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Money Transfer Questions and Answers

I receive many questions from readers about money transfer services and problems and I don’t always have time to respond, so I’ve grouped together some of the easier ones here:

1. How to open a Paypal account?

pamela wrote:
i want to set up a account with paypal but i cant find the page to do so. thank you

Pennah Haimbodi wrote:
how can i get a paypal account? where can i apply for it?

yasmin wrote:
im new and i dont know how to sign up for paypel!!


These are the steps to create a PayPal account:

Step 1: Go to and click on Sign Up.

Step 2: Choose the purpose of your signup (Personal use or Business use)

Step 3: Fill in the details, and click on Continue/Agree and Continue.

Step 4: Enter the security code from the image and continue.

Step 5: Confirm your email and login.

Step 6: In order to send money, you need to link your bank account or credit/debit card to your newly created PayPal account. So, after logging in, click on My Account > Profile > Link Bank Account or Link Debit/Credit Card and follow the instructions.

In order to receive money, you need to give your email (the one you registered with) to the sender. After you receive money, you can withdraw it to your linked bank account.

Question and Answer

2. How to send money to a U.S. prison inmate?

E.M wrote:
Hello, can you help me to send money to prisons in USA from Finland? I have master card only.


I researched this previously and answered it in a post, here:  How to add money to an inmate’s commissary account.

3. Was the MoneyGram cashed?

lillian day wrote:
how can i find out it a moneygram was cashed?


Lillian, you should call the MoneyGram customer service line at 1-800-328-5678. They should be able to tell you if your MoneyGram payment was cashed or not.

4. Sending money to Nigeria?

muriel montoya wrote:
i want to know if i can send money to lagos nigeria online from my bank in america to lagos.

Gunn berit Åkre wrote:
hello i must transfer 700 dollars on november 19 to nigeria and it important that the money will be sent that day.


Muriel and Gunn, I would first caution you to be careful who you are sending money to, and for what reason. Nigeria is the scam and fraud capital of the world. Are you absolutely sure that you are sending money for something legitimate? If so, here are your options:

1. Western Union Money Transfer (

2. MoneyGram (

3. World Remit (

4. Xend Pay (

5. Western Union near Marplasolo, France?

karen linton wrote:
where is the western union in france? is one in marplasolo? or even near?


Karen, I am sorry, but I can not find such a place in France.

6. How can I get my money transfer back?

eugene smith wrote:
I called the company to whom i sent a payment & discovered that they no longer
accept payments. What do I do to have the payment returned? THANKS.


Eugene, you should first call the money transfer service you used and find out if the payment has been received. If not, then they can probably refund it to you. If the payment has been received, then you can find out who received it and request a refund from them.

7. Safest way to send money to an online gambling service?

suzanne glynn wrote:
I live in California and I would like to play poker online. Any suggestions on how to transfer funds to a safe… if it exists…online poker site with the assurance of withdrawing winnings with little or no hassle. thanks for your help….suzanne


Suzanne, we don’t report on or research online gambling sites or issues. Sorry.

8. How to send money from the USA to the UAE?

Linda Briley wrote:
I need to send money to the UAE (United Arab Emirates) as soon as possible. for my husband to come home.


Linda, you didn’t say where you are located but I’ll assume the USA. There are several money transfer services you can use to send money to the UAE.

There is Western Union, in which, you have to walk in to one of the Western Union agents in your city, give them the money and the details about your husband’s location and obtain a MTCN (Money Transfer Control Number). Then give this number to your husband who is in the UAE who can collect the money from one of the Western Union agents in the UAE. You can also use online transfer option from your debit/credit card or from your bank account. Log on to for this.

There is also MoneyGram, which you can use for transfer of money to the UAE. Even here, you need to walk in to any of the MoneyGram agents or pay online at

You can also transfer money through PayPal. You will need to create an account with them on and link your debit/credit card or bank account with the PayPal account, in order to transfer the money. All you need to do after linking the card/account is enter your husband’s email address and the amount you wish to transfer. If he is registered on PayPal and has linked his bank account with PayPal, he can immediately withdraw it, otherwise, he will have to sign up on PayPal with the email address you had sent the money to.


