During times like now when you can’t visit your friends and family due to the coronavirus, you may need to transfer funds to someone. If that’s the case, look for one of the many ways to send money for free or for low fees. You can send money online through various apps and websites that enable both you and the recipient to receive money without meeting face-to-face. For those times when you’re indebted to someone or need a money transfer, check out 14 ways to send money.
Last updated: April 3, 2020
1. Cash App
Use the Cash App to send and receive money at no cost. Once you download and sign up for Cash App, you’ll be able to send, receive and request money from friends and family instantly.
To send money to someone, you will need their email address, phone number or $Cashtag — basically their screen name on the app. The transfer can be made directly through the app with just a few clicks. You can use the app to transfer money to anyone in the U.S. or the U.K.
Money transfer apps like Venmo let you send money and do other functions, like paying at participating businesses with your phone. Venmo, which is owned by PayPal, also has a social function so you can share your transfer history with friends. But if you just want to transfer money for free, Venmo lets you use a funding source like a bank account or money you’ve received from others through the app.
Click on the Venmo app to make a money transfer to other Venmo users. After you select an amount, you can add a note before completing the transaction. You cannot send more than $4,999.99 within a seven-day period, and Venmo is limited to use within the U.S.
3. Chase QuickPay With Zelle
Chase offers a free Chase QuickPay with Zelle bank transfer option to its banking customers. If you have a Chase account, sign up for Chase QuickPay. Confirm your account safely by using the code sent to your primary email address during the sign-up process.
Recipients don’t have to be Chase customers to receive a money transfer through this service; however, they must create an account with their bank’s online person-to-person payment service or sign up for a Zelle account at zellepay.com.
Chase sets limits on transferring money depending on the type of transfer and whether the recipient has a Chase account.
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Chase isn’t the only bank that lets you transfer money for free with Zelle. Other banks that are part of the Zelle Network can take advantage of the Zelle app, which allows you to securely send money to others by using your bank’s mobile app. With Zelle, users just need a mobile phone number or an email address to send money to their intended recipient. No account information is shared when you send money; the program will only use your email or mobile phone number to send or receive money to or from your bank account.
Ally Bank, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo are among the financial institutions offering this service. If your or your recipient’s bank doesn’t offer Zelle, you can still send or receive money through the service by using the Zelle app.
Check out: Zelle vs. Venmo
Popmoney offers one of the easiest ways to send money via mobile devices or email if you have an account at a participating bank — which include TD Bank, Fifth Third Bank, Regions Bank, U.S. Bank, Bank of America, Citibank, PNC Bank, SunTrust Bank and Wells Fargo. You can send money for free if a Popmoney user sends you a request. Otherwise, it’s only 95 cents if you initiate the transfer.
Recipients don’t need a Popmoney account to accept payment. They’re notified via text or email that you’re transferring money to them. Recipients provide their bank account information, and the money is safely deposited in as little as one business day.
A personal PayPal account lets you transfer money for free into another person’s account. You fund your PayPal balance through your bank account, or with a credit or debit card. When you’re ready to send money, simply enter the mobile phone number or email address of the person to whom you’re indebted and specify the amount to send. You can do this through the website or app. The funds go into that person’s PayPal account, so they will need a PayPal account to receive the transfer.
Although transferring money via PayPal is free if you draw the funds from your bank account, you’ll pay a 2.9% fee for using a credit or debit card. You can send money internationally, but you’ll pay a fee that varies by the payment method used and the amount you are sending.
7. Facebook Messenger
Facebook Messenger isn’t just for chatting with friends anymore. You can send money in a message by opening a chat with the person. Transfer money for free by clicking the dollar sign symbol, selecting “Next” to enter your debit card information and clicking “Pay” to process the transaction. Your recipient must also add a debit card to access the money, which takes up to three days to become available. Both you and the person to whom you’re sending money must be in the U.S.
8. Google Pay
Google Pay lets you send money to anyone through their email address or phone number. The money comes from your linked debit card or bank account. Recipients don’t need Google Pay to access the transfer, provided they have a Google account and a debit card or bank account to receive the deposited funds. Google Pay doesn’t charge any fees, but you can only send or receive money within the U.S.
9. Apple Pay
If you have an Apple device — including an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or Mac — you can add rewards, credit, debit or store cards to an Apple Pay account that you can use to send money to friends or family members.
There are several ways to send money via Apple Pay. You can use your iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch to send money via the Messages app. Open a conversation with the person you wish to send money to, click the “Apple Pay” icon, enter the amount you want to send, tap “Pay” and send the message. You’ll be asked to confirm your payment using Face ID, Touch ID or your passcode. You can also use your iPhone or Apple Watch to ask Siri to send one of your contacts money.
You can send anywhere from $1 to $10,000 in a single transaction; $10,000 is the limit for every seven-day period. Although you can use Apple Pay to make payments in numerous countries, you can only use it to transfer money within the U.S.
10. Western Union
Western Union allows you to send money directly to a loved one’s bank account. You can send funds from your credit card, debit card or your bank account via the Western Union website or mobile app. You can use Western Union to transfer funds internationally.
The limit to how much you can transfer will depend on a number of factors, including your transfer history, your location, your receiver’s location and your payment method. Western Union does charge fees for transferring money, though you can receive fee discounts and other promotions by registering with its loyalty program, My WU. You are also subject to Western Union’s exchange rates when you transfer funds internationally. The time it takes for the transfer to process depends on the delivery and payment methods you choose, but it can range from within minutes to a few business days.
MoneyGram can be used to send money to friends and family around the world. To use it, you first have to create an account. You can send money using a credit or debit card, or directly from your bank account, and funds can be distributed directly to the recipient’s bank account or mobile wallet, depending on the destination country.
There are transfer fees to send money through MoneyGram, as well as fixed exchange rates if you are sending money internationally. Transfer fees vary depending on where your recipient is, how much money you are sending and how you are paying. Fees are typically lower if you pay with a bank account — which must be a U.S. checking account — versus paying with a credit or debit card.
Xoom is specifically for those who want to send money abroad via their computer or smartphone. To use Xoom you must create an account and set up a payment method — a bank account, credit card or debit card. To send money, you will need your recipient’s name as it appears on their ID, their address and phone number, and if you’re making a bank deposit, you will need their bank name and account number as well.
The amount you can transfer depends on where you live, how the money is received and partner limits, which vary by country. If you’re sending money from the U.S., you might be able to send up to $50,000 per day. Xoom may charge a transaction fee, depending on the transaction type, your payment method, what currency you pay with, the amount of the transaction, which country the transaction is going to and which currency you select for your recipient to receive.
Another option for sending funds internationally is OFX. To transfer money with OFX, you will first need to register, get verified and log in. Next, you will need to enter your recipient’s bank account information. You can either send funds directly to your friend or family member, or wire money to OFX, who will then transfer the money for you. Funds can only be sent via direct debit or wire transfer — you cannot use cash, credit cards, checks or bank drafts.
This platform is better suited for large transfers, as the minimum amount you can send is $1,000. However, there is no limit on how much you can send. OFX does not charge transfer fees, but a third-party bank may deduct a fee from your transfer before paying your recipient.
14. Bank Transfer
Banks electronically transfer money via ACH. Although some charge fees for a bank transfer, many banks let you transfer money for free to other accounts. This is especially true of online banks, although some traditional financial institutions, like Chase, don’t add a fee.
How To Send Money Safely
Before sending money to anyone via your phone, computer or another device, be sure you are taking all of the necessary precautions to ensure that the transfer is secure.
Here are a few tips you should follow.
Make Sure Your Device Is Secure
Hackers can use malware to steal personal information from your computer or other devices. Before sending a payment — which will involve entering bank account information, credit card info or other sensitive information — do a virus scan to ensure that your device is secure.
Create a Strong Password
Using the same password for multiple accounts — especially accounts that you use to make payments — makes you very vulnerable to a security breach. When creating an account to send money to someone, create a brand new password that is complex. It should include a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
Don't Send Money to Anyone You Don't Know Personally
Scammers can pose as government employees, charities or a long-lost relative, and ask you to wire money directly to them. As a rule of thumb, you should never transfer money to anyone you don’t know personally.
Use a Secure Method To Send Your Payment
All of the apps, websites and service providers listed previously are safe to use to transfer money, but not every method for sending money is as secure. Before using an app or money transfer firm you haven’t heard of, do a search on TrustPilot to make sure that it is legitimate. If you are transferring funds via a website, make sure the URL begins with “HTTPS” instead of “HTTP” — “HTTPS” indicates that the site is secure and that the data you enter will be encrypted.
Keep a Record
Whenever you make a transfer, be sure to hold onto the receipt or proof of transfer until the recipient confirms that they have received the funds and can access them. This way if an issue arises, you will have proof of the transfer.
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Barb Nefer contributed to the reporting for this article.
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About the Author
Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert.