With the rise of online payment apps, sending money online has never been easier.
Whether you’re splitting the dinner bill among friends or sending money to family abroad, there are a number of ways to make financial transactions safely, efficiently and, in many cases, for free.
But which service should you choose? Picking the one that best suits your needs depends on a few factors, including how much money you want to send and where you need to send it. Here’s what you need to know about how to send money online.
Best Ways to Send Money Online
- Square Cash
- Google Wallet
- Western Union
How to send money online
Sending money online can eliminate the need for carrying around a checkbook or a big wad of cash. However, not all online money transfer applications are alike. Most have limitations on how much money you can transfer to another person, and many won’t let you send money abroad.
For domestic transfers, mobile apps like Venmo and Square Cash that link directly to a bank account or a debit or credit card can post the transfer within minutes, straight from your phone. For international money transfers, services like Western Union or MoneyGram allow you to send money across the globe, though additional fees often apply.
If you’re looking for a convenient way to send money within the U.S. from your computer or phone, there are a number of options to choose from:
- PayPal: One of the oldest online money transfer services, PayPal allows you to make free transfers in the U.S. when you use a linked bank account or PayPal balance. However, a fee (2.9 percent of the sent amount, plus an additional 30 cents) applies if you’re paying with a debit or credit card. The maximum amount you can transfer is $10,000. The service is available online and as a mobile app. PayPal is also available internationally. However, restrictions and fees apply to recipient countries. Check the PayPal website to learn more about those fees.
- Venmo: This is one of the most popular ways to make mobile transfers, and it’s owned by PayPal. Venmo bills itself as a “free digital wallet.” The service is free if you link your Venmo account directly to your bank account or debit card. However, a standard 3 percent fee applies to credit cards. Venmo has a cap of $2,999 per transfer, per week. In addition to sending payments, users also can request money from other users.
- Square Cash: This app allows users to make both personal and business payments. As with Venmo, personal payments are free, except by credit card, which incurs a 3 percent fee. For business payments, a 2.75 percent fee (paid by the recipient) applies.
- Google Wallet: This app allows you to sync your account with other Google accounts, including Gmail, so you can send payments as attachments via email. Sending money directly from your bank account is free, but sending money using a credit or debit card incurs a fee of 2.9 percent per transaction. The maximum amount you can send is $9,999 per transfer.
International transfers and wire services
If tech solutions like Venmo and Square Cash aren’t for you, or if you need to send money abroad, you might want to consider a more traditional service to wire funds.
Fortunately, these days you don’t need to leave the house to wire money around the world: Most money transfer services, like Western Union or MoneyGram, now offer online platforms that let you send payments directly from your computer or smartphone. However, keep in mind that international money transfers are subject to both a transaction fee and costs associated with currency exchange rates.