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The Best Ways To Send Money to Individuals

The Best Ways To Send Money to Individuals

People always owe others money  as this has been the case since the origins of money. If somebody doesn’t owe somebody money there is always somebody who wants to send money to a family or friend. There is never a shortage of people needing to send money and because of this over time there has been an increase in the methods used to send funds to somebody. This article will take an in depth look at all the different methods available.

Peer to Peer Money Transfer Services

Through companies like Transferwise and CurrencyFair, you can easily send money to individual or business bank accounts in most countries of the world. These services offer you the cheapest ways to send money abroad to someone’s bank account by giving you the interbank currency conversion rate and only charging you a small fee — either a .05% fee based on the amount or a flat fee or some combination of both.

Either way, these services can save you a tremendous amount of money if you need to send money to another country and currency conversions are involved. For example, I recently used Transferwise to send over 23,000 USD to Thailand, with the money converted into Thai baht. I saved over $1000 USD because of the much better rate transferwise gave me than my own bank would have, if I used a regular wire transfer to send the money.

Transferwise Currency Calculator – Check the Amount You Get Below

For more information, read my review of Transferwise and my Review of CurrencyFair.

Best Suited For: For sending smallish to large sums of money abroad.

Banks Drafts, Money Orders, Cashiers Checks

These three items are grouped together as they are very similar in function, as they can just be called different things depending where you go. These methods are still used on daily basis in today’s digital era because they are often used for high priced items.

They can best be defined as a type of check where the payment/funds are guaranteed to be available by the issuing bank. You request the amount needed and your account is verified to see if there is enough money, then your I.D. is taken for identity theft security purposes. Next on the actual draft the name of the payee is written on the front of the cheque. For example if somebody wants a 10 000 dollar bank draft they bank teller will ensure the individual has enough funds in their bank account, then print a bank draft with the bank’s  letterhead and name on it, with the funds coming for the individuals own bank account This way the funds are guaranteed to be there when the individual receiving the bank draft receives the cheque since the money was already drawn from the account.

Best Suited For: These are usually used for larger sums of money when trust could be an issue if a normal check is used. With a check, the funds all have to be available in the account  when the receiver of the check goes to cash or deposit it. A lot of businesses use this in day to day purchased with other businesses.

How Much Does it Cost: Bank drafts usually are not very expensive and range in the area of $5 to $15 dollars.

Cost to Send $1000: The fees are not based on the amount of money as the fees are a set price depending on the bank used

Pros: These are usually used for larger sums of money when trust could be an issue if a normal check is used. With a check, the funds all have to be there when the receiver of the check goes to cash or deposit it. The advantage of a bank draft is the funds are guaranteed to be there when then payee cashes or deposits the bank draft. 

Cons: A negative to this is some bank’s require a few days notice when a large bank draft is being issued.

Money Transfer Services ( MoneyGram, Western Union)

Money transfer Services are used when you need to send money to someone very quickly. They can be on the other side of the world however it can still be completed fast with this method.  The two most well known money transfer services are Western Union and MoneyGram.

Western Union

Western Union is a worldwide service as they have 4000 locations around the world where you can send or receive money. Once you send money Western Union holds it in their  system until the person to whom you have sent money picks it up. The person has to pick up the money in person. The person picking it up has to present identification (if you are doing it online) or provide a pre-arranged password if the money is sent by phone or at a wire service office. When you first arrive at one of the locations you fill out the payor and payee information and at the end you will be given a  Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN). When the receiver is picks up the funds they must present the correct MTCN number that the payor received . It must also be noted that receivers of cash must be at least 18 years of old in the USA and can differ by country.

Cost to Send $1000

The fee to send $1000 USD to another destination in the USA is $80 for a total of $1080 USD.

The fee to send $1000 USD to Europe is $58.00 for a total of $1058 USD. For the direct to bank which takes 3 days the fee is only $8.00 for a total of $1008 USD.


Works similar to Western Union however there are some differences. MoneyGram has a limit on how much you can send and where you can send it. A great advantage is you can send money from your bank account and the recipient can pick up the money at a MoneyGram location immediately. All transfers must also transfer from the United States.

