How to Send Money to Someone Without a Bank Account

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How do you send money to a person that has no bank account? Some people either do not want, or cannot have, a bank account. They are the “unbanked”. According to an FDIC survey, 9 million American households are unbanked. It is important to know how to make person-to-person money transfers without involving banks in the process.

Here are the ways to send funds to a person without a bank account:



A sometimes easy alternative to consider is simply handing cash to the person. Of course this is only a feasible option if you are in close proximity to the recipient. Using cash can be a quick process and you know the money was received because you handed it to them. This option also provides the personal contact that can be beneficial for future business dealings. Using cash does not provide an electronic or paper trail, so it is wise to get a receipt of payment for your transaction.

However, this method presents the undesirable risk of theft if the cash transfer is a large amount.  Most people do not feel safe carrying around a large sums of cash.


Money Order

If the USPS is your delivery method of choice, then do not send cash. There will be no way to verify it was received, unless the recipient chooses to send you a receipt after receiving an envelope of cash. It could also be taken by an unscrupulous worker who happens to realize the envelope contains money.

An easy alternative is to use a money order. They are typically less than $2.00 and can be purchased at your local Post Office or locations such as Walmart, CVS, grocery stores, and some gas stations. Money orders will provide extra safety by adding a paper trail and the recipients name, so if it is lost during transit, there is a chance of recovering the funds. You can cancel most money orders for an additional fee if it hasn’t yet been cashed.



PayPal is a service that allows people to send and receive money online. No bank account is necessary to open a PayPal account and they use data encryption and anti-fraud technology to help keep your information secure.

The recipient will be able to withdraw cash using an ATM card issued by PayPal. Alternatively, the money can be used to make online purchases from merchants that accept PayPal as payment for goods or services. There are no fees for money transfers from person to person or for loading money into the account as long as it is done correctly.


Other Online Payment Services

Google Wallet, Venmo, Square Cash, WeChat Pay, and Skrill are other online options similar to PayPal that allow you to send and receive money to someone without a bank account. These services have not been around as long as PayPal, and are not as popular or as widely accepted in the United States, but they are considered reliable and safe.



Another almost instantaneous method is a Walmart money transfer. Walmart allows customers to transfer money in just minutes to any other Walmart for a smaller fee than competitors like Western Union. Walmart corporate provided the following fee guide:

They have also increased the amount that can be sent to $2500, and the fee for that is $18.00. With so many Walmarts, this is an easy option for a fast transfer that is considerably cheaper than places like Western Union.