In today’s society a lot of business and transactions are done online and with that comes many options involved with these payments. There are several different methods and platforms that can be used. It can be challenging to decide on the correct platform to use based on your situation.

This article will examine and detail the different methods and platforms that can be used to SEND MONEY ONLINE and why you should use them.

We’ve updated this article for 2016!

1. Peer to Peer Services (best, cheapest way to send money abroad)

These are a relatively new form of money transfer services. There are two major players right now:  Transferwise and CurrencyFair. These are currency conversion services, not necessary money transfer services, though if you need to send money internationally between one currency to another, then these services do that.

Transferwise and CurrencyFair are our picks for the best overall ways to send money online to international destinations that involve currency conversions. By far, the conversion rate is the best (you get the interbank rate rather than the consumer rate of interbank rate + 2-3 percent) and you are charged a flat feet that ranges from 0 to .05%, depending on what company you choose.

Read our review of Transferwise and our review of CurrencyFair

These services, however, are not suitable for sending money online domestically or as a payment processor. They are strictly for international money transfers where currency needs to be converted.

2. Online Payment Services (best way to pay for services / goods online)

There are several options when it comes to choosing an online payment service to either make a purchase from a vendor or to pay an individual. Many of these services compete for each other and it can be difficult choosing the correct service. These are sometimes called Email Money Transfer services, but are, in reality, a whole payment gateway that can support many different payment methods.

The following is a detailed breakdown of the major online payment services.

PayPal

PayPal is one of the most well-known online payment services and for good reason. Almost everybody has a PayPal account and this reason alone is a good enough to warrant using it based on familiarity.

With Paypal you can send or request money all in one click with ease, all you have to know is the recipient’s Paypal email address. In addition you can ever send Invoices which make the email money request look professional at no extra cost.The request option can be beneficial as you can request money owed to you or to remind the payor that they still need to pay you. If you are worried they forgot to pay, you can simply request money.

Costs: A Paypal account is free to set up however there are other costs involved. Sending money to family and friends using your Paypal, or bank account balance is free for the sender and the recipient. However if you use your debit or credit card to send money internationally the fee is 2.9% of the transaction plus .30 cents. The sender decides who pays this fee. When requesting money inside of the USA it costs 2.9% of the transfer amount plus .30 cents. When requesting money internationally it is a 3.4%-3.9% fee if funding through your debit/credit card fee.

Cost to Send $1000: If you were to send $1000 USD using your Paypal or bank account balance within the U.S. then there would be no fee incurred. If you were to send $1000 USD using your credit/debit card balance then it would cost $3.20 USD to send $100 USD.

Best Suited For: Anyone who needs to send money quickly without the wait of bank transfers etc. PayPal is suited for sending international payments since some of the other options are only available in the USA. For processing payments to people online for services or goods, PayPal is arguably one of the best methods of doing so.

  • Pros: You can send money very quickly with reasonably low transaction fees. You can also request money and send invoices. Paypal is used worldwide so there are no limitations on where or who you can send the money to.
  • Cons: There is no set fee for international payments as higher the amount of money you send internationally means the higher fee you will pay since it is based on a percentage. Paypal has been known to randomly place holds on accounts for unknown reasons.

Google Wallet

Google Wallet allows you to send money to people quickly similar to PayPal. The recipient just needs a Gmail email address. You can send money straight out of your Google Wallet or from linked bank account and credit/debit card. It is lighting fast as you can transfer money from your Google Wallet straight to your bank account in about one day which is quicker then Paypal. One downside to Google Wallet is that it is currently only available for use in the United States.

Costs: The costs associated with Google Wallet are very straight forward. There are no fees to set up Google Wallet and to use it in stores. However, adding funds to your Google Wallet balance using your debit card will cost 2.9% of the total amount transferred, a .30 cent minimum applies.

Cost to Send $1000: If you were to send $1000USD  to somebody it would cost you $0 as sending and receiving money is totally free. However, if you needed to send the $1000 with your debit/credit card there would be a fee of $29.00 for a total of $1029USD.