Do you have a question about money transfer services, gift cards, sending money to a mobile phone, or a problem you’re having with a money transfer? Calling the money transfer agent’s customer service line should be your first course of action, but if that doesn’t work then contact us through our contact form, and we’ll be happy to answer.

Sending money from Brazil with Perfect Money?

A reader named Alberto Miranda wrote:


Gostaria de saber se: pode me ajudar – Criei uma
conta em Perfect Money e preciso enviar pelo menos 200 dólares sacando do meu
Visa internacional. É possível? E como devo proceder se minha moeda é o Real
do Brasil? – Aguardo sugestão. Obrigado – Alberto Miranda

I ran this through Google Translate and got the following translation from the Portuguese:

I wonder if can help me – I created a
Perfect Money account and must send at least $ 200 of my whipping
Visa International. Is it possible? And what should I do if my currency is the Real
Brazil? – I await suggestions. Thanks – Alberto Miranda

Short Answer:

Perfect Money logo.
Perfect Money logo.

Alberto, it doesn’t look like you can fund your Perfect Money account with a Visa card. You need to do a bank transfer, or convert from another digital currency like WebMoney. You could also try an alternative e-currency service like Paypal (the leader in the field).

Long Answer:

I had actually never heard of Perfect Money, so I looked them up.

Perfect Money ( is apparently an e-currency or digital currency provider registered in Panama and headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. They also offer currency conversion and prepaid cards.

Digital currencies are accepted by some legitimate businesses, though not many. Mostly they are used to pay contractors and buy products from individual sellers. They are popular among online criminals (drug dealers, scammers, hackers) because they do not require any form of identity verification.

Many of the clients of Costa Rica-based Liberty Reserve – which was known for catering to cybercriminals and was shut down when the founder was arrested on money laundering charges – have migrated to Perfect Money. In an apparent bid to avoid investigation by the U.S. Justice Department, Perfect Money declared in a release on their website that they would not accept user registrations from the United States.

That’s not to say that Perfect Money’s service is not legitimate. By all appearances it is. Here’s some specific information on the service, taken from their website and other sources:

Deposit fees
Wire from 1.5%
At market rate
Added to balance: 4% per year
Internal 0.5%
Withdrawal fees
Wire transfer from 3.75% + bank fee
Security fees
SMS Notification $0.1
Annual Service $0
Account Restoration $100

So if you use Perfect Money to send money to someone else with a Perfect Money account, the company takes 0.5%. That could be quite low or quite high, depending on how much  money you’re sending. On the whole it’s a very reasonable fee.

You can deposit funds into your Perfect Money account by the following means:

1) If you have some other electronic currency you can exchange it for Perfect Money currency.

2) Bank transfer: Minimum sum of deposit is $300 USD.

You can withdraw funds from Perfect Money by the following means:

1) Exchange for any other electronic currency (for example, PayPal) and then withdraw in any exchange office in your city.

2) Bank transfer to your account via exchange offices that are partners of Perfect Money. I would not recommend that you withdraw on your bank account directly via Perfect Money. In my opinion, the system charges too high a commission for such a service.

3) Cash transfer via Western Union and MoneyGram.

If any readers have experience with Perfect Money, I would love to hear about it. Did you find it easy to use? Did you have any problems? Was it affordable?

How can a blind person send money overseas?

Grazie Watson wrote:

I want find out information how to send money overseas. Can I do this online or can some one help me as I am a blind person? Hope to get a reply soon thank you.


Grazie, my suggestion is that rather than trying to send money online, you call up the customer service line of MoneyGram, Western Union or a comparable service, and let them help you. The money transfer can all be done over the phone. You’ll need to know your credit number and expiration date, and the name, address and phone number of the  recipient.

If you want to use MoneyGram, for example, the customer service number in the United States is 1-800-328-5678.

Best of luck. If you have any further questions, let me know.

Pick up a MoneyGram without the reference number?

