Sending money to a friend? Which is the best app for that?

Money makes the world go ’round. Whether you owe a friend for drinks, or you need to send rent money to your roommate, the easier it is to transfer money to friends and family, the better.

With the advent of modern technology, there are plenty of great options for sending money to others. Sure, PayPal may well be the best-known of these services, but it’s certainly not the only one. Google reorganized Android Pay and Google Wallet into a single service called Google Pay. Then there’s Venmo, which has skyrocketed in popularity, and Square Cash, built by payment company Square. Perhaps it’s a little late to the game, but we can’t forget about Apple Pay Cash.

Which of these payment services should you use to send money to your friends, family, and others? We put them side by side to find the best.

Paypal Google Pay Venmo Square Cash Apple Pay Cash
Compatibility Android, iOS, Web Android, iOS, Web Android, iOS, Web Android, iOS, Web iOS
Payment methods Credit, debit, bank transfer Credit, debit card, bank transfer Credit, debit card, bank transfer Credit, debit card Credit, debit card
Credit fee 2.9% + $0.30 2.9% 2.9% 3% 3%
Debit fee 2.9% + $0.30 Free Free (25 cents for instant transfers) Free Free
Bank transfer fee Free Free Free N/A N/A
Withdrawal speed Up to 1-2 business days Up to 1-3 business days Up to 1 business day Up to 1-2 business days Up to 1-3 business days
Transfer limits $10,000 $9,999 $3,000 $2,500 $3,000
Special features shareable links Integration with other Google services Quick transfers to banks No need to set up an account Automatically available in iOS



As previously mentioned, PayPal is perhaps the best-known of these services, and for good reason. PayPal has long been the go-to for online shopping, and the fact that it can be used to transfer money between friends is simply a bonus.

PayPal’s interface is extremely easy to use, largely thanks to a major redesign. Simply open up your PayPal account, press the “send money” button, and follow the instructions — it only takes a few seconds to send money. The initiative has made sending money even easier. If you have your friend’s link, simply follow the link and enter how much you want to pay them.

What PayPal has going against it, however, isn’t related to its ease of use. Out of the five services, PayPal is the most expensive, if you don’t want to connect the service to your bank account. Now, we would highly recommend connecting it to your bank account anyway, as it makes things a lot easier if you happen to lose your debit or credit card or when you get a new one. However, if you choose not to, PayPal will be one of the most expensive services for you. Not only does it charge a 2.9 percent fee for money sent from a debit or credit card, it also charges an extra 30 cents on top of that.

One advantage is that PayPal allows the largest transactions of the bunch. Using PayPal, you can transfer up to a hefty $10,000. Most people won’t need that — but it’s nice to have in case you do.

Like some of the other services on our list, PayPal won’t transfer money directly to your bank unless you manually do it. Instead, money will sit in your PayPal account, and can be used for purchases or sent to your bank, as you see fit. Also, PayPal Credit users might prefer PayPal, as it eliminates the need to have any extra accounts.

Download now for:

Android iOS

Google Pay

paypal vs google wallet venmo square cash

Google Pay is one of the cheapest services on the list — there are no fees to use debit cards or make bank transfers, though you will pay a 2.9 percent fee for credit cards. It can transfer almost as much money as PayPal, with the maximum amount per transaction set at $9,999.

What really sets Google Pay apart from the rest, however, is its integration with other Google services. In Gmail, for instance, you can request money simply by pressing the little dollar sign in the toolbar under a message. You can even send money through Android Messages, the default texting service on most Android phones, and it will show up in Google Pay. If you have a Google Home, you can ask it to send over money to a friend through Google Pay. If you choose to use the actual Google Pay app instead, sending money is as simple as pressing on the option and entering your recipient’s email address or phone number. You can also use your fingerprint sensor or Face ID to unlock the app.  Transferring money into your bank account could take up to three days, but it’s instant when you’re sending it to a debit card.

The app can also be used to make contactless payments, and it can store loyalty or gift cards or even flight and concert tickets. If you just want to send money to friends and family, you can check out Google Pay Send, which only offers peer-to-peer transactions.

Download now for:

Android iOS



Venmo has grown a lot more popular over the past few years, becoming the preferred way for many people to transfer cash to their friends. In fact, Venmo has become a verb — “Venmo me!” After creating your account, you’ll be asked to add people to your friends list, which makes it easier to transfer money the next time you need to do so.

There are a few things to keep in mind when using Venmo, however. For example, the team behind it has tried to make the service highly social, which may frustrate some. When you send money, you’ll have the option to make the transaction public, and while you most likely don’t want or need to do this, you’ll have to be careful to not accidentally select the wrong option.

Like other services, when someone sends you money, it sits in your Venmo account; it can be sent to others or transferred to your bank account by “checking out.” It’s free to use Venmo with a debit card. It will still cost you 2.9 percent to use a credit card, but if you’re not too fond of linking a service to your bank account, it might be nice for you to not have to pay a fee for each transaction. Not only that, but Venmo says that money will be transferred to your bank account within one business day, which is pretty quick. Venmo recently added an option to instantly send money to your debit card for 25 cents; there’s still a free option, but it’s not as fast.

Venmo is obviously meant to be used for everyday transactions, and as such, the limit for a single transfer is $3,000. It’s still a lot of money, sure, but you won’t be using Venmo to send a huge amount of cash.

Download now for:

Android iOS

Square Cash


Next up on our list is Square Cash, built by Square, which is perhaps best known for its point-of-sale systems for the iPad and iPhone. At first glance, you might have trouble seeing why you would want to opt for Square Cash over other services, but it does have one unique selling point — you don’t have to set up an account to use it.