Best Suited For: Very similar to PayPal as you can send it to family friends easily and quickly without having to wait for bank transfers to go through etc. Google Wallet and Paypal compete with each other  therefore it is the same market as Paypal.

  • Pros: Very fast and sending money back to your bank account can be quicker then PayPal.
  • Cons: You have to have a Gmail email address to use Google Wallet which could affect how many people use it. It is only available to use in the U.S.

Venmo

Venmo is another popular online payment service as it is really well known for having a really intuitive app/mobile design. You can send money to anyone with a mobile number or email address completely free. Like the others you can use the funds you already have in your Venmo account or link it to a bank account or debit card as they support most major debit cards. If you have an uncommon debit card there could be some more charges. Venmo is also very convenient for group pay for example is somebody buys texting you can start a group and add the people that owe you the money to the group.

  • Pros: Venmo is free to send money with your Venom balance and debit card and receiving money is always free. Venmo has a well designed app to make things quick to do and is very organised Venom probably has the best app out of all the online payment services.
  • Cons: Venmo is only available in the U.S. There have numerous complaints about the customer service being very slow and mainly based as an email service, making it very help to actually talk to a person if assistance is needed.

Costs: The costs associated with Venmo are very reasonable as it only costs you a 3% fee if you want to send money through a credit card. Opening an account and receiving money on Venom is free.

Cost to Send $1000: If you were to send $1000 USD to somebody on Venmo using your credit card it would cost you $30.00  in service fees for a total of $1030 USD.

Xoom

Xoom is a highly reputable digital money transfer service available in many countries. It works a little different then Paypal, and Google Wallet etc as with Xoom you send money online by transferring it as a bank deposit, cash pickup or door to door delivery. Xoom is partnered with many well known banks and you will need to know the recipients bank account information.

Best Suited For: This is best used when you need to money to someone who is travelling or in a foreign country.

Costs: If you are to send money from your bank account there is a $4.99 USD fee. Using your debit/credit card runs up to a $9.99 fee.

Cost to Send $1000: The cost to send $100 USD to using your bank account would accrue of $2.99 fee for a total of $1029.99. The cost to send $1000 USD using your credit/debit card would cost $40.99 for a total of $1040.99.

  • Pros: One great advantage of using Xoom is they offer a money back guarantee, if you’re money is not received by the recipient, it will refund your transaction if full.
  • Cons: Xoom is known to having long processing times and holding the money for a long period of time. Furthermore, despite all its efforts in security, Xoom was victim to a massive fraud scheme.

Square Cash

Square Cash is a fast, flexible platform that allows you to send money to family in friends in just minutes. It is available for use on both IOS and Android. All you need is an email address and a smart phone and you are able to use Square Cash. A unique feature Square Cash offers is something called “$cashtags’, which is a custom name you can create to make it more easily for people to identify you. This feature is more popular for the younger crowd.

Best Suited For: It is suited for anyone looking to send money to family or friends however it seems to be designed for a younger crowd to use, especially because of their “$cashtag” feature.

Costs: Square Cash is completely free to send a receive money. However if you are a Square Cash business account they charge a 1.9% fee per transaction

Cost To Send $1000: If you have a regular Square Cash account there is no added fee so the total would be $1000 USD. If you have a Square Cash business account there is a 1.9% fee so a fee of $10.9. The total would be $1010.90 USD.

  • Pros: Square Cash is extremely quick as money can literally be transferred to your bank account within minutes, not days like some of the other services. Furthermore, Square Cash is essentially free to use if you’re an individual user.
  • Cons: The biggest thing going against Square Cash is that it is only available for use in the USA.