Cost to Send $1000: The cost to send $1000 USD to another USA destination would be $20 for a total of $1020 USD. The cost to send $1000 USD Europe would be $58.00 for a total of $1058 US.

Best Suited For: Someone who needs the funds very quickly. If there is an emergency and somebody is at a different location in the world, a money transfer service can be your quickest option especially if there is no time to wait for a bank to sort out a transfer. Good for people who are travelling or need to send money to people that are travelling.

Cost: The costs can sometimes be quite high however they vary depending on the amount of money and which countries the money is coming to and from. It can range from 10 – 100$. The further the location the money being sent the more expensive it will be.

Pros:It is done very quickly. It is easy and straightforward.

Cons: Security and safety can be an issue. Money transfer services have been known to be the method scammers use to get try and get money from people.There have been numerous scams that have occurred where the scammers were using Western Union or MoneyGram to execute the scam. Unfortunately, nothing is really verified on the senders forms such as address etc, so this is one of the least trustworthy ways of sending money. Also the money is not traceable after it is sent which can lead to further issues.  It is very important to make sure you know the person you are sending the money too, if it is a stranger it is best to maybe choose a different method to send the money. Lastly, the Western Union or MoneyGram fee can be very costly.

Wire Transfers

A wire transfer is a method of electronic funds transfer from one entity to another. The most common type of wire is a bank wire. A bank wire is an electronic transfer of funds from one bank to another where both parties involved need a bank account. To send a wire transfer there are specific details needed such as the recipient’s full name, branch number, transit number and bank account number. There is something called a SWIFT Code that the receiver of the wire would have to give to the sender of the bank wire. If you are submitting a bank wire it is best to contact your bank as they usually have a specific form that has to be filled out with all the information you need

Best Suited For: People who want to send money safely and securely to someone in a different part of the world then them with the security of banks handling the matter.

Cost: Be prepared to pay a fee $25-$40 dollars to send the bank wire and the recipient’s bank may also charge the recipient a fee for receiving the money as well.

Cost to Send $1000: There is no additional cost based on the amount of money sent. The fee is based on a set price depending on the bank.

Pros: A bank wire transfer is usually very safe with no risks. Also, bank wires are very accessible as they are available at all banks all over the world

Cons: It usually takes a few days to receive a bank wire from the time it is sent. If the money is needed within a day or two this is not the method to use.

Email Money Transfers / Payment Payment Gateways

There’s a variety of payment gateways you can sign up for and instantly transfer money to someone else anywhere in the world, usually through email. The general term for this type of payment is ‘Email Money Transfer.’

Email money transfers are good way to send or receive money using your bank account along with your email address. These transfers are provided by specialized one transfer companies that also act as a holder for your money.

There are several email money transfer sites available such as Google Wallet, Monybookers, and a new intuitive platform called Venmo. Here’s the most popular ones.


PayPal allows you to request, send or receive money without having to reveal any of your bank account details. With PayPal you can link your bank account to your PayPal account or your credit card, you can also link both. With Paypal all you need is the payees PayPal address which is usually their email address to send money. The transaction is almost instant, as soon you hit click the button in a few minutes the payee will have the money in their PayPal account. The recipient even receives an email notification from PayPal saying that the money has been transferred to their account.

Cost to Send $1000: If you were to send $100 USD using your Paypal or bank account balance within the U.S. then there would be no fee incurred. If you were to send $100 USD using your credit/debit card balance then it would cost $3.20 USD to send $100 USD

Google Wallet

With Google Wallet all the recipient needs is a GMAIL address and you can send them funds from you Google Wallet, or from a linked bank account or credit card. However with Google Wallet all the recipients needs to be from the United States which is one huge downside.

Cost to Send $1000: If you were to send $1000USD  to somebody it would cost you 0$ as sending and receiving money is totally free. However if you needed to send the $1000 with your debit/credit card there would be a fee of $29.00 for a total of 1029 USD.


Venmo is becoming increasingly popular to send money to others and for good reason. Venom allows you to send payments to anyone with an email address or phone number free of charge. Like the others you can also link your debit card or credit card so if there are no funds in your actual Venmo account it grabs the funds from your bank account or credit card. Again, unfortunately, Venmo is mainly used in the United States.

Cost to Send $1000: If you were to send $1000 USD to somebody on Venom using your credit card it would cost you $30.00 in service fees for a total of 1030 USD.

Skrill / Moneybookers

Skrill (formerly called Moneybookers) is another widely used platform to send money. Unlike Google Wallet and Venmo you can send and receive funds worldwide. You can also transfer you balance onto a prepaid debit card with this service. In addition, there is also the option of sending text messages straight from your account.

Cost Per $1000 USD: Skrill has a 1% fee to send anywhere in the world and there is NO receiving fee. The cost of $1000 USD would be $1010 USD. Because of the 1% fee, Moneybookers is the cheapest to send OUTSIDE of the US (Paypal charges 0% to send but 3 percent to receive).

Email Money Transfers Are Best Suited For

These platforms are best suited for a variety of transactions, however it is not usually recommended for sending and receiving very large amounts of money. If it is a business to business transaction then these platforms usually aren’t the method businesses use as it is not viewed as professional, and makes it a little more difficult on bookkeeping.  There are limits of the amount that can be sent;  for example, there is a limit of $10,000 USD to send or receive money with PayPal.

Costs: There are varying costs among these platforms. It is free with Paypal to send money to family and friends when using your Paypal balance or bank account, however there is a fee when sending money as a personal payment using a credit card.  The fee is 2.9% of the amount you send plus 30 cents. Venom is similar except they charge a 3% flat fee rather the 2.9% plus 30 cents Paypal charges. Receiving money from Paypal also costs

Pros: The best advantages of some of these platforms such as PayPal is you can send money to anyone, anywhere in the world in just a few seconds and they will receive the funds in the matter of a few seconds. Another positive for these platforms is the amount of security that they offer. They all use extensive verification to ensure all users are legitimate, and there are very little issues with fraud

Cons: Anytime you want to transfer funds from your Paypal account to your actual bank account PayPal charges a 50 cent fee. This may not seem like a lot but it can add up over time.

Another con with using these platforms is the transfer times between your account with the platform to your bank account. This is when you want to transfer funds for example from your PayPal account back to your own personal bank account. It can take anywhere from 3-7 business days for PayPal to transfer the funds to your bank account. A lot of people could avoid this method because of this.

Another issue these platforms can sometimes issue temporary payment holds. They can do this based on a users frequency of account activity, or any payment disputes the platform may have received for the user,

Furthermore some of these platforms are still only available in the United States; however, this should change in the upcoming future if they want to compete with the others

Online Money Order

An online money order is very similar to sending a bank draft, money order, or cashiers cheque; however this process is done entirely online. Similar to the money order or bank draft, the payee does not have to worry their not being enough money since the amount is prepaid. Traditionally, money orders were purchased at financial institutions; but now, money orders can be purchased online which can save a lot of time. The problem is most banks and financial institutions do not offer online money order services at this time however one site you can use is a company called Payko who is arguably the leading company offering money orders over the Internet. With Payko you can use your PayPal account to send the funds.

Best Suited For: This is a tough category to really find anyone that is truly best suited going this route. Some online vendors do require Money Orders to be sent, but usually the traditional ones.

Costs: Sending a money order online also cost more then it would to do at a bank. The fees range from $3.49-$4.99 plus up to 5.5% of the total amount being sent.

Cost To Send $1000: The cost would be $1059.99 based on a fee of $4.99 and a 5.5% fee.

Pros: It is quicker to send then a traditional money order.

Cons: It is still not yet a well accepted method to send money online.There are not many companies and bank that offer this service.  Also, unlike most online transactions the sending of the money order online is not instantaneous.

Prepaid Debit Cards

Prepaid debit cards are increasing in use over the yeas as they’re are many advantages to using them. Prepaid cards are easy and straightforward to use. You get the card and you load money onto it and if needed t you deposit the rest back into your bank account. This was only the specified amount of money stays on the card . The card is usually backed by Visa, MasterCard, or American Express . If you are a business you can pay your employees through a prepaid card as they can deposit money directly on to them . This helps the employees get the money faster and the company saves time and money on paper.

