Sometimes, you have to pay with cash. Of course, this is impossible over the Internet, but using a money transfer service like Western Union or MoneyGram is the next best thing. It's an excellent option for recipients who don't have bank accounts or prefer to pick up cash (or in some cases receive a check or prepaid credit card). The rates might be steeper than if you just transfer funds between banks, but when wiring isn't an option, these services are usually fast, easy and effective.
Western Union, for example, allows you to transfer money online to a prepaid Visa card if the recipient is in the U.S. If the person has used the service before and already has a card, they can use it within minutes. If this is their first time receiving funds, the card will be delivered to their home or office within 24 to 72 hours, depending on when the money was transferred. In the U.S., Mexico and Brazil, deposits can also be made by Western Union directly into the recipient's bank account, although it takes two to five business days for the money to transfer. Of course, the funds can also be picked up as cash at any one of the company's numerous locations [source: Western Union].
Fees vary depending on where and how you're sending money, but it's safe to say that these services don't come cheap. You can expect to pay as much as 10 to 20 percent of the amount you send to your transfer service of choice.
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- Western Union. "Online Money Transfer Options." 2011. (Sept. 30, 2011) http://www.westernunion.com/WUCOMWEB/staticMid.do?pagename=optionsPage2&countryCode=US&languageCode=en&pid=USHP_Header_Pre&method=load&nextSecurePage=Y
Is this the payment method of the future? No cash, no credit card, just your smartphone and your finger? Find out how Square works at HowStuffWorks.