Excerpt from an article written by Peter Fleming
There are plenty of ways to send money to people that don’t involve cash in an envelope. Online payment apps let you transfer funds to friends and relatives instantly. Some people still write checks and send them by mail, like the $20 you got from your grandmother on your birthday. But sending money becomes more complicated when the recipient doesn’t have a bank account.
The problem is more common than you might think. According to the FDIC’s 2019 National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, 5.4% of U.S. households were “unbanked,” meaning that no one in the household had a checking or savings account. That translates into some 7 million households, with 14.1 million adults and 6.4 million children who don’t have access to basic banking services. Those numbers are estimated to rise in 2021.
Money orders and wire services
Money orders and wire transfers are the old-school way to send money to people without a bank account. Money orders are inexpensive and very simple to use, but they also require you to mail a paper check to your recipient. Western Union and MoneyGram wire transfers are much faster, but you’ll pay for the convenience.
For additional information, visit the US Government's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for answers to common problems about sending money overseas.
U.S. Postal Service money order
It’s easy to send a Money order for up to $1,000 from any local U.S. post office. A money order is like a cashier’s check: It’s prepaid by you and guaranteed by the USPS, and made out to a specific recipient. The fee the post office charges depends on the amount of the money order: for money orders up to $500 the cost is $1.25, and for money orders over $500 and up to $1,000 the cost is $1.70. Money orders issued on a military facility cost only $0.45. You can replace a lost or damaged money order for a $6.15 processing fee.
The disadvantage of a USPS Money order is you then have to mail it to the ultimate recipient. But if you aren’t in a hurry, post office money orders are a very inexpensive way to get the job done. Recipients can cash a postal money order at a U.S. post office for free, or at a check cashing store for a fee.
Walmart money order
You can buy a Walmart money order at thousands of Walmart Supercenter or Neighborhood Market locations throughout the United States. The maximum fee for a Walmart money order is $0.88. Walmart will also replace lost or damaged money orders. As with USPS money orders, you will need to send the money order to the recipient by mail. The recipient can then cash the money order at a Walmart store or a check cashing store, although in both cases, a check cashing fee generally applies.
Western Union money order or wire transfer
You can easily wire money anywhere with MoneyGram’s online services or at 350,000 retail locations in 200 countries. Payment can be in cash, by credit card or debit card, or by a transfer directly from your bank. MoneyGram will ask you to provide some information about yourself so they can verify your identity. In addition to domestic and international transfers, MoneyGram also offers the ability to send money to prison inmate commissary accounts.
Recipients can pick up their money in cash at a MoneyGram location, have it deposited to a mobile wallet or directly to their bank account, if they have one. For cash pickups, recipients will need to provide a reference number and show a valid ID. Costs vary widely depending on how you pay or a recipient’s location. You can send $500 to Florida and pay via an online bank account for $3.99 or use a credit or debit card for $8.99. If you pay in cash, the fee varies by the location where you make the payment.
There are more, and less expensive, ways that are available to send money overseas - like third party Apps and services such as Transferwise and PayPal. However, they require Internet access and a pre-exisiting bank account.
Sending money overseas when you don't have a bank account is expensive. Sending money overseas with an IBank Account is free - and there are no fees to open or maintain your IBank Account.
Here are some basic FAQ's about sending money overseas with IBank. For additional information, visit our Debit FAQ's page.
Your IBank SmartCard is all you will ever need to access your IBank Account. Every authorized IBank Merchant is equipped with technology to allow you to access your account and conduct basic services like Deposits and Withdrawals; Sending Funds to and Receiving Funds from another member; Transferring from your Current to Savings Account and generally just to check your balances. However, there are features that are only accessible from a smart mobile device or Internet connected PC - such as the Merchant Locator. But you can always call us 24/7 to answer any of these questions.
Each country has different regulations and limitations and we follow those regulations implicitly. You can check by logging into "My IBank" or at any authorized merchant who will advise you of the sending and receiving limitations.
We are expanding our network to new countries as rapidly as possible. Check back with us frequently to find out which countries have been added or subscribe to our Newsletter and receive updates on our progress.
Transfers from member to member are instant. Just as with a traditional bank, when account holders of the same bank transfer funds to each other, the debit of the sender and credit to the recipient is instant. What is different about IBank is that the sender can be in one country and the recipient in another - and the transfer can also involve a currency exchange.
Research shows that 85% of remittances are immediately spent for goods and services. In a case where you must have all of the remittance in cash it may be necessary to visit several merchants or pre-arrange to have cash ready at a specific merchant near you. However, remember that the funds are always available in your IBank Account.
If you do not already have a local bank account we can arrange to have cash waiting for you at our local partner bank. If you do have a local bank account the funds will be immediately transferred from our bank to yours - which may even be the same bank. In addition, our network of over 100,000 ATM worldwide will give you access to your funds.
Simply give us a call. We understand that sometimes circumstances like this will arise. As long as you make us aware of the situation we can temporarily override the limits. Be advised that we only allow one override annually and the transfer cannot exceed the equivalent of $10,000 USD.
Yes. Call or visit us online to receive instructions on how to receive bank wires from non-members. Be aware that fees may apply in some circumstances.