In thisÂ world of ubiquitous ATMs, tap-to-pay checkoutÂ and automated bank deposits, there are still times when itâs necessary to hand over, or collect, hard cash. Thatâs why money-transfer services MoneyGram and Western Union have tens of thousands of agents in cities and towns around the world.Â
Money-sending servicesÂ can be a lifesaver. You may feel itâs unlikely youâll ever be broke and stranded in a bus station in Bengaluru, needing your spouse to send cash, but stranger things have happened âÂ and not just when youâre traveling abroad. How about when your child whoâs studying at a Canadian university needs you to send the rent deposit â pronto?Â More routinely, money-transfer companies provide banking services like money transfers, money orders and bill payment to people who donât have bank accounts. In the United States and Canada, many customersÂ are new immigrants who send money regularly to family members in their home countries. Outside the U.S.,Â itâs even easier to find a nearby agent for MoneyGramÂ (MGI)Â or Western UnionÂ (WU) or both.Â Cash is still king in many countries, and, in developing nations, many people donât have bank accounts.
So which is better, MoneyGram or Western Union?The Big Three
In the U.S., MoneyGram and Western Union services are available in many pharmacies and supermarkets, as well as small local businesses, bus stations and check-cashing outlets. For most of these agents, handling money transfers is a side business.Â Walmart offers its service in its stores, online or via an app.A Few Drawbacks
One drawback to sending cash through these services is that they open or close with the storesâ usual hours. You may have to cool your heels at the bus station until the next morning before your family can send you that emergency cash.
The biggest drawback of any money-transfer service is the vulnerability of its customers to fraud. A request f...