What to Know Before Getting Started
Which Money Transfer App Is The Best?
If you own a smartphone, you’ve probably heard one of these phrases from someone asking you to pay them back. Whether you’re splitting a check, covering rent, or paying someone back for tickets, mobile money transfer apps have made peer-to-peer electronic payments instantaneous, free, and precise. In fact, using your phone to send money to other users has become so commonplace that the market has been flooded with numerous services that all promise to be the only payment tool you need.
Choosing Wrong Could Cost You
You might think that any app is fine as long as it lets you send money from one bank account to another. But some options are worse than others. When you attach your debit card to a mobile app, you are authorizing the company behind it to freeze your account if it suspects fraud. This can leave your money stuck in limbo for weeks or even months. Furthermore, person-to-person payment apps come with varying levels of security, user friendliness, and customer service.
Find the Best
This list of the top mobile apps for sending money will help you choose the best app for your needs. The apps on this list are on the cutting edge of peer-to-peer (p2p) payment processing and will make paying your friends easier than ever. Please note that although many of these apps have upgraded payment plans intended for businesses, their base account settings are set up for personal, not commercial, use. If you’re a business owner trying to accept electronic payments from your customers, see our list of the Best All-Purpose Merchant Accounts instead.
Our unbiased articles are supported in part by helping you find highly reviewed merchant accounts. You can learn more here.
Why These Merchant Account Providers
What Is Venmo?
Venmo (venmo.com) is a personal cash transfer service owned by Braintree Payments and PayPal. One of the most popular money transfer apps, Venmo enables users to make direct bank (ACH) transfers or card payments to one another using iPhone or Android devices. Bank and debit transfers are free through Venmo, but the service charges a per-transaction fee of 3% on credit card payments. Venmo has also recently launched a feature that enables businesses to accept payment from Venmo users within those businesses’ mobile apps.
How Does Venmo Work?
The process for sending funds through Venmo is simple. First, the user opens the app using either their phone’s biometric scan or a PIN and enters the Venmo username, phone number, email address, or Twitter handle of the person they wish to pay or charge. The user then specifies the type of intended transaction via a Pay/Request button. Then, the user enters the amount to be paid or charged and provides a brief note describing the transfer (similar to the “Memo” line on a paper check). After the user initiates the payment, the money is sent, and confirmation is sent via email to both parties.
CPO gives Venmo a “B” rating overall. The app isn’t perfect, largely due to poor response times following fund holds, but it’s hard to match Venmo’s ease of use and rapid adoption among smartphone users. Venmo’s built-in social media elements are more annoying than they are useful, but they represent a fairly minor drawback. The BBB gives Venmo an “A” rating at this time.
What Is PayPal?
PayPal (paypal.com) is a multinational payment processing company that owns Braintree Payments and Venmo, among other services. One of the first major e-commerce alternatives to a conventional merchant account, PayPal enables merchants and individuals alike to accept payments and transfer money between dedicated PayPal accounts which can then be cashed out to a conventional bank account. PayPal allows personal users to send and receive payments from a linked bank account for free, but it charges 2.9% per transaction for payments send via credit card, debit card, or PayPal Credit. PayPal also offers a wide array of payment processing services for businesses, including a mobile card reader called PayPal Here.
How Does PayPal Work?
Although PayPal got its start as a web app, the company’s smartphone app for iPhone and Android enables users to send money from their PayPal account to another user’s PayPal account by entering either the recipient’s email address or phone number. Once the transfer arrives, the recipient will receive a notification and be able to withdraw the amount from their PayPal account to a conventional bank account with only a few taps.
CPO gives PayPal a “B” rating overall, but this rating more accurately applies to its vast array of business products and services than its money transfer app. PayPal is a household name at this point, and its only two major drawbacks are the fact that users must transfer money in and out of their PayPal accounts and the company’s notoriously slow customer service team. PayPal is a reliable, if unspectacular, money transfer option for users. The BBB gives PayPal an “A-” rating.
What is Google Pay?
Launched in February 2018, Google Pay (pay.google.com) is a service from Google that combines the company’s Google Wallet and Android Pay services into one app. Google Pay enables users to send peer-to-peer payments (via a sub-service called Google Pay Send), make in-app purchases, buy from websites, store loyalty and rewards cards, and make NFC payments in-store at participating retailers. Google plans to eventually integrate Google Pay into all of its products, including Google Chrome and Google Assistant. It is currently available for iPhone and Android devices.
How Does Google Pay Work?
