Can you Send Cash Through The Mail? Is it Legal?

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send cash in the mail


In this day and age, cold hard cash seems to be getting obsolete, doesn’t it? I find it so rare when I have to pull out actual cash before my transaction. Now it’s all digital! However, there are situations where you still need to use actual cash, especially if you are trying to send it to someone. So the question is, can you send cash through the mail? If so, is it illegal?

Many people have this misconception that is it is flat-out illegal to send cash through the mail. The law has provisions for illegal activities such as money laundering when it comes to sending cash through the mail. More on than that in a little bit.

In this article, we will go over the laws about sending cash through the mail, and how to do it securely.

Is sending money through the mail illegal?

It is not illegal to send cash through the mail. The law strictly prohibits sending money through the mail for illegal activities. These illegal activities include sending money to purchase illegal substances, money laundering, or defrauding your tax obligations.

Other than those items, sending money through the mail is very much legal. However, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns people not to send money through the mail as it has its disadvantages.

Risks of sending money through the mail

While sending cash through the mail might seem straightforward and secure, it has its risks. The Federal Trade Commission was quoted saying that many Americans think they can simply insert some cash in an envelope and have it delivered. When it comes to cash come up there are simply too many risks involved. Let’s explore some of them

1. Too many hands

When you send cash in the mail, it is handled by a lot of people. If it is processed through various cities, vehicles, and processing centers, a lot of hands get to touch that envelope. There are cases where dishonest post office employees May detect that there is money in an envelope and simply pocket it. It’s as simple as opening the envelope into taking the money out. Since money is just money, there is no way to track it or trace it once it’s taken.

2. Too Tempting

Once post office employees detect or identify that money is contained in an envelope, it becomes very tempting to acquire These funds. There is simply no way to detect where and who stole the cash. Because of the low risk of getting caught, it then becomes a very tempting crime to commit. The more people who have physical access to the envelope with cash, the higher chances of it disappearing.

Ways to send cash through the mail

Now that we know there are risks involved in sending money through the mail, there are ways you can mitigate the risks. Although it’s not a Surefire guaranteed way to send money through the mail, there are ways to insulate from possible loss.

1. Send a Money Order

Unlike sending cold hard cash, money orders are documents similar to checks. Once a money order reaches its destination, it can be converted into Cash just as easily. Money orders can be obtained from post offices and banks. Since a person would need proof of identification before converting a money order into Cash, it makes it that much more difficult for a thief to do so.

2. Send a Restricted Check

Similar to a money order, you can also send a restricted check instead. To make a check restricted, you can simply flip the check over and write “for deposit only to account of the payee.” This is written in the endorsement section on the back of a check. This makes it very difficult for a check to be signed over to someone else other than the payee you wrote on the check.

3. Disguise your envelope or package

If it absolutely has to be cash you are sending, you can try to make sure that the envelope he’s very well disguised. You can use things such as a bubble mailer which makes it hard to hold over the light and detect cash. The better your disguise, the less likely someone is going to open the package. They might assume it’s just documentation and quickly lose interest.

4. Add tracking to your package

Instead of just mailing your check with a standard stamp, you can pay a few extra dollars to have tracking on your package. Blindly mailing an envelope with cash in it is a recipe for disaster. If you have tracking on the package, you can at least know where it is and when last it was seen. You can then also know when exactly it was delivered.

5. Double check the address

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s super important that you double and triple-check the address. If you send cash to the wrong address, chances are the recipient isn’t going to send cash back. They will likely just keep it, and you won’t even know where you sent it. Verifying the address on the package can help you avoid any future headaches or hassle.

Insuring your cash shipment

Typically, USPS will ensure any cash that you’re sending through the mail. For regular domestic mail, the maximum insured value is $15 and $50,000 for registered mail items. Chances are, you are sending more than $15 so you are required to declare the full value of the cash you are mailing. This only covers you if the post office loses your mail in transit. If they have proof of delivery, then you cannot claim for loss.

Final thoughts

Sending actual cash through the mail should be of Last Resort. There are so many alternatives to sending cash to someone. The problem with sending actual cash is that the recipient might claim that they never received anything. Since there is no way to really prove that they are being honest, you should always consider alternatives.

Sending money through digital means such as cash app or Facebook cash is a much safer and quicker alternative. If it absolutely has to be physical, then make sure it’s a cashier’s check, money order, or a restricted check. This means that only the recipient can cash that check.

Good luck!

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