Did you know that there are actually several apps that let you send money for free?
There are two different sections to this guide. The first section is different apps to send money within the United States — sometimes, for free!
While some of these apps offer international transfers, the second section focuses on global send-money apps.
Top Apps to Send Money in the U.S.
My wife and I use a few of these apps to send money. We like how easy it is to send digital payments for free.
Plus, digital payment apps are safer and quicker than mailing checks or money orders.
This first set of apps makes sending money to others inside the U.S. easy. Usually, these apps let you transfer money for free between friends. You will likely pay a fee if you own a business and invoice clients.
If you currently use apps to send money, you probably know about Venmo.
It’s free to transfer money to other Venmo users from these three sources:
- Your Venmo account balance
- A bank account
- A debit card
You pay a 3% fee if sending money with a credit card. The person receiving the cash never pays a fee to receive money.
Transfers usually take one business day. Venmo offers instant transfers to your bank account as well. You’ll pay a 1% transfer fee (up to $10) but can get your money in 30 minutes or less.
- Free transfers to all Venmo users when you don’t use a credit card
- Send up to $2,999.99 weekly to other Venmo users
- In-app social feed lets you see what you and your friends spend money on
With WorldRemit, you can send money to your region (same currency) for free. Current offer: Your first three are FREE!
When you send, you have several different funding options:
- Direct from your bank account
- With your debit or credit card
- Using pay companies such as iDeal, SOFORT or INTERAC
Once again, it’s totally free to use WorldRemit to send money within your region. You can send money to others in the U.S. if you also live in the U.S., for instance.
- Most transfers arrive instantly
- It’s free to send money within your region
- Multiple send options from cash pickup to credit card
- The easy-but-safe identity verification process
- You can use WorldRemit to send overseas too
- YOUR first three are FREE
Wise, previously known as TransferWise, lets you transfer large amounts of money when you and the recipient have bank accounts. You can send up to $50,000 daily and $250,000 annually for personal transfers.
You can send money in the US and internationally with Wise. In most countries, converting the currency takes up to two days. But the money can also take at least one more day to reach the recipient’s bank account.
Wise deducts the fees from the amount you transfer instead of charging you a transfer fee. Let’s say you send $1,000. The person receives slightly less than $1,000 because they “pay” the cost instead of you.
If the person you send money to doesn’t need the money fast, Wise is possibly the cheapest way to send money abroad. This is mostly because they use a more favorable exchange rate.
- Pay the mid-market exchange rate, which means the recipient can get more money
- High daily transfer limits
4. Cash App
Simply known as Cash App, you only need an email address and a debit card. Unlike many other send-money apps, you don’t have to create an account to send or receive money. You can either use the mobile app or website to send money using Cash App.
However, creating an account gives you access to more free features. These include paycheck direct deposit and a free Cash App Visa debit card.
The Cash App debit card lets you enjoy “cash boosts” to earn cash back on select purchases. For instance, you can activate offers to save money at restaurants or grocery delivery.
Cash App sends you a debit card to get these offers. This card can also make ATM withdrawals.
- Don’t need to create an account to send or receive money
- You can enroll in free direct deposit
- Bonus cash rewards with a Cash App debit card
- Can send up to $2,500 weekly with a verified account. (You can only transfer $250 weekly for unverified accounts.)
Learn More: Cash App Review
5. Google Pay
You can use Google Pay to send money to friends with a debit card, bank account, or Google Pay balance. You can also use the app to pay for online and in-person purchases. Plus, it’s possible to link your PayPal account to fund your purchases.
To send money to friends, you only need their email address or phone number. Your friend doesn’t need to be a Google Pay user or even have a Gmail account. To limit fraud, all transfers are protected by Google.
You can send up to $10,000 per transaction. This amount is impressive, as other apps might only let you send a fraction of that amount. But your friend needs to link their bank account if you send more than $2,500 at once.
With an Android phone, you can send money directly from the Contacts app. Also, you can send money from the text messaging app on your Android or iOS device. But you may have to download the Google Pay app first.
