When you need to transfer money, it’s hard to know what the best way to do it is. Should you just use your bank account? Is PayPal still the way to go? And how do you know that your transfer is going to be safe? When transferring money using a mobile app, here are the most commonly used money transferring apps and the goods and bads.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Money Transfer App
The reason you need a money transfer is to pay someone outside of bank transfer. which often costs high fees and may take time, unless you are transferring between accounts at the same bank. Perhaps you need to pay a friend for picking up concert tickets or need to pay someone for an item you are purchasing from Craigslist, even some vendors at festivals and events will accept pay via apps. You could be paying your dog walker after they have visited each day. Here are things to consider when choosing your app:
Who You're Transferring Money To
The person you are transferring will need to have the same app to receive the funds, which may mean you need to determine together which app you'd prefer to use. If you paying someone you do not know, you should look into the policies and disclaimers of the app as to how to get your money back in the event of an issue.
Are you using the app with friends and people in your vicinity or do you need to send money abroad? International money transfer apps may automatically adjust payment exchange rates but may also charge additional transaction fees for international services.
The reason you are using a money transfer app in the first place is to skip using cash but to pay immediately, as though you were paying with cash. How long does it take for the person you are paying – or for you to receive – money online?
Number of Transfers
How often will you be using the app? If you are using it for occasion transfers, you may not need to worry but some apps have caps on how much money can be transferred each week or day.
Overview of the best money transfer apps
|Money Transfer App||Best for|
|Apple Pay||Seamless transfer between Apple users|
|Cash App||Transferring money with anyone|
|Facebook Pay||Transferring money directly to someone’s bank account|
|Google Pay||Adding gift cards and loyalty cards|
|PayPal||Sending money to users in other countries|
|Venmo||Connecting to other apps as your preferred payment method|
|Zelle||Easy transfers via mobile banking apps|
Best money transfer apps
If you’re an Apple user, Apple Pay can offer a safe and easy way to transfer and receive money right from your devices. The Apple Pay app is available on your device with no need to download anything from the App Store and is integrated into device usage to make transferring money as seamless as possible.
Apple Pay offers several ways to make purchases. Some stores accept Apple Pay as a form of payment, allowing you to make contactless payments in-person. You can also sign up for Apple Card, a credit card that offers 2% cashback on most purchases and 3% cashback for purchases made within the Apple Store and some other select retailers. Then, of course, there is Apple Cash, which is Apple’s payment solution for transferring money between users.
To send money using Apple Pay, both you and the other party will need to accept Apple’s legal agreement. After that, you can send money using the Messages app on your iPhone or other Apple device. You can transfer money from a connected bank account, or your Apple Cash balance.
Apple Pay is available on the following:
- iPhone 6 and newer
- iPad Air 2 model and newer
- All versions of the Apple Watch
Cash App offers a straightforward way to send and receive money by linking your bank account to your Cash App account. In addition to being a straightforward money transferring app, Cash App offers additional features and benefits.
To use Cash App’s primary functions, all you need to do is set up your account and enter a few details. You’ll need to know the username (also known as the $cashtag) of the person you want to send money to or request money from. Alternatively, you can use the person’s email or phone number to make the transaction. You’ll also need to enter the amount of money that you’re requesting or sending and select either the “request” or “pay” option, depending on what transaction you’re making.
Cash App offers more than just a way to transfer money, though. To use your Cash App funds outside of the app, you can request a free debit card from Cash App that can be used to make purchases both online and in stores. By using the Cash Card, you can earn instant discounts called Boosts. You can also use the Cash App to invest in stocks and even transfer your money to bitcoin.
Your Cash App account can also be thought of as an extension of your bank account. By using your Cash App account and routing number, you can receive direct deposits such as paychecks and tax returns and receive the funds up to two days earlier.
Facebook Pay makes it easy to shop, donate, or transfer money within the apps that are probably already part of your daily life. Like many money transfer apps, there are several ways that you can use Facebook Pay.
To send money directly to friends and family, you’ll use the Messenger app. This feature allows you to send or request money right in your chat messages. Before you do this, though, you’ll need to set up your preferred payment method for Facebook Pay. Fortunately, there are a few options when it comes to funding your transactions. You can add a debit card, credit card, or even your PayPal account. If you decide to change your preferred payment method, you can do so in Facebook Pay settings at any time. When you send money to someone, the money will go right into their bank account.
