How to make an emergency money transfer

Whether to pay for unexpected medical bills or bail a vacationing friend out of trouble, here's how to transfer cash fast.

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Money transfer services offer some of the fastest ways to transfer money to someone in cash or for direct deposit in an emergency — but which provider you should use depends on how much you’re sending and how quickly you need it to arrive.

Send money overseas with WorldRemit

Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.

WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.

  • Send money online within minutes
  • Large range of destinations
  • Able to send to cash pickup locations
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Providers that can help with an emergency transfer

Use the table below to get an idea of the fees involved with each provider and calculate how much your recipient may get.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
AUD 1 Same day AUD 3.99 0.728 USD
7,272
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Go to site Show details
AUD 10 Within an hour AUD 2.99 0.728 USD
7,280
Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
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.

Moving money domestically?

You may need to use a money transfer specialist when sending money internationally during an emergency, but domestic transfers have more options. Read our guide on the best way to send money, both domestically and internationally, to make sure you're getting the best deal on your transfer.

Four of the fastest services to transfer money

When there’s an emergency, getting money out as quickly as possible is key. These four service providers deliver the fastest money transfer services easily and safely.

WorldRemit

WorldRemit is entirely online, meaning you can access it from the convenience of your computer or its app. It operates in more than 140 countries around the world with flexible transfer options from your bank account, credit card or debit card.

Your fastest option is mobile money (if available) or for cash pickup at a WorldRemit agent location.

WorldRemit money transfers logo

WorldRemit at a glance

  • Maximum transfer: $50,000
  • Minimum transfer: $1
  • Transfer speed: Within 1 hour
  • Transaction fee: $3.99

How can I send money quickly?

You'll need to sign up for a free account with WorldRemit. You’ll also need to provide your personal information, the transaction details and your payment information.

What happens next?

WorldRemit will confirm the transaction with both you and your recipient by email or text and notify you when the funds are received or picked up. If you have any problems, you can contact customer service 24/7 by phone or online through live chat.

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MoneyGram

As the second-largest provider of international money transfers in the world, MoneyGram is one of the most trusted. Its extensive network of 350,000 agent locations has a presence in more than 200 countries.

With MoneyGram, sending funds can take minutes depending on local regulations and procedures. Your fastest option is to pay with a credit or debit card (or with cash at an agent location) and choose the cash pickup option. Once the money is sent, it arrives for almost immediate cash pickup at locations worldwide. In some countries, you even have a mobile wallet option.

MoneyGram International Money Transfers logo

MoneyGram at a glance

  • Maximum transfer: $13,750
  • Minimum transfer: $1
  • Delivery speed: Within-hour
  • Transaction fee: Anywhere between 3% and 7% of the transfer

How can I send money quickly?

  • Head to the MoneyGram site and start a transfer using your bank account, credit card or debit card.
  • Use MoneyGram’s online locator tool or call to find a location near you. You'll often find them in a 7-Eleven.

What happens after?

Once the money transfer is complete, the receiver can visit their nearest MoneyGram location to collect it. Remind them to bring along their reference number (which is included in the confirmation emails for online transfer) and ID for pickup. If you have a problem, contact customer service through the site.

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Western Union

Western Union has the biggest network of agent locations with 500,000 agent locations in 200 countries. You can send funds online, through a mobile app, in person or by phone. You're able to pay with a bank transfer, cash, debit card or credit card.

As with MoneyGram, your fastest option is to pay by debit or credit card for cash pickup.

Western Union Money Transfers logo

Western Union at a glance

  • Maximum transfer: $50,000
  • Minimum transfer: $1
  • Transfer speed: In minutes if using a debit or credit card for cash pickup
  • Transaction fee: Typically around 5% of the transfer

How can I send money quickly?

  • Head to Western Union's website. You'll need your personal information, your recipient’s details and a valid method of payment to make the transfer.
  • Visit a Western Union location near you with cash or a debit card.

What happens next?

You’ll receive a unique Money Transfer Control Number with your confirmation. You can track your transfer online with this number. If you have any problem, contact customer service 24/7 through the online form on Western Union's site or via the phone.

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Remitly

Remitly offers money transfers aimed at mobile users. It differs from a lot of other money transfer providers in that if you want to send less than $2,999, you don't need to provide ID and wait for the verification process.

The express option Remitly offers will get your money to your recipient in minutes, but you have to pay with credit or debit card. You can choose to transfer to a cash pick-up location, bank account or mobile wallet.

Remitly's logo

Remitly at a glance

  • Maximum transfer: Depends on your tier. The lowest tier lets you send $2,999 a day
  • Minimum transfer: $10
  • Transfer speed: In minutes through express delivery option
  • Transaction fee: $3.99 plus a 1% surcharge for credit cards

How can I send money quickly?

  • Go to Remitly's website. Set up an account and you'll be able to transfer money in minutes.

What happens next?

Remitly will send you a receipt with your reference number. You'll be updated if there are any status changes, but you can also check the status through your online account. Once the transfer is complete, both you and your recipient will get a notification.

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What do I need to look out for when sending cash quickly?

Fees for emergency transfers will vary among banks and money transfer services. Before you make your transfer, compare:

  • Exchange rates. Money transfer services make money by skewing exchange rates. You'll want to look for a rate that's as close to the mid-market rate as possible.
  • Transfer fees. Fees can range from flat fees of a few dollars to up to $80 or more, depending on how you're sending it or picking it up.
  • Transfer options. Can your recipient accept a bank account transfer, or do they need to pick up cash right away?
  • Security. For emergencies, you'll appreciate being able to track your transfer through to receipt.

Bottom line

Being robbed of your valuables, needing emergency medical treatment or missing your return flight home can be stressful. But having the ability to quickly receive funds or help loved ones far away can let off at least some of the pressure. If you have a little more time, however, compare your available options for international money transfers.

Frequently asked questions

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Send provides fee-free transfers via its 24/7 multi-currency payments platform with real-time quotes.

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