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Best ways to send money to friends and family within the US

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Mobile payment apps are a quick and convenient way to send domestic money transfers.

Mobile apps have become the top choice for sending money in the US with secure, free ways to transfer funds in minutes — but the top apps aren’t all created equal.

What separates the best domestic money transfer providers?

For a money transfer provider, beating the competition involves three factors: cost, speed and flexibility. Sending money should be free, and your transfers should be completed immediately.

  1. Cost. The market for money transfers is heating up. It’s gotten so competitive, you should never have to pay to send money domestically online or with a mobile app.
  2. Speed. Maybe you’re concerned about transfer speed and willing to shell out money to send funds quickly. Go beyond Western Union or MoneyGram to online money specialists and mobile apps that can transfer money instantly, sometimes available to your recipient right away.
  3. Flexibility. The best providers include perks that make transfers work for you, including high limits and options to send money through email and text.

The best apps to send money online within the US

Among the many great mobile payment apps out there, three stand out: Cash App, Google Wallet and PayPal.

Cash App

  • Free to load money through debit card or bank account
  • Free to send money from your bank account
  • Free to receive money
  • Free to withdraw money to a bank account
  • 1% fee for instant withdrawals
  • 3% fee, paid by sender, for payments from a credit card
  • 2.75% fee, paid by recipient, for business payments
  • Instant transfers
  • Standard withdrawals take two business days
  • Instant withdrawals come with a fee
Sending limits
  • Starting limit: $250 per week
  • Limit after verifying ID: $2,500 per week
Options to send money through app
  • Square Virtual Card

Like its competitors, Square’s Cash App offers free deposits, transfers, receipt of funds and withdrawals. However, it pulls ahead in a few important respects.

If you need to cash out, you don’t have to wait a couple of days for a bank transfer, like you do with other services. Cash App comes with an option to withdraw money instantly for a 1% fee, in addition to its free withdrawal option (which takes two business days). So if you’re transferring $100 to someone, they’ll see it in their bank account right away for $1. For a comparison, sending a transfer for cash pickup through MoneyGram would cost you $12.99.

Cash App’s sending limits aren’t as robust as those offered by Google Wallet or PayPal. However, the app is on par with its competitors by offering money transfers through email and text.

Cash App’s Virtual Card is a killer differentiator. This feature lets you spend money straight from the app as long as merchants accept mobile payments. This means you don’t have to withdraw money to your bank to start spending your funds.

Google Wallet

  • Free to send money
  • Free to receive money
  • Free to withdraw money to a bank account
  • Instant transfers
  • Instant withdrawals to bank account
Sending limits
  • $9,999 per transaction
  • $50,000 per five-day period
Options to spend money through app
  • App offers instant withdrawal to debit card

Google Wallet is arguably the best way to send money domestically. You can use it to send and receive money for free, but its greatest advantages are its speed and flexibility.

Most payment apps are fast, but they get stuck on the last leg of the transfer, sometimes taking a few days for the recipient to transfer the funds to their bank account.

Not so with Google Wallet. Once you receive money, it’s directly transferred to your debit card. So not only is a money transfer free, but it’s also immediate. If your recipient doesn’t have the Google Wallet app, they can accept funds via email or text.

There are certain exceptions where other apps are superior. For example, Google Wallet doesn’t offer a virtual card like Cash App. And Google Wallet’s sending limits, while very generous, are beaten by PayPal. But if you’re looking for the overall winner for domestic money transfers, Google Wallet takes the prize.


  • Free to send money through PayPal balance or bank account
  • Free to receive money if funds are sent through PayPal balance or bank account
  • Free to withdraw money to bank account
  • Instant transfers
  • Withdrawals to bank accounts take one business day
Sending limits
  • Unverified account: Limits vary
  • Verified account: Up to $10,000 per transaction
Options to spend money through app
  • Use at select merchants and restaurants
  • PayPal debit card

PayPal beats everything else in one important respect: Once you verify your identity with PayPal, you can send up to $10,000 per transaction.

That said, PayPal doesn’t necessarily win in speed and convenience. Transfers are instant, but it takes two to three business days to link a bank account at the beginning. And if your recipient wants to spend funds right away, they’ll probably need to apply for the PayPal debit card. (This card allows them to spend funds from their PayPal balance.) Otherwise, they’ll need to wait one business day for a withdrawal to their bank account.

However, once you get the initial setup out of the way, PayPal can be just as effective as any other payment app — even as good as Google Wallet.

What about other online money transfer options?

Online providers like TransferWise, WorldRemit and OFX have taken the money transfer industry by storm. They offer inexpensive remittances in an age where banks still overcharge.

So why aren’t they included in this “best ways” list for domestic transfers? Because they’re primarily geared toward sending money internationally. They’re the top choice in this space, though, in the same way that mobile payment apps are best for domestic transfers.

If you’re sending funds overseas, go with an online provider — you’ll save a lot of money. For money transfers within your own borders, go with one of the apps we’ve listed here.

Compare international money transfer services

Compare online money transfer providers

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 0 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 0.996 USD 4,980 Offering no maximum and no minimum limit transfers with $0 fees. Go to site Show details
EUR 1,000 1 - 2 days USD 10.00 0.99 USD 4,940 Use TransferMate to help you send money to almost any country around the world for a small fee. Go to site Show details
USD 1 Within an hour USD 3.99 0.996 USD 4,975 Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Send to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up. Go to site Show details
GBP 1,000 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 0.99 USD 4,950 Exclusive: Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally $5,000).
For larger transfers, get no transaction fees and no maximum send limits.
Go to site Show details
USD 1,000 1 day USD 0.00 0.99 USD 4,950 No-maximum limit transfers with competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies. Go to site Show details
USD 5,000 1 day USD 0.00 0.99 USD 4,950 Venstar will support you through the entire process of your international transactions, from start to finish. Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Honorable mentions

  • Venmo is a great app and the darling of millennials, though it’s matched or outclassed by Cash App in every way.
  • Circle offers free transfers, but it needs one to four days for withdrawals to your bank account. If you need to make international transfers between US dollars, euros or British pounds, however, it’s a stellar pick.
  • Facebook Messenger is free and fast, and it may dominate mobile payments someday. But you can’t send money to those who aren’t on Facebook, and that makes Messenger Payments less flexible than competitors like Cash App or Google Wallet.

Bottom line

  • Cash App is best if you want to receive funds and use them for mobile payments. Just activate your Virtual Card in the app.
  • Google Wallet is the best overall pick. It’s quick to set up, its sending limits are high and your recipient can receive money immediately via their debit card.
  • PayPal is the best if you want to send large volumes of money — it has no overall sending limits once you’ve verified your identity.

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3 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    CynthiaOctober 13, 2018

    What if I cannot download the apps to send money? What are my other options or can I still use the appwithout having to download it?

  2. Default Gravatar
    CorellaJune 13, 2018


    How can I send cash? I mean – physical cash to drop it off, not online payment.


    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      AshJune 13, 2018Staff

      Hi Corella,

      Thank you for contacting finder.

      You may check this page for the Money Transfer Agencies that has Agent Locations where you can drop by to send money and your recipient also has the option to pick-up the cash sent. You can compare each of the provider then click on the green “Go to site” button to be redirected to their site and check the nearest Agent Location to you to start your transaction.

      I hope this helps.

      Let us know if there is anything else that we may assist you with.


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