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How to send money to someone without a bank account

A mobile wallet, money order or cash transfer may be your answer.

You don’t need a bank account if you want to send money overseas or receive an international transfer. If you or the person you’re sending money to is one of the millions of South Africans who doesn’t have a traditional bank account, you can still transfer funds with alternative money transfer methods.

Send money with a money transfer service

Sending money through a money transfer service is an option for both sending without a bank account and sending money to someone without a bank account. Several money transfer services allow you to both pay in cash and have cash delivered to your receiver.

Your recipient could 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.

Use a mobile wallet

Mobile wallets, often called e-wallets, aren’t as complicated as they may first sound. There are plenty of popular apps like Cash App, Google Pay and similar services. Mobile wallets can often be created without a bank account, and some of them even allow you to access your funds through a debit card that connects directly to your account balance. Keep the following in mind with mobile wallets. Although mobile wallets are often free to use, fees may apply when using additional features like expedited transfers or paying by credit card.

Send money from a credit card

Some money transfer services allow you to pay by credit card, which is convenient if you don’t immediately have the cash on hand for the transfer. 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

Enter the amount you want to send, select the currency you want to send to and click Calculate to see what your transfer could cost. Money transfer services are typically a relatively cheap way to send money to someone without a bank account.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 60 1 day ZAR 0.00 0.068 USD
682
Skrill offers easy transfers to many popular destinations, but keep an eye out for added fees. Go to site Show details
AUD 2,000 2 days ZAR 0.00 0.068 USD
682
CurrenciesDirect makes transferring money abroad simple with bank-beating exchange rates. Go to site Show details
USD 1 Within an hour ZAR 500.00 0.068 USD
647
Use promo code FREE to send your first transfer with no fee. T&Cs apply.
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Go to site Show details
EUR 8 3 - 5 days EUR 3.00 0.068 USD
680
Special offer: Zero fees on your first 10 transfers.
CurrencyFair has bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Go to site Show details
USD 2,000 1 day ZAR 0.00 0.068 USD
682
TorFX guarantees to match any competitor's exchange rate. Conditions apply.
TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

Send 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, be sure to:

  • 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.
  • Track 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 money order or a money transfer service instead.

How to choose a transfer method

Deciding which method of how to send money to someone without a bank account can be tricky. To pick the transfer method that’s best for you and your recipient, consider.

  • How fast the funds need to be delivered.
    Money 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. Money 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. Mailing a money order or prepaid debit card comes with the risk of them getting lost in transit.

Bottom line

It’s possible to transfer funds without either party having a bank account. The method that’s best 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 is a notable name that allows you to 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 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, money order issuer or prepaid debit card provider 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 money order, send money to your mobile wallet, send cash or send a prepaid debit card.

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