With the steady rise of online banking services, transferring money is easy, quick, and safe. No more waiting in long lines at a physical bank to send or receive money – all you need is access to a computer or a smartphone.
If you’re tired of writing checks or carrying cash, here are some easy ways to send money online to save time and energy.
Bank account mobile payment apps
Many online and traditional banks have their own payment app features for transferring money to friends and family. In most cases, sending money is free, and the funds are available pretty quickly.
These apps are generally built into your mobile banking account and allow you to send money directly, so you don’t need to connect to an external money-transferring app. Suppose the recipient is already enrolled in the bank’s mobile payment app. In that case, you typically only need to input information associated with their account, like their email or phone number, to send them money.
Online bill pay
If your financial institution offers online bill payment, you can usually make one-time or recurring payments for free. Simply add the name and address of the person or business you want to send money to. The online bill pay service will then send your funds electronically or print out a paper check and mail it to them, so you won’t have to pay for postage.
Many banks and credit unions provide online bill pay as a free service to customers who open a checking account. But some checking accounts may charge monthly maintenance fees ranging from $4 to $20. Before opening an account with a financial institution, read the fine print for its features and monthly fees.
Peer-to-peer payment apps
Peer-to-peer or P2P payment apps allow users to transfer money from their mobile devices through a linked bank account or debit card. This technology makes splitting bills and paying friends and family quick and painless and is relatively easy to set up.
P2P payment services are widely used in the U.S. In 2022, 64% of Americans used them for payments to and from individuals, 40% used the service at least once a month, and 18% used P2P payment apps at least once a week.1
Here’s how P2P works: Select the recipient, input the transaction amount, indicate the reason for payment (optional), then confirm the transaction. Depending on which P2P payment service you use, the time it takes for the money to transfer can range anywhere from a few seconds to three business days.
For example, Chime’s Pay Anyone feature allows you to send money to your friends and family, regardless of who they bank with. All you need is their phone number or email address. Because of its convenience, the Pay Anyone feature is a Venmo alternative to consider.
Social media money transfers
Some social platforms and communication networks now allow users to transfer money to each other. All you have to do is connect your debit card to your social profile. For example, Meta Pay allows friends to pay each other via the Messenger app. Here’s how it works:
- Open Messenger and tap your profile picture in the top left.
- Scroll down and tap Meta Pay to add your payment information.
- Start a conversation with the person you want to send money to.
- Tap the “+” icon for more actions and select the “$” icon to view the payment screen.
- Enter the amount you want to send and press “Pay.”2
Snapchat also has a similar feature called Snapcash that allows users to send and receive money via linked bank accounts, and it’s relatively straightforward. Once you and the recipient have both linked your bank accounts to the app, you’ll open a chat with that person. Then, all you have to do is type a dollar sign plus the amount you’d like to send (for example, $50) and hit the green button to transfer the funds.3
International money-transferring services
If you’re looking to send money internationally through online methods or via cash pickup, the above services might not be the best fit. Instead, use international money transfer providers like Wise, MoneyGram, or Xoom.
When selecting a service to send cash internationally, pay attention to exchange rates and fees charged by the service, as not every service charges the same amount. In addition, you might want to consider the number of countries they operate in, delivery time, transaction limits, and how intuitive their mobile app interface is.
Each international money-transferring service provides instructions on how to send money abroad. The steps usually are:
- Create an account and verify your identity by providing a driver’s license, passport, or government-issued ID.
- Provide the recipient’s information, like their name and banking details.
- Select the amount of money you wish to send.
- Pay for your transfer with a debit card, credit card, or direct transfer from your financial institution.
- Track the status of your international money transfer.
Safety tips for sending money online
Practice the following safety measures when transferring your hard-earned cash to avoid falling for money scams:
- Ensure the network connection is encrypted when sending money online by looking for ‘https’ in the web address bar and the padlock symbol in the top left corner.
- Never give away your account’s login credentials – not even to an app’s tech support team.
- Use built-in security features like PINs or multi-factor authentication to protect your accounts.
- If possible, only use peer-to-peer payment apps with people you know.
- Keep a record of all your money transfers.
- Double-check the dollar amount and the recipient’s details before sending the payment.
- Always verify unexpected requests from people you know, as scammers can hack your family or friends’ accounts to commit fraud.
Confidently and securely send money online
There are many easy ways to send money online, but the best option depends on who and where your recipient is, the amount you’re sending, and your preferences.
For example, while one option may be ideal for domestic transfers, it may not be the best choice for international ones. Before choosing a method to transfer money online, research your options to make the process smoother and hassle-free.
Now that you know the ins and outs of online money transfers, you can confidently send funds to your loved ones or even split bills on the first date.
How can I send money online instantly?
You can send money online instantly in various ways, such as via your bank or credit union’s mobile apps, peer-to-peer payment apps, or international money-transferring services. You can also use your bank’s wire transfer service to send or receive money, but you may have to pay a fee.
How do I send money to a bank account?
You can send money to someone else’s bank account if you have that person’s account number and transit routing number. Simply input that information into your bank’s online money-transferring service. You can also transfer money between your own accounts via your bank’s portal.
How do I send money using my account and routing number?
First, log into your bank account to send money to yourself or someone else. From there, navigate to the page for sending money (if your financial institution provides this service) and follow the prompts. Ensure you have the recipient’s account and routing numbers and the amount you wish to send. If you want to send money to yourself, you can transfer money from one bank account to another using the same method.
What is the fastest way to send money instantly?
If you or a loved one needs funds urgently, the fastest way to send money instantly is through an electronic funds transfer via peer-to-peer payment apps or websites. Some electronic funds transfers are sent and received on the same day and are available almost instantly, but some may take up to 72 hours to settle.
What’s the most secure way to send money online?
Most online apps and services for sending money are relatively secure. Security features like two-factor verification, personal data encryption, and firewalls are some ways these services protect your money. But generally, the most secure method to send money online is either through an ACH payment (Automated Clearing House payment) or a wire transfer.
Wire transfers move money directly from one bank to another, so no third-party service handles your information. ACH payments are processed automatically through a clearinghouse. And because of clearinghouse rules, ACH payments are fairly secure.