General Question

guywithanaccountnow's avatar

Can you mail money?

Asked by guywithanaccountnow (313 points ) January 26th, 2012

Somehow I’ve come to be under the impression that this may be against some law or that there are strict laws governing the practice of mailing money. I seem to be recalling that I’ve heard that alot.

And when I speak of mailing money, I mean paper money and coins. Can they be mailed? If so, what are the legal guidelines for doing so?

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26 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

You can legally mail cash but it is not a good idea (too easy to steal and too difficult to trace).

EverRose11's avatar

A reliable and convenient way to send money through the mail is to send a postal money order. Most people send money in the mail by personal check, but if you don’t have a checking account, sending postal money orders is a safe and simple way to send money through the Postal Service. Sending cash is a risk for you and the person your sending it, odds are it will make it, but there is always that chance it would be stolen

Coloma's avatar

I wouldn’t worry about it being lost or stolen too much. I have sent cash in the mail beofre with no ill result.

If you want to be extra cautious, a check or MO would be your best bet as already mentioned, but…you could also send a small package with a little gift and conceal it in that.
It all comes down to possibility vs. probability…it’s possible it could be lost or stolen, but not highly probably IMO.

Obviously you would conceal it in a non-transparent card or envelope.

WestRiverrat's avatar

I have a hundred $2 bills that I sent myself on their first day of issue. Money can be mailed, but the Post Office will not make it good if it is lost.

As stated above a money order or check is a better way to protect your investment.

Blackberry's avatar

It’s legal, but can obviously be stolen.

JLeslie's avatar

You can do it, but as others have mentioned, you risk losing it. Mailing internationally would have laws and regulations, but domestically it probably isn’t a problem.

marinelife's avatar

Why would you want to do it? It is inviting theft.

JaneraSolomon's avatar

It is legal for amounts less than $10,000 within the United States, after which it must be declared because of laws intended to discourage “money laundering.” Special laws apply in sending cash abroad.
Registered mail is considered safe for valuables including cash since it documents a clear chain of custody. If someone steals it, in theory you know WHO stole it, and they are held accountable. The Hope Diamond, worth an estimated $250,000,000 was sent via Registered mail by Harry Winston to the Smithsonian Institution.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hope_Diamond

JLeslie's avatar

The $10k limit makes sense. When $10k and up is deposited in a bank it sends up some sort of flag.

trailsillustrated's avatar

I mail cash all the time. I just wrap it up in a letter. Now, the funny thing is, I sent someone cash right here in the USA right here in town. I send money to Australia the same day. My kids both got theirs, in Australia, but this person right here in town says he never got his. ODD

AstroChuck's avatar

Regardless of the info @JaneraSolomon found on Wikipedia, the truth is there is no legal limit as to how much cash you can send in the mail through the United States Postal Service. There is, however, a limit in regards to how much cash may be insured by the USPS. $25,000 is the maximum amount you can insure for, and only if sent via Registered Mail.

JaneraSolomon's avatar

Regardless of how little AstroChuck knows of the law, some of us have actually read some of the US laws beyond Wikipedia (and the reference to the Hope Diamond wasn’t about cash, Chuck). If you’d like to better inform yourself you might start with the U.S. Government’s website “FinCEN: Financial Crimes Enforcement Network”
http://www.fincen.gov/statutes_regs/patriot/index.html
and the Internal Revenue Service laws regarding reporting of cash transactions in excess of $10,000. While there are legal ways to mail cash, legality of mailing it depends upon many factors including whether one is in compliance with a myriad of regulations, whether or not the cash was legally obtained, the intended recipient and the destination of the cash, whether or not the cash is generated by or directed to a cash-based business, and whether or not it is destined out of the country. There are many laws other than just USPS postal regulations, Chuck, and the arrest or confiscation might be by the FBI, border patrol, Department of the Treasury Service, or other agency.
http://www.customsandinternationaltradelaw.com/2010/02/articles/customs-1/currency-seizure/help-us-customs-took-my-money-at-the-airport/

AstroChuck's avatar

@JaneraSolomon No need to take such offence. I wasn’t attacking you but the misinformation that Wikipedia often spews. I didn’t go to the link you provided but you did list it as a source. In regards to this last link you posted, it has nothing whatsoever to do with @guywithanaccountnow‘s question. That link has to do with US Customs and the restrictions of the amount of money crossing the border. As to the source for my information, that comes from 27 years working for the United States Postal Service.

