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The 5 Best Payment and Money Transfer Apps

payment apps, messenger, venmo, cash app
FB Messenger, Venmo, Cash App

If you want to get your money from A to B, a payment or money transfer app is likely your best bet. While PayPal is still extremely popular, several other apps allow you to easily send money to family and friends or pay for goods. These are the best money transfer apps worth downloading.

Update, 12/1/21: Verified links and content up to date.

What to Look For in a Money Transfer App

Before sending money to your bestie, there are a few things you should look for when deciding which of these convenient money transfer apps to use.

  • Usability: One of the first things you’ll want to look for is usability and app design. If the app is clunky, hard to manage, not available everywhere, or not very user-friendly, your friends and family won’t want to use it. That’s one area where Venmo really shines.
  • Compatibility: Being compatible with both iOS and Android is important. That way you can send funds to almost anyone. All our picks work across both platforms.
  • Speed: Depending on your needs, the speed of a transfer is essential. That said, most apps are fairly instant these days. It’s the process of transferring funds from the app to your personal bank account that takes 3-5 business days, unless you use Zelle, of course.
  • Transfer Limit & Fees: Electronic payments between friends are usually small sums, and most of these apps have fund limits. Zelle, owned by Banks, allows for large transfers. Watch out for fees, too.
  • Security & Protection: And finally, security and protection are vital. Venmo is great, but buyer/seller protection is almost non-existent. If you want peace of mind, something like PayPal is your best bet.

Best Overall: Venmo

Venmo app store

“I’ll Venmo you” is a phrase you’ve probably heard before or said yourself, as it’s the go-to choice for millions of people. Venmo is one of the best apps overall, especially if you’re quickly sending money to family members. It’s a trusted app that PayPal owns, and these days, almost everyone has it. You can quickly transfer money from your Venmo or a connected bank account or debit card in seconds. Or send any funds inside the app directly to your bank.

With Venmo, you’ll get hit with a 3% fee if you use a credit card as the source. So use caution, and try to use existing funds or a debit card instead. Then, when you transfer funds to your bank, it’s free, but there’s a 1% fee ($10 max) if you want it instantly.

Plus, Venmo offers comments, likes, and fun little GIFs or emojis to make payments fun, rather than just sending a buddy $30 after dinner. Venmo is safe, secure, fast, and user-friendly. Last but not least, Venmo suggests only sending/receiving money from someone you know and trust.

Download on the Apple App StoreGet it on Google Play

Best for Business: PayPal

PayPal logo

If you’re buying something or need a money transfer app for business, PayPal is your best bet. Not only is PayPal one of the most widely accepted forms of electronic funds, but the built-in protections for both buyers and sellers are hugely important. If you buy something and don’t receive what you paid for, PayPal does the heavy lifting to make it right or refund your money.

It’s free between friends and family, but business purchases will have fees, so keep that in mind. PayPal is available in over 200 countries, accepts Bitcoin, and is a safe yet flexible payment option.

Download on the Apple App StoreGet it on Google Play

Best for Friends: Cash App

Cash App logo and graphics of app and stairs against black background
Cash App

Another solid choice is Cash App as it’s super popular with the younger generation. Cash App is great for many of the same reasons as Venmo and is a safe and fast way to send money to your friends and family. Additionally, Cash App continues to add additional features making it more and more useful.

While you can quickly send your friend some money, like Venmo, if you use a credit card, there’s a 3% fee. Plus, the transfer fee is a little higher, at 1.5% for instant transfers. Then, Cash App includes features to let users invest in stocks and buy and sell bitcoin. Crypto purchases have a fee, too, but it changes based on market conditions.

Basically, it’s an excellent money transfer and investing app.

Download on the Apple App StoreGet it on Google Play

Best for Banking: Zelle

Zelle bank app logo

If you’re looking for bank-to-bank transfers, consider Zelle. Additionally, it’s probably the best option for transferring large sums of money. For starters, Zelle is owned by a group of banks, including Bank of America, BB&T, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase, PNC Bank, US Bank, and Wells Fargo. If you use your banks’ app, chances are you already have access to Zelle and don’t need to download anything else. Still, we’ve added download links to the dedicated app below.

Depending on your bank Zelle allows for transfers up to $2,500 a day or $40,000 a month, without any fees. That said, some banks may have a small fee or different daily transfer limits, but it’s still higher than other apps.

And finally, while Zelle uses bank app authentication and monitoring to ensure a safe experience and funds get delivered directly into a bank account, you’ll want to use caution. Unlike PayPal, Zelle doesn’t offer buyer/seller protection, so make sure you know where money is coming from or going.

Download on the Apple App StoreGet it on Google Play

Best for Simple Transfers: Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messener

While you probably already have PayPal, Venmo, or both, one of the simplest ways to send anyone money is through Facebook Messenger. Facebook already knows everything about you, so you might as well give them your bank info to make things easier. Once integrated, you can instantly send friends, family, “Facebook friends,” or a small business money. It’s quick, easy, secure, and fee free. However, Facebook is an advertising company and you’re the product, so your data is the real cost behind the service.

It’s easy to use right from the Facebook Messenger app, so you don’t need to download anything else. Plus, it won’t show the world your payment activity like Venmo does by default.

Download on the Apple App StoreGet it on Google Play
Cory Gunther Cory Gunther
Cory Gunther has been writing about phones, Android, cars, and technology in general for over a decade. He's a staff writer for Review Geek covering roundups, EVs, and news. He's previously written for GottaBeMobile, SlashGear, AndroidCentral, and InputMag, and he's written over 9,000 articles. Read Full Bio »