Money transfer apps, also known as peer payment apps, are relatively new and are challenging traditional financial institutions such as US banks and credit unions.
You only need an iPhone or Android device and an internet connection to send money cheaply and securely to almost anyone worldwide.
Keep reading to learn how money transfer apps work and to discover the best money transfer apps to suit your money transfer needs. We look at the pros and cons of each app, its features, and who may benefit from it the most.
10 Best Money Transfer Apps
Finding the best money transfer apps is important. Our list of the best apps looked at each app’s security, usability, transfer speed, and cost to provide you with a top-notch list of services.
- Fees: $0 to transfer money from your PayPal balance or bank account; 2.9% plus $0.30 if using a debit or credit card; also 1.75% of the transaction up to $25 for instant transfers to your bank account
- Transfer speed: Instant to other PayPal users, 1-3 business days for standard bank account transfer or instant for a fee
In many ways, PayPal is the grandfather of money transfer apps. Most people will know it as it has gained popularity worldwide.
PayPal works for individuals and businesses, and since it is so widely recognized, it’s easy to get anyone on board using it.
Setting up a PayPal account is easy and painless. All you need is an email address, and once you’ve set up your account, you can add your cards for transferring money.
Once set up and connected, you can use PayPal to transfer money to and from friends and even pay for online purchases where the PayPal payment option is available.
- Recognized worldwide and accepted in millions of places
- Can pay for purchases at retailers worldwide
- Offers an option for instant transfer for a low fee
- Customer service difficult to reach
- Often freezes accounts
- Fees: Free to send and for standard transfers to your bank account; otherwise 3% fee for credit card payments and a 1.75% fee for instant transfer to your bank account
- Transfer speed: 1- 3 business days for standard or within a few minutes for instant
Venmo is so popular right now that you may have heard it used as a verb (as in, “I’ll Venmo you.”)
Besides transferring money, the app includes many awesome features, like a two-day head start on your paycheck, 3% cashback with the Venmo credit card, and the option to purchase cryptocurrency with as little as $1.
Many businesses also accept direct Venmo payments, allowing you to pay for your purchases through the app. However, you can also get a Venmo Mastercard Debit Card or a Venmo Visa Credit Card, helping you expand what you can pay for using your Venmo account.
- Easy to pay friends and family instantly
- Some businesses accept Venmo payments
- Can buy crypto or earn cash back if you apply for a Venmo credit card
- Payments can be public if you don’t change your settings
- You can’t undo a sent payment
3. Cash App
- Fees: Free to send and receive money; free standard deposits to your bank account; and 0.5% to 1.75% for instant deposits to a debit card
- Transfer speed: Instant for transfers to other Cash App users; 1-3 business days to a bank account or instant to a debit card
Cash App is more than a money transfer app. Of course, you can receive and send money just like many of the other apps reviewed here. But with Cash App, you can also use it as a bank account and receive your paycheck up to 2 days early.
It’s important to note that Cash App is not a bank. Even so, you can design and get your own Cash App debit card, buy stocks and bitcoin, and make ATM cash withdrawals. To take advantage of the free ATM withdrawals, you must have at least $300 direct deposited into the account each month.
- Offers investing options
- Can access paycheck up to two days early for free
- Can make ATM withdrawals
- Low transfer limit if you don’t verify your account
- No FDIC insurance
- Fees: Free
- Transfer speed: Instant
Zelle is a money transfer app tied to US bank accounts. Think of it as an app that bridges together accounts held at different banks, allowing you to transfer money as if they belonged to the same bank. Many banks include it in their banking apps as a free service.
All you need to transfer money to others is their email address and phone number – provided they have a US bank account, and they receive the money within minutes. If the person you send the money to doesn’t have Zelle, they will receive instructions on the steps they need to collect the funds.
- Free to send and receive money
- Works within your existing bank’s mobile app
- You don’t have to share banking information
- Not all banks offer Zelle
- You cannot transfer funds using a credit card
5. Google Pay
- Fees: Free to transfer funds to peers and your bank account, or 1.5% for an instant transfer to your debit card
- Transfer speed: Instant for peer-to-peer transfers, 1 – 3 business days for transfers to your bank account, or instant transfers to a debit card
Google Pay is most well-known for its mobile wallet, allowing you to pay when purchasing items online or contactless in-store. However, it also works for sending and receiving payments from friends and family.
