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Best apps for sending money

Money isn’t just something you can get out of your wallet or from your bank account. It’s in your phone. Digitally, that is. Now you can send and receive money in a few taps because various services will link to your bank account, grab the funds requested, and send them on their way. You no longer have to be embarrassed when the bill comes at a bar or restaurant and you’ve got a measly two dollars to your name in physical cash. Open an app and select which contact is owed money. Then everyone pays their fair share without an excuse.

Here are the apps you should have for sending and receiving money seamlessly.

Venmo

Person-to-person money transfers don’t have to be so serious. Venmo, which was acquired by PayPal in 2012, makes the process fun. It’s actually become a social network of sorts in the last few years. There isn’t a multi-layer user interface to learn (which is a good thing), but Venmo includes things like friends lists and conversations.

“Every penny tells a story,” according to Venmo. That’s totally true, and it’s why the experience is very social-friendly. Users are encouraged to label their transactions using emoji in addition to text. And everyone has the option to make their labels, not amounts of money, visible to friends and friends of friends.

These days, it’s nearly impossible for a product or service’s name to be leveraged as a verb. Venmo managed to do it. Throughout the world there are people saying “Venmo me!” or “I’ll Venmo you, no worries” when a bill is handed over to the person that fronted all the money. Basically, Venmo’s for the cool kids who want to be in on the hype. If you’re not already on Venmo, get with it. Most of your friends have probably been on it for years already while you’ve scrambled for cash in your wallet countless times.

If you’re shopping online, you might even find Venmo’s logo at checkout. The integration there lets you complete a purchase and then split the cost with friends who are sharing or need the same items.

Download: iOS, Android

Facebook Messenger

Facebook built one of the world’s most popular messaging platforms, and now you can swap money while using it. Sending and receiving money on Facebook Messenger is super easy because, if you’re friends in real life, chances are you’re friends on Facebook.

Having a night out with a group of friends? Assuming you’re with your usual squad, you can split a bill directly within a group conversation on Messenger. The same can be said about one-on-one conversations with a friend, a date, or your aunt who’s guzzling down wine at an unbelievable rate.

Security is, of course, very important; therefore, Facebook gives you the option to add a PIN on Messenger for extra protection to ensure your payment method doesn’t get compromised.

Download: iOS, Android

Cash

Cash is the biggest challenger in this space. Its owned and operated by Square, the same company that’s been on the rise offering financial and merchant services for almost a decade. The person-to-person money transfer solution is going head-to-head against PayPal’s. Unlike Venmo, PayPal takes the fun and games out of the equation. Here you’re getting a straightforward experience to send money, receive money, and request money. See, Square is all about the green right down to the app’s design.

The app offers usernames known as a $Cashtag for identification. Give anyone your $Cashtag and they can send you money immediately. Deposits are instant, and you can pay a small fee if you’d like to cash out at the same time. Otherwise you’ll have to wait a day or more for funds to head into your bank account.

Square also lets you store money on the app in a spot known as your Cash Drawer. You’re allowed to keep funds there if you’d like, but you still have the option to send money directly to your bank account. The Cash Drawer does become handy if you have the Cash Card — a black-colored debit card with a signature on the front penned by you.

Download: iOS, Android

Apple Pay / Google Wallet

Whether you have an iOS or Android device, you’re able to easily make money transfers with friends.

Apple Pay recently gained Apple Pay Cash, an in-app method to send and receive money in Messages. It’ll automatically take the payment methods already on the Wallet app; therefore, if you’re an active mobile payments user, your setup doesn’t require much setting up. When you’re in Messages and conversing with someone who’s part of the transaction, you’ll hit the Apps icon and then the Apple Pay icon. Choose your amount, attach a note, and send the money on its way.

Android users will go through Google Wallet, via the standalone app or Android Messages. Just have a payment method associated with your Google Account before following a similar process that those iOS-loving friends have.

By the way, Google’s approach to person-to-person money transfers is about to become a lot simpler. The company will be merging Android Pay and Google Wallet in 2018 to create Google Pay. It’ll allow anyone to have their payment methods in a single place, just like Apple Pay, to make purchases online and in stores as well as sending and receiving money with friends.

Cross-platform with Apple Pay and Google Wallet isn’t practical, though. So we recommend using another one of the apps offered on both the App Store and Google Play.

Download: iOS, Android

PayPal

PayPal is a global service known for its money transfers when people make purchases from a business. It’s fast, secure, and reliable. But the juggernaut also allows you to swap money with other individuals.

There isn’t any fee for person-to-person money transfers if you use a PayPal balance or linked bank account. For those who decide to you a credit or debit card, you’re on the hook for 2.9% per transaction in addition to a 30-cent fee. The two-pronged fee gets even higher if you’re outside the United States. So we definitely recommend not using PayPal for this purpose unless you really have to.

Download: iOS, Android

Zelle

You might not need to download another app on your phone to have the convenience you’re looking for. Person-to-person money transfers are built-in for most banks’ apps. The confusing part for users, however, is that not everyone belongs to the same bank. Luckily they came together to create Zelle, a network linking their solutions together under one umbrella.

Around fifty of the nation’s leading financial services providers are locked into partnerships that make Zelle accessible for their customers. When you’re in a specific app, you’ll see an option to send money using Zelle. Head there, fill out the contact information for who the money is going to, and they’ll instantly receive a notification about your payment. Even if they don’t have Zelle live on their bank account yet, the money can still go through.

Zelle does indeed have a standalone app, but it’s for those who belong to banks that aren’t involved with the network. That means it’s not exactly seamless to use. You’re better off going with a different service to make sending and receiving money a lot easier.

Download: Check your bank’s app


Justin Herrick

Justin is easily attracted to power buttons. His interest in technology started as a child in the 1990s with the original PlayStation, and two...

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