JaneraSolomon's avatar

The link does indeed have much to do with the question. The question is about the legal guidelines in mailing money. Nowhere does it say “only within the United States,” and nowhere does it say “I am only interested in USPS regulations.”
Given that there are more than 190 countries OTHER than the USA, mailing over $10,000 to ANY of those countries falls under the jurisdiction of U.S. Customs and the United States Department of Homeland Security.

AstroChuck's avatar

“It is legal for amounts less than $10,000 within the United States…”

The question was about mailing cash and this was what you posted.

JaneraSolomon's avatar

If you had read further than the first sentence you would also have seen “Special laws apply in sending cash abroad.”

JLeslie's avatar

@JaneraSolomon I don’t see where on your link it provides support for your claim about a limit of sending cash through the mail domestically? What section is it under? I’m inclined to think @AstroChuck is correct, even though originally I agreed the $10k might be correct, because I know $10k in deposits sends up a flag, I also know bringing money into the country can typically only be up to $10k when a person crosses customs, but that is possibly different than sending money through the mail.

JaneraSolomon's avatar

The implications of FinCEN are special requirements to document the sources and destinations of cash amounts over $10,000. Failure to do so, for instance by filing form FinCEN 8300, is punishable by arrest and/or fines. An example of punishment is given in the following text followed by a US Government document citation.
“In early 2006, a U.S. Attorney’s Office secured guilty pleas from two businesses for evading Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) reporting requirements by structuring deposits. The presiding judge sentenced the businesses to unsupervised probation, and as part of the agreement, the businesses agreed to forfeit approximately half a million dollars. The amount of restitution equals the amount of money structured in various transactions. The defendants chose to plead guilty to the structuring charge rather than face charges for failure to file Form 8300s”
http://www.fincen.gov/news_room/rp/files/sar_tti_11.pdf page 29

WestRiverrat's avatar

You can send up to $10,000 without proof of where it came from. With the proper documentation, you can send Bundles of money up to $25,000 if you want the post office to insure them.

If you don’t care about the postal insurance, you can send as much as you can fit within a package that meets US postal guidelines.

With the proper documentation you don’t risk federal prosecution regardless of how much you send.

I think @JaneraSolomon is confusing banking regulations with postal regulations. They are two different things entirely.

JaneraSolomon's avatar

No confusion whatsoever. The act of mailing more than $10,000 cash is not just a parcel movement issue, it’s also a financial transaction initiated by the act of mailing it. As such it is subject to regulations other than mere postal rules, including the Patriot act, Bank Secrecy Act, and Customs. And had @WestRiverrat actually read the link I took the time to post, it would have been evident that it does NOT just apply to banks. But even you had to acknowledge the qualifier “with the proper documentation.” And that was exactly the point. As I said in my first post: “It is legal for amounts less than $10,000 within the United States, after which it must be declared because of laws intended to discourage “money laundering.” Is there something about “must be declared” that you feel is substantially different from your own qualifier “with the proper documentation?” If not, then clearly there is no need to try to correct me.

JLeslie's avatar

@JaneraSolomon So what if a relative gives me $12,000 cash? Not mailing it, but hands it to me? I think the gift cap the IRS is concerned with is now $13k, so there is no tax to be incurred. I don’t think that is an illegal act, but if he gives it to me in check form and I deposit or cash it, then the banks need to report it, or do whatever thet do. I think it is all separate things: postal laws, banking deposits, gift taxes. But, I am not a lawyer or an expert, I just don’t see on the link where it specifically says mailing over $10k is against the law? The businessmen you refer to were illegally moving funds from what I can tell. It is legal for my relative, or even betterm let’s say it is my husband mailing money to me, essentially my own money, or even if I mail money to myself, if that is illegal over $10k then what you are saying makes sense. It is illegal to move cash over $10k internationally into the US as far as I know, at least I know that to be the case for non-citizens, so that would be a separate case. My husband never could bring more than $10k at a time when crossing through customs. Or, maybe he did not have to declare it under $10k? Not sure which.

JLeslie's avatar

Ok, I did the work, straight from the USPs website. For some reason I am having trouble with the link? Its the FAQ section, I searched “sending cash.”

Money (currency / cash) that is sent through the mail can be insured with the following limits:

Except for Registered Mail, the maximum indemnity for negotiable items (defined as instruments that can be converted to cash without resort to forgery), currency, or bullion, is $15.00

For Registered Mail™ , cash can be insured up to $25,000. For amounts over $25,000, the full value must be declared but the maximum insured value is $25,000

When a claim is filed, money is replaced at the insured value as indicated above only:

After evidence of value is shown (if the actual value was less than the insured amount, then only the actual value is paid)

Important: If you are sending a significant amount of cash, you need to verify with your local office what is considered valid evidence of value before mailing the item. You should also verify that it is packaged securely enough to protect a high value item from being harmed during regular mail processing.

