10/23/2012 11:32 am ET Updated Dec 23, 2012

PayPal Is Expanding Offline With MoneyGram

It's about time! That is what every PayPal member is probably saying after hearing the announcement that the company would partner with MoneyGram to give account holders another way to access their cash. The PayPal and MoneyGram marriage is a natural partnership that extends the reach of PayPal to global brick-and-mortar outlets without having to conduct a single grand opening.

For those who are unfamiliar with PayPal's current way to withdraw cash from a personal account, there are a few ways to do this. Account members may have money transferred into a U.S. bank account without a charge. Members may apply for a PayPal debit card, which may receive cash transfers from PayPal accounts for a fee of 2.9 percent of the amount transferred. PayPal also cuts checks for those willing to wait up to two weeks for their money; those requesting checks sent to international locales may have an expected wait time of 45 days. Members may also send money to an international bank for a fee of up to two percent depending on the destination country.

Because MoneyGram has over 200,000 locations worldwide, Paypal account members will be able to withdraw their money at any MoneyGram location by 2013 when the partnership is expected to be rolled out. This new feature is great for a variety of people. Those who do not have a U.S. bank account or PayPal debit card will be able to withdraw their funds without having to wait weeks for their PayPal check to arrive. Those who travel internationally to places that have MoneyGram locations may find it quicker and easier to reach funds. The alternative is that one would have to transfer funds to a bank account and wait up to five days for the money to show up in their account. Families with students, who regularly rely on funds sent to them from parents, only have to transfer funds free of charge between PayPal accounts since the student may now access the funds directly by going to a MoneyGram site at home or abroad. The PayPal and MoneyGram partnership is also a boon for PayPal business account holders who would like the quickest access to their available funds worldwide.

The "world's most loved way to get paid" is getting better all the time. Account holders should applaud PayPal for its efforts to partner with industry giants to give consumers the most flexible ways to use their PayPal accounts. They have done it through a deal with Discover Card, and by 2013 PayPal account holders will be able to make purchases at retail outlets that take Discover credit cards. It looks like they have done it again with the MoneyGram deal.

Although the PayPal and MoneyGram partnership looks picture perfect for the PayPal crowd, one cannot help but wonder about the real benefit MoneyGram expects from the deal. Who really is going to pay for this new convenient way of accessing funds? PayPal has not given many details about charges assessed for the service, but those using this new feature can probably expect to pay some sort of fee. It is just a matter of how much the charge will be. It appears that account holders will just have to wait until activation of the service in 2013 to find out.