Prepaid debit cards are continuously evolving as American Express has recently introduced an American Express has launched a new prepaid debit card that has no annual fee, no monthly fee, no customer service fee and no transaction fee. It is possible to direct deposit wages into a prepaid account. Furthermore, there are actually special reloadable pre-paid cards that are made for employees to get paid. It provides the employee with immediate access to their pay with the bonus of Zero Liability Fraud Protection for the Cardholder

Best Suited For: Business’ who have a lot of employees to pay and want to save some money on how much paper they are using to write the customers checks. Also it is well suited for people who do not have bank account as prepaid debit cards can be used in many ways like a bank account. You can ‘deposit’ money onto it, you can withdraw money from it from ATM’s, you can use it like an ATM card, you can even use it (if it’s a VISA or MasterCard enabled) like a credit card online with the amount deducted coming out of the balance.  There are even security features where you can get a new cash card if you lose it, though you will pay a fee AND you must cancel the card right away.

Costs: On average there is a $3.95 activation fee when the card is purchased. On average there is a $1.00 fee when used to make a purchase or with the use of an ATM. On average there is a $5.00 fee to reload the card with more funds.

Cost Per $1000 USD: There is no set fee based on the amount being applied to the card.

Pros: Prepaid debit cards are very quick to purchase and add funds to, as there is no lengthy process involved at all. Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about things like checks bouncing, or wire fees etc, it is very convenient. Can be used for people without bank accounts to receive their pay from their employer.

Cons: One problem with these cards is there are usually a lot of fees associated with them. There is more than one fee you usually have to worry about. There is a card activation fee, ATM withdrawal fees, and balance inquiry fees. These fees can really add up over the course of a month.

Online Bill Pay / E- transfer / Online Banking

With many financial institutions, you can pay your bills online, quickly and easily. However what is even better about this is you can also pay anyone you would usually just issue a check to using the online bill pay. You just need to enter their name, address and account number. You just set it up in the system similarly to a bill payment with just a few differences and you’re all set. What makes this very unique is that you can set up recurring payments to this individual. If you needed to pay them once a month you could set that up in the online bill pay system and you would not have to worry sending the payee money every month. You also get bill reminders letting you know when your next payment to an individual coming up in case you want to modify it.

Best Suited For: This sort of payment is best suited for somebody who needs to  pay numerous people within a time period. Many businesses, big or small take advantage of this feature to pay other people or merchants, especially if they are somewhat regular payees. The system executing the payments on a regular basis makes this ideal.

Costs: Some banks offer free bill pay, while others charge a range of $1-2$ for each bill pay.

Cost to Send $1000:  There is no set fee based on the amount paid.

Pros: Convenient all in one system to set up if you need to pay multiple people/businesses at once. You can set up regular bi-weekly, monthly payments etc to repeated payees. No large fees attached like some of the other methods.

Cons: It can be somewhat of a nuisance ensuring there are enough funds to cover all the payments coming up. This is the case especially if you are paying multiple payees at once, if your balance is not enough then you have to scramble to add more funds.

Personal Checks

This is still a widely used method mainly because of the simplicity of writing somebody a check. All is needed is the payee’s name and you can quickly write them a check. You can deliver the check in person OR you can send them the check using the mail as the delivery service.

Once you write the payee’s name, you then write the date and the amount of money the payee will receive with your signature at the bottom and that’s it.

The money will not be removed from your bank account until the payee takes it to their bank and deposits it. It is always wise to make sure you have more than enough money in your bank especially since you don’t know how long it will be until the payee pays the check. Nothing more embarrassing than a bounced check, am I right?

Alternative Method: Remote Deposit. You can also for many banks in the US, scan a check with a scanner and deposit that check by uploading it via email or an online banking interface. This special service is called Remote Deposit, Remote Deposit or Mobile Check Deposit

Best Suited For: A personal check best suits someone who is paying someone for a service rendered. Instead of paying somebody $500 in cash for painting a room it is easier to pay in cash as people don’t usually carry larger sums of cash on them.

