Transferring money electronically has become increasingly normalized, as banks have found the tools to ensure that money transfers can be safely handled with least risk to the customer. There are already a number of websites online that cater for transferring money online, but as smartphone and tablet use has increased, so has the number of businesses offering money transfer via nothing more than an app.
Apps for transferring money have benefits from strides in development of online money transfers, so not only are fees now quite reasonable, there are also options to send money across multiple currencies around the world. This has been especially helped by banks streamlining the processing of international payments, which has further enhanced the technology.
Transferring money through an app is safe and secure, with strong encryption protocols used to ensure that the connection between your device and your bank account are fully secured. However, it remains important to ensure that you send the money to the correct account, an issue that shouldn't be a problem with most banking apps these days, though of course you do need to keep your mobile device safe and protected against use by other people.
Money transfer apps have come of age, and while there are a large range of providers, here we'll highlight the best on the market today.
- We've also highlighted the best payment gateways of 2018
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Venmo believes it has both individual users and businesses winning via its money transferring app. While the everyday user can make quick and simple payments via their phone, businesses are able to give an increasingly mobile-first audience a smooth, handheld checkout on purchases. A big ecommerce box ticked.
At present, Venmo’s reputation is a little stronger in the former category, while parent company PayPal continues its dominance in the business world. The ‘digital wallet’ nature of the service makes it appealing for mobile-savvy individuals wanting to make quick peer-to-peer transfers to friends, with the experience enhanced by the ability to share purchases on their Venmo feed and add comments and emojis to their contacts’ shared purchases.
How does it work? Users make payments by linking their bank accounts or debit cards directly via the app, or by transferring the money stored within their Venmo account. These transfers can be stored as a Venmo balance to be used later or cashed out immediately to a bank account.
With its slick UI and all-round convenience winning favor among millennials, businesses seeking to tap this younger market will increasingly consider wrapping Venmo into their payment systems, and they can do so in the knowledge that it safeguards payment data with encryption for maximum safety and security.
For debit card transactions, the Venmo app is free to use. Merchants looking to adopt the service can find out more here.
It’s likely Western Union is one of the first names that springs to mind when you think of money transfers, so it should be of little surprise that the company has mocked up a very handy app to take its global service to your mobile.
WU appears mindful that the attention span of the average mobile user has shrunk to that of a gnat, so time-consuming entry fields to insert your details have been scrapped where possible. If your phone has Touch ID, you can get your transfer rolling with a press of your thumb, while a card scanning feature spares you the 16-digit input haul on setup.
The option of paying direct from your bank account, via card or in cash adds to the convenience factor, as does integration with Apple Pay. Keeping track of your transfer is also possible through the app – simply enter your tracking number (MTCN) to see when it’s been processed, collected and completed.
Western Union allows you to send up to $500 (£376) for a $5 (£4) fee, but downloading the app is free.
WorldRemit is also in tune with the fact that speed is the name of the game when it comes to mobile money transfers, and claims you can ‘send money from your mobile as quickly as a text message’ thanks to its iOS and Android app.
With WorldRemit you can send money to contacts in over 140 different countries and transfers can be received as a bank deposit, cash pickup, mobile credit or an airtime top-up. Best of all, processing time is just a matter of minutes, making for near instant availability at the other end.
When the transfer is completed, both sender and recipient receive an SMS or email notification, giving peace of mind that the money has arrived safely. The service also promises money protection of the ‘highest possible standards’ thanks to ‘industry-leading’ tech and licences with governments across the world.
Charges on your transfer depend on the sum of money and also the destination. There’s no fixed rate here, so it may be worth checking the tariff on sending to the country you have in mind before signing up. That said, your first transfer with WorldRemit is free of charge, so why not give it a go?
Less of a household name, but well worthy of its place in our list, is Azimo, which has apps available in Google Play and Apple’s App Store for its international money transfer service.
From the moment you hit send on your transfer to the point of collection, Azimo keeps you fully up-to-date on the status of your transaction via the app. But while the technology in money transfer services usually takes care of itself, the bureaucracy around collecting bank and cash payments in other countries can be far from simple, so Azimo’s location-specific instructions for collection are a nice touch.
Though dependant on destination, the fees are very reasonable, and the service can count on over 200,000 pick-up points worldwide. The customer service is strong too, even if it is restricted to email rather than phone. An added incentive? Inviting a friend to join the service gives them £10 ($13) on a transfer, and when they transfer £100 ($133) or more, you get to pocket £10 ($13) yourself.
We weren’t exactly going to leave PayPal out of a conversation about money transfers, were we? The service has become ubiquitous in ecommerce but the company’s acquisition of the aforementioned Venmo suggested it had work to do to establish itself as a popular app for peer-to-peer transfers.
With Vemno clearly pitching itself at the younger market, PayPal’s app maintains the more corporate look and feel. Its tight security measures – making you enter your password every time you open the app, for example – further emphasizes the business heritage. While this may feel like a slight inconvenience, it’s surely a wise security measure.
PayPal’s mobile transfers match the rest of the field in terms of speed, but you do get charged on debit card transactions, a rarity when it comes to domestic transfers. This drawback is countered by more lax spending limits, with individual transactions able to go as high as $10,000 (£7,500).
The simplicity of entering just an email address or phone number to direct your payment will always carry appeal on PayPal’s platform, but if quick peer-to-peer transfers are more important to you than international transactions, those debit card fees may push you towards its cool little sibling, Vemno.
Best of the rest
Google has been ramping up its presence in the peer-to-peer payments market for some time, and Google Play Send is the latest iteration of its money transfer app. Though only available in the US at present, its super-quick functionality and convenient bill-splitting feature suggest it’s an app that’s here to stay.
Facebook wants to get in on the act too, and so it has lumped peer-to-peer payments into its Messenger app. Once you’ve entered your bank details, up to $2,500 (the limit is £2,500 in UK) can be flicked off to a Facebook contact at the tap of a button. Will it catch on?
Not about to miss out on a tussle with its fellow tech titans, Apple has Apple Pay. The platform allows you to make secure purchases in stores, in apps, and on the web, and you can now send and receive money in Messages too – a potential game-changer.
Though not hailing from the same tech super league as the previous three, Square’s Cash App is a major player in this field. First came its instant peer-to-peer payments, then came a business-friendly extension to the service, and now it even supports Bitcoin trading.
Getting back to the international specialists, we finish our roundup with OFX. In addition to speedy international transfers from your mobile, the app offers live insight and commentary on market rates and can count on very solid customer service thanks to its support teams in Australia, US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore.