reviews are positive, and much of the praise echoes the themes found in the app reviews, with ‘reliability’ and ‘speed’ being the key themes.

Interestingly, several negative reviews detail log in issues with the online web platform. The fact this has caused significant issues across both apps and online is slightly concerning, especially as one of MoneyGram’s best use cases is for emergencies. Whilst we didn’t personally experience any issues with its web platform, throughout our research we consistently found the MoneyGram website to run particularly slow, and it just seemed very outdated in general.

Other negative feedback appearing in multiple reviews included mentions of delayed delivery times and regular users expressing their desire for some sort of loyalty scheme or membership in order to receive a more cost effective service. 

This would suggest the ‘MoneyGram Plus Rewards’ program that’s currently in place is not doing much to encourage brand loyalty.

How Does MoneyGram Work?

The process of sending money overseas with MoneyGram varies significantly based on your chosen delivery method, but we’ve summarised the general process for all methods below: 

Create an account 

Regardless of your delivery method, your first step is registering a new account with MoneyGram, which you can do in app or via their website. This is a quick process and only requires you to enter your full name (as it appears on your legal ID), home address, mobile number and email address. You’ll need to have your legal ID to hand before making your first transfer to verify your identity. 

Confirm the details of your trade 

As you won’t have an account manager to offer guidance, it’s your responsibility to make sure you’re entering all information correctly. 

If you’re visiting a partner location to pay with cash, the agent may encourage you to double check that all details are correct, so be sure to take your time and feel confident before proceeding.This includes reviewing MoneyGram’s exchange rate and any applicable fees. 

Remember, you’ll need to calculate the fx margin yourself to know the true cost of the transfer.   


Enter your beneficiary’s details

The transfer delivery method you choose will dictate what and how much information is required at this stage.

For cash pickup transfers, you’ll simply need the recipient’s full name as it appears on their ID. If you’re paying with cash at an agent location, you’ll also need a valid ID of your own to confirm your identity. For payments to a mobile wallet, debit card, or bank transfer, you’ll need either the recipient’s phone number, debit card details, or bank information respectively.

Bank information includes an international ID code, such as a routing number for a recipient in the U.S.A or an IBAN for those in the UK and Europe.

Sit back

Once you’re happy all of the transfer and recipient details are correct, confirm your trade then kick back and relax until your funds arrive. 

MoneyGram will provide an estimated delivery time, and you can check the status of your transfer using your app in the ‘Recent Activity’ tab.

How Long Does a MoneyGram Transfer Take?

This will largely be dictated by your delivery method, but generally speaking MoneyGram offers a fast international transfer service. 

If you’re sending funds for your recipient to collect in cash, the transfer is usually available for collection within minutes. Bank transfers will take slightly longer, but MoneyGram offers a ‘same day’ service to many popular destinations, with many transactions often completing within a few hours. 

MoneyGram will provide an estimated delivery date before you’re asked to confirm your trade, but bear in mind this is only a guideline.

When to Use MoneyGram for Money Transfers

Given MoneyGram is one of the more expensive providers for international transfers, the firm has fairly limited use cases and we’d rarely recommend using them to send your money overseas.

However, if you’re in an emergency situation where you need to urgently send funds to a friend or family member, then using MoneyGram’s cash pickup is a fast and reliable option. Especially as they have such a vast amount of pick-up locations thanks to their impressive international partner network.

But excluding emergencies or instances where a recipient does not have a bank account, we would not recommend using MoneyGram.

There are simply too many alternatives offering far better value and superior service overall. 

For most small transfers less than AU$20,000, We’d recommend using ‘Wise’, a leading money transfer app offering fast, reliable, and very low cost international transfers. For all large transfers, your best bet is signing up with a leading currency broker, such as Send Payments or OFX.

Our Verdict

Without doubt, MoneyGram has earned its place as a staple in the money transfer industry, and can be trusted to offer safe and reliable overseas transfers. With a wide reach of destination countries and currencies, they stand out as a good emergency solution.  

Aside from that, MoneyGram has fairly limited use cases given how expensive they are compared to many alternatives. It remains to be seen whether MoneyGram’s evolution into a digital first provider will have a significant impact on its pricing in the future. 

With so much recent investment into its brand evolution and a fastly growing digital audience, MoneyGram is certainly a provider we plan to keep a close eye on.