Available for both Android and iOS devices, Google Pay is currently used worldwide. Transfers are free and instant, and you can withdraw funds through an ACH transfer free of charge.
Google Pay also has strong security and privacy and offers cashback deals. A business version is also available for those businesses who would like to take advantage of what this app offers.
- Allows you to pay for purchases online and in-store as well as transfer money to peers
- Free to send money to peers with the Google Pay app
- Opportunities to earn cash-back rewards
- Not all features are available on iOS
- Google Pay only accepts debit or credit cards from banks that allow contactless payments
- Fees: Depends on the recipient country
- Transfer speed: Instant to 1 – 2 working days, depending on where it’s going
WorldRemit is a money transfer app that allows you to send money from the US to more than 130 countries worldwide.
It promises low exchange rates and fees and allows you to transfer money to hundreds of different banks. Other options in the app to transfer money include cash pickup and mobile money accounts.
Most transfers take minutes to complete and use a high level of security to keep your money safe. You can easily view the exchange rates on their website. The first three transfers are free when using the code 3FREE.
- Many options for delivery of funds
- Works in a large number of countries
- Transparent pricing
- Delivery options vary by location
- Charges a markup on the exchange rate
7. Meta Pay
- Fees: No fees
- Transfer speed: Instant, but it may take 3 – 5 business days for it to post in the recipient’s bank account
Meta Pay is a payment app closely tied to Facebook and its family of apps.
You can use Meta Pay to pay for purchases wherever a Meta Pay button is present, send money to friends and family, and even donate money. It will even load your personal and shipping information from your Facebook account. There is no separate app to download and install; however, you must have a Facebook or Instagram account to use Meta Pay.
- Free transfers
- Remembers your information for future purchases
- Most people have a Facebook or Instagram account so almost anyone can accept payments
- Must have a social media account to use it
- May be privacy concerns
8. Western Union
- Fees: Varies based on where you transfer funds and how you send them
- Transfer speed: Agent pickups can be within minutes or the next business day, and direct-to-bank transfers take two to five business days
While Western Union is most commonly known for its stores, you can also use its app to transfer money. It works like physically going to an outlet – only you can do transfers from the comfort of your own home.
You can send money to bank accounts, a Western Union agent location, or a compatible mobile wallet. You can also use the app to pay bills, track transfers, and view exchange rates.
With Western Union, there’s no need to transfer money into the app. Instead, you can choose from several payment options: either link your bank account, enter your card details, use Apple Pay, or drop off cash at an agent’s location.
- Options for fast transfers
- Available worldwide
- Well-established company
- Fees vary due to many different circumstances
- Often more expensive than other options
- Fees: Depends on location and service
- Transfer speed: Instant to one to two business days
Wise, formerly known as Transferwise, is a multi-currency account that makes sending and receiving money across borders easy. The app supports over 50 currencies and allows you to transfer money cheaper and faster than traditional banks.
Wise also has a debit card, which is accepted in 200 countries and allows you to make payments in the country’s local currency. You can also get an account from 10 different jurisdictions, including the US, EU, UK, and many others.
- Many options for sending money
- No exchange rate markup
- Opportunities for instant transfers
- Fees can be high
- Customer support is hard to come by
- Fees: Depends on where and how you send the funds
- Transfer speed: Instant to a few business days, depending on where and how you send the funds
Remitly is an international money transfer app that works in 100+ currencies with many delivery options, including cash pickup transfer to a bank account or mobile wallet. Remitly uses multiple security layers to protect your information and money.
Remitly informs you of the total fees before you hit send, so you know what it costs upfront. You’ll also know how long the delivery will take to inform the recipient when they can expect the funds.
Remitly works with over 170 countries worldwide and offers new customers promotional offers to make your first transfer more affordable.
- Low fees compared to other companies
- Many options to receive funds
- Great customer service
- Pricing can be confusing depending on where you send the funds
- Not all transfers are instant
Pros and Cons of Money Transfer Apps
- Low to no fees: Money transfer apps typically have no or low transaction fees and transfer fees compared to banks.
- Fast processing times: Money transfer apps are near-instantaneous; however, this can take longer when transferring to bank accounts across borders.
- User-friendly: Most money transfer apps are easy to install and understand, making them easy for anyone to use
- Compatibility: Not all apps are compatible with each other, so you might end up having to juggle multiple apps to send and receive money to and from different people.
- Transfer times: Not all transfer apps offer instant transfers, especially when transferring across borders
Alternatives to Money Transfer Apps
If you aren’t comfortable with money transfer apps, here are some alternatives to transfer funds.
Bank Wire Transfer
You can initiate a bank wire transfer from your bank if you have the recipient’s banking information. Wire transfers cost much more than most money transfer apps, so it’s important to understand the cost before proceeding. Wire transfers usually clear by the next business day, if not the same day, if you initiate them early enough.
You can write a personal check to your recipient. The transfer takes longer because not only must you get them the check, but they must deposit it in their bank account. It can take up to a week for the funds to clear, depending on the banks, but recipients can usually use a mobile deposit to deposit the check from their phone rather than visiting a bank.
If you want a more formal and reliable form of payment, a cashier’s check is guaranteed. You must get a cashier’s check from your bank using the funds in your bank account or cash. The check is as good as cash when the recipient deposits it, so it clears instantly, which is a positive for large transfers.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do money transfer apps work?
Money transfer apps transfer money from one bank account to another using a third-party app. The apps are typically free or low-cost and offer instant transfers versus the longer processing and transfer time banks require. Most money transfer apps are available in the iOS and Android store, and some may offer additional features to help you manage your money.
How can I send money to someone instantly?
If speed is what you’re after, you can send money to someone instantly using a money transfer app.
These apps are much faster than the traditional money transfer service banks offer, allowing you to send and receive money in real-time. International transfers to bank accounts can take longer, generally taking up to one business day.
Which online money transfer app is safe?
All money transfer apps reviewed in the article above are considered safe. While such apps do their utmost to keep your money and data safe, you need to ensure you do your part as well.
Never share your passwords, and avoid using public Wi-Fi to access your account and make transfers.
Is there an app to transfer money internationally?
Yes, several apps are great for international money transfers. Since fees can vary by currency and country, check the applicable rate and shop around if you have the time.
Some apps also offer discounts on the first few transfers, which can help you keep costs even further down.
What is the best money-transferring app?
Since different money-transferring apps have different features, the best app for you will depend on what you’re after as a user.
Understand which features are important to you, such as whether the app has built-in notifications, how many business days it takes to complete international transfers, and the fees involved.
If all of your friends and contacts use the same app, you might also want to get the same app to facilitate money transfers.
Which money transfer app is the fastest?
Almost all apps listed above offer instant transfer times and international transfers within a maximum of one day.
If you are sending money abroad, check the times and fees for that country since these can vary quite a bit, especially if you send money to some exotic location.
Which money transfer app is the cheapest?
When it comes to pricing, most money transfer apps offer domestic transfers free of charge.
Apps are also free to download and use with no monthly fees. If you are sending money abroad, check applicable fees and exchange rates since these can get quite costly.
How can I send money without someone knowing?
Western Union is the most common way to send money anonymously. Since most apps don’t offer this option, this may be your only option. If you know the other person’s account information, you can have the money sent without your name attached to it.
Choosing the best money transfer apps is a big decision. Choose the wrong app and you could risk your privacy or lose money.
When we created our list of the best apps for money transfers, we considered the following:
- User-friendliness – You want an app that’s easy to use and that anyone can sign up for an instantly understand
- Security – We only named money transfer apps that use bank-level security and encryption to ensure the security of your data and money
- Low fees – Many of the money transfer apps on our list are free, with the exception of fees for instant transfers
- Speed – We looked for money transfer apps that instantly transferred funds, or at least allowed for faster transfers than the typical 2 – 5 business days
- Accessibility – We looked for apps that operated in as many countries as possible to make transferring money simple