Gone are the days of digging out coins when the bill comes around, as sending money apps are becoming more ad more popular, allowing your smartphone to play banker. But the world of money sharing apps isn’t necessarily a clear one, and many options can involve participating in yet another social media platform, or finding your exchanges undercut by hidden fees.
Whether you’re paying your friend back for brunch or running a small business, the apps below will be the best — and most fiscally friendly — to share and receive money.
A classic, and one you’d be remiss not to use. As long as you have a linked bank account or a debit card from a major bank, all Venmo transactions are free. The interface is clear and simple to understand, and includes handy features like a built-in option for splitting expenses or bills and allowing you to pay over text. You can also maintain a Venmo balance to draw from when you’re paying someone back.
However, using Venmo requires that both parties have an account, and with the ability to comment and like transactions, it might not have the professional, sleek appearance some might prefer.
Square Cash, debuted in 2013, is a lot like Venmo, allowing family and friends to easily and freely share and receive money. You might also recognize it as the sending money app most frequently used at the farmers market, as small businesses can use it for 2.75 percent per transaction.
Unlike Venmo, there’s no social feed — keeping your earnings and expenditures a little more private — but, with the simpler interface comes with fewer tools, most notably an option to split the bill. However, you’ll receive money quickly thanks to an “instant deposit” feature, and the people you’re sharing money with don’t need to have the app themselves.
Another useful option is to have the app automatically transfer your balance to your bank account, rather than requiring you to do it manually.
Facebook might seem too ubiquitous to make the list, but some of its beneficial features are underappreciated — assuming you know them at all. Facebook Messenger does more than provide an alternative to texting; once you link a debit card to your account, by typing out a dollar sign and an amount, you can transfer payment.
Like Venmo, Facebook is free to use, although you may have to wait up to five days for the transaction to go through, which can be a bit of a bummer.
For the globetrotter out there, or those with globetrotting acquaintances, TransferWise might be the sending money app for you. Allowing users to easily, and inexpensively, transfer money from the United States to over 58 countries around the world, the app uses some of the best foreign exchange rates without charging a markup — so transferring is low cost, has no minimum and its platform is simple to use.
Want to cancel a transaction? All you have to do is push a button, rather than deal with calling customer service. Keep in mind that there are no same-day options, so what you’re saving in cost you’re losing a little in speed.
All images via Getty