With countless payment apps and providers available on your laptop, tablet, and smartphone, it can be hard to pick one to use.
This technology makes it easier than ever to pay back your friend for covering half of the check or paying your roommate for shared groceries. Whatever your need might be, there’s definitely an app for that.
So if you’re looking for the cheapest way to send money, which one should you choose? We’ll show you how to do an online money transfer in a quick and stress-free way and also review the top money transfer services around.
How can I send money instantly?
Sending money online is easier than ever, not to mention faster than ever, too. Most providers let you connect your online checking account so that you can send money to other individuals.
Before you can do that, you’ll usually need to create an account. On most sites, this part is free. If they charge a fee for the service, it normally doesn’t come until you actually send money. Once you pair your debit card or credit card and confirm your account, you should be good to start sending money immediately.
The amount of time it takes for the recipient to actually get the money depends on a few different things. For example, different providers may require a small fee to get instant access to cash, or they might make you use a debit card over other payment methods. Just be sure to check on the details before you get started.
How can I send money to another account?
There are a few different ways to do this. First, if you have an online account with your bank, you can perform an external transfer through the automated clearing house (ACH).
You’ll need the recipient’s routing number and bank account number to do this, so it can be cumbersome if you’re not transferring money to your own account at another bank.
The easier solution, of course, is to use an online payment app. It’s easy to get started, and there are plenty of reputable options to choose from.
8 Best Ways to Send Money Online
Ready to send money online? We’ve got you covered with reviews of nine of the best money transfer apps. Each one has its own unique features, so read through to find out which one fits your needs.
Perhaps the original online payment provider, PayPal still packs a punch in this category. After all, there has to be a reason why it has over 200 million active accounts worldwide.
One major draw to PayPal is that it has one of the highest transfer maximums out of all the service providers available, allowing as much as $10,000 per transfer.
When you send money to someone else’s bank account, it usually takes between one and three business days for the money to arrive, although the recipient will get a notification that you’ve sent the money.
Another nice feature that adds to PayPal’s popularity is its ease of use. You can send money through the website or mobile app (available for iOS, Androids, and Windows phones). You can also send a personalized link through PayPal.me to directly request funds from someone you know.
If you transfer money using a bank account, there’s no charge using PayPal when sending cash to family and friends. However, when you use a debit or credit card, you’ll be charged 2.9% of the amount you’re sending, plus 30 cents. So if you send your friend $50, you’ll be charged $1.75 for the transaction.
You can also pay an extra 25 cents for a money transfer to a debit card rather than a bank account. Even though there’s an extra cost involved, you get the money within 30 minutes rather than a few business days.
PayPal is a giant in the money transfer industry and certainly has plenty of perks to earn this reputation.
Owned by PayPal, the Venmo app is one of the most popular payment services for smartphone users. Its low- to no-fee structure makes it extremely accessible, and it also adds a layer of social media to the process as an added bonus.
You’ll pay a 3% fee if you pay by credit card, but Venmo is free for all other payment methods. When you first join, you’ll start with a $299 transfer limit.
Once you’ve verified your account, you can pay as much as $2,999 per transaction and per week for peer-to-peer payments. When transferring to your own bank, the limit starts at $3,000 per transfer, but you can send up to $19,999 each week.
Each Venmo user also has a social media feed, which displays all of your transactions — except for the amounts of money involved. You can post notes and emojis with each transfer, and that information will then show up in the recipient’s feed.
There are several options to fund the money you use through Venmo:
- Bank account
- Up to 6 debit cards
- Prepaid debit cards
- Credit cards
You can connect multiple payment methods to your account and pick which one you want to use for each transaction. When you receive money from another Venmo user, you can either keep it in your account there or transfer it directly to a bank account.
Venmo does use a variety of security features to protect your account. However, unlike a bank, your money is not FDIC-insured, so be wary of how much you leave sitting in there.
What sets Zelle apart is the speed with which you can send and receive money online. In fact, users can access their cash within minutes of it being sent. In addition, unlike other apps like Venmo, Zelle partners directly with banks and credit unions to deliver funds between users.
How does Zelle work, exactly?
Banks actually created the app, and there are about 50 participating financial institutions. You can either download the Zelle mobile app directly or check if it’s already integrated into your bank’s existing app.
From there, you simply input your phone number and pick your bank. Once you verify your account with a text message code, you can add your debit card to your Zelle account and get started.
Once you start transferring money with friends and family, the transactions are free, but both users must bank with a participating financial institution.
