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Published: Jul 10, 2023 23 min read

Transferring money between bank accounts used to be complicated. Today, money transfer apps offer a faster and more affordable way to pay or get paid. But with so many apps out there, deciding on the best way to send money is easier said than done.

This review breaks down seven of the most popular money transfer apps on the market. We’ll look into the pros, cons and highlights for each. Check out our buyer’s guide for tips on how to find the right app.

Our Top Picks for Best Money Transfer Apps

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Best Money Transfer Apps Reviews

Why we chose it: Venmo is a user-friendly app that lets you transfer money to others instantly. Adding a recipient is easy, making this the ideal app for payments between friends and family members.

Pros
  • Popular in the U.S.
  • Instant transfers to and from your Venmo balance
  • Links to rideshare and delivery apps
  • Easy to add a recipient and make transfers
Cons
  • 3% fee for payments from a credit card
  • 1.75% fee for instant transfers to your bank account
  • No protection for funds sent to the wrong recipient

Venmo has become synonymous with quick payments in the U.S. You might hear people say, “just Venmo me” or “I’ll Venmo that to you later.” That’s because Venmo is one of the most popular apps for fast, peer-to-peer payments. You can also link your Venmo account to some rideshare and delivery apps, including Lyft and Uber.

Venmo’s mobile app is easy to use and highly rated on both the Google Play and Apple App stores. You can link your Venmo account to your bank account or debit card to fund payments or cash out your Venmo balance. Transfers from one Venmo balance to another are free and instant. However, you’ll have to pay a 3% fee to make a payment with a linked credit card, and Venmo charges a 1.75% fee if you want to cash out and have funds appear in your bank account instantly. Free bank account transfers take one to three business days.

To find a recipient on Venmo, simply search by their username or phone number, or scan their unique QR code. Venmo uses data encryption to keep your funds and information secure. However, because it’s so easy to add a recipient, there is some risk of sending money to the wrong person. Venmo doesn’t guarantee recovery for any mistaken transfers. To make sure a new recipient is who you think they are, Venmo asks you to verify the last four digits of their phone number in the app the first time you pay them.

Transfer fee: Availability: Transfer speed:
Free between Venmo accounts, 3% with a linked credit card Available to U.S. residents Instant between Venmo accounts, instant to bank account for a 1.75% fee, or up to three days to bank account for free

Why we chose it: Zelle is as fast as PayPal or Venmo, but you don't need to maintain a separate balance in your Zelle account. Instead, you can send funds instantly from your bank account.

Pros
  • Send money directly from your bank account
  • Instant transfers
  • Send FDIC-insured funds
Cons
  • Only available in the U.S.
  • Not available with all banks
  • Limited user protections

Zelle has a reputation as the easiest way to transfer money directly to or from your bank account because it eliminates the need for a separate virtual wallet or profile. Zelle partners with major U.S. banks to instantly send and receive funds between verified accounts.

One advantage of transferring money directly from your bank account is that the money is likely insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) — unlike funds stored in your PayPal or Venmo balance, which are encrypted but not FDIC-insured.

FDIC insurance can help protect your funds in case a bank fails (up to a certain limit, at least). Thanks to that security, Zelle can be a reliable method for sending payments to people you know and trust, such as for rent, online sales or payroll. Because it’s built into your bank account, Zelle also lets you skip the step of funding or cashing out your app balance.

Each financial institution sets its own limits for sending money with Zelle. For example, if you bank with Bank of America, you can’t send more than $3,500 or make more than 10 transfers per day. Also, not all banks offer Zelle. If yours doesn't, you can still download the mobile app, but you’ll be limited to sending $500 per week.

One downside to Zelle is its lack of protection for users. It offers no protection for authorized payments — once you've sent money to someone, you are unlikely to get it back. Unauthorized payments (fraud or a hacked account) can be reported to Zelle and refunded, but this process may take time. As a result, Zelle is best for transfers between trusted friends, family or business partners. You should avoid using Zelle to send money to anyone you don't personally already know and trust.

Transfer fee: Availability: Transfer speed:
None Available to U.S. residents, offered by many banks and credit unions Instant

Why we chose it: WorldRemit lets you send money to more than 130 countries. It offers multiple ways to send money, including bank transfers and cash pickups.

Pros
  • Multiple delivery options
  • Links with most payment methods
  • Transparent exchange rates
Cons
  • Fees aren't always clear
  • Some institutions charge additional fees for pickup

If you need to send money to or receive money from family outside of the U.S., WorldRemit may be a good fit for you. The app can link to most credit and debit cards issued by Mastercard and Visa, as well as other payment apps like Klarna and Apple Pay. Transfers can be instant or take up to two business days, depending on the country.

