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How to send cash via mail

Cash via mailContrary to popular notion, sending cash via mail is not illegal, except for purposes that are inherently felonious such as operating lotteries, evading taxes and money laundering. But you are not breaking any law when you send small amounts of cash via mail, like the $5 bill you insert in your granddaughter's birthday card.

The belief that sending cash via mail is illegal might have stemmed from the fact that the postal service is discouraging the practice of sending money, especially huge sums, because of the dangers of such shipment getting lost, stolen or destroyed in transit and deeming it irrecoverable. Instead, it is highly recommended by the United States Postal Service to use safer means of sending valuable amounts of cash such as money orders and wire transfers.

The USPS offers domestic money order which can be purchased with cash, credit or debit cards and personal checks from any post office. They can be easily cashed at the post office or the recipient's bank. There are minimal fees associated with purchasing USPS money orders which vary by the amount being sent. Another advantage of money orders are the safety features on them that protect consumers in case they get lost or stolen during transit.

Another alternative is to send cashier's check instead of cash. A cashier's check is similar to a money order, but it is issued by the bank and bought upfront in cash. The funds are guaranteed by the bank, and most financial institutions do not require a waiting period for them to be cashed. However, fake cashier's checks have been used in online scams making them a less secure option specially if dealing with a stranger. Only send cashier's checks to someone you know.

If you insist on inserting those dollar bills inside greeting cards and send them via mail, make them as inconspicuous as possible. Some unscrupulous individuals in the post office know exactly where to look for those money-bearing envelopes. The "thicker" and "heavier" the envelope, the higher the chances of it getting stolen.  You might also consider doodling the envelope with crayons or decorating it with stickers. Post office thieves ignore mails that look as though they may have come from a child.

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