How to make an emergency money transfer

Fastest ways to send money in the US and abroad.

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Money transfer services offer some of the fastest ways to transfer money to someone in cash or for direct deposit in an emergency — but which provider you should use depends on how much you’re sending and how quickly you need it to arrive.

We know you are in a hurry, so if you want to skip down to our recommended services and get that emergency cash immediately to a loved one, please do. Otherwise, we have some useful information to help you find the best rates if you want to shop around.

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.

Why we like: WorldRemit

WorldRemit - Hero

Your first transfer is free with the code FINDER.

  • The first transfer is free
  • 30,000+ partner agent locations worldwide
  • No minimum transfer amount

Why we like: WorldRemit

Send money to 140+ countries for bank deposit, instant e-wallet, mobile top-up or cash pickup at 30,000+ agent locations worldwide.

  • Use promo code FINDER to send your first transfer with no fee.
  • Easy to use with round-the-clock help.
  • Get cash to family and friends in minutes.
Promoted

Compare the fastest international money transfers

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 1 Within an hour USD 3.99 18.581 MXN 92,830 Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Send to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up. Go to site Show details
USD 1 3 - 5 days USD 20.00 18.193 MXN 90,600 The biggest name in money transfers can get your funds to friends, family, or businesses in almost every corner of the globe. Show details
USD 1 1 day USD 8.00 18.239 MXN 91,051 Easily transfer cash to more than 350,000 locations around the world. 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.

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. Can your recipient accept a bank account transfer, or do they need to pick up cash right away?
  • Security. For emergencies, you’ll appreciate being able to track your transfer through to receipt.

Three of the fastest services to transfer 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.

WorldRemit

WorldRemit is entirely online, meaning you can access it from the convenience of your computer or its app. It operates in more than 140 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 money transfers logo
WorldRemit at a glance
  • Maximum transfer: Varies by country
  • Minimum transfer: $1
  • Transfer speed: Within 1 hour
  • Transaction fee: $3.99
How can I send money quickly?

You’ll need to sign up for a free account with WorldRemit. You’ll also need to provide your personal information, the transaction details 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 problems, you can contact customer service 24/7 at 888-772-7771 or online through live chat.

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MoneyGram

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 money is sent, it arrives for almost immediate cash pickup at locations worldwide. In some countries, you even have a mobile wallet option.

MoneyGram International Money Transfers logo
MoneyGram at a glance
  • Maximum transfer: $10,000
  • Minimum transfer: $1
  • Delivery speed: Typically within minutes, but up to 1 day
  • Transaction fee: $4.99 plus anywhere between 3% and 7% of the transfer
How can I send money quickly?
  • Head to the MoneyGram site and start a transfer using your bank account, credit card or debit card.
  • Use MoneyGram’s online locator tool or call to find a location near you. You’ll often find them in a 7-Eleven.
What happens after?

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. If you have a problem, contact customer service through the site or toll-free at 800-666-3947.

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Western 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’re able to pay with a bank transfer, cash, debit card or credit card.

As with MoneyGram, your fastest option is to pay by debit or credit card for cash pickup.

Western Union Money Transfers logo

Western Union at a glance
  • Maximum transfer: $5,000
  • Minimum transfer: $1
  • Transfer speed: In minutes if using a debit or credit card for cash pickup
  • Transaction fee: Typically around 5% of the transfer
How can I send money quickly?
  • Head to Western Union’s website. You’ll need your personal information, your recipient’s details and a valid method of payment to make the transfer.
  • 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 number. If you have any problem, contact customer service 24/7 at 800-325-6000 or through the online form on Western Union’s site.

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Bottom line

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.

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