Cash is the fastest way to get money to someone overseas.
If you want to send money internationally and have it be available in minutes, using a money transfer provider who offers cash pickup is the fastest option — but it’s not always the cheapest.
- 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.
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Instant international money transfer providers
The quickest way to send an international money transfer is to use a cash transfer provider. These companies allow you to send transfers that will then be available for collection as cash within as little as 10 minutes.
Some providers also offer the option of transferring funds directly to your recipient’s bank account, but these transactions take longer to complete.
Some popular cash transfer providers are listed below:
MoneyGram has an international money transfer network of 347,000 agents in over 200 countries, so it also provides significant global coverage when you need to send money overseas. You can send an instant cash transfer online or in person, and you can send up to $10,000 to most countries — though limits can vary.
MoneyGram also offers same-day bank deposits to recipients in some countries. You can find a list of supported countries on their site.
WorldRemit is another international transfer provider that offers instant transactions of up to $5,000 around the world. With a global base of more than 120 countries, WorldRemit offers fast transfer options, including:
- Cash pickup. Money is available for collection instantly from WorldRemit agent locations around the world.
- Bank deposit. Instant transfers are only available to selected banks in selected countries.
- Airtime top-up. Mobile airtime top-ups are usually added instantly.
- Mobile money. Funds are added to the recipient’s mobile money account instantly.
Western Union has more than 500,000 cash pickup locations in more than 200 countries and territories, making it the world’s largest provider of international transfers. There are three ways to send a quick cash transfer with Western Union:
- Online using your credit or debit card.
- In person at a Western Union agent location by paying in cash.
- Over the phone by calling 1-800-CALL-CASH.
Specific money transfer limits will vary by location and how you choose to send — agent locations work better for large transfers. The cash you send will be available for collection from your recipient’s nearest Western Union agent location within minutes.
How to send an instant money transfer
It’s quick and easy to send an instant cash transfer to a friend or relative overseas. Although some providers allow you to pay for the transaction online, the most common transfer method is to pay cash in person at a transfer provider’s agent location.
The exact transfer process varies slightly from one company to the next but you will usually have to follow these steps:
- Visit your nearest cash transfer provider location.
- Make sure you have a valid form of photo ID (such as a driver’s license or passport) and enough cash to pay for the transaction.
- Fill out a form with all the details of your transaction, including your recipient’s full name and address and the currency they will collect the cash in. The name you give must exactly match the name on your recipient’s ID.
- Pay for the transaction and make note of the transaction reference number or PIN you are given.
- Contact your recipient and give them the PIN or transaction reference number.
- Some providers will send an SMS or email notification to you and your recipient when the money is available for collection.
- Your recipient can visit their nearest transfer provider location with photo ID and the reference number and can collect their cash.
What are the pros and cons of instant cash transfers?
There are a few advantages and disadvantages you should consider before choosing an instant cash transfer:
- Fast. Cash transfers are usually available for collection by your recipient within minutes, even if they’re located on the other side of the world.
- Easy. It’s easy to lodge a transfer request and pay for a transaction, with the entire process taking just a few minutes.
- Convenient. Cash transfers are a simple and stress-free way to get your money where you need it to go as quickly as possible.
- Send money anywhere. Cash transfer providers make it possible to send money to just about any country in the world.
- Transfer fees. Cash transfer companies tend to charge higher transaction fees than some specialist online transfer providers.
- Low exchange rates. It’s often also possible to find better exchange rates when you send an online money transfer instead of a cash transfer.
How to compare instant cash transfer providers
Consider the following factors before choosing an instant cash transfer provider to handle your transaction:
- Exchange rates. Compare the exchange rates to see which one comes out on top. The provider that offers the best rate on one currency pair won’t necessarily offer the best rate on another pair, so it’s always worth shopping around — even if a provider was the best choice for a previous transfer.
- Transaction fees. The fees that apply to your transfer can be the deciding factor. Fees vary depending on the amount you send and where you send it to, but most providers have handy online fee estimator services to help you get an idea of the costs involved.
- Cash pickup network. Send money to the transfer destinations you want so your recipient can pickup cash at the money transfer agent locations.
- Payment options. Can you only pay with cash in person, or is there the option to pay on your credit or debit card and place the transfer request online?
- Notifications. Is there an email or SMS notification system in place to let your recipient know when you have sent the money and to let you know when the recipient has collected the cash?
- Customer support. If you ever have a question or a complaint, how will you be able to access customer service? Can you use phone, email or live chat? During what hours?
If you need to send money fast, cash is your best bet. But don’t let your need for speed stop you from taking a minute to compare transfer providers to find the most competitive exchange rates and fees.