- Works with almost any email address or phone number
- Can send up to $10,000 per transaction
- Integrates with Android device Contacts and Messages apps
- It has an iOS app
Not too long ago, bank mobile apps only sent money to other customers of the same bank. Now that’s changed. While not every bank lets you send money to non-customers, most of the big banks do.
Zelle is the app that most of the largest national and regional banks use. Some credit unions partner with Zelle too. You can send cash to your friend’s email address or phone number for free.
If your friend hasn’t enrolled with Zelle yet, they must enroll to receive payment. It can take up to three days to register and receive the deposit. However, for future deposits, the payments are almost instant.
Your bank’s mobile app may have a Zelle button. A second option is downloading the Zelle app and linking your bank account. Joining is free even if your bank isn’t a Zelle partner.
Each bank has different daily transfer limits. If your bank doesn’t use Zelle, you may only be able to send up to $500 weekly.
- Free to send money to almost any U.S.-based email address or phone number
- Can send money even if your bank doesn’t use Zelle
Because PayPal is one of the first digital wallets, many people trust its brand name.
Plus, if you make money with PayPal, you can transfer your current balance to friends for free. Sending money to other countries incurs a transfer fee of at least 99 cents.
It’s free to send money with PayPal with these two accounts:
- Current PayPal balance
- Your linked bank account
PayPal charges you 2.9% of the balance if you fund the transfer with a credit card, debit card or PayPal Credit. For example, you pay $2.60 when you transfer $100.
You must also select “Sending to a friend” to avoid the transfer fee. Otherwise, your friend incurs the 2.9% plus 30-cent transfer fee.
PayPal handles the transfer as a business transaction with purchase protection. “Sending to a friend” isn’t the default setting; you must manually select this option each time.
For these transfers, your friend must also have a PayPal account to accept the transfer.
- Universal brand name recognition
- Free transfers from your PayPal account or linked bank account
Sending money with Walmart Pay isn’t going to be the cheapest option. But it can be convenient since many towns have a local store. In fact, there are more than 5,000 stores in the United States alone. Plus, you can send money to international locations, too.
You can fund your money transfer from your bank account, credit or debit card. Sending money from your bank account is cheaper, but the transfer can take three or four days. With a credit or debit card, the transfer takes only a few minutes.
The receiver can get their money at most Walmart money centers in the U.S. Before you send, make sure their local Walmart accepts money transfers.
One downside to sending money with Walmart is that you can’t deposit money in another U.S. bank account. In-store cash pickup is the only redemption option.
But, as the sender, you can send it online from the comfort of your home or at your local Walmart.
As I mentioned, the fees aren’t exactly cheap. When you transfer $50 or less, you pay $4.00 to send money from your bank account. With a balance of $51 or higher, the rates jump to $8 for bank accounts. If you send the daily $2,500 maximum, you pay $16.
- Stores in most U.S. cities, so it’s easy to send or receive cash
- Transfers take 15 minutes or less when you pay with a credit or debit card
Apps to Send Money Overseas
Estimating fees when sending money overseas is a little harder. This is because you have to factor in currency exchange rates. Most apps let you estimate fees first.
So, take the time to compare the fees and currency exchange rates from at least two apps. Comparing rates allows you to find the cheapest rates to send money overseas. Also, these apps let you see how much money the other person receives after conversion fees.
Transfer fees can depend on the delivery speed and how you fund the transfer.
These apps usually offer four different delivery methods:
- Bank account deposits
- In-person pickup
- Cash delivery to the recipient’s front door
- Cell phone balance recharge
Typically, direct bank deposits are the cheapest option. However, that’s usually the slowest delivery method. If your friend needs money fast, plan on paying more for in-person pickup or home delivery. Some countries offer more rapid delivery methods than others.
Xoom is another PayPal service for global money deliveries. In most countries, the recipient can pick up the money in person or opt for a bank deposit. For select countries, you can also add funds to a person’s cellphone account.
It’s possible to send up to $25,000 per day with Xoom. But you will need to submit personal information such as a driver’s license number and a bank statement if you want to send more than $2,999 per day.
