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What is the safest easiest way to get cash transferred?
Old 08-17-2010, 10:42 PM   #1
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What is the safest easiest way to get cash transferred?

A person that I trust, and is well-meaning, but is financially (and in other ways) ignorant, will in about 10 days from now need to transfer to me an amount of money that would pay for a luxury car (not that I'd buy one). She is in another state of the U.S. than I am. The cash will be in a bank that does not have branches in my state. I will eventually want the money in my Capital One online account, but usually use my credit union checking account for ACH transfers and such things.
She is a busy person and I don't want to give her a big project, nor a complicated one.
Suggestions?
I can think of a check via registered mail, or pay for a wire transfer, but I don't know which of those options is best. Anything easier or safer (and not too spendy)? What can you suggest?
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Old 08-17-2010, 11:02 PM   #2
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I can tell you that wire transfers are by far the fastest way to move money. TD Ameritrade and Fidelity offer free wire transfers if you have enough assets with them. If you use a wire, check your financial institutions, each have different costs for wire in/out. You can use paypal, but they charges fees to move money. There's always western union and they charge for sure.
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Old 08-18-2010, 12:02 AM   #3
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You might check out xoom.com.
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Old 08-18-2010, 03:17 AM   #4
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A couple of things.

If the funds will be needed soon, a check of almost ANY kind (even a cashiers check) will take a long time to clear. I've had funds held for up to 2 weeks. It was explained that even a cashiers check can be faked, so they will not take a chance and make the funds available to you until it has cleared. The farther away the check comes from, the longer it will take.

If you need the funds soon, a wire is the best way. It should not cost more than $25 to use this service, I don't believe.

Your description of the size of the transfer (in your terms, enough to purchase a luxury car) will be reported to the feds, no matter how you do it. I assume that is not a problem to either of you.
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Old 08-18-2010, 10:04 AM   #5
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wire transfer seems like best option. $25 fee sounds about right, maybe less. I think my Credit union charges $15 to send outgoing wires, free to receive. Cash within a day.

Another option would be for her to physically withdraw the cash and deposit the amount into a branch of any bank that you have an account with. This will result in a currency transaction report being filed. Also, I wouldn't want to be carrying around $30000-40000 in cash in general given the extent of loss if you are mugged, carjacked, etc. And a lot of banks won't have that kind of cash on hand all the time, so you would have to check with the bank manager ahead of time to make sure the bank had sufficient funds on hand. Problem is they don't necessarily like to tell you "yes, we'll have $40,000 for you on next Monday" due to fear of being robbed I imagine. Just my experience from a recent large cash transaction (closer to $12000).
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Old 08-18-2010, 10:35 AM   #6
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Avoid large cash deposits since you could have the money simply taken away from you by the DEA with the money laundering laws, and you might never get it back even if you were blameless. I've seen it happen. Anything over $5K is susceptible to that.

Use a bank to bank wire transfer. Works every time---though I did have a glitch with a Swisse company about three years ago. I was transferring money from an annuity at LaSwisse in Switzerland and unbeknownst to me, they had decided they could handle their managment by themselves(Lattman had done it for years and years). When I called and gave them the numbers for transfer, they clerk replied that there were not enough spaces on her form(which was apparently only for use for IN EUROPE transfers and they hadn't made up a form for international transfers) and that I needed a smaller number. No amount of contacts all the way up to the president of the company could help. Finally I had to get my local bank to give me a temporary commercial account so that I could access their corresponding bank in Switzerland, and then the numbers would fit the stupid form. Then I accessed the money directly through my own bank, had it transferred internally to my personal account, and all was well. The corresponding bank was next door in Zurich.

While its not necessary for a wire transfer its a good idea for you to explain to your branch manager or customer service rep why you have the money transferred and where its coming from so that there is no problem with someone thinking you are doing a money laundrying operation and calls the DEA, which is what they have to do on anything they are not sure about over $5K. If you are an enterprise that is always wiring money back and forth then your manager or Customer Rep will know you and you don't have to do this.

And yes, bank checks and cashier checks are really easy to counterfeit. Don't even think about that if you don't know the bank its coming from. I was a little concerned when we sold our property in western PA to a person from eastern PA with a bank that I'd never heard of, but it was OK.

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Old 08-18-2010, 10:44 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by HsiaoChu View Post
Avoid large cash deposits since you could have the money simply taken away from you by the DEA with the money laundering laws, and you might never get it back even if you were blameless. I've seen it happen. Anything over $5K is susceptible to that.
Structuring deposits to get under the $10k reporting threshold is illegal. Just an FYI for those who like freedom.

I would imagine 8 uncharacteristic transactions of $5000 each spaced out over a short period of time would lead to a higher chance of Federal hassles versus one $40,000 transaction.
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Old 08-18-2010, 10:48 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by HsiaoChu View Post
Avoid large cash deposits since you could have the money simply taken away from you by the DEA with the money laundering laws, and you might never get it back even if you were blameless. I've seen it happen. Anything over $5K is susceptible to that.
If you can document that the transfer of over $10K (which triggers the reporting requirements) is not associated with illicit commerce or tax evasion, there's nothing to worry about as far as I can tell. Yeah it sucks that you are guilty until proven innocent, but as already mentioned, I'll bet a series of $5000 transactions smells worse than a single $50,000 transfer in terms of raising red flags with the Feds.
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Old 08-18-2010, 10:56 AM   #9
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If you can document that the transfer of over $10K (which triggers the reporting requirements) is not associated with illicit commerce or tax evasion, there's nothing to worry about as far as I can tell. Yeah it sucks that you are guilty until proven innocent, but as already mentioned, I'll bet a series of $5000 transactions smells worse than a single $50,000 transfer in terms of raising red flags with the Feds.

Banks specifically track series of cash transactions under $10K because indvidual bank employees can be criminally prosecuted (as well as the person making a deposit as FUEGO noted) if they don't practice appropriate due diligence to discover structuring. I think the term of art is 'willful blindness'.

IIRC, Eliot Spitzer was caught based on conducting series of cash transactions under $10K. The evidence was acquired using a program that Spitzer helped develop to require banks to provide these types of reports to prosecutors.
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Old 08-18-2010, 12:11 PM   #10
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If you can document that the transfer of over $10K (which triggers the reporting requirements) is not associated with illicit commerce or tax evasion, there's nothing to worry about as far as I can tell. Yeah it sucks that you are guilty until proven innocent, but as already mentioned, I'll bet a series of $5000 transactions smells worse than a single $50,000 transfer in terms of raising red flags with the Feds.
Exactly. When the FBI comes knocking on my door, I'd rather tell them why I had the $50000 instead of trying to explain why I dribbled in 10 $5000 deposits over a couple weeks (and explained where the $$ came from on top of it).
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Old 08-18-2010, 12:13 PM   #11
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Wow, this is amazing. If you aren't doing anything illegal, I would think you have very little to worry about? I have never had any problem with 5-6 figure wire transfers, anyway. Initiating a wire transfer costs $15 at my bank.
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Old 08-18-2010, 12:14 PM   #12
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Thanks, everyone. I'll check out how much it'll cost to wire it. I've never arranged a wire before but there's a first time for everything! Maybe I can mail the person a voided check or deposit slip or something so she has the account number right there to show the bank. My main concern is them getting the account number correct, but presumably they'll check the name too.
I have nothing to hide, and no urge to touch actual cash, so this shouldn't be that complicated. If the DEA investigates me, they'll be pretty bored unless they are interested in growing heirloom tomatoes.
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Old 08-18-2010, 01:00 PM   #13
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If the DEA investigates me, they'll be pretty bored unless they are interested in growing heirloom tomatoes.
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Old 08-18-2010, 01:54 PM   #14
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Thanks, everyone. I'll check out how much it'll cost to wire it. I've never arranged a wire before but there's a first time for everything! Maybe I can mail the person a voided check or deposit slip or something so she has the account number right there to show the bank. My main concern is them getting the account number correct, but presumably they'll check the name too.
I have nothing to hide, and no urge to touch actual cash, so this shouldn't be that complicated. If the DEA investigates me, they'll be pretty bored unless they are interested in growing heirloom tomatoes.
Usually I just go to my bank and they take care of it for me. They know what information is required, and will fax or e-mail it to the party on the other end while I am sitting there. Lots of handholding and zero effort on my part.
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Old 08-18-2010, 03:03 PM   #15
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Is bank to bank really bank to bank?

Here's a situation I know of recently. Bank wire tried but there was a delay. As a result a couple of NSF fees occurred. Wire was put on hold. Had to re-transmit.

Explanation was there must have been a typo or something from the which caused a hold. The sending bank just does the FAX, and the third party then processes it to the receiving bank.

Outcome, the person who received the wire transfer doesn't get reimbursed for the NSF fee, even though of the delay because that person isn't a customer of the sending bank.

The third party part makes me think. Is bank-to-bank really bank to bank directly?
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Old 08-18-2010, 03:40 PM   #16
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PayPal transfers are free under the category of "Personal transfers to friends or family" if it's funded by the senders PayPal account or bank account. There is a fee if it's funded by a credit card.

https://cms.paypal.com/cgi-bin/marke...end_money_fees

I used to think there was always a fee until my SIL sent me money she owed me when we chipped in a on a gift and there was no fee charged.

Before doing $40,000 by PayPal I'd check out if that would cause any issues.
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Old 08-18-2010, 03:54 PM   #17
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Re: paypal - I think you might need to check the transfer limits and what kind of verification you would need to be able to send and received mid 5 figures. I seem to recall there is a $500 limit for unverified accounts and $5000/wk for verified accounts or something like that.

I have used it a few times for personal payments to friends and there is not a fee when you pull the funds from a bank account.
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Old 08-18-2010, 04:58 PM   #18
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I've never done anything over $250 with Paypal (I use it on EBay) and they've made mistakes, so I would not trust them for this. I think I'll do like W2R suggests and have it wired to me while someone holds my hand at my credit union (or whatever local institution I decide to use).
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