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Fastest ways to make an emergency money transfer

If you or a loved one are in an emergency and need cash quickly, here are your best options.

Online 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.

Compare the fastest international money transfers

Our table lets you compare the services you can use to send money abroad. Compare services on transfer speeds and fees, then click Go to site when you’re ready to send.

1 - 14 of 14
Name Product Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer)
Airwallex
Airwallex
Within minutes
$0
After spending $15k in your first 90 days, receive a one-time $500 bonus that will automatically be credited to your account on any FX conversion.
Airwallex can help you make business payments to 150+ countries in 60+ currencies.
Wise (TransferWise)
Within minutes
From 0.41%
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies.
Cash App
Within minutes
From $0
With this peer-to-peer payment app make payments to your friends and family with no transfer fees within the US or from the US to the UK or EU.
Instarem
24 hours
From 0%
New Instarem customers will get a special FX rate and zero-fees on their first transfer.
Instarem offers offers rewards on every transaction.
MoneyGram
Within minutes
From $0
MoneyGram has fast cash pick-up transfers to more than 350,000 agent locations worldwide.
Western Union
Within minutes
From $0
Enjoy $0 fee on your first online transfer. Western Union makes money from currency exchange. Not valid on credit cards or sends to Cuba.
Western Union sends money online to friends and family in 200+ countries and territories around the world.
OFX International Money Transfers (Business)
24 hours
$0
Business customers: Send safe, no-limit transfers with no fees and competitive exchange rates.
CurrencyTransfer for Business
24 hours
$0
Increase business efficiency with zero transaction fees and same-day transfers.
OFX
24 hours
$0
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies.
Xe Money Transfer for Business
24 hours
$0
Save your time and money with Xe Money Transfer for business.
Currencies Direct (business)
24 hours
$0
Minimizes costs of international transactions and offers custom solutions for business clients. Currencies Direct may call you to confirm your transfer, so be prepared for a phone call shortly after initiating a transfer.
Xe
Within minutes
$3
Xe has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
CurrencyTransfer
24 hours
$0
CurrencyTransfer lets you shop around for the best exchange rate on its online marketplace.
Currencies Direct
24 hours
$0
CurrenciesDirect makes transferring money abroad simple with bank-beating exchange rates. Currencies Direct may call you to confirm your transfer, so be prepared for a phone call shortly after initiating a transfer.
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What is the fastest way to transfer money internationally?

There may be occasions where you need to send money to friends or family in an emergency. In most cases, the fastest way to send money internationally is by using an online money transfer company.

Some money transfer services allow you to send funds almost instantly, with the recipient able to collect in cash or via a bank deposit. Apart from the speed, another advantage of using online transfer services is that you can easily compare fees and exchange rates and choose the most favorable for your transaction.

Which are the fastest services to use when sending money abroad?

When there is an emergency, getting money out as quickly as possible is key. WorldRemit, MoneyGram and Western Union are the three providers with the fastest money transfer services.

WorldRemit

WorldRemit is entirely online, which means you can access it from the convenience of your computer or via its app. Your fastest option would be to use mobile money (if available) or cash pickup at a WorldRemit agent location. If you need to find a cash pickup location for WorldRemit you can check out our locations guide.

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.

MoneyGram

MoneyGram is the second-largest provider of international money transfers in the world. It has an extensive network of 350,000 agent locations in more than 200 countries. 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. In some countries, you could even use the 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.
Go to site
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.

Western Union

Western Union has 500,000 agent locations in 200 countries, making it the largest provider of international money transfers in the world. 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: $50,000
  • 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.
Go to site
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.

What factors affect the speed of a money transfer?

There are several factors that can affect how fast your intended recipient receives their transfer, and they are worth keeping in mind if you need to send money in an emergency.

    • Transfer destination. Where you are sending money to will impact the speed of your transfer. It’s often faster to send money between countries where financial exchange is commonplace. Just remember that every transfer destination involves specific banking regulations and procedures, which could potentially delay transfers.
    • Payment method. How you choose to pay for your transfer will determine the processing speed. Typically paying by credit or debit card is your fastest option.
    • Receiving method. The form your intended recipient chooses to receive their funds will also affect the transfer time. You will find that a cash pickup can be done almost instantaneously.
    • Signing up to an account. If you are not already registered with a money transfer service, it can take time to apply for an account and provide the required supporting documents.

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, try to compare the following:

      • 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.

Frequently asked questions