A reader name Maryann asks:

I have a question. I was sent a money gram and the sender forgot to give me the reference number for the pickup and now I cannot get a hold of her or anybody else. What are my options and/or what should I do?


According to the MoneyGram website, “A Reference Number helps us find the Transfer quickly, but MoneyGram does not require one for all payouts.”

So it sounds like the reference number is just a tracking tool that allows them to easily find your transfer. If the transfer was sent to you, in your name, you should be able to pick it up with just your photo I.D.

Try it and see what happens.

Interesting Facts about Mobile Money Transfers

By Renee D. for

The number of people using mobile devices to handle financial business is staggering. Looking at checking account balances, moving money from savings to checking, and completing money transfers on a local, national, or international level have all become quite common. Thanks to technological advancements, almost anything is possible with a mobile device and good service provider.

With this being a fast growing trend, we wanted to take the opportunity to provide a few interesting facts that people may not be aware of. After reading this, anyone who has not yet moved to the next level of handling financial issues via phone might reconsider this as a viable option. Without doubt, the benefits of using a phone for transfers are quite impressive. These benefits include convenience, privacy, ease to use, fast service, and affordability.

Understanding the Basics

Mobile money transfers.
Mobile money transfers.

Cell phones have become such an important part of life that almost everyone owns at least one. According to the International Telecommunications Union, more than 5.3 billion mobile phone subscriptions exist but even more shocking is that this number is expected to increase significantly over the next five to ten years. Although communication is the primary reason people use mobile phones, technology has made it possible to accomplish many things never before thought possible.

Next to communication, mobile money transfers and remittances are also highly valued. Rather than process a payment through a bank or credit union, transfers can be made to an eCommerce merchant almost anywhere in the world with a credit or debit card, cell phone, and reputable transfer services company.

If wanted, money transfers could also be used to pay creditors, book travel arrangements, and much more. In addition to money being transferred for business purposes, this is a great service for individuals, who need to send money to family members or friends. Along with sending money, transfer services also make it possible for money to be received. Without questions, this already important service has a bright future.

Interesting Facts

Because this is an ever-changing financial service and due to ongoing advancements in mobile device technology, new information will always be available to share. However, we wanted to provide some interesting facts pertaining to mobile money transfers as they relate today.

o Although this type of service provides people with a convenient way to send money, it has also been proven beneficial to both financial and communication sectors in a variety of ways. For instances, money transfers completed using a cell phone along with “branchless banking” services help decrease the cost of remittances, increase savings potential, and generate an entirely new revenue stream for financial institutions but also telecommunication companies.

o Social and cultural practices play a key role in profitability potential associated with money transfers via cell phone

o Of all foreign countries, Kenya has achieved the greatest success, having secured over seven million subscribers since the rollout of Safaricom in 2007.

o In most cases, the offer of money transfer services via phone is intended to retain existing customers rather than attract new ones. Because no bank account is required for this particular service, the goal of financial institutions is to promote additional financial services to current customers. Companies through which mobile money transfers are completed hope to keep customers who use this and other financial services opposed to losing them to the competition.

o The most recent world financial crisis made officials aware that regulations were critical for protecting consumers but that there was also the need to be flexible enough for innovation and technology to continue pushing forward

o Although efficiency is a primary concern of companies through which money transfers are processed, privacy and security remain top concerns. Because of this, significant money and time have been invested into developing and implementing technology to prevent both cybercrime and money laundering risks.

o Even though there are fees associated with transferring money, these are significantly lower than fees associated with other payment methods

o Amazon and eBay account for the majority of purchases made using a cell phone for payment

o One specific area that experts predict will experience some of the fastest growth over the next several years is travel. Some people have cut back on travel due to fear of terroristic acts but this industry has started to see tremendous growth.

o By the end of 2012, approximately 215 million mobile device users will spend some $175 billion worldwide, more than a 60% increase over numbers from the prior year. However, within the next five years, these numbers are expected to climb to 448 million payment users and $617 billion, respectively.

o The somewhat low NFC transactions will not see growth for several years and SMS will remain the driving force behind mobile money transfers in developing countries. However, for North American and European countries, most money transfers will be made through Mobile Web.

o Digital type merchandise is purchased most often using credit and debit cards for mobile money transfers

Risks and Benefits of Mobile Money Transfers

By Renee D. for

You can send money online through your computer, or, more often nowadays, through your cell phone. When you compare the money transfer process for computers and cell phones, you find certain common risks and benefits.

