Need to send cash to a friend or relative overseas as quickly as possible? Here’s how to do it without breaking the bank.
As the world becomes more connected, there are plenty of reasons why people need to send funds overseas. Whether you are purchasing goods from an overseas retailer, organizing travel money for a holiday, or sending some cash to friends or relatives in another country, there are a number of companies that offer cost-effective and fast services for transferring money overseas.
Often one of the best choices when sending an international money transfer is to use a service that allows for cash pickup. This option gives your recipient fast access to the funds they need and allows you to send cash to the other side of the world almost instantly.
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How does a cash transfer work?
Generally speaking, a cash transfer involves specifying to a transfer service the amount of money you would like to send overseas and notifying them which country you would like to send the money to. There are multiple ways in which you can conduct a cash transfer including using online transfer providers or sending international money orders. With many options available, you should be aware that there are fewer options if you want your recipient to be able to pick up the funds in person. We describe three possible options below.
- The first option is to use a service that allows your recipient to pick up the money in cash from their local transfer service branch. The best-known example of this type of company is Western Union. Western Union has hundreds of thousands of locations around the world where money can be collected. They allow you to send your funds in person at a branch or by visiting the Western Union website.
- The second option is to send cash overseas and arrange for it to be picked up by your recipient from their local convenience store or post office. MoneyGram has more than 334,000 agent locations around the world where customers can both send and receive cash. Funds sent via MoneyGram are typically available for pickup within minutes.
- The third option is to use a company like WorldRemit that allows you to transfer money overseas and then picked up in cash from the recipient’s local bank branch.
Each of the three options we have listed is a convenient and affordable way to send cash overseas. However, choosing the best option for you will depend on where you are sending the money and how your recipient can pick it up.
How do I compare cash transfers?
- Range of pickup methods. Compare where the cash can be collected from. Depending on the transfer service, this may be at a transfer provider’s branch, a convenience store, a post office or a bank branch. Choose the provider that offers the most convenient option for your recipient.
- Competitive exchange rates. Compare different providers and search for the best exchange rates you can find, since this will mean more of the money you deposit makes its way to your recipient. Keep in mind you also need to consider the fees a provider charges, so a better exchange rate may not save you money if they charge high fees.
- Low or no fees. Make sure you are aware of any fees that will apply to your transaction. Overlooking any fees can cost you more money than you originally thought. Some companies charge no fees but they may off-set this cost with poor exchange rates.
- Fast turnaround time. Compare how long it will take for your cash transfer to be processed. While some methods can take hours for your cash to arrive, others make cash available to your recipient within minutes. Often quicker turnaround times can be more expensive, so weigh both your needs and your options.
- Range of cash transfer methods. Consider how you can send the money overseas. Do you need to visit a branch to send a transfer or can you do it online or over the phone? Different methods will be more convenient for different people, so consider your own needs before choosing a provider.
- High quality customer service. Look into the customer service options offered by each provider to ensure that help is available whenever you need it.
What are the pros and cons of cash transfers?
- A wide range of options. You have a wealth of options to choose from when sending funds overseas. When you need to send an emergency transfer, you’ll be able to find a fast cash transfer method that suits your needs and budget.
- Fast transfers. Many providers make it possible for your recipient to pick up the cash within minutes, which can be especially helpful when your recipient requires urgent funds.
- Safe, secure and speedy. There are many trusted and reliable providers who can transfer your funds safely and efficiently to your recipient.
- High fees. Different providers charge different fees for transferring funds and fees may also differ depending on where you are sending the money to, so make sure to research fees before you commit to a company.
- Not-so-competitive exchange rates. Providers set their own currency exchange rates, so make sure to compare different provider’s rates for the specific currency your funds are in and for the currency they are being transferred to. This will prevent you from getting a poor exchange rate.
What are the risks?
- High fees. Familiarize yourself with any fees that apply to your transaction before you send it. If you don’t take fees into account, your transfer can end up costing you a lot more money.
- Poor exchange rates. Make sure to shop around for the best exchange rates that you can find. This will ensure that more of the money you send makes it into your recipient’s pocket.
- Not doing your research. Take your time and do some research and don’t choose the first provider you come across. You can save yourself a lot of money by doing research at finder and hunting around for the best deal.
Tips for picking up cash
When picking up cash from a transfer provider, kiosk or convenience store, exercise caution so that you do not become the victim of a crime. If possible, take a friend along with you to discourage possible thieves and avoid showing your cash in front of strangers.
Stay away from any areas where crime is known to be a problem and, if necessary, head straight to your bank to deposit some of the funds. When carrying money, be careful not to make yourself an easy target for thieves. Many purses and backpacks are targets for robbery, so consider using a money belt if you are looking for a safer and more discreet option for carrying a lot of cash around.