How to make an emergency money transfer

Whether to pay for unexpected medical bills or bail a vacationing friend out of trouble, at some point you’ll need to transfer cash fast.

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Being able to transfer money quickly, easily and safely during an emergency can be tricky. Further complicating your dilemma is when it happens while on business or overseas, when you have limited access to your usual banking options.

The good news is that with evolving online financial services, you can now quickly transfer money internationally with ease.

WorldRemit International Money Transfers Offer

WorldRemit International Money Transfers

WorldRemit can help you get your money where it needs to go in minutes, with upfront exchange rates and low fees.

Use promo code FINDERCA on your first transfer and pay zero fees. T&Cs apply.

  • Transfers to 150+ countries
  • Send to bank account, cash pickup, mobile money, airtime top up
  • Pay with card, Interac or Apple/Android Pay

    What do I need to look out for when sending cash quickly?

    Fees for emergency transfers will vary among banks and money transfer services. Before you make your transfer, compare:

    • Exchange rates. Money transfer services make money by skewing exchange rates. You’ll want to look for a rate that’s as close to the mid-market rate as possible.
    • Transfer fees. Fees can range from flat fees of a few dollars to up to $80 or more, depending on how you’re sending it or picking it up.
    • Transfer options. Find out if your recipient can accept a bank account transfer, or if they need to pick up cash right away.
    • Security. For emergencies, you’ll appreciate being able to track your transfer through to receipt.

    What is the mid-market rate?

    The mid-market rate is what your money’s actually worth compared to another currency. “Mid-market” refers to the midpoint between worldwide supply and demand for that currency. Use this rate as a baseline to compare against the rates provided by your bank or transfer service. With it, you’ll discover which companies offer the best rates.

    Compare International Money Transfers

    Rates last updated April 4th, 2020
    Name Product Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Services Description Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received
    OFX International Money Transfers
    USD 150
    1 day
    Online, Phone, Agent
    Exclusive offer: Discounted exchange rates for your first and ongoing transactions. $0 transfer fee.
    A higher exchange rate applies to non-finder customers. Send money in 45 currencies.
    Global Reach International Money Transfers
    GBP 3,000
    1 day
    Online, Phone, Bank Account to Bank Account
    Global Reach will match any competitor's exchange rates. Conditions apply.

    Get no fees for both business and personal transfers when you send your money overseas with Global Reach.
    Currencies Direct International Money Transfers
    Currencies Direct International Money Transfers
    CAD 2,000
    2 days
    Online, Phone
    $0 online transfer fee with access to a 24/7 online platform.
    TorFX International Money Transfers
    CAD 2,000
    1 day
    Online, Phone, Agent
    TorFX guarantee to beat any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction. Conditions apply.

    Send money overseas in 45 currencies.
    Remitly International Money Transfers
    CAD 1
    1 - 2 days
    Online, Bank Account to Bank Account, Cash Transfer
    Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
    Quick, affordable transfers around the world with both express and economy options.
    WorldRemit International Money Transfers
    CAD 0
    Within an hour
    Online, Bank Account to Bank Account, Cash Transfer
    Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.
    An online money transfer service with cash pick-up, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available.
    TransferWise International Money Transfers
    CAD 1
    1 - 2 days
    Make online transfers with transparent exchange rates, low fees and low minimum amounts.
    XE International Money Transfers
    CAD 1
    1 day
    Online, Phone, Bank Account to Bank Account
    Send money in more than 60 currencies. Fee-free international money transfers with a global brand.
    CurrencyTransfer International Money Transfers
    GBP 5,000
    1 - 2 days
    Online, Phone, Bank Account to Bank Account, International Money Order
    Aimed at larger transfers, CurrencyTransfer is an online marketplace that lets you shop around for the best exchange rate.
    The ‘Rate’ and ‘Amount Received’ displayed are indicative rates that have been supplied by each brand or gathered by Finder.

    Exchange rates are volatile and change often. As a result, the exchange rate listed on Finder may vary to the actual exchange rate quoted for the brand. Please confirm the actual exchange rate and mention “Finder” before you commit to a brand.

