Best Ways to Send Money Online Instantly

When you give money to someone else, you have a few choices for how to do it. You can hand over cash, a check or payment card in person; you can send a check or payment card in the mail; or you can use an electronic person-to-person money transfer system that lets you send money directly from your bank account to someone else.

With an electronic money transfer system, you don’t have to visit a bank or ATM, handle bills or coins, find an envelope, postage stamp, mailbox or post office, or interact with your recipient face-to-face. Instead, you can authorize your transaction online or with a mobile device. The funds may arrive within minutes and be available immediately or within a few days.

“These services are user-friendly and easy to use,” says Michael Hakimi, owner and certified financial planner at Black Dog Financial Planning in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. “They help people avoid using paper checkscarrying around cash or even risking sending cash in the mail.”

Best Money Transfer Methods

Some money transfer systems can be used by anyone who has a bank account, or a debit or credit card. Other systems are reserved for customers of a specific bank or credit union.

Here are five systems that can be used online or with a mobile app. Two of them can also be used in person at brick-and-mortar locations.

cell. Zelle can be used online, through the Zelle mobile app or through participating banks’ online banking platforms. Most of the country’s largest banks, including Bank of America, Chase, Citibank and Wells Fargohave partnered with Zelle. Money can be sent directly from your bank account with the recipient’s email address or cellphone number.

PayPal. PayPal lets you send, request or collect money online or with the PayPal app. You can also shop online with a PayPal credit, debit or prepaid card, or credit line. PayPal offers both business and personal accounts.

Venmo. With Venmo, you can send money person-to-person or make purchases at online stores that accept Venmo.

“Venmo has a similar interface to a social network and is very easy to use,” Hakimi says. “It gives you the ability to find your friends and build a profile. Many of our friends use Venmo to split restaurant bills, utilities or rent.”

Venmo is owned by PayPal.

Western Union. Western Union allows you to send money online, with the company’s mobile app or in person at a Western Union agent location. Funds can be deposited directly into the recipient’s bank account or picked up in person at a Western Union agent location.

Walmart2Walmart. Walmart2Walmart lets you send money online, with the company’s mobile app or from any Walmart store in the U.S., including Puerto Rico. The money can be picked up at a Walmart store, too. Walmart also offers Walmart2World and MoneyGram, which let you send money internationally online, with an app or at a Walmart store.

Advantages of Transferring Money

  • These systems create an electronic record of your transaction with the date, amount and recipient.
  • There is usually a memo line where you can add a message for your recipient or a note for yourself about the transaction.
  • Zelle doesn’t charge for sending money.
  • PayPal charges nothing for transfers from a bank account.
  • Venmo is free to send money to a person from your bank account or debit card.

Disadvantages of Transferring Money

  • Though electronic money transfer systems are generally easy to use, you need some basic technology skills to create and authorize an account and set up each transaction. “Person-to-person payment systems are convenient for those who are tech-savvy,” says Michael Foguth, founder of Foguth Financial Group, a financial management firm in Brighton, Michigan.
  • PayPal charges 2.9% for transfers from debit or credit cards.
  • Venmo charges 3% to send money from your credit card.
  • International transfers may involve currency exchange fees.

Risks Involved in Online Money Transfer

Electronic money transfers also involve some risks.

“There will always be cybersecurity risks with any type of online banking products,” Hakimi says. “A nefarious person could hack into your account and send money to themselves.”

To lower the risk, use a PIN to secure your peer-to-peer payment account, if that’s an option.

One more tip: Always double-check your recipient’s name and email address or cellphone number. If you send money to the wrong person, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to reverse the transaction.

Source link