If you’re a regular Facebook user, you’ve likely seen at least one of your Facebook friends hosting a fundraiser for their birthday or an immediate need. You can use Facebook Pay to donate to their fundraiser or even to donate directly to a non-profit’s Facebook page.
Facebook Pay also makes it easy to make purchases within the app. You can use it to purchase items being sold on Facebook Marketplace. You may also be able to use Facebook Pay to purchase items within Facebook Shop. Facebook Pay can also be used to make entertainment purchases, such as Facebook games and in-game purchases, tickets to live events, and videos on Facebook Watch.
Google Pay could be considered the Android version of Apple Pay, with one important difference — it can be used on both Android and iOS devices. The app allows you to handle several types of transactions in one central app rather than requiring you to use several apps to manage your finances.
Google Pay works similarly to other money transfer apps when it comes to transferring money between friends and family. You can use any device (including your computer) to request or send money. There’s also the ability to set up reminders for recurring payments, which can be helpful in situations such as if you transfer a certain amount of the utility costs to your roommate each month.
Google Pay can be used to make purchases within some other apps and at some stores. When you’re using the app, you’ll be able to see which local stores accept Google Pay. You can also enter loyalty program cards and gift cards to the “Passes” section of the app. Google Pay offers the ability to add transit passes, but there aren’t many participating transit systems.
If you use an Android device, you can set Google Pay as your phone’s contactless payment app. However, Apple doesn’t allow you to do this, so if you’re using an Apple device, you’ll only be able to use Apple Pay as your contactless payment app.
PayPal has been around for over two decades, so it’s no wonder that this company is a well-known and trusted way to transfer money. As time has gone on, PayPal has added more and more features to enrich what the app has to offer.
Setting up a PayPal account is easy and free. All you need to do is create your account with your name, email address, and some form of payment information. You can choose to add either your bank account, debit card, or credit card. When you pay using PayPal, the funds will come from whichever payment method you’ve connected to the account. You can also transfer money that is in your PayPal account back to your bank account.
There are several ways you can use PayPal to transfer money between friends and family. To send or request money, you can use someone’s PayPal username, or their email address or phone number. You can also set up a PayPal.Me link to make it easier for others to find and send money to your PayPal account. Unlike some other money transfer apps, you can use PayPal to send money to people in over 130 countries. You can also create a PayPal Money Pool to allow multiple users to add money to a specific fund. Finally, if you need to make a PayPal transaction in-person, you can scan someone’s PayPal QR code with your PayPal app and send money to them immediately.
PayPal can also be used to make purchases from stores or other online vendors. Many websites offer PayPal as a payment option, allowing you to bypass entering your credit or debit card information directly. If you choose this payment option, all you need to do is log into your PayPal account, and PayPal will automatically use money from your preferred payment method to complete your transaction.
Venmo is a money transfer app that is known for its social component. With each transaction, you can add emojis, a joke, or just a description of what you’re paying for. Anyone that you’re connected with on Venmo (so, basically anyone in your phone’s contact list) can view your transactions, just as you can view theirs. However, you can also change your privacy settings if you don’t want the world to see what you’re sending and receiving money for.
Venmo allows you to move money between your Venmo account and bank account easily. By doing this, you can keep a certain amount in your Venmo account to use for your upcoming transactions. Then, when you’re ready, you can transfer the money in your Venmo account to your bank account so that it can be used elsewhere. Transferring money is free if you’re willing to wait 1-3 business days, but instant transfers do come with a 1% fee.
If you’re a frequent Venmo user, you may want to opt into setting up direct deposits to your Venmo account. By enrolling in this feature, you may be able to get your direct deposits 1-2 days sooner than you would if the money was sent to your traditional bank account. This is because Venmo posts the funds from your direct deposits to your account as soon as it receives notice from the sender of your direct deposit.
Your Venmo account can also be connected to some other apps as your preferred payment method. Some participating apps include Uber, Grubhub, Hulu, and Poshmark. Additionally, you can request a Venmo debit card to bring your Venmo account balance with you anywhere you go. This debit card features touch-free shopping and no-cost cash withdrawals from MoneyPass ATMs across the United States.
