Best Ways to Send Money (Free, Online, & Safe)

Written by Bradon MatthewsUpdated: 29th Sep 2021
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With the shift to the digital age, aspects of our everyday life have become significantly easier.

One of the most convenient developments in this area is just how easy it is to send money to people.

No longer do you have to rely on incredibly slow snail mail, worry about hitting the atm for cash, or filling out a check.

With modern innovations, you can send money to just about anyone quickly and easily.

That being said, there are many ways to send money, each with its own mix of upsides and downsides.

This article will explore the best ways to send money in the modern age, helping you make a clear and safe decision.

Is It Possible to Send Money to Someone Online?

So, how do you send money to another person? Well, the simplest and easiest way is to do so online.

With the extensive connectivity of the internet, various services and apps have sprung up that allow you to send money to people directly.

Not only is this incredibly convenient, but technological advances have made this process safer and easier than ever.

If you are looking to send money to someone, the internet offers the best ways to send money.

Best Ways to Send Money (Ranked and Reviewed)

While there are near-infinite services that allow you to send money via the internet, not all are created equal.

It is important to consider the various features of each money sending service when choosing how to send your money. The best fit will depend on your unique circumstances.


Let’s take a look at some of the best options on the market so you can make an informed decision when sending money.

#1. Wise

Wise (formerly known as TransferWise) is an online money sending platform. Wise is fantastic for sending money because it is cheap and locks in foreign exchange rates without adding any markups.

Wise charges a flat rate on money transfers and a small percentage of the transfer itself. The flat rate is typically only around a dollar, and the percentage is typically below 1%.

Although, fees can be higher if you use a card rather than transferring from a bank account.


If you need the money transferred instantly, you will have to use a debit or credit card, meaning your fees will increase. However, this is unnecessary with a bit of planning in most instances.

The real-time foreign exchange rates, low fees, and robust customer experience make Wise one of the best ways to send money internationally.

Pros:

  • Send money to over 80 countries
  • No exchange markups
  • Very low fees

Cons:

  • Extra fees for transferring money instantly
  • Bank transfers can take longer than with other services

#2. Western Union

Western Union offers the most expansive network for money transferring in the world. With Western Union, you can send money to over 200 countries.

Western Union is a very speedy option. Your transfers are often delivered within the span of a few minutes, both within the US and internationally.

One of the stand-out features on offer, Western Union, allows users to send cash and funded transfers to bank accounts.

When you send someone money, they have the option of picking that money up in cash at a physical Western Union location.

All of this makes Western Union a great option for sending money, especially domestically. Internationally, the fees can be tricky.


Western Union charges varying fees depending on the country you send money to. This makes it difficult to assess how they stack up to the competition, many of whom charge flat rates instead.

Additionally, Western Union has a host of fees, ranging from your payment method to how the recipient receives the transferred funds.

This means it might not be the best bet for those looking to maximize their dollars.

Pros:

  • Extremely quick transfers
  • An extensive network of countries and locations
  • Can send physical cash

Cons:

  • Numerous fees can add up
  • Varied fees make it difficult to compare to other options

#3. OFX

OFX is another international money transferring platform. They offer transfers to over 190 countries.

OFX charges very reasonable exchange rates. What’s even more enticing, though, is their complete lack of transfer fees.

This lack of transfer fees makes OFX one of the cheapest options when it comes to sending money.

Where OFX falters a bit is in their transfer speed. It typically takes a few days for the recipient to access their money. This means OFX isn’t a great option for emergency situations.

Pros:

  • Low exchange rates
  • No transfer fees
  • Wide range of countries available for transfers

Cons:

  • Transfers can take days to complete
  • Minimum $1000 transfer

#4. MoneyGram

MoneyGram provides users with a huge money transfer network. Second, only to Western Union, MoneyGram has over 350,000 physical locations throughout the world.

Like Western Union, MoneyGram is both quick and versatile. They offer transfers that can take mere minutes, and they also provide users options when it comes to how the recipient receives the funds.

MoneyGram’s biggest issue is the cost. Compared to competitors, MoneyGram tends to be significantly more expensive.

They also have a maximum monthly transfer limit of $6000. This means they may not be well-suited to those sending money frequently or in large amounts.

Pros:

  • A large number of physical locations
  • Ability to transfer cash
  • Same-day transfers

Cons:

  • High fees
  • Relatively low monthly transfer limit

#5. Xoom

Xoom is a money transfer service owned by PayPal. Xoom is an exceptionally strong option for money transferring because of its low rates and quick transfer speed.

Xoom’s transfers typically arrive in minutes, even when transferring from a bank account. For most competitors, the only way to send money quickly is to use a card, which typically brings extra fees into the equation.

Additionally, Xoom charges a simple flat-rate fee of $4.99 on most transfers. This is significantly lower than many competitors.

Xoom can carry significant fees should you decide to use a card. Card fees can be as high as $90 for larger transfers. If you need to use a card, it’s probably better to use a different service.

Pros:

  • Transfers are very fast
  • Transfers are cheap if using a bank account
  • The upper limit for daily transfers is $50,000
  • The lower limit is $10

Cons:

  • Card fees are very high
  • Have to verify personal information to make large transfers

#6. Venmo

Venmo is an easy-to-use money transfer app. Unlike the entries on this list so far, Venmo focuses much more exclusively on domestic transfers than on international ones.

Venmo functions by connecting to your bank account or card. From there, you can instantly send money to anyone in the US via their username.

Venmo is fantastic for sending money because it is fast and free. The only fee you’ll face is from sending via credit card, and even that is quite low.

There are no international transactions, so this isn’t the app of choice for sending money to another country.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Fast transfers to the Venmo app
  • Free for most transfers

Cons:

  • Transactions are shown publicly
  • Can’t send money internationally
  • Moving the funds from Venmo to a bank account can take days

#7. Cash App

Like Venmo, Cash App is a money transferring app.

Cash App is free to use in most instances, excluding a small fee for using a credit card.

Transfers come from your linked bank account and occur quickly.

Unlike Venmo, Cash App allows you to send money internationally, albeit only to the UK. It automatically converts currencies based on mid-market estimates.

Pros:

  • Fast transfers
  • Easy to use format
  • No fees in most cases

Cons:

  • Can’t send money internationally except for the UK
  • Cashing out funds to a bank account can take days

#8. PayPal

PayPal is one of the oldest money transferring platforms to take to the internet.

PayPal has a few things going for it. For one, it allows you to transfer money without having to link a bank account. This makes things simple and easy to set up.

Additionally, PayPal has no minimum transfer amount. While it has a maximum, it is a lofty $25,000, meaning you are pretty much unrestricted when sending people money.

Paypal does carry some annoying fees, though. There is a 2.9% processing fee on all card transactions, and there is also a 3% exchange fee for international transfers.

Still, PayPal is one of the most widely used transfer platforms, meaning it might be the most convenient option in some instances.

Pros:

  • Widely used
  • Most transferred funds are available same-day
  • No minimum transfer
  • Don’t need to link a bank account

Cons:

  • 2.9% processing fee on all card transfers
  • 3% exchange fee for international transfers

#9. Google Pay

Google Pay is one of the top choices for sending money quickly.

With Google Pay, you connect your account to your debit card. From there, you can send money instantly to anyone using their phone number or email address.

If the recipient has their account linked to their debit card as well, the funds are available immediately. If they link to an online bank account, it can take a few days for the funds to show up.

Google Pay is free to use, and with funds showing up so quickly, it is a top choice for those looking to send money.

Google Pay also has the added bonus of working as an everyday payment app. Users can link their cards to Google Pay and use the app to pay in stores.

Pros:

  • Instantaneous transfers
  • No fees
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Bank account transfers take a few days
  • Limit of $2500 for non-bank account transfers

#10. Apple Pay

Apple Pay is Apple’s attempt at simplifying everything related to your wallet. This includes sending and receiving money.

Apple Pay allows users to link any card to their account to fund transfers. From there, you can transfer money to any other Apple Pay user instantaneously. Transfers are completely free.

The transferred funds are held on the recipient’s Apple Pay app. They can use them immediately via Apple Pay, but if they need to transfer them to a bank account, the transfer can take 1-3 business days.

Users can pay a 1% fee to transfer the funds into a bank account instantly should that be necessary.

Apple Pay is FDIC insured, meaning your money is safe and secure. This makes Apple Pay one of the safest options on the market.

One downside of Apple Pay is that it is only available on Apple products. Android users are therefore barred from using this transfer option altogether.

