The 6 best money transfer apps

Adam Rozsa
18.11.21
8 minute read

Money transfer apps can make it far easier to manage your day to day financial needs - and even help you cut costs along the way.

Due to their growing popularity, there are more and more apps to send money out there. From apps like Venmo and Cash App to help you split your rent or pay a restaurant bill, to apps like Google Pay and Apple Pay which make mobile payments easy - with the right mobile wallet on hand, it’s easier than ever to manage your money on the go.

So - which money transfer apps are worth having? This guide to the best money transfer app options covers all you need to know.

Along the way, we’ll introduce Wise as a way to send and receive money internationally with low and transparent fees - always using the real exchange rate. Save up to 6x when you send money abroad - more on this later.

Get a free Wise account today

📝 Here are the 6 best money transfer apps:

money transfer app

PayPal

Best for those who prefer a large customer base

PayPal is a safe payment method, in fact, it’s a global payment giant - from shopping online, to sending money to friends, family and businesses, the chances are you’ve used PayPal before one way or another. But what about the PayPal app?

Ease of use

Starting with accessibility, the PayPal app gets a pretty high rating on both Apple and Android phones:

Google Play Rating: 4.3 Stars¹

Apple App Store Rating: 4.8 Stars²

PayPal app money transfer options

Sending money with PayPal’s money transfer app is as simple as typing in a name, email or phone number. If the recipient you’re looking for has a PayPal account, you’ll be able to find them. If you’re paying for your transfer with a linked bank account or with your PayPal balance, it’s free for domestic payments to friends and family in the US. You can also request money and add some personality to your messages with animations, stickers and emojis.

It’s worth noting up front that PayPal may not be the best choice if you need to fund a payment using a credit card. There’s a 2.9% charge + a fixed fee for this³. And if you’re sending money overseas, you’re probably going to be better off with a specialist provider as PayPal has a 5% fee plus currency conversion charges of up to 4% for international transfers. Learn more about PayPal’s international fees here.

ProsCons
  • PayPal has a huge user base
  • Free to send some domestic payments
  • Great App Store rating
  • International payment costs can add up
  • Recipient needs a PayPal account to receive money
  • Credit card payments cost more
💡 Learn all about how PayPal works here.

money transfer app

Wise

Best for sending money abroad with low and transparent fees

Wise is a specialist in low cost international payments and currency services. That means this is a strong bet if you need a money transfer app to make sending and receiving payments from abroad a breeze.

Ease of use

The Wise app is available on both Apple and Android devices and comes with a high rating on both operating systems.

Google Play Rating: 4.5 Stars ⁴

Apple App Store Rating: 4.7 Stars ⁵

Wise app money transfer options

With Wise, it’s low-cost, easy and instant to convert currencies - and you can send payments in 54+ currencies to 80+ countries. Wise is also compatible with Apple Pay + Google Pay for on the go transfers and transactions.

Whenever you make a payment with Wise, you get the mid-market rate and incredibly low conversion fees. You can send payments direct to your recipient’s bank account, so they won’t need to open a Wise account themselves - and payments can usually be funded by bank transfer, credit or debit card. While the fees for different payment methods do vary, you’ll always see the costs and rates upfront before you get started.

See how much you can save with a free Wise account:

The true cost of sending USD to GBP

ProsCons
  • Fees vary by payment method and destination country
  • Sending not available to all countries, though it’s expanding day by day

money transfer app

Venmo

Best for splitting bills

Venmo has over 70 million users - so you can bet it’s an easy way to send money. Venmo payments are secure, but one of the main selling points of Venmo is that they can also be social. Send messages and emojis to interact as you send and request payments.

Ease of use

Venmo has good ratings on both Apple and Android operating systems - although judging by the ratings, it seems more customer friendly on Apple.

Google Play Rating: 4.2 Stars⁶

Apple App Store Rating: 4.9 Stars⁷

Venmo app money transfer options

Venmo is good for sending instant payments to friends locally. And as long as you fund the payment with a linked bank account or debit card, or your Venmo balance, there’s no fee to pay. However, you’ll pay 3% if you choose to use a credit card to make the payment⁸. Learn all about Venmo fees here.

Venmo is super popular for a good reason - it’s easy, quick and fun. However, it does have some limitations. Specifically, Venmo is not available for international payments - so if you need an international money transfer app you’ll want to check out competitors.

ProsCons
  • Easy instant local payments
  • Send messages and emojis when you pay
  • Free to send in many cases
  • Fees apply if you use a credit card⁸
  • Not available internationally
💡 Find out more about Venmo, here.

money transfer app

Cash App

Best for sending money within the US

Cash App is only available in the US and the UK, so can’t be used globally. But that’s not to say it’s not a great provider. One of the big appeals with Cash App is that you can send a payment, tip, or make a donation knowing only an individual’s $Cashtag - no personal information needed at all.

Ease of use

Cash App was designed as an app first - unlike some services which were desktop providers which switched up to mobile. So it’s not surprising they’re pretty well rated across both Apple and android users.

Google Play Rating: 4.6 Stars⁹

Apple App Store Rating: 4.7 Stars¹⁰

Cash App money transfer options

Sending money with Cash App is fast, easy and largely free. You can send money with just a few basic details, but Cash App users also choose their own $Cashtag which they can use to request and receive payments. So even if you don’t know someone’s phone number, you can still Cash App them a payment. Handy for making donations or paying tips, for example. Read about the few Cash App fees that exist here.

