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How to send money to someone in the military

Fast, affordable ways to transfer funds to a loved one stationed overseas.

A specialized money transfer company will offer more competitive exchange rates than a traditional bank — but which transfer service is best depends on where you’re sending the money and how fast you need it to arrive.

What are my options?

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by your options to send money internationally, even without the added complication of getting it to a military base. We’ll help you explore the options.

  • Bank transfers. Most major US banks will allow you to wire money domestically or internationally to another bank account. A downside is the frustratingly high fees and weak exchange rates you’ll typically receive.
  • Online money transfer services. It’s simple and convenient to send an online money transfer to loved ones in the military from the comfort of your home.
  • Providers with cash pickup. Companies like Western Union and MoneyGram offer the option of cash pickups from thousands of agent locations worldwide.
  • Peer-to-peer apps. Venmo and CurrencyFair are just a few of the apps you can use to send money.
  • Sending checks, money orders or gift cards. Although it’s not a quick or secure option, you can send physical items to your service member’s address.

Can I send an instant bank transfer?

Yes. Most service members will have the option to conduct their banking on the post, base or camp just as they do at home. A few banking options that are built specifically around the needs of service members, like the Navy Federal Credit Union and USAA, offer account-to-account transfers. If both you and your contact have USAA accounts, you can transfer money from your account to theirs almost immediately.

In addition to free money transfers across checking accounts, USAA and others offer the added benefits of withdrawals as well as branches and ATMs overseas.

Who is most likely to be researching military money transfers?

Finder data suggests that women aged 25-34 are most likely to be researching this topic.

ResponseMale (%)Female (%)
Source: Finder sample of 762 visitors using demographics data from Google Analytics

Compare your options

Transfer optionTransfer methodsCashBank accountTransfer timeInternational options
Bank transferOnline, in person, mobile11 to 4 business days1
Money transfer specialistOnline, in person, mobile1Minutes to 4 business days1
Peer-to-peer appOnline, mobile2Minutes to 1 business day
US MailIn personSeveral days to several weeks

1 Varies by transfer option and method.

2 Depending on the app, you may need to pay with a credit or debit card.

How to spot a military transfer scam

While there are many ways that a scammer will attempt to part you and your money, one is so prevalent that it’s under investigation by the US Army Criminal Investigation Command.

This scam involves a bond with somebody posing as a member of the military that you’ve met online through a dating site. That person may even offer their name, rank and where they are stationed. After cultivating a strong connection with you, they claim to be ready to meet in person. But first, they need your cash.

It may sound like an obvious red flag, but once you’re emotionally attached it’s easy to lose perspective. If a service member you’ve met online asks for money — especially for money to go on leave or to get to their next station — it may be time to walk away. These scams can cost thousands of dollars, not to mention heartbreak.

Bottom line

When somebody you care about is serving overseas in the military, you have many options to send some love and financial support. Ultimately, you’ll need to compare your options to find the service that’s right for you.