Pros:

  • FDIC insured
  • No transfer fees
  • Funds are instantly available on Apple Pay

Cons:

  • Only available on Apple products
  • Fee for instant bank transfers

#11. Walmart-2-Walmart

Walmart-2-Walmart is a simple, easy-to-use money transfer service. Walmart-2-Walmart allows users to transfer money between Walmart locations in-person or via the Walmart app.

Walmart-2-Walmart is incredibly simple in scope. You can transfer up to $2500 to any Walmart location, where the recipient can then go receive their funds.

Funds are available nearly instantly, and fees are fairly low, ranging from $4 to $16.

Pros:

  • Low fees
  • Easy to use
  • Very quick transfers

Cons:

  • The recipient must go to a physical location to receive funds
  • Limited to $2500

#12. Zelle

Zelle is a money transfer app that focuses on bank account-to-bank account transactions.

Zelle works by linking to user’s bank accounts. From there, users can transfer money between one another via a phone number or email address.


Zelle is completely free to use, and your transfers are immediately available to the recipient.

Another added perk is that Zelle is integrated directly into many banking apps, meaning setup is incredibly easy.

You can’t use credit cards to send funds, and there is an upper limit of $500 a week you can send via Zelle. This means it may not be the best option for large recurring transfers.

Pros:

  • Incredibly fast transfers
  • Free to use
  • Easy to set up
  • No receiving limit

Cons:

  • Can’t use credit cards
  • $500 weekly sending limit

How Can I Send Money to Someone Instantly?

While multiple platforms allow you to send money instantly, the best two are probably Google Pay or Zelle.

Both of these apps allow for instantaneous transfers with little or no cost to you.

Apple Pay could work depending on the circumstances, but if the recipient needs the money in a bank account, there will be a fee to make the transfer happen instantaneously.

What Is the Most Secure Way to Send Money?

The most secure way to send money is via wire transfer.

A wire transfer is a transfer that occurs directly between your bank and the recipient’s bank. This eliminates any middleman, making it the safest option.

What Is the Safest App to Send Money?

While many apps are quite safe to use for money transfers, Apple Pay is arguably the safest.

This is because your transfers are insured by the FDIC, meaning you’ll be able to recover your money should something go wrong.

What Is the Best App to Send Money?

The best app to use for money transfers depends heavily on your unique circumstances. That being said, Zelle is among the top choices in many situations.

Zelle is entirely free to use, transfers funds almost instantly, and is even integrated into many mobile banking apps.

If you need to send over $500, you’ll need to go with a different platform.

3 Things to Consider When Sending Money to Someone

As we’ve said, the best way to send money is highly dependent on what you want out of your transferring platform.

That said, three things should always be considered when making a decision.

#1. Fees

Fees vary wildly between platforms. Some transferring services are completely free to use, where others hit you with steep fees.

What’s more, there are different fees within the same platforms depending on where you send your money, how you fund the transfer, and how much you send.

Make sure you know what fees you’ll face before committing to a transfer.

#2. Processing Time

As we’ve seen, not all transfers are instantaneous. Many services take a few days before the funds are available to the recipient.

If you’re in an emergency and need your funds to be immediately available, it’s crucial that you know how long each platform takes to process your transfer.

#3. Security

The final consideration is security. While all transfer services aim to keep your money safe, the level of insurance and protection is very different between platforms.

If security is your primary focus and you don’t mind a bit of wait time and expense, a wire transfer might be a better option than using online money-sending services.

Bottom Line: Best Ways to Send Money

There is a vast array of options when it comes to sending money. Each has a unique mix of timeliness, cost-effectiveness, ease-of-use, and security features.

When looking for the best way to transfer funds, you’ll need to consider your specific situation. Do you need the funds to be available immediately? Are you trying to send funds in the most cost-effective way possible?

Answering these questions will allow you to weigh your options and find the service that best matches your needs.

The good news? There’s almost certainly a platform perfectly suited to the task.

Bradon Matthews
Bradon Matthews

Bradon Mathews is a personal finance writer & product analyst with a breadth of experience. He enjoys analyzing market information and trends to help you make sense of the complex and ever-changing world of finance. His passion is providing practical advice so you can feel more confident managing your money. Bradon attended Colorado State University where he studied Philosophy.