Most major banks are connected to Zelle, including Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, CitiBank, and Capital One. If you bank with a smaller or local bank or credit union, check to see if they participate in Zelle and if they charge any fees on their end.
G Pay from Google is another app-based money transfer service that makes transactions between friends and family quick and convenient.
A standout perk with G Pay is that it easily integrates with your Gmail account, and you only need the recipient’s phone number or email address to request money. Just click the small dollar sign at the bottom of an email, and you can easily send your request.
If you want access to your cash quickly, you can link your G Pay account to a debit card to withdraw funds. Not only is the service instant, but it’s also free. You can also send a large amount of cash, up to $9,999 per transaction.
Unlike many other mobile payment apps, any funds in your G Pay are FDIC insured. So if something happens to the company and it tanks for whatever reason, your money is protected.
It also covers any transactions that are verified as unauthorized and provides many of the same protections that a traditional bank would offer.
Square allows you to send money simply by linking your credit or debit card to your account. The app is free for both Apple and Android users, although there are a few extra perks for iPhones — more on that later.
One benefit for all users is that the recipient of your cash doesn’t have to open an account. When you send money with your debit card, the service is completely free. If you choose to send money with a credit card, you’ll be charged 3% of the payment amount. There’s also a 1% fee if you want a same-day deposit.
While it’s easy to get started, there are transfer limits if you don’t verify your identity more completely. As you get started, you’ll only be able to send $250 each week and can only receive $1,000 every 30 days.
How can you increase that limit?
All you have to do is confirm your name, date of birth, and social security number. After that, the weekly sending limit jumps to $2,500, and the receiving amount becomes unlimited.
Extra Perks for Apple
You have a few more options for initiating transactions with an Apple device. For example, one way is to send money through Siri by selecting Cash in the Siri app, then selecting a contact from your iPhone. You can also send payment through iMessage.
If you’re a SnapChat user, you can also use Square Cash’s “SnapCash” feature and simply swipe on a friend’s feed and enter the dollar amount you’d like to send.
The Cheapest Ways to Send Money Internationally
Looking for a cheap way to transfer money abroad? Here are our top picks for the cheapest international money transfer services.
Wise (formerly TransferWise) wins big for providing budget-friendly transfers in an easy-to-use platform. Right from the beginning, user-friendliness is paramount. In addition to creating a site-specific login, you can also just log into TransferWise through your Facebook or Google account.
When you’re ready to send money, you can select from more than 50 countries, so there’s a pretty high chance you’ll find the one you’re looking for. Pricing varies anywhere between $3 and $99.
TransferWise is a bit slow when it comes to the money actually arriving in your recipient’s account. In fact, it can take at least a week if you don’t want to pay a wire transfer fee. Also, you only have the option to transfer money between bank accounts.
Small Details Add Up
Delivery speed aside, TransferWise does have some notable perks. For example, there’s no foreign exchange rate markup, and you can also create a history of people you’ve sent money to for easy repeat transactions.
Xoom is another PayPal company and allows transfers to 60 countries. One of the biggest draws is that it usually only takes one or two business days for the transfer to occur. The fees, however, can be higher than those of many competitors, so you’re definitely paying for the speed.
Rather than charging the mid-market exchange rate, Xoom adds a markup of 1% to 3%. From there, the fees vary greatly depending on what type of account you use to send money and what country you’re sending it to.
It’s cheaper to use a bank account and can cost as little as $4.99. However, it gets a lot more expensive using a credit or debit card, going as high as $149.
Added Pickup Options
In addition to its speed, Xoom also has more delivery options for recipients abroad. These include cash pickup and even home delivery in some countries.
If you need to send a lot of cash abroad, OFX is a strong option to consider. It reaches 91 countries through either its website, mobile app, or phone line. There are no transfer fees, and the company also has lower markup rates than most of its competitors.
What’s the catch?
Your minimum transfer amount is $1,000. That automatically makes it a no-go for many people. But if you need to transfer a large sum and want to do it via bank accounts, then OFX is a leader. Unfortunately, it can take a few days to process the transaction, and there’s no option for same-day delivery.
Unlike some of the other services we’ve talked about, OFX definitely has some longevity under its belt. The company has been around since 1998 and has transferred over $100 billion throughout its history.
Sending money has never been easier; in fact, it has become part of their daily routines for many people. So whether you’re just getting started or trying to find the most convenient payment app for your needs, there are plenty of worthy options out there.