Do you need to send cash to a friend or relative overseas as quickly as possible? Here’s how to do it without breaking the bank.
In today’s increasingly connected world, there are more reasons than ever why people need to send funds overseas. Perhaps they’re purchasing goods from an overseas retailer, organising travel money for their next holiday or even sending money to a relative or friend overseas.
There are a number of options available when you’re looking to send an international money transfer, but one of the best choices for many people is to use a service that allows a cash pickup option. This gives your recipient fast access to the funds they need and means you can send cash to the other side of the world almost instantly.
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How does a cash transfer work?
Generally speaking, cash transfers involve you specifying to a transfer service the amount of money you would like to send overseas and which country you would like to send it to. There are multiple ways in which you can conduct a cash transfer - including everything from online transfer providers to international money orders - but there are fewer options available if you want your recipient to be able to pick up the funds you send in person.
The first option is to use a service that allows your recipient to pick up the money in cash from a transfer service branch. The best-known example of this sort of company is Western Union. Western Union has hundreds of thousands of locations all over the world where money can be collected, while you can send your funds in person at a branch or by visiting the Western Union website.
The second option is to send cash which can be picked up overseas from a convenience store. MoneyGram has more than 334,000 agent locations around the world where customers can both send and receive cash. Funds sent via MoneyGram are typically available for pickup within minutes.
The third option for cash transfers are companies like WorldRemit, which allow you to transfer money abroad which can then be picked up in cash from the recipient’s local bank branch.
Each of these three options provides a convenient and affordable way to send cash overseas, but choosing the best option for you will depend on where you’re sending the money and who will be picking it up.
How do I compare cash transfers?
- It's range of pickup methods. The first feature you need to compare is where the cash can be collected from. Depending on the service you choose, this may be at a transfer provider’s branch, a convenience store or a bank branch. Choose the provider that offers the most convenient option for your recipient.
- Competitive exchange rates. Keep an eye out for the best exchange rates you can find, as this will mean more of the money you deposit makes its way to your recipient. However, you’ll also need to consider exchange rates in relation to the fees each provider charges.
- Low or little fees. Make sure you’re aware of all the fees that will apply to your transaction. You don’t want to overlook any fees and end up with a nasty surprise that costs you money.
- Fast turnaround time. Compare how long it will take for your cash transfer to be processed. While some methods can take hours for your cash to arrive, others make cash available to your recipient within minutes.
- It's range of cash transfer methods. Do you need to visit a branch to lodge a transfer or can you do it online or over the phone? Different methods will be more convenient for different people, so consider your own needs before choosing a provider.
- High quality customer service. Look into the customer service options offered by each provider to ensure that help is on hand whenever you need it.
What's the good and not-so-good about cash transfers?
- A wide range of options. You have a wealth of options to choose from when sending funds overseas. When you need to send an emergency transfer, you’ll be able to find a cash transfer method that suits.
- Fast transfers. Many providers make it possible for your recipient to pick up the cash you send within minutes, which can be especially helpful in situations which require urgency.
- Safe, secure and speedy. There are many trusted and reliable providers who can transfer your funds safely and efficiently to your recipient.
- High fees. Each provider has differing fees for transferring funds and these may also differ depending on where you are sending it so make sure to check all this out.
- Not-so-competitive exchange rates. Providers set their own exchange rates that they work out internally, make sure to look at each provider's rates for the currency your funds are in and are being transferred to. This will prevent you getting a poor exchange rate.
What are the risks?
- High fees. It’s important to familiarise yourself with all the fees that apply to your transaction before you lodge it. If you don’t, fees can quickly add up and leave you significantly out of pocket.
- Poor exchange rates. Make sure to shop around for the best rates you can find - this will ensure that more of the money you send makes it into your recipient’s pocket.
- Not doing your research. Don’t simply opt for a cash transfer with the first provider you come across. You can save yourself a whole lot of money by doing your research at finder.com.au (insert link) and hunting around for the best deal.
Tips for picking up cash
When you’re picking up cash from a transfer provider or convenience store, you need to exercise caution so that you don’t become a victim of crime. If possible, take a friend along with you to act as a deterrent toward potential thieves, while it’s also a good idea to avoid overtly displaying your cash in front of strangers.
Avoid any areas where crime is known to be a problem and, if necessary, head straight to your bank to deposit some of the funds. When carrying the money, be careful not to make yourself an easy target for thieves. While purses can be easily snatched and bumbags simply scream ‘I’m a gullible tourist’, money belts can offer a much safer option for carrying cash around.
Common questions about international cash transfers
Which cash transfer method is the best one for me?
The best transfer method for each person will differ depending on the nature of their transaction. For example, you may want to lodge a transfer online and then let your recipient pick up the cash at their nearest agent location, or you may prefer to be able to walk into your local convenience store and send the funds that way.
How can I be sure I’m dealing with a trusted provider? You can find a list of trusted providers right here at finder.com.au. You can also do your research online to find company recommendations from other users of cash transfer services
Can I send a cash transfer to my country of choice?
This will depend on the provider you choose. Certain currencies, for example the Euro and the US Dollar, are widely traded on global currency markets and will be offered by every provider. Rarer currencies will not be transferred by every provider and some countries will not be serviced by agent locations, meaning you’ll have fewer options to choose from when lodging your transaction.
What’s the best way to transfer cash to Australia? If you’re overseas and need to send funds to Australia, the best cash transfer method depends on a number of factors. These include where you are sending the money from, how much you wish to send, how quickly you need to transfer the funds and more. Many banks offer cash transfers, although banks typically charge high fees and offer poor exchange rates.
Note - You can get a better deal from specialist online money transfer companies, but there’s a chance they may not offer transfers from your country.
Finally, some transfer providers such as Western Union, MoneyGram and WorldRemit allow you to send funds which can then be picked up from an Australian agent location, convenience store or bank within minutes.
Can I transfer my overseas pension to Australia?
Yes, it’s entirely possible to transfer your overseas pension into an Australian superannuation fund. However, depending on a range of issues including legislative conditions in your country of origin, you may not be able to transfer the full pension amount or you may have to pay tax on the amount you transfer.
How do I find my BSB?
You can find out your BSB number by visiting your bank’s website, contacting your bank’s help centre or checking a recent bank statement.
Can I instantly transfer cash?
Yes, services such as Western Union, MoneyGram and WorldRemit allow you to instantly transfer cash overseas. You can lodge a transfer multiple ways including in a branch and online, and the funds can typically be picked up instantly or within minutes from an agent location in the destination country.