However, there are also unique aspects of handling finances using a cell phone, which is why it is so important to learn about necessary precautionary measures. Although people have been using mobile devices to transfer money for years, there are still questions and concerns raised.


Sending money with a mobile phone.
Sending money with a mobile phone.

The first thing we wanted to address is the benefits of money transfers whether using a computer or cell phone. Sending and receiving money has also been an option for years although initially, it was businesses that took advantage of this service.

However, there are now just as many individuals completing money transfers as there are businesses thanks to the increase of eCommerce websites, as well as auction sites such as eBay, but also high-tech mobile devices.

Before the potential risks associated with mobile money transfers can be fully understood or appreciated, we felt it important to provide a few of the key benefits that a service such as this provides.

  1. Ease of Use – While some systems can be a little challenging to navigate, most are extremely easy. In fact, sending and/or receiving money can usually be done in about five or six simple steps, whether using a computer or phone. o Fast – Most people are surprised at how fast most transfer services are, especially compared to similar services provided by a more conventional financial institution. While it could take slightly longer for an international transaction to complete over one on a national level, the process overall is quick and seamless.
  2. Exchange Rates – Another benefit of using mobile money transfers or those with a computer for international business is that exchange rates are quoted in real time.
  3. Low Fees – It is common for fees to be charged with any money transfer. For example, companies have a standard processing fee for services rendered but in addition, any intermediary or foreign bank involved in the transaction could also impose a fee. However, even with fees being charged, money transfers are cost-efficient compared to other means of sending and receiving money.
  4. Safe – Typically, companies that offer money transfer services have the latest and greatest security measures in place. After all, if customers begin to experience loss, the company would fail so everything possible would be done to protect a person’s information and ensure every transaction completes as scheduled.

Two of the greatest benefits specific to mobile money transfers only are privacy and mobility. By using a cell phone, money transfers and other financial tasks can be performed at home in privacy and comfort. Because so many people work hard to protect personal and financial information but also due to an increased risk for identity theft, having the ability to complete financial business at home is appealing.

The second benefit of flexibility is something that people also appreciates. With this, a financial transaction could be completed while in public without anyone knowing. As an example, using a mobile device, an individual could send or receive money while at dinner, in a business meeting, or sitting in a movie theater, among other things and again, with on one nearby being the wiser.

Potential Risks

Along with all the benefits that go hand-in-hand with mobile money transfers are some risks that need to be considered. The following risks are just a few of the things that could go wrong with mobile money transfers.

  1. Handset Incompatibility – To complete financial transactions via mobile device, the handset must be compatible with the service. Today, virtually every telecommunication company sells one or more phones capable of handling money transfers but an individual should check requirements for any company being considered for a service such as this prior to a transaction being started. o Network Coverage – The mobile network would need to be capable of handling a significant amount of traffic but also provide high speed service. Although not an issue in North America, there could be challenges when trying to send or receive money in developing countries.
  2. Hackers – Even with state-of-the-art security measures in place, there are still professional hackers that tap into cell phones to capture all types of information to include both personal and financial.
  3. Fraud – Scam artists recognize the increase of mobile money transfers and as such, have devised new schemes to con people out of money. Unfortunately, people still get caught up in fraudulent acts every day even with all the education provided to the public.
  4. Lost Device – The bottom line is that it is much easier to lose a cell phone than it is a computer. Mobile device owners are always reminded to use or install the most current software to block access to financial websites but also keep personal information locked or hidden. Even taking all the precautionary measures possible, a lost device could end up in the hands of the wrong person.

Xpress Money, an Online Money Transfer Service

By W. H. Abdelgawad for

Update: I started researching this article four months ago, but when I checked just now I found that the website – which used to be – is down, and that the company seems to have migrated their website to (if it is even the same company).