WorldRemit charges markups on its exchange rates between currencies — but those fees aren't hidden. You can see the exchange rate in the app before you make your transfer. WorldRemit offers multiple delivery methods, including:

  • Airtime top-up: Quickly top off a prepaid cell phone plan from anywhere in the world with no fees.
  • Bank transfer: Transfer money directly to the recipient's bank account.
  • Cash pickup: The recipient picks up cash from a secure location.
  • Mobile money: Transfer money instantly to the recipient's mobile WorldRemit account.

Your first three transfers with WorldRemit are free of service fees. After that, the processing fee will depend on where you're sending the transfer and how you’re paying for it.

You'll see an overview of your fees each time you send money. There may be an extra fee if the recipient of a cash pickup uses a third party to get their funds, but that fee would be charged by the third party, not by WorldRemit.

WorldRemit lets you send up to $9,000 within 24 hours, as long as you are sending money from the U.S. Because of that limit and the inconsistent fees, this might not be the best app for routine business payments. However, WorldRemit can be a fast and secure option if you want to send money from the U.S. to a foreign bank account — whether it’s to your own account or a family member’s.

Transfer fee: Availability: Transfer speed:
Varies by payment and where transfer is sent Available in 130-plus countries Instant to two working days, depending on delivery method

Why we chose it: PayPal is an established, popular app for domestic or international transfers.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Fast domestic and international transfers
  • Business banking and crypto trading available
  • Trusted brand name
Cons
  • High transfer fees
  • Limited customer service

Founded in 1998, PayPal is one of the oldest money transfer services on the market. Today, it’s a multi-function financial platform that includes a digital wallet, currency conversions, its own credit card, and the ability to buy and sell cryptocurrency.

One of PayPal's main advantages is that it's widely recognized and accepted as a payment method. If you need to send money to a business partner, for example, you can safely assume that they're familiar with PayPal. It’s also easy to use from its website or mobile app.

For domestic personal transactions, PayPal charges a 2.9% fee plus $0.30 to send money via a linked credit card. Sending money internationally incurs a 5% fee, plus a minimum of $0.99 with a maximum of $4.99, which is more than some competitors charge.

You can send money to PayPal accounts in over 200 countries and regions.

With PayPal’s Xoom service, you can use your PayPal balance or a linked account to transfer money to a foreign bank account, arrange a cash pickup or send money as a cash delivery. You don’t need to make a separate account with Xoom — you can access it through your PayPal account to make an international transfer.

Transfer fee: Availability: Transfer speed:
2.9% plus $0.30 for credit card transfers, 5% plus $0.99 to $4.99 for international transfers Transfer to PayPal balances in many countries, Xoom service can transfer to foreign bank accounts Instant transfers between PayPal balances, one to three days for bank account transfers

Why we chose it: Cash App is a simple, straightforward app with low transfer fees. You can send money instantly as well as invest and bank through the app.

Pros
  • Resources for new investors
  • Low transfer fees
  • Fast and easy to use
Cons
  • Low weekly transfer limits without verifying your identity
  • No protection for funds sent to the wrong recipient

If you want to quickly transfer money to your bank or to another person without paying high fees, you might want to try Cash App, which lets you send and receive money for free. Instant deposits to your bank from your Cash App account incur a fee of 0.5% to 1.75%, with a minimum fee of $0.25. Alternatively, you can transfer your funds to your bank account for free in one to three days.

The multifaceted app also has other features to help you invest, bank and even file your taxes. You can sign up for the Cash Card to manage your finances through Cash App, but this isn't required for sending (or receiving) money.

When you first sign up for Cash App, your account has low transfer limits: You can send $250 within a seven-day period and receive up to $1,000 in a 30-day period. To overcome those limits, verify your identity by providing your name, birth date and Social Security number. These requirements help to improve Cash App’s security.

However, the app doesn’t guarantee recovered funds if you send money to the wrong person. Make sure you confirm your recipient’s username before you send any money.

Transfer fee: Availability: Transfer speed:
0.5% to 1.75% for bank account transfers, with minimum of $0.25 Available to U.S. and U.K. residents Instant transfers between Cash App balances, one to three days for free bank account transfers

Why we chose it: Wise offers low-cost transfers to bank accounts in roughly 50 countries. Because of its speed, affordability and high transfer limits, this service is best for routine overseas transfers.

Pros
  • No exchange rate markups
  • Low fees for most payment methods
Cons
  • Only one delivery method available
  • Can take four to five days to receive USD sent from outside the U.S.

