The Best Apps to Transfer Money
MIN READ 4
If you're looking for the best money transfer apps, there are a lot to choose from these days. Sending funds through your phone has never been easier.
With so many choices, the best apps to send money often come down to what you're trying to do.
Do you need to split a bill with your friends around the corner? Or do you need to send an international transfer to a family member overseas?
Do you need a popular app that most people will have? Or are you trying to connect with a specific business for a single payment?
This post will walk you through some of the best apps to transfer money and what each one is most commonly used for.
The 13 Best Apps for Transferring Money
PayPal is the flagship of money transfer companies. You can use PayPal to send money to just about anyone with an email address in over 200 countries around the world.
For example, you could donate to a PayPal Pool your niece set up for her Girl Scout project, or you could send your kid the cash they need at college—even if that college is halfway around the world.
You can even use PayPal.Me to take credit card payments for your business.
PayPal is more than a money transfer service. It's a virtual wallet. You can keep cash in it, or you can connect your bank account, credit cards, or debit cards to make direct payments.
When you use PayPal for transfers, you can send money directly from any of your connected payment methods. (Bank transfers are free. Debit and credit card payments come with fees.)
For a one-stop shop that can do just about anything and transfer funds anywhere, PayPal is still the industry leader.
Venmo is what you get when you make paying for things a social event. The champion of peer-to-peer payments, Venmo lets you catch up with your friends by spending money.
What could be more twenty-first century than that?
When you sign up for the service, you have to choose your privacy settings, giving you the option to broadcast your payments to your friends or even the world. (Like Twitter, but with money.)
You can also keep your purchases private, but Venmo is known for its social payment feeds.
For example, your feed might show your friends where you're eating lunch, what movie you rented for the weekend, who you split dinner with, and where you had coffee later.
You can even add emojis and stickers, just for fun.
Like PayPal, which owns Venmo, the app is a virtual wallet that can link bank accounts and credit cards. Unlike PayPal, any linked bank account has to be in the U.S.
At the time of this writing, credit card payments come with a 3% transaction fee. Bank account and debit payments are free.
3. Cash App
Cash App is a money transfer app from Square that's wildly popular with the digital generation. Formerly known as Square Cash, you can use it to send payments in or between the US and the UK.
Payments between the two countries use a mid-market exchange rate.
Cash App bridges the gap between a bank account and a money transfer app. In short, it's both. But its rise in popularity comes from two more key factors:
- Boosts — instant discounts you get for using the debit card
- Investing — the app lets you invest your money in stocks or bitcoin, even fractionally
So Cash App is a bank, a brokerage account, a money transfer app, and a coupon service, all in one.
If you need to send money to just about any member of the digital generation in the US or the UK, chances are they have Cash App. All you need is their $cashtag, phone number, or QR code.
4. Google Pay
Google Pay lets you send money in the US and India, but it allows online shopping payments in a lot more countries.
Yet again, it's a virtual wallet, letting you connect bank accounts, debit cards, and credit cards.
Google Pay also offers some basic money management tools and lets you create groups to message each other and split that dinner bill.
For discounts, you can add reward cards to your account, and it keeps track of those rewards for you as real cash you can spend, and it has plans to let users open their own Google Pay bank account.
At least for the moment, Google Pay doesn't stand out as unique in the field, but it does provide a convenient way to transfer money between its members in the US and India.
5. Apple Pay
Have you ever wished you could use your Apple watch to send someone money? You guessed it: there's an app for that.
Apple Pay works natively with every Apple device, making it extremely easy to send money through your phone (or your watch) to another Apple user.
Just use iMessages and approve the payment with your device's own security measures, like Touch ID or Face ID.
Apple Pay is a true digital wallet, so you can connect it to your bank account and credit cards. You can also use it at stores (both physical and online) around the world.
It's especially convenient for riding trains and buses in major metropolitan areas worldwide.
When it comes to payments between one person and another, you're still limited to the U.S., but you can use Apple Pay in combination with Western Union to send money overseas.
Like all the rest, Zelle has an app, but what makes this money transfer service stand apart is the fact that it's integrated into so many bank apps already.
In other words, your bank might already offer it.
Sign in to your bank's app on your mobile device or on the web to see if it offers Zelle payments. If it doesn't, you can still get the app. You just might not be able to link it to your account.
If you do have access to Zelle, and if the person you want to send money to also has a connected US bank account, you can transfer money directly from your account to theirs, often in minutes.
Western Union has long been the go-to company for sending money around the world. Today, the Western Union app makes it even more convenient.
Available for Android, iPad, and iPhone devices, as well as on the web, the app lets you send money to more than 200 countries. Pay by bank account, credit card, debit card, or even Apple Pay.
You can still send cash, even in the 21st century, but you'll have to pay at a Western Union location. Of course, the app will help you find one.
Calculate the cost of each transfer before you send it, and track your payment on your phone.
The funds are sometimes available in minutes, but international "restrictions" can extend that to a few business days, depending on the circumstances.
Walmart also offers money transfer services, both domestic and international.
If you want to send someone money within the United States, including Puerto Rico, you can send it directly through Walmart. Pay for the service at your own local Walmart, and they can pick the money up at theirs.
To send money internationally, Walmart offers service through either Ria or MoneyGram, letting the recipient pick it up at a local office.
This can be a good money-transfer solution for people who live a bit more off the grid.
MoneyGram lets you send money directly to someone's bank account, to their virtual account, to their mobile wallet, or to any one of their locations all over the world.
If you need to set up regular payments, either domestically or internationally, MoneyGram can do that too, with increasing discounts and benefits through their Plus Rewards program.
For international money transfers, OFX offers competitive exchange rates, but it can be a bit more technical to navigate.
If you're sending large amounts of money or you need a regular partner for international funds transfer, this one's worth exploring.
Like OFX, Wise offers low transfer fees and competitive exchange rates, with the advantage that it broadcasts them live on its homepage in an interactive calculator.
Enter the amount you want to send and where it's going, and the calculator will show you instantly how much the person on the other end will get, how long it will take (often just hours), and the exchange rate you'll pay.
If you want to send money internationally and you're looking for a big name like PayPal with a potentially cheaper rate, you're looking for Xoom, a PayPal service.
Enter the country you want to send money to, and Xoom will bring up a calculator to show you what your recipient will get in local currency.
If you're shopping on price, be sure to use the calculators here and on Wise to compare rates.
13. Wire Transfer
Don’t forget your bank! Available both domestically and internationally, wire transfers are still a popular choice for sending large amounts of money in a hurry.
They tend to cost a little more than other options, but most banks do offer the service.
At the end of the day, it's not just about what works. It's also about what you're comfortable with and where you'll feel most secure.
Your bank has the advantage of being a known entity. If you aren't 100% sure about the people asking you for money, be sure to consult a professional you trust.