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Sending and receiving funds has never been easier, whether you're helping your abuela in Mexico to pay for some post-hurricane repairs or splitting a Starbucks tab with your friends. The service you choose will largely depend on the type of money transfer you need, how you want to fund it, and how quickly you need the funds to be available to your recipient.
One of the most convenient developments in transferring money is the fact that it can be done 100% online if you choose. In the past, people had to visit in-person locations in unfamiliar neighborhoods with cash in hand - and that rarely felt comfortable or safe! Now, you can send money from your bank account to your recipient's, from your credit card to their debit card, or any number of combinations - all from your home or even on the go through your smartphone.
Wednesday, May 18th
Everyone knows PayPal. Whether you use it to send money to a friend, get money from a client, or to buy things online and in person, you'll find that it's uncomplicated and reliable. You'll have to use a PayPal partner service for overseas transactions, but other than that you'll be able to use this platform for most money transfers - and they're free when you pay with your PayPal balance or bank account. PayPal earns our top spot among money transfer services.
As a PayPal service, Xoom has a strong reputation and some solid guarantees that your money will arrive without problems. You've got options for transferring money both inside and outside of the US, and cash pickups are possible at easy-to-find Walmart locations as well as partners in the Ria network. Xoom charges fees on almost every type of money transfer, but those fees are lower than many of their rivals'. This is a solid option among money transfer services.
Venmo is one of the newer money transfer platforms and is one of three such services offered by PayPal. This one excels in the domestic person-to-person area and lets you "get social" with your payments - adding emojis and deciding whether or not to make your transactions visible in your "news feed" . Most transactions using Venmo are fee-free, but you won't be able to use it for in-person cash transfers or for sending/receiving overseas funds. For the average smartphone user, Venmo will be the service of choice for transferring money.
Western Union might be the first name that comes to mind when you think about money transfers. With good reason: they've been around since the 1850s! While they still have plenty of the traditional, in-person cash transaction options available, Western Union now offers many ways to send money that can be done online and via mobile app. This service tends to have higher fees than most, and mixed customer reviews keep Western Union from earning a better ranking.
MoneyGram has some convenient perks, like a rewards program for frequent users and the ability to pay bills like your electricity or your car payment. And, unlike some money transfer services, this one gives you the option of bringing in cash in person and sending it almost anywhere in the country - or the world. You'll pay for the privilege, though, with fees for both sending and receiving funds in most cases. Plus, some past issues with the FTC and DOJ keep MoneyGram from earning a strong recommendation.
Ria has been available for almost 25 years, mostly specializing in transactions from the US to other countries. You may have spotted their logo at 7-11 or Walmart as their preferred partner for in-person money transfers. Unfortunately, Ria's fees are much more expensive than average, without delivering a superior level of service to match. You'll have a better experience using a different money transfer platform.
Zelle is used by over 800 banks and credit unions in the US as a way of transferring money directly from one account to another. Funds are available within minutes and there are no fees charged by Zelle to use the service. But, you have to take up any payment disputes with your bank because Zelle doesn't offer any customer care, and your funds could be stuck in limbo if you send them to the wrong person. There are much more reliable money transfer services out there, and Zelle winds up at the bottom of our rankings.
But, if you need to use cash to fund your money transfer, or if your recipient needs to receive the funds in cash, don't worry. There are still plenty of options to do that as well. And, many money transfer platforms allow you to pay your bills, from car payments to trash collection, for a small fee.
How can you decide which money transfer service to choose? Actually, you may opt to use more than one, depending on where you're sending money and for what purpose (like paying bills vs. buying something online). Here are a few criteria to consider that can help you narrow down the options:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best money transfer services in the industry. We hope this information helps you choose the right platform for sending (and receiving) money easily and affordably!
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