Wise, formerly TransferWise, is an international money transfer platform available in dozens of countries. The key advantage of this app compared to others like WorldRemit or PayPal is its low fees. Wise doesn’t charge a markup on exchange rates, and its transfer fees depend on how much you’re sending, what currency you’re using and how you’re paying for the transfer.

Transfer limits vary by country but are higher in general than with other apps. You can link your Wise account to a debit or credit card, a bank account, Google Pay or Apple Pay. Transfers from cards are usually nearly instant.

Wise doesn’t offer cash pickup or other delivery methods, and bank transfers can take over a week, so this is probably not the best platform for sending emergency funds to an international traveler. However, its affordability makes it great for scheduled overseas transfers.

Transfer fee: Availability: Transfer speed:
Varies by country, starting at 0.43% Available in about 50 countries One- to two-day transfers for balances, up to a week or more for bank transfers

Why we chose it: Meta Pay has an easy-to-use chat feature and can integrate with your Facebook account, making it a quick way to send small amounts of money.

Pros
  • Built-in chat feature
  • Option to request money from multiple people
  • Integrates with your Facebook account
  • Links to your PayPal account
Cons
  • Can't link to a bank account
  • Not available on all online platforms
  • No protection for funds sent to the wrong recipient

Meta Pay, formerly Facebook Pay, is an easy way to send money through your Facebook account. Just link a credit card, debit card or PayPal account to Meta, then hit the “tap to pay” button when chatting with someone in Messenger. It’s also an easy way to make purchases on Facebook Marketplace, Instagram and other online retailers.

However, not all online retailers support Meta Pay. You also can’t make payments to or from a bank account, so it might not be as secure for large transfers as other platforms. There is no protection if you accidentally send money to the wrong person.

Meta transaction limits depend on the payment method but top out at $10,000 per transaction and per 30-day period. Transfers are instant, but depending on your payment platform, it may take up to five days before your funds are accessible.

Meta Pay does not charge transfer fees. However, according to Meta's website, you may be charged a small fee per transaction if you link your PayPal account or another third-party service to your Meta Pay account.

Transfer fee: Availability: Transfer speed:
None Available in 160 countries and 55 currencies Instant

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Other money transfer apps we considered

The apps reviewed above are all affordable, accessible ways to send money domestically or overseas. Here are a few more options we considered — and why they didn’t quite make the cut.

OFX

Pros
  • Available in over 190 countries
  • No maximum transfer limits
Cons
  • $1,000 transfer minimum
  • High markups on exchange rates

With a transfer minimum of $1,000 and no maximum limit, OFX is good for sending large amounts of money overseas. There are no transfer fees, but the app charges high markups on exchange rates. As a result, OFX may be best for businesses and professional transfers between currencies.

Western Union

Pros
  • Cash pickup available
  • User-friendly app
Cons
  • Platform feels outdated
  • Expensive for domestic transfers

Western Union used to be one of the best platforms for wiring money internationally or between U.S. banks. Today, the platform is still a popular option, but it charges higher fees for domestic transfers than some other apps, with each wire transfer costing up to $35.

MoneyGram

Pros
  • Fast transfers
  • Multiple delivery options
Cons
  • High fees when sending from a bank account or debit card
  • Online transfers limited to $10,000 in 30 days

Like Western Union, MoneyGram is a well-established platform for international transfers. It offers multiple delivery options, including transfers to bank accounts and mobile wallets. However, MoneyGram’s fees can be higher than what competitors offer.

Money Transfer Apps Guide

Most of the best money transfer apps are free to sign up and start using. That doesn’t mean you should sign up for everything on the market, though — keep things simple by picking one or two apps that fit your needs.

This quick guide walks you through how to find the best money transfer apps for your spending needs.

Main things to know before choosing a money transfer app

Money transfer apps are designed for convenience. Your app should be easy to use and fit into your lifestyle. For example, if you regularly shop on Facebook Marketplace, you might want to try Meta Pay because it automatically integrates with Messenger, letting you communicate with sellers and send payments without navigating away from the platform.

Before you sign up for a money transfer app, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you sending money overseas? If you need to send money to another country or convert U.S. dollars to another currency, look for an app with wide international availability and low exchange rates.
  • Does your recipient use the same app? Venmo, Cash App and PayPal send money from one account balance to another. If you want to send money for free through these platforms, you and your recipient both need to have accounts.
  • Do you already have a transfer app? Whether you bank with a traditional or online bank, you may already have access to Zelle. If you have a Facebook account, all you need to do to access Meta Pay is link a payment method (card or PayPal account).
  • How much money do you need to send? Most money transfer apps have daily or weekly sending limits, especially if you’re sending money overseas. Transfer limits vary from app to app.
  • Are you sending money for business or personal payments? Some apps' brand names are more trusted than others and, as a result, can seem more professional. PayPal, for example, is accepted across freelancer and entrepreneur communities, while Venmo is well-known as a peer-to-peer app.
  • Do you want to send money from your bank account, credit card or both? Some apps let you link a credit card, while others can make transfers directly to or from your bank account.

