How Can I Transfer Money Online?

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Back in the old days, transferring money to friends and family was accomplished by writing checks. This ancient form of payment was often made even more arduous by the necessity of sending the check via snail mail.

Fortunately, technology has come a long way in the past couple of decades, making transferring money online a breeze. We’ll give you an overview of online money transfers and the best services to use to complete them.

How to Transfer Money Online

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Today many online money transfer services allow users to set up an account and connect it directly to their bank account, credit card, or debit card. But which one should you choose? The best money transfer service largely depends on factors such as whether you want to transfer money domestically or overseas, how quickly you need it to arrive, and whether or not you are willing to pay fees.

While some people find a money transfer service that suits their all-around needs, others find that some work better for certain transactions than others. For this reason, it’s common to sign up with a variety of different online money transfer services, so you have multiple options.

Types of Online Money Transfers

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While there are plenty of online money transfer services to choose from, some are better than others regarding speed and fees. What kind of online money transfers you want to make is essential for figuring out which service to use. For example, do you want to be able to:

  • Send money to friends and family?
  • Send money overseas?
  • Complete payments to online vendors?
  • Complete a transfer that will arrive instantly?
  • Use an online money transfer service to pay your bills?
  • Fulfill recurring transfers each month?

Narrowing down your goals can go a long way towards knowing what to look for when comparing services. Additionally, some money transfer services require that the person you’re sending money to has an account, which is an important thing to keep in mind.

Most Popular Online Money Transfers

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Paypal and Venmo are two of the most popular online money transfer services, especially when sending money to friends and family. Here’s a quick breakdown of each:

  • Paypal

Paypal allows anyone to create a free account either online or via a mobile smartphone app. Once you set up your account, you can connect it to your bank account, credit cards, and debit cards. You can then use it to send money to other Paypal users from your bank account or Paypal balance for free.

While you can also send money using your cards, you may incur a small fee as a result. The funds should arrive in the account of the person you send them to reasonably quickly. They can then transfer it to their bank account for free, though this sometimes takes 1-3 business days to complete, or instantly transfer it to their bank by paying a small fee.

Otherwise, they can keep the money in their Paypal account and use it to make online purchases or in-store purchases if they have a debit card connected to their account balance.

  • Venmo

Venmo is owned by Paypal and is pretty similar in many respects. While Paypal gears towards purchases and money transfers between friends and family, Venmo is more oriented towards the latter. Once you set up a Venmo account, you can attach it to your bank accounts, credit cards, and debit cards just like you would on Paypal.

One perk of Venmo is that while Paypal charges a fee for debit card funding, Venmo does not. You can use Venmo to easily send money to other users by searching for their username. Another cool feature of Venmo is that it’s very social-oriented and allows you to type in a description of what you’re sending the money for, complete with your selection of fun emojis.

Fastest Way to Transfer Money Online

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Need to send or receive money fast? Here are the best options for sending and receiving money that you can cash out instantly.

  • Google Pay

Google Pay is another excellent online money transfer service developed by (you guessed it) Google. With Google Pay, you can connect your bank account and debit cards and use them to transfer money to other users. To find the person you want to pay, you can either use a QR code or search for them using their name, phone number, or email address.

One of the perks that Google Pay offers over services like Paypal or Venmo is that it allows you to cash out for free within minutes to a debit card. This feature makes it a fantastic option if you want to get your money quickly without paying any fees.

  • Zelle

Need to transfer money between bank accounts? Zelle offers a quick, easy way to complete transfers between bank accounts, even if you’re sending money to someone who uses a different bank than you do. Zelle works with transfers between over 1,000 banks and credit unions.

To get started, enroll using your email or phone number through Zelle’s website or app. Then locate the person you want to send money to using their phone number or email address. As long as they have a bank account with one of the many participating institutions, you’ll be able to enter the amount you’d like to send and start your transfer within minutes. They’ll then get a notification explaining how to retrieve the money and get it into their own account quickly and easily.

Cheapest Way to Transfer Money Online

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While almost all online money transfer services offer free domestic transfer options, things can get a bit trickier when you’re sending money overseas. So if you’re looking to sidestep the fees, check out our pick for the one service that stands out above the rest.

  • OFX

OFX allows users to transfer money to over 190 countries through its mobile app or website. Not only does OFX offer incredibly competitive exchange rates, but it doesn’t change any transfer fees regardless of the amount of money you send.

Another cool perk of OFX is that it allows you to send your money at the current exchange rate or wait until a future target exchange rate is reached. Once you register and get verified, you can begin sending money using your recipient’s bank account information.