The tsunami response has allowed international humanitarian agencies to test and develop new approaches to disaster recovery. One such approach is the use of cash in place of traditional commodity transfers. Projects include government cash transfers to households in Aceh, Indonesia; a World Food Programme (WFP) cash transfer pilot programme in Sri Lanka; a cash and voucher pilot in Aceh, run by CARE; cash for work projects in Aceh, Sri Lanka and India; and cash grants for livelihood recovery in Aceh and Sri Lanka. There are also some examples of cash grant/loan ‘hybrid’ programmes. As part of its Cash Learning Project, the Humanitarian Policy Group at the Overseas Development Institute is undertaking research into the use of cash in the tsunami response. This article reports on some of the preliminary findings.