Before your child goes away to school, you may want to add your name to their bank account. That way, in case of emergency, you can transfer funds from your account directly into your child’s account. This will let you quickly get her the funds she needs while avoiding fund transfer fees. Some banks will even let you use your computer and scanner, or a smartphone to create and make deposits into accounts using electronic images of checks.
Bank-to-Bank Wire Transfer
If you and your child use different banks, you can get her money using a bank-to bank-transfer. You will be required to know the name of the account holder, her bank’s routing number, and the account number into which the money will be transferred. Be aware that most bank-to-bank transfers involve transaction fees. In the past, these transfers had to be performed during business hours, or required you to call into the bank’s phone support. Many banks now let you to arrange a wire transfer anytime through their websites.
Email or Mobile Phone Money Transfers
Did you know you can send money to your child’s email address or mobile phone? Many banks offer this fairly-new service as part of their online banking package. This service is also available from e-commerce payment processors like PayPal, Alert Pay and Money Booker. You will need to set up an account with the payment processor and connect that account to the bank account that will be the source of the funds. You will then be able direct the payment processor to take a specified amount from your bank account and send it to your child’s email address. Your child will receive an email with instructions of how to access the funds you sent. Seems almost too easy. But it works.
Western Union or MoneyGram
You can also send money online through Western Union or MoneyGram to any Walmart location. When transferring money out of a credit or debit card, the money will be available to the recipient in 10 minutes. Funds transferred from a checking account will be available in four hours. There are fees and restrictions involved in this type of transfer and the person picking up the money will need to present an ID, know the name of the sender, and provide an answer to a secret question before they will be given the money. This is an excellent option if your child needs funds immediately and it is after your bank’s business hours.
Prepaid/ Reloadable Visa/MasterCard
Many banks now offer reloadable pre-paid credit/debit cards that feature Visa/ MasterCard logos. These cards are usable anywhere that Visa or MasterCard are accepted, and can be reloaded by calling your bank or visiting its website. Reloadable cards are accepted in locations world-wide and usually can be replaced if lost or stolen. If you do not have a bank account, you can still get these cards at Walmart and other major retailers. They can usually be reloaded by the retailer who provided the card originally as long as you have the account or card number available.
If you are using an online service, be sure the website or location you are working with is reputable and secure. If you stop by a physical location such as a bank or Western Union teller, be sure to request and keep a copy of the transfer receipt. Finally, be sure to follow up with your child by phone (if possible) to verify that she understands how, when, and where to pick up her funds.