Money transfer companies allow you to send funds to another country and have your recipient pick it up in cash — but not all providers will offer a fair exchange rate. Whether you want to use a money transfer agent location to pay in cash, ask an agent questions or send money for cash pickup, comparing your options is a good way to find a deal.
How to find a money transfer location near you
Search online to find a provider with agent locations:
- Compare your options. Find a provider that offers agent locations using our table below.
- Visit the provider. Go to your provider’s website for extra details.
- Find your nearest location. Look for the Find a location page — it’s often a link from the homepage.
- Confirm hours of operation. Enter your ZIP code or address to find the hours of operation for the location nearest you.
- Visit in person. Go to the office and initiate your money transfer. Be sure to bring identification and enough money to cover fees.
Do any companies offer 24-hour locations for transfers?
Large money transfer networks like MoneyGram and Western Union offer 24-hour agent locations in most major (and even
some smaller) cities. Check online or call ahead to confirm the hours before visiting, especially when going in the middle of the night.
What places offer in-person money transfers?
Your first thought for a money transfer may be your local bank. This is a reliable option, but you’re likely to pay more fees and receive a weaker exchange rate than a money transfer service.
Many nationwide chain retailers and grocery stores have an exclusive area dedicated to providing money transfers using MoneyGram or Western Union. Typically fees are lower than what a bank charges.
What do I need to complete a money transfer in person?
The information you’ll need for a money transfer will depend on how you’re transferring the money. In general, you’ll need:
- Photo ID. A driver’s license, a passport or any other official government issued ID should work. If you’re concerned about your type of ID, call ahead to make sure it will suffice.
- Recipient information. The name and contact information of the person receiving the money. The name provided must exactly match their ID.
- Amount. Determine the amount you want to send ahead of time, keeping in mind that fees will be added on top of your sending amount.
- Payment method. Most agent locations accept credit and debit cards, but may also accept cash, checks and bank transfers.
To send money to a bank account, you’ll also need:
- Recipients bank information. The receiving bank’s name, address and SWIFT code are needed, in addition to your recipient’s account and routing numbers. Learn more about SWIFT and IBAN bank codes if you’re having trouble locating this information.
Save money by sending your transfer online
You may save yourself time and money by starting your cash transfer online with Western Union, MoneyGram or WorldRemit. Each offers cash pickup at agent locations in over 200 countries worldwide.
If the friends or family you’re sending money to have a bank account or prefer to pick up their money in cash, compare any of the services in our comparison table above to quickly and cheaply complete your transfer.
Agent locations typically add on extra fees, which helps them keep the agent location open. By completing your transfer entirely online you can save yourself both time and money.
How to decide what service to use
If the people you’re sending money to aren’t able to easily receive it to a bank account, find a provider that offers cash pickup. While the two best-known providers for collecting cash are Western Union and MoneyGram, WorldRemit is a digital provider that allows you to send money overseas for collection at local agent locations.
WorldRemit and other digital transfer services are ideal if it’s important for your friends or family get your transfer quickly. Whereas banks can take one to three days to complete a transfer, most money transfer services promise nearly immediate transfer times — often within minutes if you pay by credit or debit card.
Before choosing a service, compare:
- Transfer fees. Your bank might charge ₱1,200 to transfer USD$1,000 from Manila to London, while a money transfer service could charge ₱500 for the same transaction.
- Exchange rates. Exchange rates vary daily, so check the rate immediately before initiating your transfer. Some services add a little to the exchange rate — “padding the rate” to increase their profits — while others are closer to the mid-market rate.
- Maximum transfer amounts. If you’re sending more than USD$10,000, a company like OFX could be a strong option because it charges more reasonable rates than your local bank.
- Payment options. If using a bank, fund the transaction using ACH. Short for Automated Clearing House, it moves money between bank accounts more quickly. Money transfer services each have their own requirements, but generally accept debit or credit cards in addition to cash.
- Transfer times. While banks take from one to three days or more to complete a transfer, money transfer services promise faster transfer times, sometimes within minutes.
Tips for keeping your cash safe
Wherever you are in the world, keep in mind a few safety tips when picking up a transfer:
- Call ahead. Call to confirm an agent’s location and hours.
- Be aware. Avoid agents in high-crime or unsafe areas.
- Bring a friend. Ask a friend to come along for the pickup.
- Hide it. Keep your cash hidden and avoid carrying it around longer than necessary.
- Secure it. Deposit your funds into an account as soon as you can, if possible.
Alternatives to sending cash
Sending cash is ideal for those without bank accounts or in an emergency situation, but it’s often the more expensive option. If possible, consider sending to your receiver’s mobile or bank account since it’ll end up being a better deal for you. Below you can get an idea of what transfers with services like these look like.
Many of the world’s largest money transfer providers have locations in towns both small and big. But if you’re in a place with no agent locations, online transfers may be your only option. Shop around and learn more about money transfers to make confident decisions.