It also integrates with email. To request cash, email the person that owes you money, enter how much is owed in the subject field, and then CC the email to Once the email is received, both parties will need to enter their banking information, and the transfer will go through. There’s no need for any new accounts, long waits, or extra steps in the transferring process. In fact, once the bank information has been entered, Square claims that the transaction should be completed within two business days.

Unfortunately, the service can only be used with credit and debit cards — you won’t be using your bank account with Square Cash.

Download now for:

Android iOS

Apple Pay Cash

best money transfer apps apple pay cash

Unlike the other services on this list, you may already have Apple Pay Cash, which rolled out as part of iOS 11.2, if you have an iPhone. That means you don’t need to download another app in order to transfer money to or from fellow iPhone owners.

One of the best things about Apple Pay Cash is that it’s well-integrated with iOS, and as long as you have set up Apple Pay with a credit or debit card, you can quickly and easily send money through the Messages app. To send or receive money, open up a thread in the Messages app, hit the Apple Pay icon on the keyboard, choose the amount, and hit the “Request” or “Pay” button.

Fees, transfer times, and limits are pretty standard with Apple Pay Cash. You’ll be able to transfer up to $3,000, and will incur a 3 percent fee when using a credit card. Once you have money in your account, you can transfer it to your actual bank account in one to three business days.

There are a few downsides to Apple Pay Cash, the main one being that it’s only compatible with iOS — so you won’t be able to use it with people on Android — and there’s no desktop interface.

Download now for:


So which one should I use?

Which one you should use depends on what you need it for. If you want an all-in-one service for online shopping and even a line of credit, PayPal is clearly the right choice for you. Android users and avid Google fans, however, might be better off with Google Pay. For those who simply want to quickly send money to friends, Venmo is a popular and great option. If you don’t want to bother with any accounts or extra steps, Square Cash is a great solution. Last but not least, if you’re an iPhone user and intend to mainly send and receive money from other iPhone users, then Apple Pay Cash is your best bet. The reality is that all of these services are great at what they do, and while one might be better than another for your purposes, you can’t really go wrong with any of them.

You may also want to look at your bank’s peer-to-peer transaction service, as many of them now offer a way to send money to a friend directly in your banking app through services like Zelle.

Updated August 28, 2018: We’ve updated this article to include Google Pay.

Product Review

Huawei’s monster Mate 20 X makes the Galaxy Note 9 look small

The Huawei Mate 20 X has a 7.2-inch screen, but is surprisingly manageable to hold, yet still a little too big to carry around. Huawei’s pushing the phone’s ability as a mobile gaming handheld, challenging the Nintendo Switch.
Home Theater

Google Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra: Everything you need to know

Google's Chromecast plugs into your TV's HDMI port, allowing you to stream content from your tablet, laptop, or smartphone directly to your TV. Here's what you need to know about all iterations, including the 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra.

Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 vs. Google Pixelbook

Samsung's Chromebook Plus V2 attempts to answer the question: can you spend around half as much as on the premium Google Pixelbook and be happy that you saved some serious cash?

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.

Which Verizon plan is best for you? We check out family, individual, and prepaid

Verizon offers lots of plans for individuals, your family, and folks who want prepaid service. Here is everything you need to know about Verizon's plans, from data packages and smartphones to Big Red's prepaid plans.

Need a do-over? Here's how to factory reset an iPhone, from XS on down

Resetting an iPhone can alleviate all sorts of software woes, and wipe away personal data should you sell your device or give it to someone else. Here's how to factory reset an iPhone from within iOS or iTunes.

Camera shootout! Testing the latest Pixel, iPhone, and Galaxy Note in real life

Which takes the best photos, the Pixel 3 XL, iPhone XS Max, Galaxy Note 9, or Pixel 2 XL? We put the cameras on all these top-notch phones through their paces to see which performs best in the real world, from low light to portrait mode…

How to sell your old Google Pixel or Pixel 2 for the most money

So, it's time for a expensive new smartphone, and you'd like to partially fund the purchase by selling your old Google Pixel. Find all the information you need to get as much money as possible for your Pixel or Pixel 2 here in our guide.

The OnePlus 6T is coming a day earlier, event moved to October 29

According to a recent report, the launch of the OnePlus 6T could be different from any other OnePlus launch in history. How? It could have the backing of a major U.S. carrier. Here's everything we know about the OnePlus 6T.

Sprint now lets you add Hulu's Live TV service to your unlimited plan

Sprint recently introduced three new data plans to its roster -- Unlimited Basic , Unlimited Plus, and Unlimited Premium. Here, we break down your options to help you decide which one is best for you and your family.

Sams's Club offers $100 gift cards for iPhone XR pre-orders

After months of rumors and speculation, Apple has finally taken the wraps off of the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Now that the phones are out, you might be wondering how you can get them for yourself.

It’s about time! A USB-C magnetic charger for the Apple Watch has finally arrived

While most of the buzz surrounding Apple has been about the iPhone XR, the company also introduced a new Apple Watch accessory. Starting October 24, a USB-C magnetic charger will be available for purchase.
Product Review

Amazon’s child-friendly tablet is the complete package

Kids are tough on electronics and it’s difficult to police screen time and manage what they’re doing. The Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition could be the affordable answer to your prayers, with a rugged case and worry-free warranty.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro vs. P20 Pro: Which 2018 Huawei flagship is best for you?

If you're tempted by Huawei's latest flagship, the Mate 20 Pro, but you're uncertain how it differs from the P20 Pro which Huawei released earlier this year, then we have you covered. Find out exactly what sets these two phones apart.