Let’s say you end up in a nightmare scenario, you are overseas and have just lost your wallet or it was stolen, and you don’t have access to your credit or debit cards, nor any cash. You phone your family for help. They want to send money immediately to get you out of a huge jam, but they don’t wish or don’t have the capabilities to send money online. How do they send you the money across borders and do so in person?

There are some major companies that can help in situations such as this, when you need to quickly send money across borders. The following are some of the best bets that can be found in many countries.

Western Union

If you need to send money in person, one money transfer company to consider is the largest one in the world, Western Union. They have been around for 168 years. They have over half a million physical locations around the world that allow you to send and receive money. Often, the locations that you send or receive money from will be physical stores. In the U.S., you can send a Western Union money transfer from your local Safeway Market, Kmart, CVS, Dollar General or similar retail location.

If you send the money in person, the person on the receiving end can get the money literally within minutes at the nearest Western Union agent location overseas. The receiver can also get their money sent to a mobile phone or to their bank account. Next-day service tends to have a bit of a lower fee and allows the receiver to get the funds either in cash or on a prepaid debit card.

The other interesting thing about fees is that the fee for the transfer depends upon where you are sending the money. The fees and exchange rates are most favourable if you are sending money to developing countries, like Mexico, the Philippines, India and China.

When sending money from an agent location, you use cash and pay the fee upfront. There is a small ‘Sending Money’ form you need to fill out. When the receiver goes to the overseas agent location, they will need to fill out the ‘Receiving Money’ form and provide suitable identification. A passport will suffice. A driver’s license may not be acceptable. The form will ask for the receiver’s address, expected funds amount, the sender’s name and the sender’s city and country.

Both the sender and receiver can track the status of the money transfer online. Your sender will be able to see when you picked up your funds, and you will know when the money is available for pick up.


MoneyGram is also in over 200 countries and is the world’s second-largest money transfer company. They have over 350,000 agent locations from which to send and receive money. You can also transfer money overseas within minutes from agent locations.

You can send money from familiar agent locations, such as CVS or Long’s Drug Stores, Walmart and Advance America. You will need cash to cover the money transfer as well as the fees. The money can be picked up by the recipient in cash at an agent location, in a mobile wallet, an international or domestic bank account or loaded on a prepaid card.

MoneyGram earns fees both for the money transfer and for the exchange rate. Western Union may not earn an exchange rate fee if you send the money to a developing country.

One big tip and caveat with MoneyGram that can cause snags is to have the name on the receiver’s identification exactly match the name you are using when you fill out the information on the form to send the money.

Another big caveat with MoneyGram is that your receiver must pick up the money in the same country that the sender designates for pick up. If this is a problem, though, the transaction can be cancelled and the money sent again with a different pick-up country designated.

Thus, if you need to transfer money to a family member in another country, you can reliably transfer funds to them by going to a local agent location, such as the local drug store or market and provide the cash and fees. The money will arrive in minutes to your loved one in need.

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