10 Best Payment Apps of 2021

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Payment apps make it easy to make purchases, send money to friends and family, pay rent or split expenses like restaurant bills and tips with a group. And because these apps make sending money so seamless, members of Gen Z seem to prefer digital payments to more traditional methods. A recent survey conducted by Billtrust found that digital payments are, in fact, the new norm for Gen Z — 79% of Gen Zers reported using a person-to-person payment platform at least once per month, which is more than millennials (75%) and Gen Xers (69%).

Many of those Gen Zers are using Venmo — but although it may be one of the most popular P2P payment platforms, it isn’t the only option. In fact, there are more ways to send money now than ever before.

Here’s a look at the 10 best payment apps of 2021.

10 Best Payment Apps: A Detailed Look

Each of the following payment apps has excellent user experiences and features that help you send money and make payments online. Here’s a comparison of their compatibility, pay limits and fees so you can decide which one’s best for you.

Make Your Money Work Better for You

1. Apple Pay: Best for iOS Users

Apple Pay is Apple’s payment app, available for iOS users. The service also powers Apple Cash, which allows you to send and receive payments via Messages. Apple Pay is COVID-19 safe.

Compatibility Pay Limits Fees
Apple Pay is compatible with iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac devices. You can send or receive up to $10,000 per transaction during a seven-day period. Apple doesn’t charge any fees when you use Apple Pay. However, there’s a 1% fee for Instant Transfer withdrawals, up to $10.

2. Cash App: Best for Sending Smaller Payments

Cash App, powered by Square, allows you to send and receive money via $cashtag, phone number or QR code.

Compatibility Pay Limits Fees
You can download Cash App for iOS from App Store or Android from Google Play. You can send or receive up to $1,000 during any 30-day period. However, limit increases are possible for verified accounts. Cash App doesn’t charge any fees for most payments and transactions, except ATM withdrawals. In addition, Instant Deposits are also subject to a 1.5% fee in exchange for instant delivery.
Make Your Money Work Better for You

Learn more about how to use Cash App by Square.

3. Facebook Pay: Best for Facebook Fans

Facebook Pay is Facebook‘s payment app offering. You can even send or receive money from friends and family directly within Facebook Messenger and pay no fees.

Compatibility Pay Limits Fees
You can use Facebook Pay on Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and Portal. Facebook has not published any maximum transfer limits at this time. Facebook doesn’t charge any fees to transfer money to friends and family.

Learn about other ways to send or receive money on social media.

4. Google Pay: Best for Those Who Don’t Want To Send Money Via Credit Card

Google Pay is Google’s digital wallet and payment system. You can send money to individuals or even groups to split expenses, but you can’t send money from your credit card — only your bank account, debit card or your Google Pay balance.

Make Your Money Work Better for You
Compatibility Pay Limits Fees
You can use Google Pay on both Android and iOS. Verified accounts can send up to $5,000 during a seven-day period, while unverified accounts can only send up to $500. Google doesn’t charge any fees to send or receive money with Google Pay. However, there’s a fee of 1.5% if you transfer out to a debit card.

Learn more about Google Pay.

5. PayPal: Best for Those Who Don’t Want To Send Money From Credit Cards

PayPal’s app lets you send or receive money directly from friends and family. But if you’re planning to use your credit card to send money, be prepared for high fees. If you’re pooling money for a gift or splitting tips, PayPal also has a Money Pool that works with groups.

Compatibility Pay Limits Fees
You can download PayPal for Android or iOS. If your account is verified, you can send up to $60,000. There are other limits for instant transfers to debit cards. There are no fees for sending money from your PayPal balance or bank accounts. However, there’s a 2.90% fee plus a fixed fee for sending money via credit card.

6. Samsung Pay: Best for Samsung Users

Samsung Pay is the digital wallet and payment system offered by Samsung. It does let you send money to friends and family, but you will have to sign up for a Samsung Pay Cash account, and so will anyone you send money to.

Compatibility Pay Limits Fees
Samsung Pay is available exclusively for Samsung users. The app is available for Android. Lite accounts allow for up to 15 transactions per month, not to exceed $500. Full accounts allow for up to 40 transactions monthly, not to exceed $3,500. There are no fees when using a Samsung Pay or Samsung Pay Cash account.

Learn more about Samsung Pay and other contactless payments.

7. Western Union: Best for Smaller Payments

Western Union lets you send money to friends and family in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Compatibility Pay Limits Fees
The app is available for Android and iOS. The maximum send amount is $500 per day per card account. Fees depend on the transaction type, amount, currency, country of origin and recipient country.

8. Xoom: Best for Those Who Want a Money-Back Guarantee

Xoom is a user-friendly payment app offered by PayPal that lets you send money to friends and family, whether in the U.S. or abroad.

Compatibility Pay Limits Fees
Xoom is available for both Android and iOS. It depends on what country you are sending money from, what country you are sending money to and your account level. You can increase your limits by providing more account verification. Initial limits are $2,999 every 24 hours. There may be fees depending on the transaction type, payment method, currency, country of origin and recipient country.

9. Zelle: Best for Smaller Payments

Zelle is a U.S.-based payments service integrated with hundreds of bank and credit union mobile apps around the country.

Compatibility Pay Limits Fees
Zelle works with hundreds of banks and credit unions around the country. Pay limits depend on your bank. If your bank doesn’t support Zelle, you can send up to $500 per week. Zelle doesn’t charge any fees to send or receive money.

10. Venmo: Best for Those Who Are Located in the US

Venmo is a payment app that lets you send payments, gifts and split expenses with a group. You can also send payments to businesses with the app.

Compatibility Pay Limits Fees
Venmo is available for Android and iOS. Verified accounts can send up to $4,999.99 per week. Venmo doesn’t charge a fee for sending or receiving money via balance, bank or debit card. However, there’s a 3% fee for sending money via credit card.

Pros and Cons of the 10 Best Payment Apps of 2021

The aforementioned 10 apps all have advantages and disadvantages. Here’s an overview of the best ways to send money, including the pros and cons of each.

Payment App Pros Cons
Apple Pay Apple Pay is accepted by more than 85% of retailers in the U.S., going beyond sending payments to friends and family. Only available on iOS, so you can’t use it with friends or family on Android.
Cash App You can access banking services via Cash App, including paychecks, tax returns and early access to direct deposits. Cash App has low initial pay limits before verifying your account.
Facebook Pay You can use the service on Facebook’s existing services, so you don’t need to download any additional apps. Only works on Facebook services.
Google Pay You can earn rewards when using Google Pay to activate special offers from businesses. Initially, there are low pay limits before verifying your account.
PayPal You can set up a special PayPal.me link to share with friends for them to pay you. The app offers very high pay limits for verified accounts. There are high fees for sending money from credit cards.
Samsung Pay The service lets you use debit cards, credit cards, membership cards and gift cards from a single app. You can even get employee pricing with discounts of up to 30% on Samsung.com. Lite accounts have low sending and receiving limits.
Western Union You can send cash digitally directly to the recipient or send it to an agent for cash pickup.

You can even track your transfer and get notified when it is delivered.

The app has low pay limits for sending money online.
Xoom The service offers a money-back guarantee to give you peace of mind that only your designated recipient will receive your money. The international fee structure can be unclear and confusing.
Zelle You don’t need to download a separate app or create a new account to use Zelle. Instead, just log in to your supported banking app, pick who you want to pay and send the money. Each bank sets its own pay limits with Zelle.
Venmo Venmo offers high weekly pay limits. You must be physically located in the U.S. to use Venmo.

Next, consider some of these questions you might ask before choosing your payment app.

Key Questions To Ask Yourself

The payment apps listed here have many of the same features. Which one’s best for you comes down to how you want to use it. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you evaluate the options:

Consider the Following:

  • Are you and your family on iOS or Android?
  • Do you need to send money internationally?
  • Do you need to send large amounts of money?
  • Do you want a separate app and account login?
  • Will you make purchases, or are you just planning on sending money?

Once you’ve answered these questions, the right payment app for you will probably become apparent.

Cynthia Measom and Gabrielle Olya contributed to the reporting for this article.

Information is accurate as of Nov. 24, 2021.

About the Author

Scott Jeffries is a seasoned technology professional based in Florida. He writes on the topics of business, technology, digital marketing and personal finance. After earning his bachelor’s in Management Information Systems with a minor in Business, Scott spent 15 years working in technology. He's helped startups to Fortune 100 companies bring software products to life. When he's not writing or building software, Scott can be found reading or spending time outside with his kids.

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