Cost: The cost of a cheque itself is free, however you need to buy check books which can range from $25-$75, though SOME checking accounts do offer you free checkbooks when you open your new account as a specific feature.  The good thing about a check book is it comes with 50-100 checks so the book should last you a fairly long time. Furthermore, you can get the check books personalized with your own background, etc.

Cost to Send $1000: There is no cost based on the amount the check is written for. The cost is based solely on the purchase of the check book.

Pros: Very easy to use, accepted everywhere, inexpensive way of sending money. Checks are easy to prove a payment was made as it is all stored electronically on banking machines.

Cons: Checks can be a hassle to track for record keeping. You have to go through banking records to track which checks came out at which date. Checks can take a long time to process and clear. There are also security concerns related to checks, fraud checks, fake signatures on the checks etc. A bank also has the right to put a hold on a check if they feel it is validated. This means the payee could have to wait until the check clears before they get full access to the funds. A lot of stores no longer take checks as a method of payment as this is seen as old fashioned.


The original and most traditional way to pay somebody is simply by paying straight cash. Of course, if you are trying to send cash to someone, you can mail it, though this is indeed a risky method and unless you are specifically trying to keep the payment trace-less, we don’t recommend this.

In person, cash works best though. You simply hand over the amount to the payee and everything is done and taken care of. This may seem like the best most effective way of paying someone however many obstacles and reasons interfere with this.

Not as many people carry cash on them as we now live in the digital age where so many things are done digitally. Therefore, people tend to carry smaller amounts of cash on them at all times. Cash is better used for simply transactions between family and friends .

Best Suited For: Paying with cash best suits anyone paying back a friend or friendly member or if you are trying to make payments without digital records being kept somewhere. If you owe your friend 50 dollars for purchasing tickets on his credit card then you just give your friend cash. Its simple and straight to the point.

Costs: There are no costs associated with using cash making it an attractive option.

Cost to Send $1000: none.

Pros: Paying somebody with cash is the easiest and most efficient way to get the transaction done. It is instant as there is no waiting for checks to clear, money to be sent etc.

Cons: Limited record keeping can be seen as a negative when it comes to paying with cash. There is no paper trail or proof of you actually paying somebody. This is why cash is best used when paying back family and friends.

BitCoin / Cryto-currencies 

Bitcoins are a form of digitally encrypted currency that is created and held all electronically. Bitcoins are not printed or held in any huge vault. Bitcoins are made by people and businesses and can be used to buy things. This may seem bizarre — partly because it is the first of its kind from a new currency called cryptocurrency.

Bitcoins can be used to buy things electronically however where they differ from any other currency in the world is they are decentralized, meaning no single financial institution control the bitcoin network. This a very new and never seen before stuff. You may be thinking to yourself, who prints bitcoin The answer is very grey, and technically no one specifically prints Bitcoin.  However bitcoins are created digitally by a community of people that anyone can join.

Bitcoin isn’t based on gold or silver it is based on mathematics. People all over the world are using software programs that follow the proper mathematical formula to produce bitcoins.

This mathematical formula is freely available so anyone can use it.

So in theory Bitcoin sounds very unique and interesting but how exactly do you acquire bitcoin and use it to pay someone? Well there are online exchanges where you can buy bitcoin. A popular on in the USA is called ‘Coinable’ and it costs 5 dollars to sign up.

How to Buy Bitcoins

Here are some steps on how to obtain some bitcoin and pay somebody with it :

  • Get yourself a bit ‘coin wallet’
  • Acquire some coins through an exchange
  • In the exchange you can trade US Dollars and Euros for bitcoins- your banking info will be need to make the purchase of the bitcoins.

Now you may be asking what can I buy with bitcoins?

Mostly  E-commerce websites accept bitcoin such as Bell , Microsoft and Air Lituanica – an eastern airline. Not many physical locations except Bitcoin however Reeds Jewellers does.

Now Bitcoins are not well known enough for at the average person to want to pay somebody back using Bitcoin. Most people do not have Bitcoins so this is more of preview of what we can see when it comes to sending money to individuals.

