What to look out for when transferring money to a friend, family member or business on the West Coast.
Learn how to compare your options — including fees, exchange rates and transfer speeds — to find the best service when sending money to the Golden State.
What are my options to send money to California?
Your options will vary depending on whether you’re in the US or abroad.
Most major US banks offer free bank-to-bank domestic transfers (or waive fees for account holders). However, you’re limited to transferring cash from your bank account to your recipient’s bank account.
If your recipient doesn’t have a bank account or needs the cash more quickly than a bank transfer will offer, Western Union and Walmart offer fast cash pickups at thousands of locations in California.
Online options like PayPal and Venmo can also get money quickly to your recipient.
Your bank will typically be your most expensive option when sending money internationally. Banks offer weaker exchange rates, higher fees and fewer options to send and receive cash when compared to other options.
International transfers is where an online money transfer specialist shines. Providers like TransferWise and OFX can often safely get your money overseas to California faster, with lower fees and stronger exchange rates.
Our pick: Venstar Exchange
Get competitive rates with no fee for transfers $5,000 and above.
- Specializes in larger transactions for businesses and individuals
- Get access to a dedicated Exchange Specialist to help your transaction go smoothly
- Speedy approval: Approves most new accounts within hours
- High security standards to safeguard your information
Calvin sends money to California
Calvin needs to send 1,000 Australian dollars from Australia to his wife in Los Angeles.
|Bank||Money transfer service|
|Exchange rate||1 AUD = 0.721 USD||1 AUD = 0.746 USD|
|Transfer fee||$22 AUD or more||$5 AUD|
|Transfer speed||2–4 business days||Up to 2 business days|
|Amount received in USD||$721||$746|
For a transfer of 1,000 Australian dollars, an independent online money transfer provider will save more. Not only does Calvin save at least 17 AUD on the transfer fee, but his wife also receives $25 more and at least two days sooner.
How do I compare money transfers to California?
Depending on whether you’re sending domestically or internationally, you’ll want to keep an eye on:
- Fees. Banks and other provider will typically charge a fee for its services, especially for international transfers. Confirm whether it charges a flat fee or a percentage of the total transfer.
- Exchange rates. For international transfers, consider how close to the mid-market rate the rate you’re being offered is. You’re looking for a minimal margin between the two rates.
- Transfer options. For domestic transfers, any bank or service will allow you to transfer money online. Independent services like OFX and XE offer competitive exchange rates and fees for transfers.
- Transfer speeds. Whether your transfer is foreign or domestic, the time it takes for your recipient to get your money will vary. If you need to send cash right away, compare options WorldRemit or Western Union over your bank, which is typically not your cheapest or fastest option.
- Pickup methods. Most services offer bank-to-bank transfers; others will include cash pickups at an agent location. Know your options to find one that fits your needs.
- Minimum amounts. Your best option may depend on how much you’re sending. For larger international transfers, you can often avoid fees with a money transfer specialist.
- Frequency and purpose. If you need to send money at set times of the year, see if you can set up recurring payments to save on rates and fees in the long run.
- Customer service. For those walking through a transfer for the first time, you may find it helpful to speak to a representative. Most companies offer a telephone number that you can call to speak with a representative or financial specialist to help walk you through your options.
Compare your options for sending money to CA
Ways to send money to California
- Bank to bank transfers. Quick and efficient, these wire transfers may incur higher service fees than an independent service.
- Money transfer specialists. If you live outside the US, and independent provider like MoneyGram or OFX offers lower fees and exchange rates than banks can provide.
- Cash pickups. While you’ll pay a bit more for a cash pickup, you have options that include time-tested standbys like MoneyGram and newer services like WorldRemit.
- P2P services. Peer-to-peer services like PayPal and Venmo can get your money to your recipient without hassle in minutes.
- Checks. If you’ve time on your side, checks are an option.
Emergency cash transfers in California
Sometimes you or a loved one is in an emergency and needs funds quickly — and in cash. Thankfully there are global money transfer providers with tons of agent locations that allow you to pay and pick up in cash, often within minutes. If you have a little more time, however, consider an independent transfer provider that can get you much lower fees and stronger exchange rates.
How to send money to California
Depending on your bank or service, you may need to sign up for a free account before you can begin sending money. Generally, you’ll:
- Provide your recipient’s details. Their name, contact and banking info, if they’ll be receiving your money as a bank deposit.
- Specify the details of your transaction. How much and what currency.
- Review your transaction. Confirming total fees and how much your recipient will receive.
- Pay for your transfer. Methods could include bank account, debit or credit card or cash.
- Track your transaction. You’ll receive confirmation that includes a unique number or receipt for monitoring the progress of your transfer.
When sending money to California, you have many options. If you live in a country other than the US, compare your money transfer options to receive the best rates and lowest fees for your situation.