How to send money to someone without a bank account | Finder UK

How to send money to someone without a bank account

A mobile wallet, prepaid card or transfer agent may be your answer.

Approximately 1.3 million adults in the UK do not have a bank account, according to a 2019 report by the Financial Conduct Authority. But there are a number of other money transfer methods if you need to send money to someone without a bank account.

Money transfer service

Sending funds through a money transfer service is a good option to send money to someone without a bank account. Several allow you to both pay in cash and have cash delivered to your recipient, who could even receive the funds the same day if they’re delivered via cash pickup or delivery. This option can come with high fees, so be sure to compare money transfer services that offer cash pickup.

Mobile wallet

Mobile wallets, often called e-wallets, aren’t as complicated as they may first sound. Ones like PayPal, Pingit, Apple Pay and Google Pay can often be created without a bank account, and some even let you access your funds through a debit card that connects directly to your account balance. Keep the following in mind with mobile wallets:

  • Both the sender and receiver must have the same mobile wallet for the transaction to be free.
  • Mobile wallets in the UK are often restricted to transfers to and from the UK only.
  • Although mobile wallets are often free to use, fees may apply when using additional features, like same-day transfers or paying by credit card.

Credit card

Some money transfer services let you pay by credit card, which is convenient if you need to send money to someone without a bank account. Paying by credit card will almost always be more expensive when sending money, but you can often save money by shopping around. For added convenience, a handful of money transfer services will allow you to pay by credit card and have the money available for cash pickup within minutes.

Compare money transfer services

Table: sorted by promoted deals first
Our table below lets you compare the services you can use to send money abroad. Choose if you want to send under or over £10,000, and you’ll be shown a list of services that can help you.
Data updated regularly
Name Product Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer) Learn More
Wise (TransferWise) for large transfers
Within an hour
From £3.75

View details
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies.
TorFX
24 hours
£0

View details
TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Central FX
24 hours
£0

View details
CentralFX's dedicated team will guide you or your business from first call to final payment.
SpartanFX
24 hours
£0

View details
SpartanFX has fee-free transfers, a best exchange rate guarantee and personalised one-to-one support for every customer.
Currencies Direct
Within an hour
£0

View details
CurrenciesDirect makes transferring money abroad simple with bank-beating exchange rates.
CurrencyTransfer
24 hours
£0

View details
CurrencyTransfer lets you shop around for the best exchange rate on its online marketplace.
XE Money Transfers
24 hours
£2
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ £25 Amazon voucher when you refer a friend

View details
XE has fast transfers with no fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
Wise (TransferWise)
Within an hour
From £3.75

View details
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies.
Azimo
Within minutes
From £0.99
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ First two transfers free for new customers.

View details
Azimo sends money directly to a bank account or over 280,000 cash pick-up points. It also has fast transfers to 50+ countries.
CurrencyFair
24 hours
€3
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Zero fees on your first 10 transfers

View details
CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Remitly
Within minutes
From £1.49
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Free transfers and better exchange rates for new customers

View details
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
WorldRemit
Within an hour
From £1.99
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.

View details
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Prepaid debit card

If you want your recipient to be able to pay by card, you could send them a prepaid debit card. Bear in mind, though, that because it’s sent by mail, it could take several business days to get to them.

Postal order

Sending money through the Post Office may seem like a thing of the past, but postal orders certainly still have a use in the digital age – especially if you need to send money to someone without a bank account. When using a postal order, keep in mind that:

  • They are one of the slowest ways to send money.
  • They require ID to send and receive.
  • They are often more expensive than using a money transfer service.

Cash

Withdrawing cash from your bank account to send through the mail is absolutely the least recommended method, but it is still an option. If you choose to send cash, make sure that you:

  • Send the cash in an envelope that hides the cash. Test this by holding the envelope with cash inside in front of a bright light.
  • Insure your package for the amount of cash you’re sending.
  • Buy tracking on your mail so you’ll know when it arrives.

Even with these safety nets in place, we still don’t recommend that you physically mail cash. Consider using a postal order or a money transfer service instead.

How to choose a transfer method

To pick the transfer method that’s best for you to send money to someone without a bank account, consider.

  • How fast the funds need to be delivered.
    Postal orders and prepaid debit cards will likely take significantly longer to reach your recipient than a mobile wallet transfer.
  • Affordability.
    Personal mobile wallet transfers that don’t use a credit card typically come without fees. However, it might be more difficult to access the funds than if you use a cash transfer. Postal orders and prepaid debit cards usually have a low cost, and using a credit card will generally be the most expensive option.
  • Convenience.
    Depending on where your recipient lives and what they’re using the funds for, certain options may be favourable. Someone looking to shop online, for example, may find a PayPal transfer more convenient than cash pickup.
  • Security of the transfer.
    Data encryption helps protect your and your recipient’s information. Sending a postal order or prepaid debit card comes with the risk of them getting lost in transit.

Bottom line

It’s pretty easy to send money to someone without a bank account. The method that’s best for you depends on several factors, including when the money is needed, ease of access and cost.

For more information about sending money and to compare transfer service options, check out our full guide to transferring money abroad.

Frequently asked questions

Do mobile wallets have to be linked to an account?

Several mobile wallets don’t require you to link a bank account. PayPal, for example, lets you open an account and receive funds without linking a bank account or credit card.

Can you move money from a mobile wallet to a bank account?

Typically, yes. Though the transfer to the mobile wallet is instant, processing times to transfer the funds to their bank account could range from one to five business days.

Can I send money to a mobile wallet using a transfer service?

Yes, certain transfer services allow you to send funds to the recipient’s phone via a mobile wallet. Western Union is among the providers that allows this, but many other options exist.

How much does it cost to send money to someone without a bank account?

Costs vary based on the service you’re using, where you’re sending the funds and how they’re being received. Check with the transfer service, mobile wallet provider, prepaid debit card provider or Post Office before you complete the transaction.

How can I receive money without a bank account?

The easiest way is have someone send money through a money transfer service for cash pickup. Other ways include having them send a postal order, send money to your mobile wallet, send cash or send a prepaid debit card.

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