Western Union vs MoneyGram

June 12, 2021

Money-transfer services like MoneyGram and Western Union services can be a lifesaver when you need to either send or collect cash in a pinch. When a loved one in another country contacts you in an emergency, it’s a secure way of making sure they get the money, since money transfers are generally available to anyone with an ID.

Both services are tried and true ways of getting your money where it needs to go as soon as possible. They can come in handy when you don’t know how the person you’re sending cash to manages their finances. And there isn’t a lot of waiting.

But you might be wondering why to choose one service provider over the other.

Premier Money-Sending Services in Illinois

Before we get into the differences, let’s look at what MoneyGram and Western Union have in common. They are both popular and trusted ways of wiring money to someone who needs it, just about anywhere on earth.

While digital finance is on the rise, money-sending services are always an option if the sender doesn’t have a bank account or the person on the receiving end lacks any other means of making a quick transaction. Are you trying to get funds quickly to a friend who has a bus to catch? Either MoneyGram or Western Union will generally make the cash available within just a few minutes.

Western Union

Western Union is the larger and more globally recognized of the two companies. They were once known as a telegram service until those were officially discontinued. Today, it’s a quick and easy way to cash a money order or to send cash in person. With more store locations, it might be more easily accessible for your family. You can find their services at three different South Suburban Currency Exchange locations.

Perks include:

  • Money tracking to make sure it arrives
  • Next-day collection for people who like to plan ahead
  • Ability to get cash through an app or on Western Union’s website
  • Online bill payment

There is a lot of payment flexibility. Money can be paid in cash or wired to a bank. Transfers can be done bank-to-bank or cash-to-cash. If you prefer, start your money transfer online and then pay in person when you get here. You can get notified on your phone about the progress of the transaction to save time. Just fill us in when you get here.


MoneyGram is another highly convenient go-to for international and domestic money transfers. The world’s second biggest money transfer company, MoneyGram services are available at SSCE’s Richton Park location.

Perks include:

  • Thousands of participating billers for bill payment, such as Ford and other auto services, which can be found online
  • Date feature letting both sender and recipient know what day the funds should be ready
  • App that includes a fee estimator

So, What’s the Difference?

There are slight differences in how the two services work. For instance, MoneyGram offers some payment routes which will potentially arrive in the recipient’s bank account in as little as an hour, although some types of transfers will take longer. There can be varying factors for a given transaction: how much you’re sending, where it’s going, and the situation on the receiving end.

There can be caps at some locations limiting how much money you can send in a single transaction, as well. If you’re sending $5,000 to a friend’s bank account in Brazil, you may want to look at both options to find out which is more likely to get it there faster. When sending large amounts of cash, always call your nearest SSCE location to find out about any maximums.

Ask About Your Specific Transaction

Although the two services are quite similar, it’s always a good idea to contact your neighborhood currency exchange beforehand to get the details on the specific transaction you’d like to make. Western Union and MoneyGram usually charge a fee, but because they vary, neither provider will necessarily be more expensive than the other.

When you come in, don’t forget to bring a valid photo ID and any other pertinent information related to the service you want performed.

Visit us online or give us a call to make sure the location near you has the service you’re looking for. Keep in mind that your local SSCE location will use either Western Union or MoneyGram, but not both. Or just stop on by so one of our trained assistants can tell you about all of our bill payment and financial management options.