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It’s a myth that you need a checking account to send money.
If you’re looking to transfer money between banks, you can read our guide here.
But if your landlord doesn’t have a checking account and you don’t want to pay in cash, or you don’t have a bank account and need to pay back a friend who lives in a different state, continue reading to learn about how you can send money.
In this article:
There are lots of ways to transfer money through banks, but not having an account at one doesn’t limit your options. Similarly, if you want to send money to someone else who doesn’t have a bank account, there are traditional methods, like money orders, as well as a slew of new internet-based payment services that have you covered.
And if you decide you want to use a bank to send money after all, read out guide to what you need to open a bank account.
A money order is printed certificate for a set amount of money issued to a specific person. It’s a convenient way to send money without a bank account — in fact, neither you nor the recipient needs a bank account for a money order.
To buy one, you’ll pay for a specified amount of money, plus a small fee. Since you’re paying up front, the funds are guaranteed to be available for your recipient. Unlike a personal check, a money order cannot bounce.
You will also need a photo ID, and the details about who is receiving the payment, including their name, phone number, and address. You track the status of the money order with your receipt, which will also provide you instructions on what to do if you think your money order has been lost or stolen.
Where to get a money order:
Not every location that sells the money order can cash them. But if they do, it’s the best place to do so, since it will cut down on any extra fees. Transfer limits and fees vary by institution. Money order limits are usually capped around $1000 while fees can cost a few dollars.
Money orders are more secure than checks since no bank account numbers are involved. However money orders can easily be written over and counterfeiting does occur, so make sure the money order is not fake if you the sender is not a trusted source.
If you don’t have a bank account, you can use a prepaid card to send money. Prepaid cards don’t require credit checks or checking accounts, and some issuers will let you load the card using cash. You also typically have the ability to send and receive money through card-to-card transfers.
In the event that whomever you’re paying doesn’t have a checking account or prepaid card, you might be able to write them a check.
Some prepaid cards even come with check writing, so you can make one out to your recipient.
A prepaid debit card will be useful for the other methods of money-transfer that we’ll discuss next, so getting one might be a good place to start.
Looking to save?
Policygenius' partner Fiona can help you compare current savings accounts and money market account offers.
Internet-based peer-to-peer (P2P) payment services offer a few ways for you to send money with the ease of your computer or smartphone. You can load money onto the account with at least one of the following: bank account, prepaid card, or credit card. Alternatively, someone else with a bank account can also put money into your account, and you can use those funds, too. With the following methods, your recipient can still get the money without being tied to a bank.
PayPal remains a popular and trusted method of sending money through the internet. You only need the recipient’s email address. Once they receive the funds, Paypal can send them a check in the mail for a nominal fee if they don’t have a linked bank account on file.
The social network based payment app Venmo also lets users send money to each other. The only requirements are that you’re located in the U.S. and have a mobile phone number. While you will need at least a prepaid card (or funds already from someone else) to send a payment to a friend, Venmo can issue them a prepaid Mastercard with their funds if they so choose.
Developed by credit card processing company Square, Cash App enables mobile payment transfers between its users. You will need a debit card (prepaid cards are not accepted) to send money, but your recipient can get the money on a free reloadable debit card with ATM access.
Having a savings account is half of the financial protection battle. Life insurance is the other half.
Policygenius can help you find a life insurance policy to protect your loved ones.
Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by a certified financial planner or advisor. It’s intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal, financial, or investment advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.
This post contains references to products or services from one or more of Policygenius' advertisers or partners. While these codes earn us a small fee at no additional cost to you, they do not influence editorial content and we only refer products we love.
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Yes, we have to include some legalese down here. Read it larger on our legal page. Policygenius Inc. (“Policygenius”) is a licensed independent insurance broker. Policygenius does not underwrite any insurance policy described on this website. The information provided on this site has been developed by Policygenius for general informational and educational purposes. We do our best efforts to ensure that this information is up-to-date and accurate. Any insurance policy premium quotes or ranges displayed are non-binding. The final insurance policy premium for any policy is determined by the underwriting insurance company following application. Savings are estimated by comparing the highest and lowest price for a shopper in a given health class. For example: for a 30-year old non-smoker male in South Carolina with excellent health and a preferred plus health class, comparing quotes for a $500,000, 20-year term life policy, the price difference between the lowest and highest quotes is 60%. For that same shopper in New York, the price difference is 40%. Rates are subject to change and are valid as of 2/17/17.
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