It’s never been easier to send money online. But with so many options, it can be hard to know which online money transfer platform is best and how to send money safely to other people.
Each app, website, and payment service has its own features and fees, so the best option depends on your preferences and needs.
👉For Varo customers, it’s fast and free to send money between Varo Bank Accounts with Varo to Varo. Varo customers can also access low-cost international payments in the Offers section of the app. Varo can also easily link to many of the digital wallets listed below.
Here’s a closer look at other easy ways to send money online stateside and abroad.
PayPal is one of the oldest and most widely used ways to send money to friends and family online. Once you sign up for the service — you can use the website or mobile app — and link your bank account, you can easily send money for free. All you need is the mobile phone number or email address of the person to whom you’re sending money. It usually takes one to three business days for the funds to transfer to the recipient’s bank account, or you can pay for an instant transfer to a linked debit card.
Advantages: With more than 277 million active users, most people you know probably have a PayPal account. You can send as much as $10,000 per transaction.
Disadvantages: If you use a debit or credit card to send money, you’ll pay a fee of 2.9 percent plus 30 cents of the amount you send.
Tips: Transfers are free when they come from your bank account, so don’t waste money on fees by paying with a credit card or debit card.
Venmo, which is owned by PayPal, is another way to send money online in just a few taps. The free mobile app allows you to send up to $2,999.99 per week for free when you link your bank account, debit card, or prepaid debit card. Bank transfers typically take one to three business days, or you can transfer funds to a debit card, typically within 30 minutes, for a 1 percent fee.
Advantages: Venmo offers one of the best mobile experiences for money transfers. A sort of social network for money transfers, Venmo lets you add friends and see their transactions — but not the amounts — usually in emoji form. (Alternatively, you can mark the transaction as private.)
Disadvantages: The app is not intended for buying and selling; therefore, Venmo doesn’t provide any buyer or seller protection. Only use this platform with people you know and trust.
Tips: If you choose to send money using a credit card, you’ll pay a 3-percent fee, so use your bank account as the funding source.
Zelle is an online money transfer app that is integrated with over 200 banks and credit unions, including Varo, Chase, Bank of America, Ally, Capital One, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo. Using your bank’s mobile app, you can send money within minutes. All you need is the mobile phone number or email address of the intended recipient. Because all transfers are through your bank account, Zelle doesn’t charge any fees.
Advantages: Because Zelle sends money between bank accounts at different financial institutions, it can deliver money within minutes, making it one of the fastest ways to send money online.
Disadvantages: Like Venmo, Zelle doesn’t offer fraud protection. Send money only to people you trust, make sure your recipient’s contact information is correct before you send money, and beware of scams.
Tips: Although Zelle doesn’t charge fees, your bank might. Double-check with your bank to make sure there are no additional fees before sending money using Zelle.
Google Pay is a mobile app that lets you transfer money for free. Using the in-app mobile wallet, you can easily transfer money to someone if you have their phone number or email address. The recipient doesn’t need to be a Google Pay user. To receive the payment, they simply need to enter their bank account information or debit card number.
Advantages: Integrated with Gmail, Google Pay allows you to send or request money by clicking a dollar sign at the bottom of an email.
Disadvantages: Google Pay doesn’t allow users to link credit cards as a form of payment.
Tips: Google Pay can be used at checkout with a lot of retailers. If you are already a digital wallet user, then using Google Pay to send money online is super simple.
If you need to send money overseas, OFX is one of the more affordable options. The online currency exchange platform allows you to transfer money to 190 countries and doesn’t charge any transfer fees. It typically takes three to four business days for the funds to arrive in the recipient’s account.
Advantages: No matter how much money you send, OFX doesn’t charge any fees. Plus, the service generally has low markups on exchange rates.
Disadvantages: Although there are no transfer limits, OFX does have a $1,000 transfer minimum.
Tips: You can target future exchange rates so your money will only be sent once your desired exchange rate is reached.
Western Union is the biggest money transfer company in the world. With more than 500,000 locations in over 200 countries and territories, Western Union has a wide reach. The cheapest way to send money online internationally through Western Union is from your bank account, though you can also use a credit card or debit card. Transfers can take four to five business days.
Advantages: Western Union offers the most ways to send and deliver money internationally, and there are same-day delivery options.
Disadvantages: Fees range from $5 to $95, and the exchange rate markup can be up to 10 percent.
Tips: The recipient’s bank may charge extra fees on top of Western Union’s fees, so be sure to do your research before transferring money.
You don’t need to hit the ATM or spend time searching for your checkbook every time you need to pay a friend back for dinner or send your landlord your rent check. There are lots of ways to send money online, and each has its own pros and cons. Which one you should use depends on how and where you want to send it, so don’t be surprised if you end up using more than one.
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