How do money transfer apps work?

All money transfer apps share the same function: transferring funds from a sender to a recipient. Some apps hold your money in a virtual wallet, while others transfer directly to and from your bank account through an automated clearing house (ACH) transfer. You can use a money transfer app to make online payments or send money to a friend.

Some money transfer apps have other functions, as well. For example, you can send and receive money with some of the best investment apps, while other apps double as cryptocurrency platforms.

What are the average transfer fees for money transfer apps?

Transfer fees vary depending on the app you use. For example, Zelle is free because it’s linked to your bank account (although your bank's standard maintenance and withdrawal fees still apply). Apps like Venmo and Cash App also offer free transfers from your account balance to your recipient’s balance.

Most apps charge a 0.5% to 3% fee to transfer funds from your account balance to your bank account through an ACH transfer. ACH transfers are sent in batches to and from your bank and sorted by an ACH operator. This process is faster and generally more affordable than wire transfers but still not free for instant transfers.

When sending money overseas, keep an eye out for exchange rate markups or additional fees for exchanging currencies.

How do I know if a money transfer app is legit?

Before you give your personal or bank account information to any app, do your research. Here are a few traits to look for to confirm that a money transfer app is legit:

  • It links with or is promoted by your bank.
  • It has positive customer reviews on third-party review websites and app stores.
  • It doesn’t charge a fee to create your account.
  • You don't need to maintain a certain balance in your virtual wallet or pay a monthly maintenance fee to keep money in your account.

If you aren’t sure about an app, it’s always safest to do more research before you sign up. Remember that even legitimate money transfer apps don't guarantee security. Many popular apps do not guarantee that your money can be recovered if you send it to the wrong recipient. Be sure to confirm the recipient's identity and verify what, if any, protections are in place before you send money to someone you don’t know.

Money Transfer Apps FAQ

How can I cash out money from transfer apps?

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Every money transfer app has its own process for cashing out. With some apps, you can send funds instantly to your bank account through an ACH transfer for a small fee. Other apps offer free cash-outs that may take up to a week to process.

Are money-sending apps safe?

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Money transfer apps are safe to use — as long as they're legitimate and well-reviewed. However, always take steps to protect yourself from fraud. Secure your app with a PIN or two-factor authentication, and always confirm the identity of a recipient before you send them money.

Which is the cheapest international money transfer app?

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Which international money transfer app is the cheapest depends on the transfer method you use and the currency you're transferring — exchange rates vary for different currencies on all platforms. Some apps are cheaper for balance-to-balance transfers and cash-outs, while others offer free currency exchanges or affordable cash pickups. Take some time to review each app's fees before using it for international transfers.

Are there age restrictions on money transfer apps?

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Some money transfer apps, like Cash App, are available to teens 13 and up. Other apps, including PayPal and Zelle, are restricted to adults over the age of 18. Venmo recently introduced a teen account for users aged 13 to 17 years old with parental permission.

What information do you need to use a money transfer app?

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Each app has its own requirements to verify your identity and start sending money. You may need to provide your full name, birth date or Social Security number. If you want to link a credit or debit card, be prepared to provide your card information. To link your bank account, you'll need your bank account and routing numbers.

How We Picked the Best Money Transfer Apps

We compared seven of the most popular money transfer apps on the market this year. To narrow down our top choices, we compared top-rated apps based on a few crucial factors:

  • Security: The best money transfer apps use encryption to protect your money and personal information. We looked for apps that are highly rated for their digital security.
  • Ease of use: The best money transfer apps should be easy to use on the go and from your desktop.
  • Low transfer fees: We looked for money transfer apps that are either totally free or charge low fees for some transfers.
  • Speed: The best money transfer apps offer instant, or at least fast, transfers between accounts. Bank transfers shouldn’t take longer than one business week.
  • Availability: We only highlighted money transfer apps that are available to all U.S. residents. For international money transfers, we looked for apps that you can use in 70 or more countries.
  • User-friendliness: The best money transfer apps are user-friendly and have high ratings on both Apple’s App Store and the Google Play store.

Summary of the Best Money Transfer Apps of 2023

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