The Best Money Sending Apps

Advertiser Disclosure

Several money sending apps allow you to make simple mobile transactions. These apps streamline the payment process, often requiring only the email address or mobile phone number of the recipient. They may also be the cheapest way to send money as many of the services are free for personal use.

Money sending apps are handy in a number of situations. Whether you want to send a monetary gift for your niece’s birthday, split a restaurant bill with friends, or even pay your rent without ordering a new checkbook, the best way to send money may just be one of the apps below.

The Best Apps to Send Money

  • Venmo
  • PayPal
  • Dowlla
  • Square Cash
  • Google Wallet
  • Facebook Messenger

Each app has unique features, but none of them below require you to have a specific banking relationship.

Venmo

Venmo is one of the best apps to send money to other users. The app integrates with Facebook and your phone s so you can see who else is using Venmo. You can also see what your friends are paying for with Venmo in a news feed when you open the app. Similar to Facebook, you can “like” or comment on their transactions. If you aren’t feeling so social, don’t worry, the amount spent isn’t public, and you can also turn off the feature entirely.

Receiving mobile payments is always free. Sending money is also free if you’re using your Venmo balance, a linked bank account, or a debit card from one of about 30 major banks. Otherwise, there’s a 3% fee if you use a credit card or other debit card.

Bottom line: Venmo is as much a social app as it is a financial one. You may find this aspect fun or completely unnecessary. Default settings are public, so if you’d rather not broadcast your transactions to friends, you’ll need to change them, or choose another app.

PayPal

PayPal is perhaps the most entrenched player in the market. You can send a substantial amount of cash via the service: up to $10,000. You can also send money abroad to anyone with an email address or mobile phone number in more than 190 countries. PayPal even supports more than 20 currencies.

PayPal is free, but only if you’re using your PayPal balance or a linked bank account for transfers. Otherwise, it’s not the cheapest way to send money: You’ll pay 2.9% per transaction a flat 30-cent fee when you use a debit or credit card. Outside the U.S., there is a fee ranging from 0.5% to 2% for PayPal- and bank-funded transfers, or 3.4% to 3.9% for debit and credit card transfers.

Bottom line: There is a certain comfort in going with a known entity such as PayPal for your mobile payment. If you need to send some serious cash (up to $10,000 per transaction, with no cap on total transactions) or send it abroad, you can do that here. However, the fees are high for card-funded transactions. Also, if you need to send money to someone without a PayPal account, they’ll have to sign up for one to receive your payment.

Square Cash

If you can send an email, you can send money via Square Cash. All you need is your recipient’s email address and your own debit card number. The recipient doesn’t need a Square Cash account, and there are no middlemen to slow down the transaction, which is immediate.

You can even set up a “$Cashtag” that is essentially your own URL for accepting payments. Share it on social media or in the real world, and payees can quickly enter their debit card number and the amount they’re paying. Square Cash has also recently partnered with Snapchat, allowing you to send mobile payments through the popular chat service, too.

Square Cash doesn’t charge a dime unless you use the business version of the service to request payment. Then you’ll pay 3% per transaction.

Bottom line: Square Cash is free — hard to beat that — and it’s the easiest-to-use service on our list. Since there’s no Square Cash account, you don’t have the extra step of withdrawing money from that account. However, if you don’t want to send or receive cash via debit card, you’re out of luck.

Also, you’ll want to make sure you have as much security as possible to protect your email account, since anyone who has access to your email will be able to access your debit card without knowing the number.

Dwolla

With Dwolla, you can send money to anyone with an email address, phone number, or Dwolla ID. You’ll need to link your bank account to Dwolla, and you can keep a balance using the service for future payments. Its features include MassPay, which allows you send thousands of payments at once, and recurring payments.

Dwolla also offers a range of services for businesses and nonprofits; paying $250 a month, for instance, can get a business next-day transfers, higher transaction limits, and priority customer support.

For personal use, it’s now free to send money to someone with Dwolla. The company has dropped a 25-cent fee that it used to charge for transactions over $10.

Bottom line: Dwolla seems a bit more geared toward businesses than individuals, but it’s still a strong offering. It’s hard to beat free, especially if you’re sending a significant amount of money — but consider that bank transfers are also free with Venmo, PayPal, and Google Wallet. Your recipient will need to sign up with Dwolla, too.

Google Wallet

You can send and receive money via Google Wallet if you have an existing Google account. If not, you’ll need to sign up, and then you can link your bank account or debit card to your account and use them to send money to any email address. Gmail users can even send money in email messages.

You can also keep a balance in Google Wallet and link that to a Google Wallet card, which you can use to make purchases and ATM withdrawals. Some merchants and phones also support a Tap and Pay function that lets you keep your real wallet in your pocket.

It’s free to send money through Google Wallet if you’re using your Google Wallet balance or a linked bank account. Otherwise, the fee is 2.9% per transaction if you’re using your debit card.

Bottom line: Google Wallet has a lot of nice extras that make it far more useful than just a way to send mobile payments. However, you won’t be able to send money using a credit card, and the debit-card payment fee is fairly high. Google’s allowance of up to 10 days for a bank transfer is also disconcerting.

Facebook Messenger

Facebook introduced a free, simple mobile payment feature to Facebook Messenger. Once you add enter your debit card information (from a U.S. bank), sending money is easy as clicking a small dollar-sign icon in Messenger, entering an amount, and tapping pay. The recipient simply has to add his or her own debit card information to receive the payment. The service is free, though it can take up to three days for banks to process.

