Need to send money to a relative, friend, or someone else in a jiffy? Whether it’s to cover a financial emergency, repay a loan, or complete a business transaction, it’s easier than ever to send money online at the tap of a fingertip. Even better, there are several cost-efficient options to get the job done. Read on to explore the cheapest platforms and ways to send money online, along with a detailed description of what each of these entities has to offer.
Cheapest Options to Send Money Online
Formerly known as Square Cash, Cash App is an online platform that makes it easy to send money online or via your smartphone in just seconds. You can sign up using your mobile number or email and start sending money right away.
Transfers are limited to $2,500 per week, and you can only send money using your CashApp balance, bank account or debit card. If you’re more comfortable with uploading funds and initiating transfers using your balance, you can only do so from a debit card. You should also know that ATM, business debit cards, PayPal, prepaid bank cards are not acceptable payment sources.
To initiate a Cash App transfer:
- Open Cash App on your mobile device.
- Enter the amount you wish to pay.
- Select the “Pay” button.
- Enter the $Cashtag, email address, or phone number of the intended recipient.
- Specify the reason for the payment.
- Select the “Pay” button again.
Assuming the recipient has a Cash App account, the proceeds will appear right away and they will be notified. Otherwise, they will need to set up an account to retrieve funds from the transfer.
Facebook Messenger isn’t just a place to communicate with friends and family. You can also send money for free using a bank-issued debit card or PayPal account.
It’s as easy as:
- Opening a chatbox and selecting the intended recipient from your friend’s list.
- Selecting the “Pay [friend’s name]” from the dropdown menu and clicking next.
- Inputting the amount you wish to pay and clicking “Next”.
Although transfers are processed right away, it may take up to 3 business for your recipient to access the funds. It depends on when your bank or PayPal decides to release them.
Google Pay allows you to send up to $10,000 at once or in a seven-day window free of charge. (If you live in Florida, transfer are limited to $3,000 per day). But keep in mind that if the recipient is receiving over $2,500, they’ll need to link a bank account to their profile to receive the proceeds.
You can send money using Google Pay by taking the following steps:
- Visit pay.google.com from your desktop or laptop.
- Select “Send or request money” followed by “Send money.”
- Input the amount you wish to send.
- Input the name and phone number or email address of your intended recipient.
- Confirm the accuracy of your entries and select “Send”.
Transfers initiated via debit card or your Google Pay balance should be received right away. However, bank account transfers may take a bit longer.
PayPal is one of the more popular ways to quickly send money online for little to no fee. If you don’t yet have a PayPal account, you’ll need to register to initiate a transfer.
It’s free to send money to friends and family within the U.S. if you’re using a linked bank account, PayPal Cash, or PayPal Cash Plus balance to fund the transaction. But if you plan to use a debit card, credit card, or PayPal credit, a 2.9 percent fee applies for domestic transfers.
The amount you can send will be listed on your dashboard. But if you’re a Verified account holder, there’s no limit on transfers.
Need to send money internationally? You can use Xoom to get it done without all the hassle. More on that shortly.
With Popmoney, you have two options to send money: through their website or your bank’s online portal. (You can look up your bank using this online tool). You can send money from your debit card or bank account, but the following limits and fees apply:
- Debit card- $500 daily (or $1,000 every 30 days) for a fee of $0.95 per transaction
- Bank account- $2,000 daily (or $5,000 every 30 days) for a fee of $0.95 per transaction
It only takes three simple steps to complete a transfer:
- Visit Popmoney.com or log in to your bank’s online portal and find the PopMoney transfer option.
- Input details about the transfer, and include the intended recipient’s mobile phone number or email address along with the amount you wish to send.
They’ll be notified right away about the transfer and receive the funds in their bank account by the next business day (debit card transfers) or in three business days (bank account transfers).
Venmo is another online platform that you can use to send money online without spending a fortune. In fact, transfers initiated from your Venmo balance, bank account, or debit card are free. But if you wish to use your credit card to transfer money, a 3 percent fee applies.