    Compare up to 4 providers

    How much should I transfer during an emergency?

    Depending on the emergency, you may be more comfortable sending more than needed. Most banks have a maximum amount that you can send per day. But your maximum will be higher — or unlimited — if you use an online money transfer service. WorldRemit is an online service that offers competitive rates and low fees with virtually no maximum transfer.

    Some money transfer services have fee-free thresholds. Which means that sending a larger amount could help you avoid paying transfer fees altogether.

    Three of the fastest services to wire money

    When there’s an emergency, getting money out as quickly as possible is key. These three service providers deliver the fastest money transfer services easily and safely.

    MoneyGram International Money Transfers logoMoneyGram

    As the second-largest provider of international money transfers in the world, MoneyGram is one of the most trusted. Its extensive network of 350,000 agent locations has a presence in more than 200 countries.

    With MoneyGram, sending funds can take minutes depending on local regulations and procedures. Your fastest option is to pay with a credit or debit card (or with cash at an agent location) and choose the cash pickup option. Once the funds are sent, they will arrive within minutes at cash pickup locations worldwide. In some countries, you may even have a mobile wallet option.

    MoneyGram at a glance

    • Maximum transfer: $990 online
    • Minimum transfer: $1
    • Delivery speed: Typically within minutes
    • Transaction fee: Typically $5 – $45

    How can I transfer money quickly using MoneyGram?

    • Click “Go to site” to start a transfer using your bank account, credit card or debit card.
    • Use MoneyGram’s online locator tool to find a MoneyGram location near you. Locations accept cash.

    What happens after a transfer with MoneyGram?

    Once the money transfer is complete, the receiver can visit their nearest MoneyGram location to collect it. Remind them to bring along their reference number (which is included in the confirmation emails for online transfer) and ID for pickup.

    Western Union Money Transfers logoWestern Union

    Western Union has the biggest network of agent locations with 500,000 agent locations in 200 countries. You can send funds online, through a mobile app, in person or by phone, You can paying with your Canadian bank account, debit or credit card, or cash to transfer funds.

    As with MoneyGram, your fastest option is to pay by debit or credit card for cash pickup. Also, look for promotion codes online for even more savings.

    Western Union at a glance

    • Maximum transfer: $7,500
    • Minimum transfer: $1
    • Transfer speed: In minutes using a debit or credit card for cash pickup
    • Transaction fee: Typically $5–$45

    How can I transfer money quickly using Western Union?

    • Click “Go to site.” Easily transfer cash with your personal information, your recipient’s details and a valid method of payment.
    • Call Western Union toll-free at 1-800-235-0000 to initiate a transfer using your bank account or credit or debit card.
    • Visit a Western Union location near you with cash or a debit card.

    What happens next?

    You’ll receive a unique Money Transfer Control Number with your confirmation. You can track your transfer online with this MTCN. If you have any problem, contact customer service 24/7 at 1-800-235-0000 or online through live chat.
    WorldRemit logo


    Unlike MoneyGram and Western Union, WorldRemit is entirely online. It operates in more than 120 countries around the world with flexible transfer options from your bank account, credit card or debit card.

    Your fastest option is mobile money (if available) or for cash pickup at a WorldRemit agent location.

    WorldRemit at a glance

    • Maximum transfer: Varies by country
    • Minimum transfer: $1
    • Transfer speed: Within 1 hour
    • Transaction fee: Typically $3.99

    How can I transfer money quickly using WorldRemit?

    Click “Go to site” to sign up for a free online account. You’ll provide your information, the details of your transaction and your payment information.

    What happens next?

    WorldRemit will confirm the transaction with both you and your recipient by email or text and notify you when the funds are received or picked up. If you have any problem, contact customer service 24/7 at 1-888-772-7771 or online through live chat.

    Being robbed of your valuables, needing emergency medical treatment or missing your return flight home can be beyond stressful. But having the ability to quickly receive funds or help loved ones far away can let off at least some of the pressure.

    Accessing emergency transfers is quick and easy with both tried-and-true and up-and-coming services that can deliver your money safely. If you have a little more time, compare all of your available options for international money transfers.

    Frequently asked questions

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