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International money transfers with cash pickups
Send money securely worldwide in minutes - without the need for a bank account.
If you need to send money overseas to a loved one without a bank account, then you can use a money transfer specialist who offers cash pickups. These types of transfers are fast and secure, with pickup locations available across the globe. However, you will need to watch out for weaker exchange rates and higher fees compared to deposit transfers.
Compare international cash pickup money transfer services
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What is a cash pickup?
A cash pick up allows your recipient to pick their money up in cash from a physical location, rather than through a digital deposit into a bank account. Cash pickups can be fast and convenient, and are available worldwide. They allow your recipient to have instant access to the money you have sent, without the need for a bank account.
How does cash pickup work?
Cash pickup services vary from company, but typically they require four simple steps:
- Place your order. You submit your recipient’s contact information, the amount you’re looking to send and other details either through the money transfer company’s site or its storefront. You may find that some specialists require you to choose a specific location for pickup. Take care to enter your recipient’s name as shown on their ID to avoid any issues with pickup.
- Wait for processing. The processing time for your transfer will depend on which provider you use, but most expedite cash pickups. You will receive a transfer reference number once it’s been processed that your recipient can use at pickup – and that you can use to track the progress of your transfer.
- Recipient picks up cash. Your recipient picks up the cash from the location you have specified, or at a convenient location in the company’s network. They will need to take your transfer reference number with them, as well as some ID.
- Get confirmation. After your recipient picks up the money transfer, you should receive a text or an email confirming the time and location of the cash pickup. Alternatively, you can track the transfer with your transfer reference number.
Which providers offer cash pickup?
The best-known providers of cash pickups are Western Union and MoneyGram.
- Western Union allows you to send money online or in-person at more than 500,000 locations in over 200 countries.
- MoneyGram offers online and in-person transfers to more than 200 countries and has around 350,000 agent locations around the globe.
- WorldRemit also offers cash pickups at select bank branches in dozens countries across the world.
Some providers allow you to process a money transfer without a bank account. This is especially useful for the unbanked and underbanked, because you can take cash into a physical location for sending around the world.
If you’re the intended recipient of a transfer, look for a money transfer near you in order to find a cash pickup location.
What should you look at when comparing cash pickup service providers?
It is important to compare cash pickup service providers, taking into account the best deal for you and whether or not it meets your recipient’s needs. Here are some things to consider:
- Exchange rates. Rates will vary depending on which company you use, but you will likely find that all providers skew exchange rates for a profit. Compare the rate you’re offered to the mid-market rate – the rate banks and transfer services use when they trade among themselves – and look for the smallest margin between them.
- Fees. Consider whether the provider charges a flat fee or a percentage of your transfer. Also look to see if the fees vary by method of payment, and whether if you send a large amount you will qualify for a fee-free transfer.
- Pickup locations. Take a look at how many agent locations are in the area you’re planning on sending money to – and whether they are convenient for your recipient.
- Transfer speed. Compare how long it will take for the money you send to be available for your recipient to collect. If you need to send an emergency transfer, can the cash be ready for pickup within minutes?
- Payment methods. Try to find a cash pickup service provider which has flexible options to make the order placement process easier and faster. Can you pay with cash, credit or debit card, or a bank account transfer?
- Transfer methods. Consider whether a provider has various options for transfer. Can you initiate the transfer online, by the phone or with an agent? Does the provider have an online app?
- Customer support. Look at what support channels are available if you need assistance. Most companies offer help through live chat, by phone, in person or through email.
What are the pros and cons of cash pickups?
While cash pickups provide a fast turnaround and are often convenient, you will probably face higher fees and weaker exchange rates.
- Fast turnaround. Cash pickups are a quick way to send money overseas – some for pickups within minutes.
- Plenty of choice. Several trust companies operate in the money transfer industry, so you have the freedom to shop around for a better deal.
- Convenient. Picking up cash from a transfer agent makes it simple and convenient for your recipient to access the funds you send.
- Transfer fees. You will often pay more for a cash pick compared to a transfer deposited into your recipient’s bank account.
- Weak exchange rates. Exchange rates on cash transfers can be weaker than those you’d receive from an online money transfer specialist. Even a small difference in rates can mean a lot less money received by friends and family.
- Risk of theft. In some parts of the world, carrying cash requires precautions to minimise the risk of theft.
Frequently asked questions
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