After the claim process is complete

Please Note: Checks are not considered cash, and cannot be insured other than for document reconstruction expense.

samantha360's avatar

It’s not. But it’s always a bad idea. There are so many other ways to send money these days you really don’t need to send cash.

Response moderated (Spam)
moneybymail77's avatar

It is not recommended to send cash via FedEx. Before sending money overseas in an Express courier (i.e. FedEx, DHL, UPS), it is highly recommended to seek the professional advise of a qualified lawyer. HOWEVER, if you must send cash via FedEX – YOU SHOULD NEVER SEND IT ANONYMOUSLY. What I mean by that is: (From this point on, I must use “I” instead of “you”)
I should never just through the money in a blank envelope and send it out. First of all, the envelope that the money is in SHOULD ALWAYS be formatted like any standard postal mail envelope. That means; I should indicate who the recipient is (i.e “TO: Michael Smith): Then, under the name of the recipient , I should write his/her complete REAL mailing address. Next I should place several REAL unused postage stamp(s) on the envelope. NOTE: IT IS HIGHLY intelligent to obtain unused postage stamps from to country who I want to send it too. For example: If I wanted to send cash to England from the United States… I would paste several “First Class” U.S. postage stamps of the face of the Envelope… I would also place several unused postage stamps from England on the face of the envelope. NOTE: by placing postage stamps from both the sending country and receiving country on the envelope, it protects me from unlawful search or seizure without “the due process of law”. What that means is: My envelope cannot be opened or inspected without a bench warrant that is signed from a Judge. I then need to make out an invoice for any product or service that can legally be provided to me (the client) as the end user. Along with the invoice. I need to sign an affidavit (sworn statement) that states how much cash is being enclosed into the envelop – and where the money in the envelop (my cash) came from. Also, I need to declare what product of service that is being purchased. Both documents need to be signed by you in the presence of a Notary Public. Most all large banks in America have a Notary Public that can notarize your documents for a fee of about $15—$20 USD.The cash then is to be wrapped up in these documents, and then placed into the previously prepared stamped envelop. And by placing valid postage stamps from both the “sending country” and “receiving county” it will protect my envelope in both countries. FedEx is aware of the liabilities associated with handling envelopes – that appear to be, for all intents and purposes – intended for official postal mail delivery… At any rate: a FedEX employee will reject any envelopes addressed to someone (like official mail). If they physically see the envelopes with postage stamps on them of any kind, I can expect to be denied service…. not because I am breaking the law… On the contrary, they just don’t want to become liable to me if something happens to my postal mail. The way I get around this is: I first need to get a thick magazine – I then proceed to place my addressed, stamped envelope in the middle of the magazine. I then take the Magazine with cash envelope inside – and place it into a larger Magazine Envelope (I make my own Large Envelopes out of grocery store paper bags). On the front of the outside of the double wrapped magazine. I printed the following on some carefully cut paper-bag material, “using my inkjet printer…. I state in all capitalization, boldface type fonts the following:

”!!!ATTENTION!!!: ”
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED – THIS PARCEL CONTAINS LEGAL AND/OR MEDICAL DOCUMENTS. THESE ARE CONFIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS THAT ARE PROTECTED BY LAW. ANY SUCH DELIVERY OF THIS PARCEL AND ANY ATTACHED OR ENCLOSED LEGAL DOCUMENT(S) CONTAINS PRIVILEGED INFORMATION. THESE LEGAL DOCUMENTS ARE INTENDED SOLELY FOR THE USE OF THE INDIVIDUAL OR ENTITY TO WHOM THEY ARE ADDRESSED. THIS PARCEL MAY CONTAIN LEGAL OR MEDICAL INFORMATION AND IS INTENDED ONLY FOR THE INDIVIDUAL NAMED. IF YOU ARE NOT THE NAMED ADDRESSEE, YOU MAY NOT OPEN THIS ENVELOPE UNDER ANY CONDITION. IF YOU DO SO, YOU MAY BE SUBJECT TO CIVIL, LEGAL, OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION. (you wouldn’t be lying because notarized documents are considered legal documents)

Response moderated (Personal Attack)

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