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How to Send Cash Abroad

There are many reasons people need to send cash, both internationally and domestically. The other person may not have a bank account, they may need the money very quickly, or you might simply want to send a cash gift to a friend or relative. Thankfully, there are many different money transfer companies that allow you to send cash quickly to any part of the world. This guide will take you through some reasons why you might need to send money as cash, how you can do it, whether it is safe to send cash, and the costs involved.

Updated: 28/09/2022
Read time: 9 minutes
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Why might you want to send money as cash?

People send cash to others for various reasons, as sending cash comes with a selection of advantages over other money transfer methods. Some reasons people send cash include:

  • If you/your recipient doesn’t have a bank account: Online bank transfer is an option if either the sender and recipient have a bank account. In this scenario, however, you can still send cash and your recipient will be able to pick it up at a designated location.
  • Your recipient requires cash urgently: Online bank transfer can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few days depending on where the money is coming from and going, the amounts and currencies involved, and a variety of other factors. This can be inconvenient if you need to make a transfer quickly, and in this case it can be better to send cash payments. Typically cash is available to be collected by your recipient within minutes of you funding the transfer.
  • You are sending a cash gift: Sending cash is a nice way to give a gift to a friend, family member, or loved one. People often feel it is more personal than simply depositing money into a bank account, and there are many services you can use to send cash gifts.
  • You prefer dealing in cash: Some people are just more comfortable dealing in cash and they may not prefer making online bank transfers or e-wallet transfers.   

How to send cash

There are various ways in which you can send cash to someone including postal deliveries or giving the cash to someone who is travelling to the recipient’s location. However, the more practical and convenient way to send cash is through a remittance company such as Western Union, MoneyGram, or others. While the process may differ slightly across money transfer companies, the basic steps remain the same. The steps for sending cash through a remittance company include: 

  • Choose a money transfer/remittance provider: Do some research and based on your cash transfer needs in order to choose the best provider to handle your transfer. Look for a provider that has agent locations in your vicinity as well as the place where the recipient lives. Check out their fees and the exchange rates they offer, and make comparisons to find out a provider that offers the lowest price and the best exchange rates (if you’re sending an international transfer). It’s also important to check if your provider supports your chosen payment method (as you don’t have to pay with cash even if that’s how your recipient will collect the money). For example, if you wish to make a payment using your credit card and have the recipient pickup cash from an agent location, then look for a provider that supports this payment and delivery method. 
  • Fill out their form: Once you have chosen your provider, you can make a transfer through them online, via phone or by visiting an agent location. You will be asked to fill out a form, wherein you will enter your details and the recipient’s details. Once filled, you will submit the form to the provider. 
  • Provide proof of ID: You will have to provide a government issued ID such as a passport or driver’s license before you can transfer money. This is to comply with anti-money laundering legislation.
  • Pay for your transfer (including fees): You will need to fund your transfer, which also includes paying a fee to the transfer provider. Most providers have a fee structure based on the amount you wish to send. Normally, you pay a higher fee for sending larger amounts. You will also be charged a margin on top of the mid-market exchange rate if your transfer involves a currency conversion,
  • Send money and get a receipt: Once you make the money transfer, the provider will give you a receipt which mentions a transaction ID. Make sure you preserve this receipt for future reference. 
  • Inform the recipient: Share the transaction ID with the recipient and inform them about the amount you have sent. They will then be able to go and collect the cash from a designated pickup location.

How to receive cash

Once somebody has sent you money, the cash will be available for pickup within minutes. You will have to visit the nearest agent location and pick up the cash using the transaction ID sent to you by the person who has transferred you money. You will usually also have to provide some form of ID to prove you’re the intended recipient of the cash.

If you’re unable to reach a pickup location, then in some countries it is possible to have cash delivered to your doorstep. Arrange this with the person sending you the money before they make the transfer if you want to use this option. If you want to get the cash home delivered, check whether the service is available where you are and what the home delivery fee is. 

Is sending cash safe?

While sending cash physically to a location may not be a great idea as it could get stolen or lost, sending cash through a remittance provider is a very safe option. The companies that handle these transfers are regulated by the financial authorities in the countries in which they are registered and also handle millions of transactions each year, meaning you can certainly trust reputable providers with your money. Moreover, they have multiple layers of security to ensure that your money reaches the recipient safely without delays or hassles, such as requiring ID documents both when sending and receiving money. 

