top 10 money transfer apps

We’ve compiled a list of the top apps for transferring money in 2023. This post will walk you through the highlights, features, and costs associated with each one, taking the guesswork out of it and setting you up with the technology that works best for you.

1. PayPal

What PayPal is best for:Just about anything money-related
What you need:Bank account and/or credit card
What they need:Email address, phone number
Cost:Free for consumers, 1.9-3.5% per transaction for merchants
Speed:Instant transfers are usually a few moments, can take up to 30 minutes

Send money to friends? Shop online? Sell things on the internet? Chances are you’ve heard of PayPal. For the uninitiated, PayPal is the flagship of money transfer companies.

With a robust suite of features, PayPal can really do it all. Whether you need to send money to your pal stranded in Barcelona, you’re shopping for a new cast iron pan, or even donating to your favorite charity, PayPal can help.

For transferring money, all you need to do is link your bank account and choose your recipient — they’ll have the money in minutes. Like most third-party money transfer apps, it can take at least a day for the money to clear from your checking account.

Online shoppers rejoice — PayPal has you covered. Whether you need buyer protection at an online secondhand marketplace, help splitting your purchase up into installments with their Pay in 4 feature, or a breezy checkout experience, PayPal is an app you can trust.

If you’re operating a business, PayPal offers tons of value — you can invoice clients and offer payment plans, and PayPal.Me allows you to accept credit card payments too.

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.

For a one-stop shop that can do just about anything and transfer funds anywhere, PayPal is still the industry leader.

2. Venmo

What Venmo is best for:Sending money to friends and family
What you need:Bank account or credit card
What they need:Phone number and email address
Cost:Regular transfers are free, instant transfers are 1.75% (with a minimum fee of $0.25 and a maximum fee of $25)
Speed:Instant transfers are immediate, regular transfers are 24-72 hours depending on your bank

“No problem, just Venmo me.”

It’s a big deal when a branded service becomes its own verb in our modern, 2023 vernacular — “Venmo me” is up there with “Google it.”

By far, the biggest feature of Venmo is its ease of use. Simply sign up, connect your bank account, and voila, you’re ready to send and receive cash. Need to split the bill for sushi with your pals? Send birthday money to your little brother? Heck, even the neighbor kid shoveling driveways probably has an account. Venmo makes sending money easy.

Venmo is also 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
What Cash App is best for:Instant money transfer, online shopping
What you need:Bank account or credit card
What they need:Phone number or email address
Cost:Instant transfers are 0.5%-1.75% (minimum of $.25); 3% via credit card; 2.5% on crypto transactions
Speed:Instant transfers are immediate, regular transfers are 1-3 business days depending on your bank

Known for its hip, psychedelic-rock inspired branding and Gen Z popularity, Cash App is another money transfer app with tons of functionality. The app makes sending money to friends and family a breeze, with no fees for debit card or bank account transfers.

Formerly known as Square Cash, you can use it to send payments in or between the US and the UK. With nearly 44 million users, Cash App is definitely one of the most popular money transfer apps out there. Users can also use Cash App for discounts at certain retailers, like Crocs, DoorDash, and Shake Shack, and can check out with a single tap.

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
What Google Pay is best for:Transferring money, online shopping
What you need:Google account, bank account
What they need:Banking information, phone number
Cost:1.5% or $0.31 (whichever is higher) to transfer money to a debit card
Speed:Debit cards are often minutes (up to 24hrs); bank transactions are 3-5 business days

You might be asking yourself, “what doesn’t Google do?” With Google Pay, you can cross money transfer off that list — yep, Google does it.

Launched in September of 2011, Google Pay offers users a platform to send and receive money, pay for transactions, and keep up with their spending. The app allows for money transfers in the US and India, but it supports online shopping payments in a lot more countries.

Like several other apps we’re looking at, Google Pay also features a virtual wallet function, letting you connect bank accounts, debit cards, and credit cards.

If you’re new to personal finance, Google Pay 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. 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

Apple Pay
What Apple Pay is best for:Sending money to other Apple users, online shopping
What you need:iPhone, Macbook, iMac, or other Apple technology; bank account
What they need:Apple ID, banking information
Cost:Regular transfers are free, instant transfers are 1.5% (with a minimum fee of $0.25 and a maximum fee of $15)
Speed:Instant transfers often post immediately (up to 30 minutes); regular transfers can take 1-3 business days

If you’re a Mac user, you’ve probably seen the Apple Pay interface on your iPhone or Macbook. As a money transfer and online shopping app, Apple Pay works natively with every Apple device, making it extremely easy to send money through your phone, computer, or even your watch to another Apple user.

Want to give it a try? Sync your bank account, and then just use iMessages and approve the payment with your device’s own security measures, like Touch ID or Face ID.

Apple Pay is a bonafide 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 — just hover your phone over the credit card reader and watch the magic happen. 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.

It’s definitely a handy app, but you’re limited to sending just to other Apple users or businesses who accept Apple Pay.

6. Zelle

What Zelle is best for:Instantly sending money
What you need:Bank account
What they need:Phone number or email address
Cost:Zelle doesn’t charge any fees to send or receive money
Speed:Instant transfers (for both sender and receiver) happen within minutes

Zelle might not offer a wallet feature or give you discounts for online purchases, but when it comes to sending money to family and friends, the app is lightning fast.

Take a look at your banking app — if you bank with a major institution like Chase, Wells Fargo, or Bank of America, you’ll be able to access Zelle. What sets Zelle apart from the others is the app’s integration with financial institutions, meaning you can send and receive money in real time — there’s rarely a lag from sending money to seeing it withdrawn from your account.

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.

7. Western Union

Western Union
What Western Union is best for:Domestic and international money transfer
What you need:Bank account, credit card, debit card, or Apple Pay, or official ID if sending cash in person
What they need:Bank account, or an official ID to receive cash in person
Cost:Varies depending on amount of money and sender/recipient locale. Use calculator to estimate.
Speed:Generally minutes, can take up 5 days depending on country

Western Union has long been the go-to company for sending money around the world — they’re the old guard of the money transfer industry. Today, the Western Union app makes it even more convenient, as you’re no longer required to visit a physical location to complete your transaction.

If you need to send money to someone, you can use Western Union’s website or download their app, which is available for Android, iPad, and iPhone devices. Their app lets you send money to more than 200 countries. Pay by bank account, credit card, debit card, or even Apple Pay.

Need to send cash? You still can, 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. If you want to see how much it’ll be to shoot over $500 to your pal in Hanoi, give their estimator a try to calculate the fees.

The funds are sometimes available in minutes, but international “restrictions” can extend that to a few business days, depending on the circumstances.

8. Remitly

What Remitly is best for:International money transfers
What you need:Remitly account (requires bank account & official ID)
What they need:Bank account and official ID
Cost:Varies depending on recipient’s country; express transfer is $3.99, economy is $1.99
Speed:Express is delivered within minutes, economy is 3-5 business days.

If you need to send money internationally, Remitly is your best option. Supporting transfers to 28 countries globally and receiving from over 100 countries, Remitly gives you the best bang for your buck.

Start the process by signing up and creating an account with Remitly — from there, you can send and receive money from countries spanning 6 different continents. To send, you’ll need to provide your banking info, your personal information as it appears on your ID, and your recipient’s information, as well.

Should you choose express delivery, your recipient will have their money in minutes, and the flat fee of $3.99 is an industry best — you can look at spending much more with other traditional services.

While Remitly is currently looking to expand their services for transferring to more countries, it’s a particularly valuable tool if you’re in the United States and need to send money to friends and family somewhere overseas.

9. Wire Transfer

What wire transfer is best for:Fast money transfer, international transfers
What you need:Bank account
What they need:Personal ID
Cost:Domestic transfers are typically $0 to $35; international transfers range from $35-50
Speed:Domestic is usually same-day; international can take up to 3-5 business days.

While not technically an app, your banking institution shouldn’t be forgotten when you need to transfer money! Enter the classic wire transfer — they’re available both domestically and internationally, and they’re still a great choice if you need to send large amounts of money in a hurry.

Total transparency — wire transfers can be expensive. But remember, most banks do offer the service and it’s safe, secure, and in-house.

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *