Need to transfer money to a friend or family member? There are a ton of cash transfer apps on the market today. But which app is the cheapest and safest choice? And what are the best ways to send money safely? Don’t worry, SuperMoney is here to help! We’ll walk you through the very best money transfer services of 2020, highlighting their strong points and drawbacks. With the right context, you can choose the best money transfer service for your needs.
The best money transfer services
Keep in mind that each of these services have their own unique features and bring value to the market in different ways. There is no single best way to send money — the best solution always depends on your needs. If you’re looking to pay a friend back for dinner, the best app will be different from the one you would use to compensate an overseas contractor.
Given that, read on to find our picks for the best ways to send money in 2020, no matter the context.
XE Money Transfer: Cheapest fees worldwide
Regardless of how much money you send, there’s no processing fee. Of course, you may still have to pay an exchange-rate markup, but the rate will still be lower than what banks offer. The service allows you to send money to 127 countries, and transfer speeds vary between one and two days.
You can only do bank account-to-bank account transfers, though — no cash pickups. If you need an international transfer and you want it cheap, XE is the way to go.
World Remit: Fast transfers worldwide
While it is not the cheapest option, WorldRemit combines low fees with fast transfers and multiple payment methods. With WorldRemit you can send funds to a friend’s bank account, a cash pickup location, or straight to their mobile device using mobile money.
WorldRemit operates in over 150 countries and more than 90 different forms of currency. Regular money transfers are often approved within minutes, and mobile transfers usually process in less than three minutes.
Transaction fees and exchange rate margins are competitive, and you can send your first three money transfers with no fees in order to test them out.
TransferWise: No exchange-rate markup
TransferWise isn’t going to give you same-day delivery, or even next-day delivery. But if you’re sending money overseas and don’t want to pay an arm and a leg, this service is your best bet.
What makes it so cheap? Well, TransferWise doesn’t charge an exchange-rate markup. You can send money from the U.S. to up to 58 different countries with TransferWise, and it only offers bank account-to-bank account transfers (no cash pickup).
Actual fees vary based on how much money you’re sending. For example, sending up to $10,000 could result in fees between $3 and $99. India and the Philippines are exceptions, charging fees starting at $2.70 and $5, respectively.
With TransferWise, you get what you pay for. You can make overseas transfers cheaply, but it can take longer than a week for the money to actually get there. If you’re in no hurry, TransferWise’s low cost can’t be beat.
CurrencyFair: Best for speed
CurrencyFair is a peer-to-peer currency exchange service that enables users to send money abroad while charging a small fee for conversion.
CurrencyFair gives you the option to either send money instantly or deposit money into your CurrencyFair account and select your own exchange rate. Once the set rate can be met, CurrencyFair executes your transaction. Once it does, you’ll have to pay both an international transfer fee and exchange rate margin. Process times varies depending on the currencies involved and your own bank.
Ria Money Transfer: Best for a wide reach
Spanning 314,000 locations across 144 different countries, Ria administers the cash transfer service that allows you to transfer cash between U.S.-based Walmart locations.
Ria offers same-day delivery in most countries (cash pickup only). Plus, recipients can receive money via on-site cash pickup or a bank account deposit (excluding those living Canada and China, where bank account delivery is not permitted).
Fees for cash pickups are fairly cheap, and fees using bank account delivery are about average. You’ll typically pay between 0.2% and 4% per $1,000 you send using a debit card or bank account. There’s also an exchange-rate markup of 1% to 3% for most countries.
Read our in-depth review on Walmart’s money transfer service to find out more.
Remitly: Best for large transfer limits
As an individual, it can be hard to make large transfers unless you go to a bank. With Remitly, however, you can send up to $10,000 per day and $30,000 per month.
Remitly also offers same-day delivery with express transfers and reasonable fees. It’s completely free to send money using Remitly’s economy transfer, and to send money faster with an express transfer, it’ll only cost a flat $3.99 fee.
The main drawback is Remitly’s limited geographic range. They only allow you to send money to 10 different countries.
To learn more, check out our in-depth review on Remitly.
Venmo: Simplest mobile app
Venmo is one of the most popular ways to send money in 2020. Their simple, intuitive mobile app sets them apart from the rest, making for quick, intuitive money transfers. And money transfers on Venmo are completely free when wiring money from a bank account , debit card, or Venmo balance. However, there is a 3% fee on transfers from credit cards.
Venmo’s mobile app is quick and easy to use, and funds are transferred to the recipient’s Venmo balance within minutes. However, transferring that balance to your bank account takes 1-3 business days.
However, Venmo doesn’t use any provide any buyer protections in the event that you need a refund, or send funds to the wrong account. Be vigilant when sending money via Venmo, and only use it for transactions with trusted recipients.
Chase Quickpay with Zelle: Best for speed and security
Chase Quickpay earns its name. When you transfer funds via Quickpay, the transaction is complete in a matter of minutes. And since Zelle is already integrated with dozens of different financial institutions, odds are good that you may already have access to the service.
If you have a Chase account, signing up for Chase QuickPay is a quick, simple process. Your recipient doesn’t have to have a Chase account in order to receive a cash transfer. However, they will have to make an account with their own bank’s money transfer service, or set up a Zelle account of their own.
Western Union: Widest geographic range
With physical locations spanning 200 countries and territories, Western Union offers a diverse array of transfer options. They accommodate domestic and international transfers from debit and credit cards, or directly from your bank account. With Western Union, the speed of transfer ranges from a few minutes or a few days, depending on the particulars of your transfer.
However, Western Union does charge processing fees. To send money internationally costs $5; to wire money overseas starts at $22. Accordingly, Western Union is the optimal solution for those transferring money to recipients in countries that are not serviced by less far-reaching transfer apps.
PayPal: Best for market saturation
If you’ve ever had to send money online, you’ve probably heard of PayPal. You’re not alone. With 346 million active users, PayPal is the most widespread cash transfer app on the market. That alone makes it the simplest solution for many situations, since most recipients already have a PayPal account.
Sending money via PayPal is free if you’ve linked your bank account. However, if you’re sending cash from a credit or debit card, PayPal charges a 2.9% fee. They also charge fees for international transfers. When you use PayPal to send money online, the recipient won’t see your checking account number or any other financial information — they’ll only see the email address linked to your PayPal account. Likewise, you don’t need any of their banking information to send money on PayPal. All you need is the recipient’s email address.
Square Cash: Best for quick domestic transfers
If all you need is a simple solution for paying a friend back for dinner, then Square Cash will offer you the most help. The Square Cash app lets you send money over to a friend’s bank account for free, overnight. Plus, the recipient can choose to pay a 1% fee to get the money in their bank account even faster.
The initial transfer limit is $250 per week, but you can get that up to $2,500 in most states when you verify some of your personal information. However, Square Cash only works domestically. If you need to send large amounts of money or are looking to transfer funds overseas, a different app will better serve your needs.
MoneyGram: Best for international cash transfers
MoneyGram is the second largest money transfer company in the world. It also has one of the largest networks of agents and storefronts, with 350,000 locations in more than 200 countries. With MoneyGram, you can send money by bank transfer and phone as well as cash to a physical storefront.
The only downside is that it is more expensive than many of its competitors. However, if you want to send cash from a physical location and need flexible delivery options, MoneyGram is your best choice.
Xoom: Best for foreign exchange rates
Xoom Money Transfer is a digital money transfer service that enables U.S. citizens to send money, reload their phones, and pay bills in a growing number of countries. If you’re sending money to a person, you have the option to send it to the recipient’s bank or one of the 14,000 participating locations for cash pickup.
It offers money transfer services to 30 countries worldwide. Xoom charges a transaction fee and also makes money when it converts U.S. dollars to the currency of the destination country.
A drawback to Xoom is that it is not for sending money within the United States. If you are looking to send money within the country, Xoom Money Transfer may not be the right fit for your needs.
To learn more, check out our in-depth review on Xoom.
Facebook Payments: Most convenient
With Facebook Payments, transferring money is as simple as sending a Facebook message. To transfer money (for free!), just click the dollar sign symbol in Facebook Messenger and input your debit or credit card information. In order to access the money, the recipient will also have to input their debit or credit card.
Facebook Payments transactions typically take up to three days.
Frequently asked questions
How can I send money to someone instantly?
A variety of the apps listed above allow you to send money instantly. For example, apps like Zelle and Xoom are some of the fastest money transfer tools around.
How do you transfer money to someone?
The apps listed above let you quickly and conveniently transfer money from your bank account, debit card, or credit card. The right solution depends on how much money you’re transferring, the location of your recipient, the urgency of the task, and your budget.
What is the safest way to transfer money?
The safest way to transfer money is be through a transfer service hosted by your bank, like Zelle. When transferring cash using a bank-hosted platform, your bank insures your money, and uses a ton of security measures to make sure nothing goes wrong.
If you’re worried about security but don’t use a bank that hosts a transfer service, WorldRemit guarantees super-secure transfers on a global scale.
What is the best app for transferring money?
That depends on your needs! For small transfers between friends and family, Venmo or Facebook Pay might be the best fit. Making a massive cash transfer? Remitly may be your top choice. For international transfers, try MoneyGram or Xoom. And if you’re transferring money to a country not serviced by most transfer apps, Western Union is a great contender.
The perfect cash transfer solution depends on your specific needs. Compare the apps listed above and more to find the right solution for your needs.
Ben Luthi is a personal finance writer and a credit cards expert who loves helping consumers and business owners make better financial decisions. His work has been featured in Time, MarketWatch, Yahoo! Finance, U.S. News & World Report, CNBC, Success Magazine, USA Today, The Huffington Post and many more.