With countless payment apps available on your laptop, tablet, and smartphone, choosing the right one can be challenging.
With this technology, it is easier than ever to reimburse a friend for covering half a check or pay your roommate for shared groceries. Whatever your need might be, there’s definitely an app for that.
So if you’re looking for the best way to send money, which one should you choose? We’ll show you how to make a quick and hassle-free online money transfer. Additionally, we’ve reviewed the best money transfer services.
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).
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.
12 Best Ways to Send Money Online
Ready to send money online? We’ve got you covered with reviews of the best money transfer apps. Each one has its own unique features, so read through to find out which one fits your needs.
What makes Zelle stand out is its lightning-fast speed for sending and receiving money online. In mere minutes, funds can be made available to the recipient. Unlike other payment apps, Zelle has a direct partnership with over 1,190 banks and credit unions, enabling seamless transfers between users.
So, how does it work? With its creation by leading financial institutions, Zelle is easily accessible either through its own mobile app or as an integrated feature within your bank’s existing app. Simply enter your phone number, choose your bank, verify your account via text message, and add your debit card to start using Zelle.
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.
2. Cash App
Cash App is a convenient and secure payment platform that allows users to send and receive money from their friends and family. This innovative solution provides an alternative to traditional banking, giving users the ability to pay bills, transfer funds, and even buy Bitcoin.
Available on both iOS and Android, Cash App is a masterpiece created by Square, Inc. It makes sending money a breeze, with a user-friendly interface that ensures transactions are fast and stress-free.
To make your financial experience even more comprehensive, Cash App provides users with a debit card, which can be used for purchases both in stores and online. In addition, Cash App offers a host of features including recurring payments, direct deposits, and instant transfers. You can even purchase Bitcoin on the app.
And if that wasn’t enough, users can also earn rewards points with every dollar spent through Cash App’s rewards program. These points can then be redeemed for cash back, gift cards, or other exciting perks. To learn more, check out our in-depth review of Cash App.
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 accessible to all, and it also offers a fun social media aspect to the payment process.
While a 3% fee applies for credit card payments, Venmo is free when you use your Venmo balance, linked bank account, or accepted debit card. Upon joining, you’ll start with a $299 transfer limit, but once your account is verified, you can make peer-to-peer payments of up to $2,999 per transaction and per week. For transfers to your bank account, the limit begins at $3,000 per transfer, with a weekly limit of $19,999.
One unique feature of Venmo is its social media feed, which displays all your transactions (excluding the amounts) and allows you to add notes and emojis to each transfer. These details will be visible to the recipient on their feed as well.
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 various 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.
4. Google Pay
Google Pay is another app-based money transfer service that makes transactions between friends and family quick and convenient.
A standout perk with Google 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 Google 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 Google 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.
5. Square Cash
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.
If you have a verified PayPal account, the maximum amount you can send is $60,000. However, depending on the currency, PayPal may limit you to $10,000 per transaction. If you don’t have a PayPal account, you can send up to $4,000.
When you transfer money to someone else’s bank account, it usually takes between one and three business days for the money to arrive. However, 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.
PayPal doesn’t charge you for sending cash to family and friends if you transfer money from your bank account or PayPal balance. 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.
7. Bank Wire Transfer
Bank wire transfers can be an expensive way to transfer money at some banks and credit unions. Some of them charge as much as $25 for domestic, and $40 for international transfers. A few banks will do wire transfers for cheap or even free. However, it’s typically a feature only offered to premium account holders, such as Chase Private Client.
There are also some services that allow you to save money while wiring money domestically, such as Walmart, MoneyGram, Western Union, and Wise. For example, with Wise you can send a domestic wire transfer for only $3.
Best Ways to Send Money Internationally
Sending money abroad? Here are our top picks for the cheapest international money transfer services.
Sending Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies online is quickly becoming one of the cheapest and fastest ways to send money. Money transfers take mere seconds with Bitcoin on the Lightning Network, and it can be done for pennies.
There are many apps and exchanges, such as Crypto.com, that allow you to send money to anyone right from your smartphone. Sign up on your phone using this link, and you’ll get $25 USD in crypto for free. You can also use this referral code: fmwy752jkc
Wise (formerly TransferWise) wins big for providing budget-friendly transfers on 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 Wise through your Facebook or Google account.
When you’re ready to send money, you can select from more than 160 countries. So, there’s a pretty high chance you’ll find the one you’re looking for. Pricing varies anywhere between $3 and $99 for international transfers.
Wise can be slower in delivering funds to the recipient’s bank account. While transactions using a debit or credit card are typically immediate, transfers from one bank account to another might take one to two business days. If you’re looking to bypass the wire transfer fee, it could even extend to a week.
Small Details Add Up
Delivery speed aside, TransferWise does have some notable perks. For example, there’s no foreign exchange rate markup. You can also create a history of people you’ve sent money to for easy repeat transactions.
Xoom is another PayPal company. It allows international money 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. However, the fees 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.
MoneyGram is a globally recognized service that allows users to transfer money internationally. Available in over 200 countries and territories, MoneyGram offers both online and walk-in services for sending and receiving money. One of its significant benefits is the convenience it offers, especially in places where other online platforms might not be operational.
Fees and Rates
When sending money with MoneyGram, the fees depend on factors like the destination, how the recipient will receive the money (bank account or cash pickup), and the payment method. Generally, money transfers via a bank account tends to be cheaper than using credit or debit cards.
Speed of Service
For those who need to send money urgently, MoneyGram offers fast delivery options where funds can be available in as little as a few minutes, especially for cash pickups. However, bank transfers might take longer, depending on the recipient’s bank’s processing time.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the cheapest way to send money to someone?
Zelle, Venmo, and Cash App are three popular digital payment services that allow users to quickly and easily transfer money to friends, family, and businesses.
All three options are fast, easy, and secure ways to send money to someone without having to pay any fees.
What is the cheapest way to send money abroad?
The cheapest way to send money abroad can vary based on the amount, speed, and specific countries involved. Traditional low-cost money transfer providers like Wise or Xoom charge a small flat fee for transfers and offer competitive exchange rates.
Furthermore, Bitcoin transactions, especially via the Lightning Network, are becoming more cost-efficient. With a median fee rate of approximately 0.003% on the Lightning Network, it stands out, especially when considering that sending money internationally from the U.S. typically costs about 5.52% of the transferred sum, according to the World Bank.
How long does it take to send money overseas?
The time it takes to send money overseas depends on the method used. If sending money via a bank transfer, it typically takes 1-3 business days for the funds to arrive. If using a money transfer service, the funds can usually arrive within minutes.
What is the safest way to send money?
The safest way to send money online often combines strong encryption, a reputable financial institution or service provider, and user best practices. Established platforms like bank-to-bank transfers, PayPal, Wise, and Zelle prioritize security features, including multi-factor authentication and secure socket layer (SSL) encryption.
Regardless of the platform, always ensure you double-check recipient details, maintain updated security software on your device, and use unique, strong passwords for financial accounts to mitigate risks.
What’s the difference between a bank transfer and a wire transfer?
A bank transfer is a transfer of money from one bank account to another within the same banking institution. A wire transfer is a transfer of money from one bank to another, typically with a different banking institution.
Wire transfers and bank transfers are both reliable and secure methods of transferring money. However, wire transfers are typically faster than bank transfers.
Sending money has never been easier. In fact, it has become part of their daily routines for many people. 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.