Cash App cannot send global payments. You can send money within the US, and the UK - or between the 2 countries, but that’s it. Choose a different provider if you need cross-border payments elsewhere.

ProsCons
  • Fast and usually free payments
  • $Cashtags remove the need for any personal data for payments
  • Popular app - huge user base
  • Not globally available - international users will have to wait
💡 Want to know more about Cash App? Get this guide to Cash App now.

money transfer app

Google Pay

Best for Android

Google Pay is Google’s digital wallet - so it’s our pick for the best option for Android users. You can also actually get it on Apple phones, but you won’t get the full functionality.

Ease of use

While it’s not got the very top rating possible, it’s still a credible app with a solid user performance - and pushing 7 million reviews in Google Play Store

Google Play Rating: 4.2 Stars¹¹

Apple App Store Rating: 4.3 Stars¹²

Google Play money transfer options

You can send money with Google Play to anyone in the US, Singapore or India¹³. You’ll just need their QR code, phone number or email. Depending on the way individuals have set up their Google accounts, you may also be able to search for other users to arrange a payment using just a name - even if you’re not completely sure of their details.

ProsCons
  • Easy payments made on your mobile device
  • Pay with just a name if someone has ‘search’ turned on in their Google account
  • Huge user base
  • International transfers only to the US, India, and Singapore at the moment
  • Users may switch off search functionality, so you’ll need their details to pay them
💡 Learn all about how to use Google Pay here.

money transfer app

Zelle

Best for bank-to-bank transfers

We’ll close out our list of the best money transfer apps with Zelle. You can often use Zelle direct from your own bank’s online banking service - and if you can’t, you can still download the app. Payments land in the recipient’s bank account directly for convenience - you just need to register.

Ease of use

Solid rating across both major platforms.

Google Play Rating: 4.3 Stars¹⁴

Apple App Store Rating: 4.3 Stars¹⁵

Zelle app money transfer options

It’s a strong option for bank payments in the US - but unfortunately Zelle is not available internationally. One of the big attractions for the Zelle app is that it has such a huge user base, as it’s available through many bank’s own online banking services.

That means a couple of things - probably the person you’re looking to transfer money to has an account already. And the sheer volume of payments passing through also offers reassurance that they’re at the top of their game in terms of customer satisfaction and reliability.

Zelle doesn’t charge a fee for payments, but does recommend you check your own bank won’t add a charge.

ProsCons
  • Payments direct to bank account for ease
  • Simple transfers in the US
  • Access via bank online banking platform
  • No international payment options
  • Theoretically, banks may charge - make sure to check if your bank adds a charge
💡 Looking for more? All about Zelle - in this guide.

Comparing the 6 best money transfer apps

Let’s see how the 6 best money transfer apps measure up side by side on key features.

AppFeesMinimum transferAvailability
PayPal

Free within the US to a PayPal account 2.50% plus a fixed fee to send money via a credit card

5% when sending money abroad with your PayPal balance or bank account

Additional 4% if currency conversion is involved³

1 USDiOS and Android
WiseLow, transparent fee - always using the mid-market rateVaries by currency - from 1 USDiOS and Android
Venmo

Free within the US

Credit card fees may apply

No minimumiOS and Android
Cash AppFree within the US or UKNo minimumiOS and Android
Google PayLow fees using the real exchange rate in India, Singapore and the USNot specifiediOS and Android
ZelleFree within the US1 USDiOS and Android

money transfer app

Bottom line

The best money transfer app for you will depend a bit on what you need to do and what features you value. There are lots of options for fast, fun, and often free money transfer apps within the US. So choosing is likely to be down to a simple question of personal preference. Use this guide to help you narrow your options and get downloading.

If what matters to you is sending money internationally, you’ll have a somewhat more narrow choice of great money transfer apps. But choosing a specialist provider like Wise can be an excellent way to avoid high bank fees and poor exchange rates when you send and spend foreign currencies.

Learn more about Wise

Methodology

To narrow down from a pretty broad field of possible money transfer apps, we looked at a few different features. We checked out usability as voted for by customers on Google Play and the App Store - while review ratings are dynamic and do change over time, a well rated app is likely one which customers like and find intuitive and easy to use.

We also looked for apps which have unique features and functionality, to make them stand out from the crowd. That means that no matter whether you’re looking to split a restaurant bill or send a large international payment, we’ve probably found an app to suit you. By narrowing our search on these factors, then looking at the costs of use, and the security of each app, we came up with this list of the 6 best money transfer apps for 2021.

Frequently asked questions

Are money transfer apps safe to use?

The money transfer apps listed in this guide are all safe to use as long as you take normal, sensible precautions like keeping your personal data safe, and avoiding making payments to people you don’t trust.

How much do money transfer apps cost?

Downloading money transfer apps is usually free. Many apps also offer some services for free, but there may be fees for some types of payment - like international transfers and payments funded by credit card. Check the terms and conditions before you get started.


Sources:

1] Google Play - PayPal
2] App Store - PayPal
3] Paypal fees
4] Google Play - Wise
5] App Store - Wise
6] Google Play - Venmo
7] App Store - Venmo
8] Venmo fees
9] Google Play - Cash App
10] App Store - Cash app
11] Google Play - Google Pay
12] App Store - Google Pay
13] Google Support - send money
14] Google Play - Zelle
15] App Store - Zelle

All sources checked on 17 November 2021


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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