How To Use Money Gram (MoneyGram) And Is It The Best Option Out There For Minimalists And Living Lightly Peeps?

Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one.
~ Benjamin Franklin

MoneyGram is provider of money transfer services. Much like your banks. In fact you can transfer money from your bank to someone you love.

This will be a quick tutorial on how to use Money Gram (actually spelled MoneyGram). But first, why do folks use MoneyGram? Most times it is used as a convenient way to send money as gifts to loved ones. MoneyGram isn’t the only service out there that you can use to send money to friends and relatives across state or even internationally.

As mentioned before you can use your own bank and several other services which we’ll look at in a bit.

How to use MoneyGram?
For those of you living in the United Stated you can sue MoneyGram one of 2 ways. You can send money using their online services or you can do it in person at one of their hundreds of thousands of agents world wide. For those of us living in Canada and I imagine elsewhere the only option we have to send money with MoneyGram is through an agent.

If you head on over to the MoneyGram website you’ll see just how easy it is to get started sending your money to other people all over the world while you get excessively fleeced for this service.

But before I get into why I don’t recommend MoneyGram as a money transfer service, let’s take a look at how you use MoneyGram to send money.

You can get quickly started by choosing the country you want to send money to and then you can choose how your friend or loved one can pick up the money. Depending on the country you are sending money to there are a few different options but there should be at least an option for your received to receive the money from a MoneyGram agent or to have it deposited into their account.

Next you choose the amount of money you want to send. Then you click on “Get Started” and you’ll see just how much you’re going to get robbed for sending the amount of money you chose. You’ll then need to either sign up or login to your account to get started.

For example, I chose to send someone in the Philippines $100USD and whether they got it deposited into their account or picked it up through an agent it was going to cost we $9.99USD for economy in which case they don’t get it for a few days, or $12USD if I wanted them to receive the money within minutes.

And if I wanted to send the maximum amount that you can to the Philippines ($899USD) through MoneyGram then I was going to get charged either $24.99USD or $55USD depending on economy or same day service respectively.

It’s worse if I want to send money to my Uncle Bob across state lines. Sending money online from the USA to another USA location only gives the receiver the option of picking up the money from an agent and would cost me $10USD for economy or $15.49 for same day service to send $100USD.

Sending the maximum which is also $899USD would cost $25USD or $69.99USD for economy or same day service respectively. That’s more than sending the same amount half way across the world.

Sending money through a MoneyGram agent requires you to head to an agent with some government approved ID. Fill in a form. Hand that form to the MoneyGram agent with the amount of money you want to send + the fee that you’ll be charged. BONUS: you can add a 10 word message to your loved one too if you like woohoo (that’s facetiousness).

Then you’ll be given a reference number which you must then give to the person who you have sent the money too. Talk about a chore. There are easier and cheaper ways.

Alternatives to sending money using MoneyGram
Honestly, I’d probably recommend any other method to sending money other than with MoneyGram. I find their fees to be outrageous and the sending and receiving of money to be cumbersome.

You can try your bank first of all, and you’ll likely find the fees to be comparable. At least they are in Canada where I am.

You can also try Western Union too. Doing a cursory price comparison I find them to be a few bucks cheaper than MoneyGram both within the US and to the Philippines. They also have more convenient ways to send and receive money too. You can also send at least $1,000USD to the Philippines and this is where the savings start to add up. Sending a thousand bucks to Aunt Sally over in Delaware however is more expensive than with MoneyGram.

There are also USPS postal orders which shouldn’t be overlooked especially if there is no rush in getting money to someone.

You can also use other services like Xoom, though my favourite is PayPal. Not without its challenges, but you’ll save money just about every time you want to send money. It would be useful to sign up for a PayPal account if you ever think you’ll need to send money. It is convenient, quick and cheap.

What is the best way to send money to someone?
The best way to send money both internationally and overseas is through PayPal as suggested above.

For example, sending friends and family $100USD with the US is free if you have a PayPal balance and as much as $3.20USD if you charge it to your credit card. Sending Sally Jane in Maine a thousand bucks is only gonna cost $29.30USD if you choose your credit or debit card and will be FREE if you have that much moolah in your PayPal or bank account.

Sending $1000USD to the Philippines is only $39.30USD by credit or debit card or $5 if sent from your PayPal or bank account balance. $100USD to the Philippines is $0.50 if sent via PayPal or bank account balance or $4.20USD if sent by credit/debit card.

PayPal is easy to use and to sign up to. You can add your bank account and credit cards to it easily and it is reliable as well.

I’ve been using it for years now and I’m happy with it. There is no need as frugal folk living a minimalist and abundant life to pay more than we need to for more hassle than should be expected to send money when there are several other viable and cheaper options over using MoneyGram.

Just say yes to the other ways to transfer money in the US and overseas and say “Money Scram” to MoneyGram.


  1. Thanks for this post,
    I also think that MoneyGram services are overpriced. It especially stands out when you compare their fees to fees of alternatives such as Transferwise, Paysera or Currencyfair. MoneyGram can only be useful in cases when the recipient does not have a bank account. Then cash pick up option can be used. However in their cases, when bank-to-bank transaction is possible, it does not make sense using MoneyGram.

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