Zelle is perhaps one of the easiest money transfer apps available today. In fact, you may already have access to Zelle via your mobile banking app. Banks that participate in Zelle include Ally Bank, Bank of America, TD Bank, and Wells Fargo.
To send money with Zelle, you can either download and use the Zelle app or enroll using your participating mobile banking app. To enroll, all you need to provide is your email address or your U.S.-based mobile phone number. Once you’re enrolled, you can enter the email address or phone number of the person that you want to send money to. The person that you’re sending money to will get a notification that explains how to accept the money and complete the process.
Receiving money from Zelle is just as easy. If you’re already enrolled with Zelle, the money that was sent to you will be sent directly to your connected bank account. If you’re new to Zelle, you’ll simply click the link that is within your payment notification to start the enrollment process. Then you’ll select your bank and follow the instructions provided to enroll and receive your payment.
You can use Zelle even if your bank does not participate in Zelle’s money transfer services. To do this, you’ll need to use the Zelle app directly as opposed to accessing it through your mobile banking app. You can enroll in a Zelle account using a Visa or Mastercard debit card
Best money transfering apps summary
|Money Transfer App||Platforms||Other Features|
|Apple Pay||Apple Watch, iPhone 6 and newer, iPad Air 2 and newer||In-store purchases, credit card|
|Cash App||Apple and Android devices||Debit card, direct deposits, investing, bitcoin|
|Facebook Pay||Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger||Donating and making other purchases within Facebook-owned apps|
|Google Pay||Apple and Android devices||In-store and in-app purchases, ability to add gift cards and loyalty cards|
|PayPal||Any device||Global money transfers, store purchases, money pools for group purchases|
|Venmo||Apple and Android devices||Debit card, bill splitting, purchases through partner apps, direct deposit|
|Zelle||Apple and Android devices||Accessible via participating mobile bank apps|
Are money transfer apps safe to use?
For the most part, yes, money transfer apps are safe to use. However, there are some things to keep in mind. When sending money using the app, you should be careful to confirm that you have the email address, phone number, or username correct before you send money. If you accidentally send money to the wrong person, there’s a chance that you may not be able to get it back.
Some apps offer more protection than others, so if you’re worried about losing money with money transfer apps, you may want to consider an app that offers more protection than others.
Is there a limit on how much money I can send or receive?
Yes, many apps have limits on how much money you can send. Some apps also have limits on how many transactions you can make per day, week, or month. Each app sets its own limit, so it’s important to do your research before choosing an app to make sure that it can meet your needs. Some apps also offer the option to increase your limit by verifying your identity.
Should I keep an account balance?
This is a personal decision that only you can make. Generally speaking, you probably don’t need to keep an account balance in your money transfer app, which can pull funds directly from your linked bank account. You can also receive money via bank transfers. However, it’s a good idea to evaluate the pros and cons by reviewing the app’s information. Some apps may default to pulling money from your account balance, while others will only use your account balance in certain situations.
Why you should use money transfer apps
Money transfer apps are a great way to send and receive money quickly. In today’s world, it can simplify finances in many situations. Some situations that come to mind are:
- Splitting bills with your roommates
- Paying someone back after they purchased an item for you
- Purchasing items directly from a person or business
Money transfer apps can also provide you with other benefits, such as getting the funds from your direct deposit early and credit cards with exclusive offers.
Whether you think you’ll need it often or not, being familiar with the different money transfer apps is almost sure to be useful for you at some point in life.
The bottom line
There really isn’t much of a downside when it comes to money transfer apps. Most apps are free and easy to enroll in, and many don’t charge a fee for transactions. They can be useful whether you owe someone money or if you just want to send your best friend $10 for a coffee and a bagel when they’re having a bad day.
Money transfer apps can also be seen as a safer alternative to other payment methods. Many of the apps offer a contactless payment option with participating stores, making it easy to tap and go so you can make your payment without touching public surfaces. It can also be a nice alternative to entering your credit card information on every single website that you purchase from.
Is there one app that is better than all of the rest? Of course not. But the good news is that there is bound to be an app that will suit your needs well. And if you can’t find everything you need in one app, nothing is stopping you from having a few at your disposal.