The mobile payment apps market is comprised of apps in a couple of categories. These categories are often confused, but there are some major differences between:
- wallet apps
- pay with mobile apps
- money transfer apps
While use of the first and second categories terms often indicates that you can pay both your friends and in stores or web shops, money transfer apps are used among individuals, to pay someone back or buy something from someone when you don’t have cash.
Top 7 Money Transfer Apps
This app was founded with the idea of avoiding that awkward moment when you need to pay a friend back but don’t have the exact amount (and he doesn’t have change). Venmo is a money transfer app that doesn’t charge you when you send and receive payments, if it is done using you bank account or any of the major debit cards. It does charge a 3% fee when you transfer money using a credit card or a non-major debit card. One weird feature that this app has is the ability to Tweet or share on Facebook the fact that you’ve sent a payment. Not sure why anyone would want to do that though.
If you already have Google Wallet on your mobile, you can use it to send payments to friends free of charge. Being one of the largest mobile wallet apps around today, chances are your friends have (or about to) this app as well, so they won’t need to open any accounts to claim the money you sent them (which is a requirement with some money transfer apps).
PayPal is the company that everyone thinks about when they need to transfer money to a friend. Their mobile app is an extension of this service. The fees PayPal charges range from free to a 2%-4% commission of the transaction amount, making it the less attractive option when you send and receive small payments.
If PayPal is the digital leader in money transfers, Western Union is the leader in the physical world. Money transfers with Western Union’s mobile app are quick and secur, with transfer fees starting from $1.
With a transaction fee of 25 cents for payments over $10, and $0 for any payment smaller than that, Dwolla aims to be the cheapest alternative out there, especially for those who want to transfer funds and pay with their credit card.
Zoom allows money transfer to a selected number of countries and its fee varies based on the country in which the receiver is. It offers neat features, like the ability to re-send the same payment again (say, if John from work always spots you for that breakfast burrito) and monitor the status of your transfer.
This app aims to make the process of sending money to friends simple. If you know how to send an email from your mobile phone, you can send money with Square Cash. Sending money is free, as long as you use a debit card. On the downside, the money isn’t received instantly, it can anywhere from a couple of hours to 2 business days (!).
Downloading Multiple Money Transfer Apps –
is it a good idea?
The short answer is yes. In most cases paying friends with a money transfer is quite convenient.
You don’t always have cash to pay friends back, but you always have your mobile.
There is the question of cost, though. Money transfer apps are often cheaper than just using your favorite mobile wallet app. While most mobile wallet apps offer the ability to send money to friends, some charge more than others. Having more than one app allows you to choose the most affordable alternative, based on the payment method you are using (bank account, debit or credit card) and on the money transfer app your friend is using. Being flexible can save some dollars and a couple of minutes, and this can only be achieved if you have several apps (and accounts) ready and waiting on your mobile device.