Amazon Pay

Amazon pay allows you to make purchases form merchants as well as sending money to individuals. You use Amazon pay by logging on using your Amazon account information. Amazon pay functions very similar to Paypal. You can use a credit card, debit card, or your bank account balance for the payments. Amazon Pay allows you to send up to $1000 USD per month. Like Paypal you can send a request for a payment, all they need is your username, phone number or email address. There is also the option of sending money to people who do not yet have an account set up, the recipient will have to create an account to receive the money.Amazon also has a unique and handy feature called Amazon PayPhrase. With this, you set up your own 3 word phrase that can be used to purchase items from retailers or send money to individuals. This is a neat way to send money without having to reveal any personal information.

Best Suited For: This service is best suited for individuals who are very active on amazon. It best suits individuals who make frequent purchases through merchants. Amazon Pay is best suited for individuals who are already very active on Amazon.

Costs: Amazon pay is completely free when sending money to family and friends. When using Amazon Pay through merchants the cost is 2.9% with a per-transaction fee of $.30 and a total processing fee of $0.59.

Costs to Send $1000: The cost of sending $1000 USD to a merchant would be $1029.89 USD. The cost of sending $1000 USD to family and friends would remain $1000 USD.

  • Pros: Very effective for purchasing good though online merchants.
  • Cons: Unfortunately there is a limit of $1000USD per month of funds you can send to family and friends. This is a major disadvantage if you frequently send money to individuals as you could easily go over the $1000 limit.

Facebook Messenger Payments

Facebook recently introduced a payment service through Facebook Messenger. Debit cards are the only form of payment currently offered with this service. While in a conversation with someone in Facebook messenger simply tap the ‘$’ icon to send the money. You then type in the amount you want to send and confirm. The recipient then accepts the payment when they see the message. The payments will take a few days to clear and enter the bank account based on which bank is used.

Best Suited For: This is simply best suited for paying back family or friends. If you owe a friend money for concert tickets for example this is a very quick and convenient way to send them the money.

Costs: There are currently no costs to send money to family and friends using Facebook Messenger.

Cost to Send $1000: There is no fee associated with sending money to individuals so the cost would remain $1000 USD.

  • Pros: This is a very convenient and quick service to use. You can be talking to a friend on Messenger and said them money within a few clicks. A great advantage to Facebook messenger is it is totally free to send and receive money.
  • Cons: Currently the Facebook Messenger payment service is only available in the U.S. Furthermore the service is only attached to your debit card so you cannot attach it to a credit card.

Snapchat Snapcash

Yes, believe it or not you can now send money to other individuals on Snapchat. Snapchat has 200 million monthly users, so there are several people that could use this feature and cause some serious competition with some of the other money transfer providers. It is very easy to set up :

  • swipe right on a friends name on snapchat,
  • type the ‘$’ symbol and the green Snapcash button will appear.
  • Tap on the green button and it will prompt you to enter your debit card information.

To send the cash you do the same process except you ad a dollar amount which will turn green and press send. The recipient has to already put in their debit card information to receive the money. Once someone sends you Snapcash it takes 1-2 business days for the funds to be deposited into your business account.

There is a weekly send limit of $250 dollars, however if you spend more then the $250 dollars in a week you will have to enter additional security information such as your full name, date of birth and Social Security Number.Once you have done this your weekly limit will be increased to $2500 dollars. You can also find well organized transaction and receipts from all your transfers, from each individual user you sent and received money from.

Best Suited For: This is ideal for sending money to family and friends for some money you may owe them from concert tickets etc.

Costs: Snapchat is completely free to send money to friends. There are no charges or hidden fees,

Costs to Send $1000: There is no cost to sending $1000 USD. 

  • Pros: Snapcash is a very convenient method because you do not have to log onto a separate service to send money to a friend. You can send a snapchat picture, text or send money all in the same application. The only other service that is as convenient is Facebook Messenger Payments.
  • Cons: Snapcash is only available in the U.S. not its use can be limited. Also you can only link your debit card to Snappish as credit cards, and Paypal accounts are not permitted.

