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How to send money to someone without a bank account

A mobile wallet, money order or transfer agent may be your answer.

Approximately 2.2 million people in Canada don’t have a bank account. Without a bank account, bank transfers are not an option when you need to move money. But don’t worry, you can still send money to someone without a bank account using these methods.

Money transfer service

Sending money through a money transfer service is an option for both sending without a bank account and sending to someone who doesn’t have a bank account. Several money transfer services allow you to both pay in cash and have cash delivered to your receiver.

Your recipient could receive the funds the same day if they’re delivered via cash pickup or delivery. This option can come with high fees, so be sure to compare money transfer services that offer cash pickup.

Mobile wallet

Mobile wallets, often called e-wallets, aren’t as complicated as they may first sound. There are plenty of popular apps like Masterpass, Google Pay, Samsung Pay and similar services. Mobile wallets can often be created without a bank account, and some of them even allow you to access your funds through a debit card that connects directly to your account balance. Keep the following in mind with mobile wallets:

  • Both the sender and receiver must have the same mobile wallet for the transaction to be free. You can’t send from Google Pay to Apple Pay, for instance.
  • Mobile wallets in Canada are almost exclusively restricted to transfers within Canada.
  • Although mobile wallets are often free to use, fees may apply when using additional features like expedited transfers or paying by credit card.

Credit card

Some money transfer services allow you to pay by credit card, which is convenient if you don’t have a bank account to fund the transfer. Paying by credit card will almost always be more expensive when sending money, but you can often save money by shopping around. For added convenience, a handful of money transfer services will allow you to pay by credit card and have the money available for cash pickup within minutes.

Compare money transfer services

Enter the amount you want to send, select the currency you want to send to and click Calculate to see what your transfer could cost.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
CAD 1 Same day CAD 0.00 0.805 USD
XE has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools. Go to site Show details
CAD 10 Within an hour CAD 1.99 0.8 USD
Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
Go to site Show details
CAD 1 1 - 2 days CAD 45.00 0.809 USD
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies. Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

Money order

Money orders may seem like a thing of the past, but they certainly still have a use in the digital age. When it comes to money orders, the best place to go is your local bank, from which you can most likely get both international and domestic money orders.

When using a money order, keep in mind that:

  • They are one of the slowest ways to send money.
  • They require ID to send and receive.
  • They are often more expensive than using a money transfer service.
  • They are a physical document and must be sent by mail or in person.


Withdrawing cash from your bank account to send through the mail is absolutely the least recommended method, but it is still an option. If you choose to send cash, be sure to:

  • Send the cash in an envelope that hides the cash. Test this by holding the envelope with cash inside in front of a bright light.
  • Insure your package for the amount of cash you’re sending.
  • Purchase tracking on your mail so you’ll know when it arrives.

Even with these safety nets in place, we still don’t recommend that you physically mail cash. Consider using a money order or a money transfer service instead.

How to choose a transfer method

To pick the transfer method that’s best for you and your recipient, consider.

  • How fast the funds need to be delivered.
    Money orders and prepaid debit cards will likely take significantly longer to reach your recipient than a mobile wallet transfer.
  • Affordability.
    Personal mobile wallet transfers that don’t use a credit card typically come without fees. However, it might be more difficult to access the funds than if you use a cash transfer. Money orders and prepaid debit cards usually have a low cost, and using a credit card will generally be the most expensive option.
  • Convenience.
    Depending on where your recipient lives and what they’re using the funds for, certain options may be favorable. Someone looking to shop online, for example, may find a PayPal transfer more convenient than cash pickup.
  • Security of the transfer.
    Data encryption helps protect your and your recipient’s information. Mailing a money order or prepaid debit card comes with the risk of them getting lost in transit.

Bottom line

It’s possible to transfer funds without either party having a bank account. The method that’s best depends on several factors, including when the money is needed, ease of access and cost.

For more information about sending money and to compare transfer service options, check out our full guide to transferring money abroad.

Frequently asked questions

Do mobile wallets have to be linked to an account?

Several mobile wallets don’t require you to link a bank account. PayPal is one notable name that allows you to open an account and receive funds without linking a bank account or credit card.

Can you move money from a mobile wallet to a bank account?

Typically, yes. Though the transfer to the mobile wallet is instant, processing times to transfer the funds to their bank account could range from 1-5 business days.

Can I send money to a mobile wallet using a transfer service?

Yes, certain transfer services allow you to send funds to the recipient’s phone via a mobile wallet. Western Union is among the providers that allows this, but many other options exist.

How much does it cost to send money without a bank account?

Costs vary based on the service you’re using, where you’re sending the funds and how they’re being received. Check with the transfer service, mobile wallet provider, money order issuer or prepaid debit card provider before you complete the transaction.

How can I receive money without a bank account?

The easiest way is have someone send money through a money transfer service for cash pickup. Other ways include having them send a money order, send money to your mobile wallet, send cash or send a prepaid debit card.

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