Best Suited For: This is the best suited for large business when then payee or payor are both very familiar with Bitcoin . Software business are familiar with Bitcoin and could use this. Bitcoin is also good as a means to buy things with untraceable currency.

Costs: The costs for sending Bitcoins is very small sometimes free from a range to $0.40 cents to $1.00.

Cost to Send $1000: There is no fee based on the amount of Bitcoins set. Fees are based on a set amount.

Pros: Acquiring a Bitcoin account is easy to set up and easy to buy through an exchange. Also, bitcoins are very safe with no chance of identity theft that you would see with credit cards. Bitcoins don’t give up personal information.

Cons: Bitcoins are not yet accepted as a method of payment in most retailers as Bitcoins are still in their infancy. Also with this being obvious, there is a big lack of familiarity with Bitcoins. For example:  if you wanted to pay some back in Bitcoin they would probably not accept it.

The Final Word

There you have it, an extensive breakdown of all the major ways to pay individuals. There can be a different method based on your situation and these methods covered all the viable methods one can use.

About The Author

Ben Todd

Ben was a seriously broke graduate student with bad credit who after finding himself rejected for any sort of credit card or loan for most of his adult life, finally decided to get his financial life in order. ' He spent several years reading as many financial advice books and blogs as he could. And suprisingly, Ben found he actually LIKED the topic of personal finance; after fixing his own finances, starting his own successful work at home website business, and using his earnings to get out of debt, created to help others do likewise!


  1. Preston

    Great article with a comparison of all the popular payment methods and the related fees. Thanks

  2. Wyd

    Coulld u explain how to transfer money from India for individual transactions? Bcz today every person has a single number (bank accounts, telephones, finger print, etc) which is linked to India government. What’s max amount, how much in a month, etc. Thank u

    • Ben Todd

      We’ll have to look into this specifically — regulations and requirements do vary from country to country; our guide was a general guide to worldwide transfers, but not a specific country.

      You might want to consider something like bitcoin (or crypto currency) transfers which can get around some of the money-transfer (and identification) limitations imposed by governments.

  3. Jen

    Hi Ben, question: a friend wants to deposit cash into my bank account, as I’ve been out of work for a year and running very low on funds to pay my bills. She lives in another state, I gave her my account number and she tried to deposit cash into my account, and was rejected by my bank as they can’t accept cash as a deposit into an account. Nothing here is illegal, as she’s just trying to help me, but wants to do this without a paper trail as she’s somewhat famous and doesn’t want a record of giving money (via checks, paypal, wire transfers, etc). Is this possible, and if so, what is the best way? Would purchasing a money order and then depositing that into my bank account work? Thanks!

    • Ben Todd

      Banks are strict about cash. I recently tried depositing more than 10,000 to a Bank of America account (my own) and was flagged for this (a report was submitted about me on the spot).

      So a cash deposit to your bank account by someone not you won’t be allowed, for sure. Three options I see here.

      1) In this situation, the best but most complex, would be to use Cryptocurrency (i.e. Bitcoin). However, it’s a bit technical and a hurdle to BUY bitcoin, then cash it out — I doubt you or your friend would go through the process. But if you buy and send bitcoin, it’s pretty much untraceable unless you openly advertise you are doing this. Getting the bitcoin without being traced is the problem though — but you can meet up with local people and trade cash for bitcoin to keep yourself off the system. However, again, it’s a technical process and probably not something you would bother doing in this case. But, it’s my recommendation.

      2) The other option might be to have your friend send CASH in the mail to you (though, again, this poses some obvious risks).

      3) Finally, you could have your friend buy a money order, then send it to you. You could then cash it. This is why scammers always want to be paid in money orders since it’s pretty free from being tracked and the bearer can easily cash it without needing to record anything. So this is probably the easiest way for you.

      To cash the money order, it will HAVE To be in your name and you will have to show ID that you are the person on the money order. Your friend should be able to buy it in CASH, so that solves her problem.

  4. agostino

    Hi there I looking at an item in Italy to purchase it’s a fairly pricey and trying to find a way to pay the other partie but also want the security that in case the product never shows up I’m not out the money


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