Google Pay can store debit and credit card information from most major banks, and it can also store a user’s PayPal account details. To send or request money, users simply visit the Google Pay website or open the Google Pay Send app, enter a name, email address, or phone number, specify the amount being transferred, and send it. The service can be used to purchase products on e-commerce websites for free, and it does not add fees to in-store purchases above the fees that automatically come with processing a customer’s linked cards. In other words, it is free for anyone to use at any time. Google Pay’s peer-to-peer payment service only works with debit cards and does not allow credit card transactions.
Google Pay Reviews
CPO gives Google Pay an “A” rating overall, but the product is still very new. Early indications such as the service’s ratings in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store are positive, and our initial impression is that Google is a simple, cheap, convenient money transfer option for people who are regularly logged into Google’s product ecosystem. Time will tell whether the app has the ability to compete with heavy hitters like Venmo and Square Cash.
Other Merchant Account Options
The providers below may not have been researched as thoroughly or may lack a quality that prevented them from being listed above. We have listed them to provide a broader view of potential merchant account options. Are you a decision maker with your company and want to be listed on this page? Tell us here.
What is Square Cash?
Square Cash (cash.app) is a cash transfer service launched by mobile payment processing giant Square in October 2013. Like Venmo, Square Cash allows individuals to directly send cash amounts to each other via email or within a dedicated mobile application using a linked debit card. It also enables businesses to get paid through the app for Square’s usual price of 2.75% per transaction.
How Does Square Cash Work?
The process for making payments is simple: download the company’s Square Cash app from the Apple or Android app store, create an account, enter the amount you want to send or request, select a recipient or payer, and hit send. An email will be sent to the recipient’s email address immediately, notifying them of the payment, and the transaction will process within two days. All personal transfers through Square Cash are processed for free. Alternatively, when filling out an email, write the recipient’s email address in the “To” field, write “[email protected]” in the “CC” field, and write the dollar amount being sent in the “Subject” field. Any additional notes concerning the transaction can be included in the body of the email. Square will then send an email asking you for your debit card number. Providing your debit card number completes the account setup process.
Square Cash Reviews
CPO gives Square Cash a “C” rating overall due to a large influx of user complaints that we have received related to fund holds and poor customer support. These issues echo thousands of complaints filed against Square overall because the company has never committed to establishing a full-time customer support phone line for users and non-users. The Square Cash app itself is as well-designed as any of its competitors, but the user experience suffers from the poor service offered by its parent company. The BBB gives Square an “A+” rating overall.
What is Circle Pay?
Circle Pay is the peer-to-peer payment service offered by Circle Internet Financial (circle.com), an international money transfer service that uses bitcoin as its currency protocol. Circle Pay enables its users to pay each other via linked bank accounts, debit cards, or credit cards. However, Circle does not allow users to buy and sell Bitcoin, but it does provide free cross-border payments between users with instant conversion from Bitcoin to dollars.
How Does Circle Pay Work?
Circle Pay’s user-to-user payments interface resembles Venmo in that it organizes payment relationships by text message threads. In other words, you simply open a conversation with your intended recipient, set your payment options, and click send. Circle allows users to send and receive money for free using a linked debit card. It also allows users to send money between currencies at a locked-in bitcoin exchange rate for no additional fee.
Circle Pay Reviews
CPO gives Circle an “A” rating overall due to the generally positive feedback it receives from users. The service is a viable way to send payments for free and has a lot of potential for users who need to send and receive payments in different currencies. The only drawbacks of Circle are its much smaller user base compared to Venmo, PayPal, and Square Cash, as well as its reliance on the bitcoin protocol, which some users may not be comfortable with. The BBB gives Circle an “F” rating overall, due largely to the fact that the company appears to be completely ignoring some complaints filed to the BBB.
What is Western Union?
Western Union (westernunion.com) is a money transfer and communications company based in Meridian, Colorado. As the inventor of the wire transfer, Western Union is best known for its bank transfer, money order, bill payment, and gift card services. Western Union now offers the ability for users to send and accept domestic and international ACH payments online through its web app, and its smartphone app for iPhone and Android allows users to schedule wire transfers to most Western Union locations.
How Does Western Union Work?
The Western Union app can process bank-to-bank money transfers, debit or credit card payments, or conventional Western Union money orders for varying fees. Users simply navigate the app to select with method they prefer and see the amount they will be charged. Western Union’s fees vary based on the service selected, but the app does not appear to have a free option.
Western Union Reviews
CPO gives Western Union a “C” rating overall due complaints from users about fraud and poor customer service. However, Western Union has established a reputation as one of the fastest ways to get cash to someone in another state or country if you are willing to pay a higher-than-average fee. Western Union is not a good app for casual, everyday money transfers such as splitting a bill, but it could be a handy option to have for emergency situations or international payments. The BBB gives Western Union an “F” rating overall due to government action taken against the company.
If you know of an app that we should include on this list, please leave a comment in the comment section below or contact us through our contact page.