Suppose I have a friend who had given me a monetary reward of $75 in person.

Which medium should he or she have chosen and why?

  • Cash - The one I think is the best (no fees, no restriction on where it can be used)
  • Cheque - Possible fees for moving from one account to another
  • Pre-Paid Visa - Possible activation fee, usage fees
  • Gift card - Can only be used at certain locations
  • Other

As far as I know, the order of preference should be as listed above (cash then cheque then pre-paid visa etc.) for the reasons listed.

A reason why cheque would be preferred is it is easier to keep track of who you have given money to and how much.

A reason why pre-paid visa would be preferred is that it can be used to purchase items online (as opposed to cash).

  • 1
    This seems rather broad or opinion-based. Advantages or disadvantages of any method would be on-topic. Someone who prefers no-fee cash, tracking, online compatibility, or restricted choices could pick any one of those options. – Brythan Oct 10 '16 at 23:10

Whichever is most convenient for the two of you, so it will depend on the situation.

If you two are close by, cash is probably the best option. Your friend can hand it over to you in a number of ways.

If you two are far apart, a cheque would probably be the better option. You don't want cash to get stolen from the mail.

If it is international and/or you need it ASAP, something like Western Union would work better. It would cost me ~$80 (USD, not sure what fees are for CAD), but comes with additional protections to prevent fraud. Your friend could deposit the money on one side of the world, and you could pick it up at another side of the world within the hour (assuming cash, other payment methods may take longer).

Other considerations:

  • Paypal allows customers to send "gifts" to each other without fees, popular with certain friends of mine
  • Some banks offer a free service for sending. For example, I can send / request money via Chase Quickpay (US only, not sure about availability in Canada). It's instant to/from other Chase customers (my family uses it), but not as convenient for non-Chase customers (ie I'd rather just hand cash to my friends).
  • I have purposefully given gift cards in lieu of cash to people I believe will spend the cash irresponsibly (my younger cousins, for example)
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