Bottom line: Given Facebook’s expansive reach — with 1.7 billion daily active users as of 2017– its online money service could rival or eclipse Square Cash for ease of use. The fact that it’s completely free doesn’t hurt, either. Of course, you’ll have to be comfortable forking over your debit card number (the service doesn’t allow any other payment type) and both you and the recipient need a Facebook account.

Facebook does allow users to add a PIN number to ease security concerns, and all Facebook users can take advantage of login approvals that require extra verification if you’re on a different computer or mobile device.

Compare the Best Money Transfer Apps

Platforms Fees Speed Limits Keep balance in app? Other notes
Venmo iOS, Android Free for major debit cards and bank transfers or if using Venmo balance; 3% for credit cards and non-major debit cards 1-2 days $299.99 weekly for unverified accounts; $2,999.99 weekly for verified accounts Yes Facebook-like news feed shows friends’ transactions
Square Cash iOS, Android Free for personal use; 2.75% for businesses 1-2 days after first linking card; after that, usually instant $250 weekly for unverified accounts; $2,500 weekly for verified accounts No Does not support ATM, PayPal, or prepaid bank cards
Dwolla iOS, Android Free for personal use; rates up to $1,500 a month for very large businesses 3-4 days $5,000 per transaction; no cap on total sent Yes Supports bank transfers only
PayPal iOS, Android, Windows Phone Free bank and balance transfers for personal use; 2.9% 30 cents for debit and credit cards or businesses 3-4 days $10,000 per transaction; no cap on total sent per verified account Yes Allows international transactions
Google Wallet iOS, Android Free bank and balance transfers; 2.9% for debit cards. Up to 3 days for balance and debit cards;

3-10 days for bank transfers

$10,000 per transaction; $50,000 per 5-day period Yes Integrates with Gmail; can get Google Wallet card to pay with balance; no credit cards
Facebook Messenger iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry Free 1-3 days Unknown No Supports debit cards only

 

Apps to Send Money Through Your Bank

Most banks are also streamlining the process of sending money to others regardless of where they bank, though. Here’s a rundown of your peer-to-peer payment options at some of the nation’s major retail and online banks. Most of these services are free for customers and available via each bank’s mobile banking app.

  • Ally: If you bank with Ally, you have free access to Zelle, which allows you to send simple mobile payments to anyone as long as you have their phone number, email address.  It’s free and links to your Ally accounts.
  • Bank of America: Bank of America uses clearXchange for peer-to-peer payments via its online banking portal. Under the transfers tab, customers can select a “send money” option and enter the recipient’s email address or phone number. If the recipient isn’t receiving money through a participating bank, they will have to register with clearXchange.
  • Capital One 360: The Person2Person service lets Capital One 360 checking customers send money to anyone with an email address. The money is available almost immediately if you send it to another Capital 360 customer; otherwise, it takes up to two business days.
  • Chase: Chase QuickPay allows Chase customers to send and receive money for free. (Non-Chase customers can also use the service to send money if the recipient has a Chase checking account.) All you’ll need is a valid email address and the email address of the other party.
  • U.S. Bank: U.S. Bank is also partnered with Zelle and allows customers to send money to anyone with an email address, phone number, or valid bank account.
  • Wells Fargo: Wells Fargo customers can access Wells Fargo SurePay under the transfers tab of their online banking portal. They can send mobile payments to anyone with an email address or phone number in one to two business days. Recipients will be required to register with the service to receive the payment.

Don’t see your bank listed above? Check its website to see if it offers some sort of peer-to-peer payment service. Remember, this may be your cheapest way to send money since most banks don’t charge their customers for these services.

Best International Money Transfer Apps?

If you need to transfer money internationally, the good news is that many apps to send money support international money transfers. Here is a list of some of the most popular apps that can send money internationally:

 

  • PayPal/Xoom: PayPal does allow for international transactions. It works through Xoom, a PayPal service. Fees vary by country and amount you send. Xoom has a customized fee calculator.      

 

  • TransferWise: This popular app specializes in overseas transactions. In fact, the company even introduced abotthat allows Facebook Messenger to handle international transactions. This system also uses a rate calculator based on where and how much money you send.

 

  • OFX: The OFX app is a big name in sending money internationally.  You can do transfers directly through your bank account or set up ACH direct debit.  Since international exchange rates fluctuate, you can check out OFX’s rate calculator.

 

 

 

 

There Are More Ways to Send Money Than Ever Before

Whether you need to send your friend $25 for a concert ticket or your contractor $5,000 for a hefty home repair, there’s an app that’s up to the task.

In fact, the most difficult part of sending money these days may be convincing the recipient that the service is legit — PayPal, Google, and Facebook may be the only companies on this list with widespread name recognition. Assuming you can get friends and family on board, any of the apps I profiled above are great choices for a simple mobile payment.

Money Transfer App Rates: Summed Up

App US Transaction Fee
Venmo 0-3%
Square Cash 0%
Dwolla 0%
PayPal 2.9%
Google Wallet 2.9%
Facebook Messenger 0%

Related Articles:

 

Editorial Note: Compensation does not influence our rankings and recommendations. However, we may earn a commission on sales from the companies featured in this post. To view a list of partners, click here. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by our advertisers. Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate info, however all information is presented without warranty. Consult our advertiser's page for terms & conditions.