How To Get A Cash Pick-Up With A Money Transfer

How To Get A Cash Pick-Up With A Money Transfer

Written by Bryan Daly
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated October 5, 2021

Do you have a relative or friend living in a different province, territory, or outside of Canada altogether? Are you interested in sending them money for a gift or for their general needs? If so, a money transfer can help your recipient make a cash pick-up in almost any country or currency and, when necessary, they can do the same for you. 

Not sure what a money transfer or a cash pick-up is? Don’t worry, both processes are relatively simple and can be completed quickly in several ways. Keep reading to learn how you or your recipients can get a cash pick-up with a money transfer.

What Is A Cash Pick-Up?

Essentially, a money transfer allows you to send money electronically to different countries all over the world. A cash pick-up, otherwise known as an agent pick-up, is a payout method that allows your recipients to collect the transfer, in cash, on the other side. This is a particularly useful method for those who don’t have a bank account. 

Money transfers with cash pick-ups are beneficial because: 

  • The recipient can collect their money in a variety of locations and currencies
  • Some transfer companies offer competitive fees and exchange rates
  • Recipients can often pick up their cash on the same day the transfer is made
  • Some transfer companies have a wider reach than many banks and credit unions
  • Minimal requirements are necessary to transfer and pick up cash

How Does A Money Transfer With A Cash Pick-Up Work?

Generally, the money transfer and cash pick-up process involve 3 basic steps:

  1. You (the sender) place your order:
  • Choose your transfer company (MoneyGram, Western Union, etc.)
  • Create an account online, using an app, or by visiting a physical location
  • Fill out the proper details, such as your:
    • Full name, address, etc.
    • Bank account information (account number, routing number, etc) 
    • Transfer amount & desired currencies
    • Country (origin, sending location, etc.) 
    • Recipient’s contact information (make sure all details are correct)
    • Payment method (cheque, bank transfer, debit or credit card, etc.)
  1. Wait for the order to process:
    • Once approved, you’ll receive a transaction and/or tracking number
    • Some transfers will only take an hour or so, while others take 1-3 days
    • Delivery times vary by company, location, amount, etc.
    • Larger transfers can sometimes take longer than smaller ones
    • Send all the relevant information, including the tracking #, to your recipient
    • Both parties can then use that number to track the transfer’s progress
  1. The recipient can eventually make their pick-up 
    • The recipient must go to a physical location to get their cash
    • They will then have to present the proper identification documents
    • Once they’ve been confirmed, they can walk away with their cash-in-hand
    • Soon after, you should receive confirmation by text message or email 

*Note: while many transfers allow the recipient to collect their cash at any branch or machine, some companies require you to provide a specific location for the pick-up.

Learn how to do a money transfer to a bank account.

What Information Does The Recipient Need To Pick Up Their Cash? 

As mentioned, your recipient will need to provide a couple of different documents in order to pick up the cash from your money transfer, including but not limited to:

  • 1 or more pieces of photo identification – Their ID must have the correct information, such as their name and address, for the order to be validated. Typically, government ID, such as a passport or driver’s license works best. 
  • Their transaction/reference number – This information will normally be sent to your recipient via SMS text message or email, but you should also be able to inform them using your online account. While they can often show up with just their number, they may want to print out the full document to avoid any issues.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Cash Pick-Ups?

Every money transfer and payout method has its benefits and drawbacks, whether it’s done online or in person. Before you start sending out money transfers to anywhere in the world, let’s compare the pros and cons of cash pick-ups: 

Pros Of Cash Pick-Ups

  • The process is simpler and more convenient than many other payout methods
  • Transfers can be sent to locations that many financial institutions do not reach
  • Some companies offer same-day or even one hour pick-up times
  • Recipients who don’t have bank accounts can still receive their pick-up
  • Large variety of companies, branches, countries, and currencies to choose from
  • Many companies charge competitive transfer fees and exchange rates

Cons Of Cash Pick-Ups

  • Transfer fees can be very high for certain providers, locations, and amounts
  • Exchange rates can be worse in some countries (less money received)
  • Some companies are not reputable and charge predatory fees/rates
  • Picking up cash often leads to a higher probability of theft or loss
  • Physical money is becoming less accepted due to COVID-19

Check out how you can send money via wire transfers.

While money transfers and cash pick-ups can be easy and convenient, they can carry just as much risk as any sort of financial transaction. Make sure to compare companies, fees, and exchange rates before you give away any money or information, whether online or in person, and always choose a trusted provider with a good reputation!

How Much Does It Cost To Get A Cash Pick-Up With A Money Transfer?

When it comes to a money transfer or cash pick-up, one of the most important factors to consider is the overall cost of the transaction, which can vary based on several factors, including but not restricted to: 

  • Which transfer business you choose – Although some providers charge flat prices for their cash pick-ups, others offer competitive/variable rates and fees. For instance, while Western Union has more locations and faster delivery times than MoneyGram, they have much higher transfer and pick-up fees. Some companies charge even higher rates and fees than banks or credit unions.  
  • Where and how you’re sending the money – Fees can fluctuate greatly, particularly for international transfers and pick-ups. Generally, the further the location, the higher the overall cost. You may also pay different fees for online or in-app transactions than you would at a branch, store, or machine. Obviously, you can expect to pay extra if you’re making more than one transfer. 
  • What payment method you’re using – Fees and rates can also vary depending on what payment tool you choose to make the transfer. For instance, using your credit card can be much more expensive than using your debit card or making a direct bank transfer, due to the high-interest rates involved. Then again, bank fees can be very expensive for farther transfers and larger cash pick-ups.   
  • What your exchange rate is – One of the most significant cost factors relates to what currencies are being exchanged and what your provider’s rates are when you make your transfer. For example, if the US dollar has a lower value than the Canadian dollar, the recipient will receive less money than you actually send. As such, the amount sent and received changes based on the exchange rate fluctuation. 

Check out the payment options Apple Pay and Google Pay and see which banks support it. 

Looking To Transfer Money For A Cash Pick-Up? 

Whether you’re interested in sending money domestically or internationally, rest assured that there are several affordable ways for your recipient to safely retrieve their funds. That said, it’s important to do your research, as well as compare providers, exchange rates, and transfer fees before you give away any of your personal or financial information.          


Rating of 5/5 based on 2 votes.

Bryan is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University. He has been writing for Loans Canada for five years, covering all things related to personal finance, and aims to pursue the craft of professional writing for many years to come. In his spare time, he maintains a passion for editing, writing screenplays, staying fit, and traveling the world in search of the coolest sights our planet has to offer. Bryan uses the BMO Cash Back Mastercard to earn cash back on everything from boring bill payments to exciting excursions. He is also a strong saver, holding both a TFSA and an RRSP account in order to prepare for his future while taking full advantage of tax benefits.

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