How much does it cost to send cash?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as there could be several costs involved in sending cash from one location to another. The fees will also vary based on whether the cash is being sent domestically or internationally. Here’s a quick summary of what to expect.

Sending cash domestically

If you want to send cash to someone within the same country, you will need to pay a fixed fee on your transfer. The fee will depend on the service provider you choose, the amount of cash you want to send and the delivery method you choose, and is usually below $10.

Sending cash internationally

For sending cash to another country, you will have to pay different costs. One component of the cost is still the fixed transfer fee, which will depend on the service provider you choose, the amount you wish to send and where you want to send it. 

In addition to a fixed fee, remittance companies will also charge a mark-up on the exchange rate for any transfer that involves a currency conversion. Many people are not aware of how this cost component works, and often think that all they are paying is the transfer fee. The reality is that a small margin (usually 2-5%) is charged on top of the interbank exchange rate (the rate you see on search engines) when making a transfer. This could be a sizeable amount depending on the amount you are sending, so it’s always important to check what the exchange rate you’re getting is before you make a transfer.

How long does it take for cash to be delivered?

Most money transfer companies claim that cash is available for pickup at the recipient’s location in minutes, which is true in most cases. In a few cases, depending on the currencies available and where the money is going, it may take 1-2 days for the cash to reach the destination. 

How to send cash instantly

The best way to send cash instantly is through a money transfer company. They normally operate on P2P basis, meaning they don’t have to wait for the money to be physically sent. Instead, the money is only swapped between different accounts held by the company at both ends of the transaction. So, the cash is available at the recipient’s location instantly. 

Is there a maximum limit on the amount of cash I can send at a time?

There is a limit on the amount of money you can send at a time, yes. In fact, the limits are lower when you are sending cash than when you are making bank transfers. These limits vary from provider to provider, but in general the limits for sending cash are in the $1,000s for individual transfers, with weekly and monthly limits also being common.

Can I send cash in the post?

It's advisable to NOT send cash in the post

While it is not completely illegal to send money via mail, it is not advisable to do so.

Sending $5 or $10 bills tucked inside birthday cards is not illegal but it’s not advisable to send larger amounts in the post If you wish to send larger amounts through mail, it is a better idea to use international money orders as these are more secure. 

With money orders you can get money order of the required denomination from the post office and mail it to the recipient. The recipient can then have it cashed. It is better than sending cash. However, this will still be more expensive and usually slower than simply using a money transfer provider to send cash.


Online money transfers are very common these days, but there are many reasons why millions of dollars are sent as cash today. In case the recipient does not have a bank account, the recipient needs cash immediately, or you want to send a cash gift to a loved one, then there are a host of providers that can help you send cash safely and securely.

While it is not illegal to send cash via mail, it is neither the fastest nor safest way to move your money. It is best to send cash via a money transfer company, which can arrange for your recipient to collect cash from a pickup point within minutes of you paying for the transfer, or even instantly. Some providers also give an option of home delivery of cash, but this is only in certain countries and usually comes at extra cost.

When sending cash you need to pay a fixed transfer fee, and in case of international transfer you will also be charged a margin on the exchange rate. These costs can rack up, especially with larger amounts, so always be sure to check the fee structure and the amount your transfer will cost before sending cash. 

The best way to ensure you keep the cost of your transfer low is to choose the right provider, and we have made this a quick and painless process with our money transfer comparison tool. Simply enter the amount you wish to send, and to where, and we’ll show you your best options in seconds.

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Article Factchecked by Elliot Laybourne on 20th July 2022

Elliott is a former investment banker with a 20 year career in the city of London.

During this time he held senior roles at ABN Amro, Societe Generale, Marex Financial and Natixis bank, specialising in commodity derivatives and options market-making.

During this time, Elliott’s client list included Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, Schroders Asset Management, and the Pennsylvania State Public School Employees Retirement System, amongst others.

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Artiom is a marketing graduate from the University of Portsmouth, Artiom’s primary experience is in SEO but he has a broad knowledge of all facets of digital marketing. He optimises the organic experience on MoneyTransfers.com with the content team, manages and creates unique marketing tactics, and generally supports the overall growth of the website.

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