No matter the reason, there are times that we have to send money instantly. In these instances waiting 3 to 5 days on a bank ACH transfer simply will not do, especially if you need to send money overseas in a hurry. In these cases, there are two options: MoneyGram or Western Union. Between the two, however, which is better?
Pros of MoneyGram
Location – MoneyGram has over 100,000 agent locations across the globe, many already in place in local retailer locations like Wal-Mart.
Convenience – You are able to send money online through your bank account to a recipient any time, day or night.
Instant transfers – MoneyGram offers instant transfer of funds to the recipient.
Bill Pay – Money Gram offers a bill pay service to leading retailers and banks.
Rewards Points – MoneyGram offers transfer fee discounts for frequent users.
Cons of MoneyGram
Limitations – MoneyGram limits how much a sender can send at any one time.
No tracking – You cannot track your payment. In fact, MoneyGram is a favorite among internet scam artists and money launderers.
Fees – Money Gram fees are upwards of $10 for every $100 you send.
Pick up – In many instances, the only way to pick up money is physically at a location, you cannot transfer to a bankcard or account.
Pros of Western Union
Locations – Western Union has over 400,000 global locations.
No limits – There are no limits to the amount of money you can send at any one time.
No sending restrictions– Unlike MoneyGram, who allows payments to originate only in the United States, you can send money from anywhere in the world with Western Union.
Send online – You can send money via Western Union instantly online, there is no need to visit a location. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
IPhone App – Western Union even offers iPhone users an app to track payments and pick ups.
Cons of Western Union
Scam artists favor fraud potential – Similar to its competitor, MoneyGram, Western this is a service preferred due to funds being virtually untraceable when received. There is no real consumer protection in place for fraudulent activities.
Fees – The fees to send money via Western Union are changing and comparable in price to MoneyGram services.
Pick up – Like MoneyGram, Western Union funds must be picked up in person, they will not automatically transfer to a bank account or credit card.
Overall, MoneyGram and Western Union are surprisingly equally matched competitors. However, the presence of these titans is challenged by up and coming bill payment services and online products that do not charge fees for sending money, while offering robust consumer protection services. Unless both companies step up their game, they will become famous for being the preferred payment method of criminals, and increasingly less use will be made of the services until both business are extinct.