Send Money Online Instantly: 5 Instant Money Transfer Options
We all know that sending money isn’t always easy. However, it’s a lot easier than it used to be during the days of physical money orders and Western Union. The latter has been around since 1851 and has offered money transfer services since 1871 when they allowed customers to send money between the major US cities of New York, Chicago, and Boston.
Lucky for you, the digital age has made online money transfers a whole lot easier. And, they’ve opened up these digital transfers to just about anywhere in the world. This means that you could send money from Austin, Texas to a tiny town in Morocco within minutes. Cool, right?
Yeah, it’s pretty cool until you realize that it means you’ll now need to figure out the best options to send money online instantly. With so many money transfer options, which one do you choose? Keep reading to learn more about sending money online and the best services with which to send the cash.
What is a Money Transfer?
A money transfer is a service that allows you to send a specific amount of money from one person or business to another. All you have to do is send the cash through the transfer company and they’ll send it for you, usually within about an hour.
There are several different types of money transfers. The most common include international wire transfers and domestic wire transfers. Not the word "wire" indicates here that you're not necessarily sending physical money to anyone. Rather, you're "wiring" the money electronically.
International money transfers are the most common type of sending money online. You can send cash all around the world, but it takes a little longer than sending domestic transfers (usually about 24 hours).
The major benefit of international money transfers is that you can send money to family members or friends all over the world. However, that often does come with hefty fees if you're sending money straight from your bank. That's why we suggest using other money transfer apps. Continue reading to see which apps we recommend.
Learn more about Bank of America wire transfer fees here.
Learn more about Chase wire transfer fees here.
Learn more about US Bank wire transfer fees here.
Learn more about PNC Bank wire transfer fees here.
Learn more about Discover Bank wire transfer fees here.
How to Send Money Online Instantly
Sending money online requires that you send money through a third-party platform, whether that’s your bank or a money transfer platform like PayPal or Wise. In order to send money via your bank, you’ll need to log into your online banking portal and find a section about “transfers.” You’ll be required to know the bank account and routing number of the recipient, along with potentially a few other details such as their full name or perhaps even their address.
To send money online instantly via a money transfer platform, you’ll need to create an account with the platform. Then, you’ll have to link a bank account or debit card. Why? Well, since they’re not your bank, they need access to some sort of account where they can pull funds from. This means that you’ll need to have your bank account and routing number on hand when you create your account on the platform or app.
The Best Apps to Send Money Instantly
Okay, now that you know how to send money online instantly, it’s time to browse through your options! Below are five of the best instant money transfer options for those looking to send money online both quickly and easily.
The first platform on our list is Wise (formerly TransferWise). This is a peer-to-peer money transfer platform that makes it easy to send cash from one side of the world to another. With Wise, you can create an account where you're able to hold up to dozens of local currencies. This makes this the best app to send money instantly for people who like to travel a lot, who are studying abroad, or who work with a lot of international clients.
When you create your Wise account in your local currency, you'll be given a routing and account number where others in different countries can pay you in their local currency. For example, if you have a US bank account but want to accept payments from clients in Europe, you can send them a specific routing and account number where they'll pay you in Euros to avoid losing more money on the transaction.
Worried about the fees associated with transferring money using Wise? Here is a helpful guide on Wise Fees + How to Use Wise in 2021.
Next, we have Cash App, which is becoming increasingly more popular simply due to the fact that it's a pretty cool brand. It's also one of the most convenient ways to send money because you can send cash using your phone. This means that if you're out with friends, you won't need to go find an ATM or waste time transferring cash online. You simply send the money to your friends instantly.
How does Cash App work? You'll download the app and then set up your account. Then, initiate a transfer from your account to a friend's Cash App balance. They can send it back to you or withdraw it at an ATM if they’ve got the card. Is there a fee for using Cash App? If you send money through a linked debit card, there's no fee, which is definitely a plus! On top of that, it’s one of the best money transfer apps for those without a social security number. Check out our guide on How to Use Cash App Without a SSN here.
Similar to Cash App, Venmo is another great option for those looking to send money online instantly in a way that's super easy and convenient. All you need to do in order to initiate an online money transfer with Venmo is download the app and link a bank account or card.
Then, you can actually add friends to the app, which gives it a bit of a social feel we really love. While you can’t see the amount of your friends’ transfers, you can see who they’re sending money to and receiving money from, which is cool sometimes.
However, we will note that if you want to send money online instantly with Venmo, there is a 1% fee for an instant transfer. Learn more about Venmo and the fees associated with using it here.
PayPal is definitely one of the most well-known ways to send money online instantly, in part due to the fact that it’s available pretty much worldwide. The reason PayPal is so popular for online money transfers is that it’s super easy to send and receive funds. All you need to send money instantly with PayPal is the email address of the recipient, which has led it to be a pretty versatile system.
What about instant money transfers with PayPal? Forbes broke down the fees for us:
When you send money domestically to friends and family via a linked bank account or your PayPal balance, it’s free. When you send money using a credit card, debit card, or PayPal credit, you are charged 2.9% of the amount plus a fixed fee of $0.30. For free instant money transfers, we suggest ensuring that you check the “friends and family” option so you don’t get charged!
Unlike other transfer apps on this list, Zelle is a peer-to-peer system many banks have incorporated into their own apps. Actually, the platform was built by the banks themselves. This makes it super easy to use as long as both you and the recipient of the money transfer bank with one of the banks that use Zelle. If that’s the case then all you have to do to send money online instantly is find Zelle within your regular bank’s mobile banking app or online portal.
Likewise, you can also download the Zelle app and make instant money transfers that way! Here is everything you need to know about Zelle, including fees and transfer times.
Save More When You Send
When deciding how you’re going to send money online instantly, it helps to ensure that you’re checking out the fees involved with sending money through each app or platform. If you’re sending money internationally, there are almost always fees involved. However, those fees are minimal with certain apps, so it’s important to do your research.
If you want to save money when you send (or before you send), we suggest getting a Cheese Debit Card. With the Cheese Debit Card, you can finally buy your hard-earned money to work for you. With every swipe, you’re eligible to earn up to 10% cash back at our partner stores. You can also receive a $5 signup bonus just for setting up your account. And, whenever you refer a friend, you’ll both get a 3% deposit bonus for 30 days.
On top of that, we also waive one international wire transfer per year for all Cheese users. And, while you’re saving on wire transfer fees, you’ll also be able to enjoy the savings of your fee-free and cashback-optimized debit card.
❌ No Monthly Fee 🧀️ Support Samsung Pay and Apple Pay
❌ No ATM Fee 🧀️ No SSN Required
❌ No Overdraft Fee 🧀️ International Wire Transfer
❌ No Insufficient Fund Fee 🧀️ $5 Cash Bonus
❌ No Minimum BalanceRequirement 🧀️ Up to3% Saving Bonus
❌ No Int. Incoming Wire TransferFee 🔐 FDIC Insured