Chase Quick Pay

With Chase Quick Pay all you need is the email address or mobile phone number of the person you are paying. Once the money is in your Chase Quick Pay account you can then send the funds to your bank account although the transfer is not instant. Sending and receiving money is completely free. The process can be a little more difficult if you are not an actual Chase customer. There is a maximum transfer amount of $2000 per transaction, which is also the maximum transfer amount for the day. There is a maximum of $8000 in a 7 day period and $16000 in a 30 day period.

Best Suits: Chase Quick pay is best suited for people in a group scenario when people in a group all need to pay the payee in a quick manner. If you are out for dinner in a big group, the payee can be paid with minutes by all the payees. All this is very convenient and beneficial for individuals who are already Chase customers.

Costs: There is no cost to transfer money to other individuals with Chase Quick Pay.

Costs to Send $1000: There would be no additional cost to send $1000 USD with Chase Quick Pay.

  • Pros: Chase Quick Pay is very secure with no issues of fraud or personal identity theft. It is very fast if you are already a Chase customer. You do not need to know any of your recipients personal banking information.
  • Cons: While setting up the actual transfer is a quick process the actual transfer between accounts can take up anywhere from  1- 5 business days. If the transfer is between two Chase customers then the process is quicker. Also Chase Quick Pay only works if you have a U.S. bank account so if you dealing with individuals internationally this is not an option.

Skrill

This is one of the bigger alternatives to Paypal. It works the same way, except the payment fee is 1% regardless of what country you are sending money to. For some countries that don’t have Paypal or where Paypal transfer fees are 2.9% such as Pakistan, Skrill is a cheaper way to send money online.

3. Online Wire Transfers (The Quickest Way to Send Money Online)

All of the major bank allow you to send a wire transfer online from the convenience of your own home. You will have to fill out a wire transfer from that is very similar to the same form you would fill it if you were to do it in person. You will still need the recipients banking information. The information that is needed is the recipients full name, address and bank account numbers, along with the recipients bank ABA routing number or SWIFT number.

Best Suited For: This is ideal if you are sending a large amount of money as the limits tend to be very high. Many online payment services have lower sending limits so an online wire transfer would be the route you want to take. If you have online banking, then online wire transfers are by far the quickest and most hassle free method of making a money transfer online. They may, however, not be the cheapest.

Costs: The costs of sending an online wire transfer vary however there are usually two different fees, one for domestic wire transfers, and one for international wire transfers. The average fee for a domestic wire is $15, with the average fee of an international wire being $45-$60.

Cost to Send $1000: There is no cost based on the amount of money wired, it is based on a set fee.

  • Pros: You can send money anywhere in world as it is not restricted to just the United States. More convenient then sending a wire transfer in person.
  • Cons: The problem with this method is you still need the recipients banking information where you do not with e-transfers and online payment services. This could cause some security issues as if you are a recipient. There are always service fees associated with wire transfers and are usually in the higher range.

4. Online Bill Pay/E- Transfers (Cheapest Way to Transfer Money Domestically)

All of the major banks have an in depth online banking system which allows you to transfer money from your bank account to someone else .Typically all is needed is the recipients email address and/or phone number.These transfers can usually be done on a desktop site, mobile site or on the financial institutions app.

Some of these services from U.S. major banks include:

  • Citi Popmoney
  • PNC Popmoney (use same service as Citi)
  • Wells Fargo SurePay
  • Bank of America Email Transfer or BillPay

Once the money is sent the recipient then gets an email or text which provides a link. The link is clicked and from there they can have the funds deposited into their own bank account, even if the account is with another financial institution. A lot of the times there will be a pre determined security question where both you the send and the recipient have to know the answer to as a security measure.

Similarly, with online bill pay, not only can you pay your bills to vendors but you can also pay individuals as well. Anyone you would normally write a cheque to you can pay via online bill pay.

Best Suited For: This service is best suited for anyone who needs to send money quickly to a friend or family member. If you owe someone money for something or need to return a favour these services are idea.This is not recombined for large business transaction as the limits tend to be on the lower side.

Costs: Most of the time the service is free but can range up to the $2 dollar range.

Costs to Send $1000: There is no set fee based on the amount of money sent.

