How to Send Money to Someone Who Doesn’t Have a Bank Account

Sending money to a person who doesn’t have a bank account should be easy, safe, and efficient, even when they are living in a different country.

Here are some ways that you can send money to your international friends and family members who don’t have a bank account:

Three Ways to Send Money Internationally to Someone Without a Bank Account
Online money transfers
Cash in the mail
Money orders

This article will look at different options for making a domestic or international transfer of funds to someone without a bank account. Which method is best for you?

1. Online Money Transfers

Transferring money online can be as simple as clicking a few buttons to get started. If you choose a website or an app like Remitly, it’s quick and easy to send money abroad directly to the intended recipient.

When you choose a money transfer service, make sure to check whether the service supports the country you’re trying to send money to.

To use an app like Remitly, you will typically begin by signing up. Remitly only requires an email address and a password to get you started.

Next, you’ll need your recipient’s contact information, such as their full name, address, and phone number.

Depending on the money transfer service that you choose, there may be a variety of ways for your recipients to receive the money.

Cash pickup

For this method, your recipient can physically pick up the money that you send them at a location you select. A bank account isn’t necessary.

You can pick the location from a list of options, and in some cases, all you’ll need is the recipient’s name. When the cash is ready, the recipient can pick it up in person with their ID.

Home delivery

For home delivery, the money you send is delivered to the address you enter. This option may take longer, but it can be very convenient for some recipients, especially those with limited mobility.

Mobile money

Transferring money to someone’s mobile wallet can be one of the quickest methods. In some cases, recipients don’t necessarily need a bank account to set up a mobile wallet.

Send Money to Someone Who Doesn’t Have a Bank Account

2. Cash in the Mail

It’s not necessarily fast or secure, but it’s still possible to send cash through the mail if your recipient does not have a bank account.

There are several downsides to this method, however. For one, the money could easily be lost or stolen. If that were to happen, there would be no way to refund the money back to the sender.

You may also have to exchange your currency before you mail it. And if you want to track its location, you will probably have to pay extra.

3. Money Orders

A safer way to mail money is through a money order. Only the recipient of a money order may cash it, and it can be sent internationally. It’s important to keep in mind that this can be a slower method of sending funds since the money order travels through the mail.

A money order is like a check. It’s a document that has monetary value.

You pay for how much you want it to be worth, plus postage and any fees. Once it arrives, the recipient can cash it and receive the amount you authorized.

In the U.S., you can purchase money orders in many locations, including the post office and through banks and credit unions. They can expire or be canceled: learn more here.

The money order will typically be in U.S. dollars, so your recipient may have to pay to exchange the funds for foreign currency after they receive it.

When You Send Money Internationally

When you are deciding among money transfer services, mobile wallets, mailing cash, and sending money orders to someone who doesn’t have a bank account, you will need to consider these factors:

  • Cost
  • Speed
  • Efficiency
  • Security
  • Support


Even though all of the above methods allow you to send money internationally to a recipient without a bank account, you may want to calculate how much the process will cost.

Money transfer services usually have fees, such as a currency exchange fee for converting local to foreign currency and a transaction fee for originating the transfer.

Generally, these fees are lower than what you would pay for a bank transfer into a bank account via wire.

Remitly keeps transfers affordable with not only low fees but great exchange rates in a transparent process.

And for some countries, if you’re sending a certain amount of money, Remitly won’t charge you any transaction fees at all.

Money orders generally also have fees, and you’ll need to pay for postage if mailing anything internationally, including cash.

Exchange rates are also vital to keep in mind because they are always fluctuating. Learning more about why currencies fluctuate will help you prepare for potential foreign exchange fees.


Anything sent through the mail, like envelopes with cash or money orders, can be slower and take more time to receive, especially compared to mobile wallets and online money transfer services.

With money transfer services, you can also receive status update notifications, so you will know where your money is at all times and be aware of any delays that may occur.

In some cases, you may even be able to make an instant transfer, allowing a recipient who doesn’t have a bank account to access funds almost immediately.


Another major consideration when deciding how to send funds to someone who doesn’t have a bank account is simplicity.

With Remitly, you can transfer money anytime using the payment method you prefer, whether that’s a credit card or a bank account with a linked debit card. Your loved one can also receive money in the form they prefer.

Money orders and mailing cash will both require you to leave home to buy stamps and get your money into the mail.


Today, online methods are typically more secure than sending cash, which is hard to trace.

It is important to choose a trustworthy service with strong security practices; do not fall for common money transfer scams.

To keep your money safe, services like Remitly verify your information and review your transfer. This process helps protect you from others who may try to access your account or funds. Fraudulent transactions can be identified and canceled.

Remitly uses bank-level security to protect your data. The app uses 256-bit encryption (the banking industry’s standard) to prevent others from accessing your account.


The best international money transfer services, like Remitly, provide 24/7 customer support to help you if problems arise.

If cash gets misplaced in the mail, you’re generally on your own. Should a money order not arrive, you may be able to issue a stop payment and obtain a refund, but the process to do so may be complex and the rules will vary depending on where you purchase the monetary instrument.

How about sending money domestically?

What about when you need to transfer money to someone without a bank account who lives in the same country as you? In this case, there are 6 few ways to send money:

  • Mobile wallet
  • Cash or check by mail
  • Money orders
  • P2P service
  • Prepaid debit cards
  • Bank online payment services

1. Mobile wallet

Sending money between mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay can be a quick process.

In some cases, you do not need bank accounts to set up an e-wallet or mobile wallet. For certain mobile wallets, funds can be transferred and received through debit cards and accessed through an account balance.

To use this transfer method, you and the person who will be receiving money will usually need to have accounts with the same mobile wallet service.

In addition, you may already need to have the money available in the digital wallet app before you transfer funds. This may mean that you’ll need to move money from a linked bank account before starting your money transfer.

2. Mailing cash or check

It’s possible to mail cash or a personal check, which your recipient can cash even without a bank account. Relying on the mail is typically riskier than other methods mentioned above. Your mail could get lost, and it will be harder to track where your money goes.

3. Money orders

For individuals who do not have a bank account, money orders can be converted to cash.

Those who don’t want to send their personal information through the mail can also use money orders.

4. P2P service

P2P, or peer-to-peer services, such as PayPal, Cash App, and Venmo, allow direct transfers. Both the sender and recipient must have an account with the service they use.

How you can fund the money transfer will vary based on the rules of the payment app.

For example, PayPal will allow you to make instant transfers using money already in your PayPal balance or with a linked debit card or credit card. 

If you want to pay using your bank account, there is usually a one- to three-day delay before the other person receives the money transfer.

Some payment app services do process international transactions as well, but fees to send and receive money internationally are usually higher.

5. Prepaid debit card

Another way for a person without a bank account to receive money is through prepaid debit cards.

This type of debit card is linked to an account that you fund when you purchase the card. The amount of money in the account determines how much you can send or spend with a prepaid card, unlike credit cards.

Once the recipient spends all of the money in the account, the prepaid debit card can’t be used again unless you reload the card by adding more money.

If you send money in the form of a prepaid debit card, they can use the card in many places, like grocery stores, gas stations, and online stores.

Generally, any place that allows you to make a purchase with a credit or debit card will accept prepaid debit cards.

6. Bank online payment services

The final way for a person without a bank account to receive funds is through a bill-pay or online payment service operated by a financial institution.

Many banks and credit unions now offer free bill pay, and some services allow you to pay individuals as well as businesses.

If your financial institution permits this type of personal payment, you can enter the recipient’s name and address into the bill-pay service and then specify how much money you want to send. Then, the bank will mail the person a check.

Send money to someone who doesn’t have a bank account today

Using an online money transfer service is the preferred transfer method for many people who need to send money to loved ones who don’t have bank accounts.

Compared to other transfer method options, online international transfers are affordable, quick, secure, and simple, making them often the best transfer method when sending money abroad.

Consider all the ways to send money to someone without a bank account for yourself, and then sign up for Remitly to begin making money transfers to your loved ones around the world.