That seems strange and shady to me. So at this point I’d have to say that I cannot recommend Xpress Money. Nevertheless, here is the review that I started back in May 2012:


Xpress Money
Xpress Money logo.

I recently learned about a money transfer service called Xpress Money. Xpress was founded 12 years ago and is based in Princeton, New Jersey, USA. Their website says they have 135,000 agent locations in 125 countries. They seem to specialize in money transfers to Asia and the Middle East (they have no agents in Latin America, as far as I can see). Unsurprisingly, their corporate officers, directors and shareholders are mostly Indians and Arabs.

It looks like the Xpress Money service does not have independent money exchange centers. In Canada, for example, the Xpress Money service is offered through major banks like RBC Royal, BMO, Canada Trust and Scotia Bank, and is available to account holders at those banks.

Sending Rates and Currency Exchange

Xpress Money’s money transfer fees are reasonably low. I used their rate calculator to find out how much they charge to transfer $100 from the USA to India. Their fee is $8.

Some unscrupulous money transfer services offer low transfer fees, but hit you hard on the exchange rate. That’s where they make their profit. Is Xpress Money doing that?

In a word, no. Xpress Money’s exchange rate for the transfer is 53.36 INR (Indian rupees) for one U.S. dollar. I checked Yahoo Finance’s currency converter, and the current exchange rate on the open market is 53.79. If you sent $100 through Xpress Money, your recipient would get 5,336 INR, as opposed to 5,379 on the open market. That’s a difference of 43 rupees, or about 8 cents U.S.

So you’re losing almost nothing on the currency exchange.

Xpress Money User Reviews

I’ve never used Xpress Money’s service and I don’t know anyone who has. Their website has several positive testimonials from customers who have sent money to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. But of course Xpress would not give publish negative experiences on their website.

They also have a Facebook page with 40,000 likes. It’s a mix of corporate news, interesting articles and random odd facts, like, “Eating a packet of crisps a day is equivalent to drinking five liters of cooking oil a year.” (Ha ha).

If you have used Xpress Money, please comment here and let us know if you were happy with the service or not.

Two Options for Online Money Transfers

You no longer have to go to a money transfer office to schedule money transfers.  You can send money to friends and family from the comfort of your home with online money transfer services.

Many of the traditional money transfer services now offer the option of making a transfer over the phone or online at their website.  Other companies have been started in recent years that exist solely as online services.  Here are two of them to consider.

Western Union

Western union safe cash transfer
Western Union

Western Union has been doing regular electronic money transfers for years and has now expanded into online service via the internet.  You have several options when using their online service for payment.  If you need the money to arrive quickly, you can pay with a debit or credit card.  If it is not an emergency, you can use your bank account to transfer money.

You create an online profile with Western Union that you can go back to anytime you need to send money.  Then you choose your options based on what you need.  The receiver can get their money several ways:

  • In their bank account
  • At a Western Union agent near their location
  • Delivered to their home or office
  • In their mobile wallet

If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your bank information with Western Union, they also provide WU Pay.  With this option, you can set up a payment in your Western Union account and they will send a bill.  Then you go to your bank account’s online bill pay and pay the bill like you would any other.

With all of these options, you receive email confirmation to know that the money has been sent.


Xoom is a newer money transfer company founded in 2001 and located in San Francisco.  They handle all transfers online and send money to the following countries:

  • The Philippines
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • India
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • South Africa

You must sign up on their website before you can send money.  Once you create a profile, you will enter the recipient’s information, including their name and country, how much you want to send, and how you want them to receive the money.  You have three options on this: bank deposit, pick up in person, or delivery to their home.  The latter two options may not be available in all countries.

You will also need to know the recipient’s address and bank information (if depositing into their account) and contact phone number.  You will then enter your payment information where you have the option of paying from your bank account or with a credit card.  You will have a final chance to review the transaction before submitting.

It’s much easier to send money today with online money transfer services.  You have multiple options, which allow you to select the most affordable choice with the best features.  These are two of the best known companies, one that has expanded their services and one that only provides online services.