MoneyGram International, founded in 1940, is a giant global US-based money transfer company headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with offices around the world. MoneyGram International is the result of a merger of Travelers Express with Integrated Payment Systems Inc.
MoneyGram is the second largest provider (behind Western Union) of money transfers in the world. Like Western Union, MoneyGram still uses agency offices, a relic of the days before internet banking when the firms relied on geographic presence to facilitate transfers. The company now operates in more than 200 countries with a global network of more than 350,000 agent offices. MoneyGram’s annual revenue is $1.45 billion.
By 2006 MoneyGram International had expanded internationally in regions such as Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe and Central America. The company had also introduced additional services such as bill payment and online money transfers.
MoneyGram businesses are divided into two categories: Global Funds Transfers and Financial Paper Products. MoneyGram was in business long before the advent of electronic transfers, and built its business through agent offices which aren’t compatible with the modern currency transfer structure. MoneyGram has adapted but still depends on processes that are outdated.
The company works with individuals and businesses through networks of agents and financial institution customers. In 2015, the company’s agent network in Africa reached 25,000 locations.
In 2012, MoneyGram International admitted to anti-money laundering and wire fraud violations after MoneyGram services were used by unrelated parties involved in mass marketing and consumer scams that defrauded thousands of US victims. MoneyGram created a $100 million victim compensation fund as part of settlement. In February 2016, MoneyGram agreed to pay $13 million to end a money transfer probe.
Scant services are listed on MoneyGram’s homepage which funnels visitors to immediately select a region from which they’ll be sending a transfer. One half of this page is dedicated to Scam Awareness Alliance, a non-profit organisation MoneyGram founded that seeks to educate Americans about scams in order to help them avoid becoming victims of them as had happened with MoneyGram previously. No currency calculator combined with no hint of any best rate guarantee is very off-putting. This is a corporate machine at its coldest and most unapproachable state. There’s no hope of generating a connection with any visitor, in spite of the company flouting its charitable donations of over $4 million.
US Consumer Affairs Department rates MoneyGram 1 out of 5 Stars with 353 reviews detailing very similar issues. Problems begin with online transfer errors due to MoneyGram’s website altering information, e.g. transfer to be sent to Alabama, auto corrected to Albania. Clients unable to get funds for a typical 11-day period are also unable to find English speaking customer support service. Very poorly rated service is reported by almost 100% of reviewers.
TRUSTPILOT rates MoneyGram as Bad 1.4 with only 62 reviews of which almost all were complaints about very poor service, especially customer service telephone calls to resolve issues. MoneyGram frequently made errors which kept transfer funds from being processed and weren’t helpful by email or phone to customers seeking bank refunds. The worst reviews of any transfer company on TRUSTPILOT are MoneyGram’s.
Simply because customers see MoneyGram everywhere, they assume it offers competitive transfers when the very opposite is true. The omnipresent agencies require the firm to charge higher fees for transfers than the lean competition with online platforms. Western Union and MoneyGram were the industry standard before internet banking allowed customers to make transfers without having to visit an agency and they reaped fat fees for their services from populations who could little afford to pay them. It’s about time immigrants had better options for sending remittance abroad; pity those who have access to much better transfer companies don’t avail themselves of them and avoid using MoneyGram!
1 out of 5 stars
Huge global reach makes transfers within minutes possible.
Services like money transfers made through kiosks practically guarantee a poor rate of exchange. MoneyGram is profiting from African regions where banking services are under developed.
MoneyGram transactions can be initiated only in the United States and a handful of other countries. 350,000 locations around the world are set up for collecting, not initiating transfers.
Meta- takeaway: Rates don’t matter to MoneyGram- the world’s second largest transfer provider is a global dinosaur unable to adapt to the age of electronic transfers. Global agent offices can’t compete with today’s currency transfer options.