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How To Send Airtime

Airtime is a popular form of prepaid credit used to top up mobile phones. This how-to-guide provides readers with all the information they need to send airtime to recipients, wherever they are in the world.

Updated: 28/09/2022
Read time: 4 minutes
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What is airtime?

Sending airtime, or purchasing airtime top up, refers to the process of adding credit to a recipient’s phone plan. This form of money transfer is popular around the world as it allows customers to remotely reload the balance of a recipient’s phone credit, which can come in handy in an emergency or for expats living overseas.

What information will I need to send airtime? 

To send airtime to a recipient in the same country, or overseas, you will need the following details: 

  • Full name of the recipient
  • Mobile number and service provider
  • Payment method: credit or debit card are the most widely accepted forms of payment for airtime purchases

When will I need to send airtime? 

Whether you need to help someone in the same country or internationally, airtime top up is a very convenient method of money transfer: as long as you use a secure, trusted provider. 

If you find yourself in a situation where you are required to purchase airtime, there are many options available, which we will run through in detail in the Where can I purchase airtime section below. 

What countries can I send airtime to? 

Customers in almost all countries will be able to receive airtime, depending on the service provider you send airtime with. It is important to ensure the provider you are considering can facilitate airtime top up to the country you need. Governments in some countries apply taxes to airtime top-up received from overseas which could mean your recipient sees some of the total value deducted during the transaction. Normally, however, you will be informed of this during the transaction process. 

Where can I purchase airtime? 

Depending where in the world you and your recipient are located, airtime can be purchased from a number of different vendors. These include money transfer providers, currency exchange operators, convenience stores and post offices: certain banks also provide airtime top-up services.

Top 3 money transfer providers that offer airtime services

RankingProviderWhy choose itGet Started
🥇WorldRemitInstant transfersVisit WorldRemit
🥈XoomCan send airtime using PayPalVisit Xoom
🥉AzimoQuick transfers and low feesVisit Azimo

Users can top up the recipient’s prepaid phone to enable them to send text messages and make calls; country-specific availability can be found here.


In addition to mobile money deposits, you can also send an airtime top-up to a prepaid mobile number through the Azimo platform.


Customers can send airtime to prepaid mobile phones in minutes using PayPal-owned international remittance platform, Xoom.

How long does it take for airtime to be received? 

Due to the nature of this kind of transfer, mobile airtime services are usually instant, with funds sent to the recipient within minutes of payment being initiated. Find out more about how to Send Money Instantly

Can I cancel airtime?

This is down to the provider, but typically, once airtime top up has been sent to a recipient’s phone number there is no way to stop the transfer or reclaim the funds. 

For this reason, most providers ask for the sender to enter the details of the recipient more than once, to confirm that the information is correct and no mistake has been made. 


Airtime top up is a widespread type of money transfer but for some people, it can prove to be somewhat of an obstacle to overcome. In order to accomplish effective, successful airtime top up we would recommend using a verified, trusted provider, allow plenty of time and double check all details before submitting payment. 

Have a read of some of our other guides to learn more about a range of topics related to global money transfers. 

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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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