Want Convenience? Compare International Money Transfer with Cash Pickup

Information verified correct on December 7th, 2016

cash pickupSending money transfers with a cash pick-up option is often quicker, safer and cheaper than bank-to-bank or money order methods.

Using an international money transfer service is a safe, reliable way to send and receive money locally and internationally. You can send one-off transfers, set up regular payments to your recipients and even lock in an attractive exchange rate for a payment to be sent later.

Compared to banks, international money transfer services usually offer more attractive exchange rates, lower fees (if any) and quicker delivery.

What is an international money transfer with cash pickup?

Depending on the service you choose, you can select a cash pick-up option instead of a direct deposit into your recipient’s account. This means that your recipient collects the cash in person from the service’s designated pick-up point.

Since the money doesn’t have to have to redirected into another account, it’s usually available within minutes of the transaction. However, a higher fee is levied for instantaneous delivery. Your choice depends on your needs.

How does a cash pick up work?

Besides just the convenience of a quick delivery, transfers with a cash pick-up option are ideal for people who need money in a hurry. For example, if you’ve lost your wallet while on a holiday, you can either wait for your travel insurance claim to be processed or have a cash transfer sent to the nearest Western Union pick-up location.

Case Study: Cash pickup in Madrid

madridMichelle and Troy had their belongings stolen out of their car parked at a Madrid train station. Michelle’s handbag containing both their wallets, her passport and other important items, was stolen.

Luckily Troy kept his passport. While Michelle completed the police report, Troy Googled the closest Western Union agent, which happened to be post office right next to the police station. He called home and had his brother send a cash transfer of $1000.

The money was available within 10 minutes, but a $70 fee was deducted. Delivery to a bank account would have taken two days, but cost only $10. Troy presented his passport as identification and collected the money.

Money transfer service Bank
Exchange rate$1 = 0.6008€$1 = 0.5859€
Transfer fee$3$18
Amount received for $1000598.99€575.35€
Transfer delayInstantaneousTwo working days
Pick-up optionsCash at location, bank depositBank deposit
Difference23.64€
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Where can I pick up cash from my international money transfer?

Transfer services like Western Union and MoneyGram have pick-up points located all over the world. You can find the nearest pick-up point on their websites. Pick-up points are usually bank branches, post offices, mobile phone shops and grocery shops. While it’s convenient to choose the pick-up point closest to you, make sure it’s in a safe area and that you get there during opening hours.

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How do I send money overseas?

If you’d like to send money overseas, here’s how to go about it.

  • Compare options. The idea is to find a transfer service that offers a combination of quick delivery, favourable exchange rates and low fees.
  • Sign up. If you’re making a transfer for the first time, you’ll be asked to set up an account before the transfer can take place.
  • Provide the necessary information. To set up an account, you’ll need to provide your name and address, contact information, bank information and your recipient’s personal and account details.
  • Track your transfer. Once you’ve requested the transfer, you’ll get a tracking number as a reference. The customer service staff will request this number should you have questions about your transaction.
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What are the pros and cons to using a specialist service compared to a bank?

Below are a few pros and cons to consider when using international money transfer services.

Pros

  • Faster delivery. Whereas a bank transfer can take between two and three working days to reach your recipient, services like MoneyGram and Western Union deliver within minutes.
  • Better exchange rates. Transfer services with cash pick-ups usually offer more attractive exchange rates than those of banks.

Cons

  • Higher fees for cash pick-option. While transfer services offer low or no fees for bank deposit delivery, you will probably be charged a higher fee for instant delivery. For example, Western Union charges $70 for delivery at a cash pick-up point and $10 for a transfer to a bank account.
  • Security. Be careful about the lesser-known transfer services offering free transfers and exchange rates that seem too good to be true. Do your research by checking user comments and reviews, and make sure that the service’s pick-up point is safe and close to where you are.
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Are there any risks?

While sending an international money transfer guarantees quicker delivery – usually at lower fees – there are a few pitfalls of which you should be aware.

  • Exchange rates. Choosing the best possible exchange rate means that your recipient gets more money in their own currency. However, make sure that a good exchange rate is not cancelled out by high transfer or conversion fees.
  • Hidden fees. Even if the service provides online quotes, read the fine print carefully to make sure that there are no hidden fees. Besides the transfer and conversion fees, transfer services can also add processing and “out of currency” fees.
  • Insist on a tracking number. Before choosing a transfer company, make sure that your money can be tracked all the way to delivery. Once your transaction is complete, you should be issued with a tracking number and contact details for the customer services department. They should be easily contactable, whether by email, instant chat or telephone.

Frequently asked questions

Here are a few commonly asked questions about sending international money transfers with cash pick-options.

How do I know that a transfer service is reliable?

The onus is on you to do the necessary research. Transfer companies like Western Union and MoneyGram are reliable because they have a proven track record, they’re recognisable and they have designated pick-up points in banks and post offices around the world. If you choose an alternative service, make sure that you can trust them with your money.

When will my recipient receive the transfer?

That depends on the service and the transfer method. Transfers sent to cash pick-up points are available within minutes of the transaction being effected. If you choose to send money to a bank account, the delay will be between one and three business days.

Where can I send money?

Not all currencies are supported by money transfer companies. You’ll have to do your research if you need to transfer to an exotic currency. For example, TransferWise won’t send money between Australia and Bosnia, whereas WorldRemit will effect the transfer for a small fee. Most services provide online quote calculators where you can see whether or not your destination currency is supported.

What does my recipient need to show when collecting the money?

Usually some positive identification is enough. This includes a passport, driver’s licence or national ID card. Cover all bases by sending your recipient a copy of the transaction confirmation and the tracking number to cover all bases.

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