  • Pros: Most of the time these services or free to use. Some banks may charge a fee, but it is very minimal. You can save a lot of time, not having to write checks, pay for stamps etc. Additional most banks offer a guarantee of the payments arriving on the specified. Usually there is a online guarantee against unauthorized access or misuse. And did we say there are NO fees often, which may make this the cheapest method of transferring money domestically.
  • Cons: Usually you can only send money to others in the U.S., therefore if you have family or friends in another country you would have to send money via an online payment service such as Paypal. The sending limits tend to be lower then that of online payment services such as PayPal.

5. Online Money Orders (The Riskiest Way to Send Money Online)

Online money orders are performed similarly to traditional money orders however it is processed online without having to go to a physical location to get it processed.

It is difficult to find any reputable companies that offer this service as a intermediary.  The most well known intermediary company to offer online money orders is Payko. It allows you to send money orders with your Paypal account.

Best suited For: Online money orders are best suited for individuals looking for a bank to bank transaction rather then other services such as Paypal where that service act as middleman for the payments. Online money orders are ideal for businesses looking to send money to other businesses. Note that scammers often use money order request in scams, so beware who you are sending a money order to!

Costs: Sending a money order online also cost more then it would to do in person at a bank or post office.The fees range from $3.49-$4.99 plus up to 5.5% of the total amount being sent.

Cost to send $1000: The cost would be $1059.99 based on a fee of $4.99 and a 5.5% fee.

  • Pros: An online money order is more convenient then a traditional money order as you can do it from your own home or place of business.
  • Cons: There are not a lot of companies and banks that offer this service. Furthermore, unlike most online transactions the sending of the money order online is not instantaneous like Paypal. There has been numerous issues with many of the sites that offer this service therefore it is not very trustworthy and you should steer clear of this option if you can .

6. BitCoin (Best Way to Hide Your Transactions)

Bitcoin is a very unique and intuitive way to send money to individuals. Bitcoin can seem overwhelming at first due to the fact that it is so different then what you are used to. Bitcoin itself is its own currency called  ‘Cryptocurrency.’  Bitcoin is a digital currency that has encrypted information to keep it secure.The payment system is peer to peer as there is no intermediary service, meaning the payment goes directly to the other individual.

In order to use Bitcoin you need to install a digital Bitcoin wallet. You can install this wallet by heading to bitcoin.org to download your wallet. There are numerous other sites where you can download a wallet. You can download a mobile, web, or desktop wallet. Here is a quick step by step guide on getting started with Bitcoins.

  1. Install a Bitcoin wallet : The wallet can be installed from bitcoin.org
  2. Get Bitcoins: by accepting them as a payment for goods. You can also buy Bitcoins on the Bitcoin network or directly from an exchange with your bank account
  3. Spend Bitcoins: There is an increasing amount of merchants around the world accepting Bitcoins as payments. You can also use Bitcoins to pay individuals as a form of payment rather then traditional money.

Best Suited For: Bitcoin is ideal for Businesses who benefit by using and accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment. This can save the business lots of money on transactions by opting to use Bitcoin as an alternative.

Costs: The costs of sending Bitcoin can vary depending on the wallet type you have. Most of the time sending Bitcoins to an individual involves no fees. Some wallets also let you manually set a transaction fee based on your preference.

Cost to Send $1000: The conversion of $1000 USD to Bitcoin varies greatly and changes often. Currently $1000 USD will get you 4.12 Bitcoin.

  • Pros: There are numerous advantages to using Bitcoin such as lower transaction fees, as using Bitcoin will definitely save you money. Bitcoins provide increased security and safety from personal identity theft. Bitcoin uses no personal information and virtually eliminates any identity theft.
  • Cons: With Bitcoins there are no chargebacks or refunds. All exchanges with Bitcoins are final and cannot be retraced or tracked. Bitcoins are also very volatile as the price of Bitcoin has recently ranged from $1100 USD all the way down to $600 USD in a three month span.