What’s the Best Way to Transfer Money: Online or Cash Pickup?

Online transfers and cash pickups are the fastest ways to get money to someone without hassle, but choosing between these two methods can be tough. Here’s a breakdown of each to determine which is best for you.


In many cases, it costs to send funds to someone whether it’s an online transfer or cash pickup. However, there are some ways you can send money for free using online transfers. This usually requires you to create an account and send money from one bank account to another—PayPal allows you to send money for free as long as it’s a bank to bank transfer.

Banks and stores charge fees when you send money through cash pickup; this is how businesses like Western Union make money. It’s usually very cheap, but paying extra money may be the deciding factor between the two. Fees for each company vary, and the amount can change based on how much you’re sending and where you’re sending it to.


Online money transfers usually have a waiting period of a few days, but the amount of time depends on who you bank with. If your friend or family member needs money instantly, you may consider cash pickup. Cash pickup, unlike online money transfers, can be instant. The reason cash pickup is usually immediate is because you’re paying right there rather than going through your bank. You’re paying the company to send money to another location and the transaction is completed instantly.


You’ll find that online transfers allow you send money nearly anywhere in the world as long as both parties have a bank account—this is convenient for international transfers. In most cases, cash pickup limits you to finding a company with a location near you. Some companies, like MoneyGram, allow you to send money to over 190 nations, but you’re still transferring money from one bank account to another.


One of the best things about transferring money online is the fact that you don’t even have to leave your home. Most sites require you to make an account but you don’t need to go anywhere, and the process usually takes minutes. If you’re receiving money, you also don’t need to find the closest store location near you. It’s all done bank account to bank account.

Cash pickup requires you to visit a local branch to transfer and the person receiving the money has to also go to a store near them. It’s done instantly, but it can often be much more troublesome to find a Western Union or Walmart near, rather than sending money between bank accounts.

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Posted on May 18, 2023