5 best apps to send money online in 2016

By Tina Lockwood

Whether you are loaning money to a friend, accepting a payment from a client or sending a birthday gift, there are dozens of online options for transferring money easily, efficiently and safely. With so many variations in how the apps works, we decided to roundup our top five picks for the best apps to send money online in 2016 based on fees, speed, security and accessibility:

1. Xoom

Recently joining the PayPal family, Xoom is a preferred platform for sending and receiving money internationally. It does not support money wires within the U.S. With a simple tap and swipe, you can transfer up to US $2,999 to other Xoom customers in 53 countries. The service offers competitive transfer fees, locked-in exchange rates and various delivery options, including direct bank transfer, cash pickup at partner banks or door delivery. Although the funds may take up to four business days to arrive, senders and recipients can track progress in real time. Most transfers are assessed a $5 fee when making direct bank account requests while debit/credit card transactions carry a heftier fee.

2. PayPal

As one of the oldest and largest peer-to-peer (P2P) payment services, PayPal is used to send money to people in 190 countries in 20 different currencies. Payments up to $10,000 are sent via PayPal using an email address or mobile phone number. Delivery to your linked bank account takes longer, but you can instantly access the balance to pay vendors online. Within the U.S., PayPal allows users to send and receive money between friends and family for free using a linked bank account or PayPal balance. Payments funded with a debit card as well as merchants are charged a 2.9 percent fee while payments originating outside the U.S. are assessed a transfer fee varying from 0.5 percent to 3.9 percent. When paying a merchant, choosing the “goods and services” option activates PayPal’s purchase protection.

3. Sharemoney

With a 5-star app rating, Sharemoney has become the go-to resource for transferring money to South American countries as well as Vietnam and the Philippines. Once a bank account is verified, transfers and cash pickups can occur in as fast as 15 minutes. Some transactions can take up to 24 hours to process depending on security issues and the payout agency’s hours of operation. Home delivery options are also available. Transfer rates start at $2.99 and competitive currency exchange rates are updated daily. Like many other well-known services, Sharemoney provides a secure SSL site, offers a money-back guarantee and real-time transfer tracking. A Quick Send option is also available for paying the same recipient again.

4. Western Union

Operating since the 1980s, Western Union is the largest and most trusted source for sending cash around the world. The service provides access to an extensive network of more than 100,000 ATMs and 500,000 agent locations that allows recipients in over 200 countries to pick up cash without needing a bank account. Ranging from 1 percent to 10 percent, fees vary on source and destination location, funding type and delivery times. Through the 4.5-star rated Android and Apple app, you can pay with a debit/credit card or bank wire. Although customers report that Western Union is not always the cheapest option, it usually provides better exchange rates and fees than banks. Sending limits range from $500 to $5,000.

5. MoneyGram

With more than 334,000 locations worldwide, MoneyGram’s best asset is its easy access. Within 10 minutes of being sent from a partner location or online, recipients can conveniently pick up money at common retailers, including 7/11, Walmart and CVS Pharmacy. Transfer fees and exchange rates depend on the amount, destination and payment method, but the fees are generally higher because of the ability to send money immediately. Joining the free MoneyGram Plus program provides VIP benefits, including exclusive discounts, faster transactions and email notifications.

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