A transfer limit of $299.99 weekly does apply when you start using Venmo. But once your identity is verified by the platform, the limit increases to $2,999.99 weekly. Even better, it’s free to send money.
You can send money through Venmo by:
- Signing up via their website or downloading the mobile app.
- Selecting your funding source (i.e. Venmo balance, bank account, debit card, credit card). If you’d prefer not to send funds directly from your bank account, debit card, or credit card, you’ll need to load your Venmo account before moving forward.
- Select a recipient using their email address or phone number. If they’re not yet in the system, they will receive instructions on how to move forward.
- Complete the transfer.
Your intended recipient will receive the funds in as little as a few hours but no longer than two days. However, it could take longer if they are a new user.
Zelle allows you to send money through your banking app or its exclusive app if your bank has not yet partnered with them. Not sure if your bank is in their network? Visit this page to conduct a quick search.
Transfers are free through the mobile app. However, your bank or credit union may assess a small fee if you use the service through their online portal.
To send money through Zelle:
- Download the mobile app or access the service directly through your banking app (if your bank is a partner in their network).
- Input the mobile number or email address of the intended recipient.
- Specify the amount you wish to send from your bank account.
- Transfer the funds and you’re all set.
If the intended recipient is enrolled with Zelle, they will receive the money in their bank account in just a few minutes. Otherwise, they’ll be prompted to sign up and secure proceeds from the transfer.
Compare Your Options
|Cash App||$0||$2,500 weekly|
|Google Pay||$0||$10,000 per transaction
$3,000 daily (Florida resident only)
$10,000 per week
|PayPal||$0 if sending money to family and friends using
using a linked bank account, PayPal Cash, or PayPal Cash Plus balance
2.9 percent fee applies for debit card, credit card, and PayPal credit transfers
|Varies by user
Unlimited for Verified accounts
|Popmoney||$0.95||$500 daily or $1,000 every 30 days for transfers initiated using a debit card
$2,000 daily or $5,000 every 30 days for transfers initiated using a bank account
|Venmo||$0 for transfers from your Venmo balance, bank account or debit card
3% for credit card transfers
|$299.99 weekly for new account holders whose identity has not been verified
$2,999 weekly for all others
|Zelle||$0 for mobile app transfers
Fees may apply through your bank or credit union
|$500 weekly through the mobile app
Varies if initiated through your bank or credit union
Cheapest Option for Large Transfers
Bank Wire Transfer
Looking to transfer a large sum of money at once and have already exhausted all the free options? A bank wire transfer may be the most cost-efficient option. Fees vary by financial institution, so you’ll want to inquire with your bank or credit union before moving forward.
Cheapest Options For International Transfers
MoneyGram makes it simple to send money abroad to over 200 countries and territories directly from your credit card, debit card, or bank account. To estimate the applicable fees, visit the homepage and type the receiver’s country and the amount you want to send in the online form.
Get started by:
- Creating an online account if you don’t already have one.
- Entering your recipient’s name, transfer amount, and specifying how they wish to receive the funds.
- Inputting your payment source and send the funds.
Even better, you get to choose how quickly the funds arrive. But keep in mind that a substantially higher fee may apply for rapid international transfers.
With over 20 years of experience, OFX prides itself on a rapid transfer rate of 24 hours on 80 percent of its major currency transfers. You can register with OFX online by creating a personal account. Fees vary by transfer, but they boast some of the lowest exchange rates in the industry.
Xoom, a PayPal service, gives you the option to send money abroad to a bank account, a partner location for pickup, or your intended recipient’s doorstep. As with most international transfers, fees vary by destination and delivery method, and you can get an estimate by using the tool found at the bottom of the home page.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re looking to send money online domestically or abroad, there are several low-cost options to choose from. But before you move forward with a transaction, be sure to read the fine print to confirm any applicable fees, along with transfer limits that may apply.