Small transfers only take a few minutes to complete. However, when you transfer more than $10,000 at a time, it can take two to three days to transfer the money.
You can pay with any of these payment sources:
- Bank account
- PayPal account
- Debit card
- Credit card
Unlike domestic money transfers, when you use a credit card with Xoom, your credit card company may charge you a cash advance fee.
If you send money overseas using PayPal, see if Xoom offers better rates and delivery methods.
- Transfer up to $25,000 daily
- Can use your PayPal account to send money
With OFX, you don’t pay transfer fees. But you should still compare exchange rates with these other apps.
You can transfer money from your bank account using account clearinghouse (ACH) direct account debits or wire transfers.
ACH account debits are cheaper but take longer to complete. This is because the money must first pass through a clearinghouse. This process is similar to online bill pay, where your payment takes up to two days to be withdrawn from your account.
On the other hand, wire transfers can be completed on the same day. This is because the bank sends your money directly to another bank. As wire transfers are more work for your bank, this option costs more than ACH account debits.
With OFX, compare the exchange rates for wire transfers and ACH debits to see the best transfer limit. OFX doesn’t charge transfer fees, yet their exchange rate can differ for each transfer type.
The minimum transfer amount is $1000 US dollars. This minimum is higher than other apps, but it’s not unreasonable. Most transfers take one or two days to complete.
Also, you can only send money to other bank accounts. If the recipient wants in-person pickup, you need to use another app.
- No transfer fees. That can save you money if exchange rates are competitive
- Can set up recurring money transfers
11. Western Union
The above apps can be cheaper and offer a similar transfer experience to Western Union.
But we’re including it because Western Union is the “gold standard” in international money transfers. It’s the largest player, with more than 500,000 agents in over 200 countries. The next largest competitor (MoneyGram), only has 350,000 agents.
If you’re not sure you can send money using these other apps, Western Union is probably the best option. Your quickest option is to pay for the transfer with a debit card.
Paying with a bank account is cheaper, but it can take a few extra days, depending on how soon your bank transfers the cash.
While the transfer fees for Western Union can be higher than other apps, they aren’t excessively high. The currency exchange rate can be worse than other apps like TransferWise.
As a quick comparison, I got quotes for sending $1,000 to Mexico. For bank account transfers, the Western Union fee was $0 versus $11.11 for TransferWise.
But with TransferWise, the recipient gets roughly 90 more pesos (using the exchange rate available when I got the quote). That’s $4.00 more in the recipient’s wallet using TransferWise.
Within the Western Union app or online website, you have these three delivery methods:
- Direct bank account deposit
- In-person pickup
- Mobile wallet deposit
If you send money to a mobile wallet app like Tigo or PayMaya, you can send up to $500 at once. This delivery method is only available for select nations.
- The largest money transfer service in the world
- Multiple ways to receive money in over 200 countries
The second-largest international money transfer service is MoneyGram. They have more than 350,000 agents in over 200 countries. Sending money using Walmart also uses the MoneyGram network.
The upfront transfer fees can be lower than Western Union and possibly other apps.
Even if you deposit the money into a bank account, the transfer fees are still very low. For instance, sending $1,000 to a Mexican bank account would cost $0 from an online bank. You pay $2.99 to transfer from a credit card or debit card.
Be sure to pay attention to the exchange rate when comparing delivery methods.
If you want to send instant payment with your credit or debit card, MoneyGram can be one of the best apps because of the low transfer fees. While they don’t offer the best currency exchange rates, they are competitive with most send-money apps on this list.
Your recipient gets a better exchange rate when you send money from your bank. They get less money if you fund the transfer from a credit or debit card.
The downside of bank account transfers is that the transfer can take up to four days.
- Second largest global money transfer service
- Low transfer fees when you pay by credit or debit card
How Do These Apps Compare?
|Apple App Rating
With these digital apps, sending money to almost anywhere in the world is quick and cheap. In the United States, it’s possible to send money for free. And it’s more secure than putting cash, paper checks, or money orders in the mail.