Mobile payment apps let you send money to
anyone using nothing but your phone. Most banks include money-sending
capabilities already, but what makes dedicated mobile payment apps different is
that you don’t need to open a full-fledged bank account to use them. Plus, you
might already have the app on your phone!
Most payment apps for Android and iOS can be
set up in seconds because they just need your debit card number. Others might
use your bank routing number and account number, but either way, you have full
control of which of your banks get used for sending and receiving money.
Best of all, each of these apps are 100% free
for most of the features, and nearly all have zero fees. There are a few
limitations with each service, but they aren’t large enough to stop most people
from using them.
Cash App is one of the easier-to-use free money transfer apps. Just add your debit card to your account to send people money in seconds, and it will show up in their account immediately. It’s just as easy to request money, too.
Something really neat about Cash App is that
you get a unique username, called a $Cashtag, that anyone with the app can use
to send you money. You’ll even get your own unique website (more of a simple
profile) where users can visit from a computer and send money directly to you
without disclosing any of your personal information.
Once you have money in your Cash App account,
you can keep it there and use it free with the included debit card, which is
also free and even supports cash-back features. Or, you can transfer your Cash
App funds to your own bank via the account/routing number.
You’re also able to buy Bitcoin with Cash App.
The weekly Bitcoin purchase limit is $10,000, and while that might be a stretch
for most people, it’s nice to know the option is there should you get the
- Within seven days: $250, after
which you must verify your social security number and other personal
information to raise the limit to $2,500 /week
- Weekly cash-outs: $25,000
- ATM withdrawals: $250
/transaction, $250 /24 hours, $1,000 /week, and $1,250 /month
- Fee (based on amount) when
withdrawing instantly to bank; no fee for standard withdrawals that take a few
You can use Cash App from their website or via the Android or iOS app.
Google Pay is Google’s attempt at the mobile payment market, and they’ve done a decent job. The service used to offer a debit card but currently only works online from the website or app, but it has really high limits if you plan on using it for large payments.
Something we like about Google Pay is that it
can hold cash in your Google account so that you can decide how much money to
disperse to your bank accounts, if you have multiple. Or, you can choose a
default account so that any money sent to you goes into your bank immediately
(and it usually is immediately).
When you go to make a new payment to someone,
either by selecting the contact or entering their email/phone, you have full
control over which account the money comes out of: a bank, debit card, or your
Google Pay balance. You can also add a memo to the transaction for easier
You can send and request money through Google
Pay, and even sign up for reminders to get alerted when it’s time to
send/request money again (like for rent, work, etc.).
- Single transaction: Up to $10,000
- Within seven days: Up to $10,00
- Florida residents: Up to $3,000
every 24 hours
- Transactions over $2,500:
Recipient must add a bank account to get the money
Google Pay can be used online in a web browser or from an Android or iOS mobile device.
PayPal has been around a long time, but it’s still one of the better mobile payment apps you can download. It lets you send money all around the world, and much like Cash App, also lets you get a free PayPal debit card.
Unfortunately, the fees are a bit confusing to understand, so it’s important to read through them thoroughly. Most people, though, who trade for personal reasons should have no problem using PayPal absolutely free.
Like Cash App, you can get a PayPal.me address
PayPal users can visit to easily send you money. PayPal accounts are also
assigned a unique QR code; share it to have others send money to you easily by
just scanning your code, or scan theirs to send the money.
- Single transaction: 2.9% fee if sending or receiving money with a credit or debit card (no fee for bank accounts)
- Instant debit card withdrawal: $5,000 /transaction, /day, and /week; $15,000 /month
- There are other PayPal fees to consider
Use PayPal online or from the mobile app: iOS or Android.
Zelle is by far the simplest app in this list. When it’s all said and done, it’s a true bank-to-bank transfer app. Unlike the apps already mentioned, there isn’t a place within your Zelle account where money gets held up until you move it again. In other words, when someone sends you money, it goes right into your bank of choice…usually in seconds!
After downloading the app, you must tie your
phone number to a debit card number, and from there you can send money to or
request money from anyone. If they don’t yet have Zelle, they can add their
debit card to the app to accept your transfer or send money to you; there’s a
14-day grace period for cases like this.
The Zelle service is already built-in to some
banking apps, but if your bank doesn’t support it, then the app is the only way
you can use it, and it’s super easy
to use. The screenshot above is enough to understand just how basic this app
One side note is that you can, if you so
choose, set up two Zelle accounts: one using your email address that’s tied to
your Zelle-enabled bank, and another with your phone number through the Zelle
app. If you have multiple bank accounts that you like to move money between,
Zelle will work as your own free wire transferring service!
- $500 within a seven day period if
your bank doesn’t support Zelle
You can get Zelle for Android and iOS.
Most people already have Messenger installed on their phone or open in their browser, so sending money over Facebook’s messaging service might be the easiest way yet. You don’t even need to pull out your bank information!
To do this, tie your debit card or PayPal account to your Facebook account, and then open a new message with the person you want to send money to or request money from.
From a computer, click the money symbol in the
toolbar, type an amount in the Pay
or Request section, and immediately
exchange money right there while texting. From a phone, use the Pay Friend mini app from Messenger’s
slide-out apps menu.
- Works only for users in France,
the US, and the UK
- You can only send money to people
living in the same country as you
- Sending money via PayPal is
available only in the US
Using Messenger to get or send money from friends can be done through a browser on a computer or with the Android or iOS app.
Mezu is a unique money-sending app because it’s completely anonymous, lets you send money to anywhere no matter where they live, and even includes a game where you can make money (albeit normally small amounts).
Here’s how it works: enter how much money you
want to send to have the app generate a temporary code, and then share the code
with someone before the time runs out for the money to transfer to their
account instantly. No personal details are shared, and you can send quite a bit
before reaching limits.
You can also request money from people, send
money to contacts (no code required, but it’s not anonymous), and even create
location-based deposits where anyone in the vicinity can drop money into your
account without you having to share codes.
A few times a week, Mezu hosts a game called
Mezu Money Time. After listening to an ad for a couple minutes, you compete
with other players to see who can enter the given code the fastest. Every game
is different but usually, the fastest players are awarded some money, often
anything from $2 to $20.
- Within seven days: $2,999.99
- Single transaction: $499.99
- Single transaction: $1,999.99 with
- Withdrawal: $2,999.99 for any
The Mezu service runs on mobile devices only, both iOS and Android.