There are all kinds of reasons why you might want to send money to someone else’s bank account, and fortunately, there are many simple ways to do just that. Whether you want to pay a friend back who picked up a dinner tab, send your cousin some cash, or buy some fresh-baked bread at the farmers’ market, you have options.
These days there are all kinds of ways to send money instantly or close to it, from using mobile payment apps to traditional money transfer services like Western Union.
Which money transfer method you choose will depend on who you are sending the money to, where the recipient is located, how much money you need to send, and how quickly the money needs to get there.
Below are several safe, quick and convenient ways to send someone money. Read on to learn:
• How to send money instantly
• How the different money-transfer methods compare
• How to stay safe when sending money online
Simple Ways to Send Money
Picking the right way to send money will depend on the specifics of your situation and your particular preferences. Here are a few easy ways to move money that are worth considering.
Money Transfer Services
Money transfer companies have been around for decades, and some — like Western Union and MoneyGram — still have locations all around the world where you can send money to a person so they can go and pick it up. A few points to note regarding how to send cash to someone this way:
• These services have also gone digital. You can typically open an account online and then send money to one of their physical locations, using your debit card, bank account, or mobile wallet.
• In some cases, you may be able to send money directly into a person’s bank account or mobile wallet.
• Unlike many other money transfer options, these services typically offer both domestic and international transfers. Western Union, for example, specializes in the ability to send or receive cash quickly overseas.
• The fees for money transfer services can vary based on how you’re paying (with a credit or debit card, or directly from your bank account), where you’re sending the money, and how much you’re sending.
• Depending on the delivery and payment methods, the money may arrive within a few minutes or in a few days.
Worth noting about these services: Since they allow you to send money via money orders and other methods, they can be a good way to transfer funds to or from someone without a bank account.
Knowing how to transfer money from one bank to another can be valuable when you want to move funds.
• Many banks allow you to click on their transfer feature and send money to a bank account at another bank, often with no fees involved.
• It usually takes just a day or two to move the funds.
• You will likely need the routing number and account number where you are sending funds to, and you may have to verify your identity before completing the transfer.
Sending a Check via Your Bank
Although they may not be as popular as they once were, checks are still a reliable way to send money to someone.
• You take a check, fill it out to your payee, and then hand it off or mail it.
• Once deposited, the money should move into the recipient’s bank account and be available in a couple of days or possibly up to a week, depending on such factors as when it is deposited and how.
• If you don’t have any checks handy, you can order checks from your bank or retailers. This can be done online, and check prices can range from five cents to more than 20 cents per check.
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Wire transfers offer another way to send money to someone; the funds are transmitted from one bank to another, sometimes almost instantly.
• Wire transfers can be a good option for sending a large amount of money that is needed extremely quickly, for both domestic and international transactions.
• To make a wire transfer, you can call, visit, or go online with your bank or a wire transfer company. It’s important, however, to make sure it’s a trusted source.
• Keep in mind that there is often a relatively high fee for wire transfers. For example, a bank may charge about up to $25 or more for a domestic wire transfer and $45 for an international wire transfer (customers with certain kinds of accounts have the fees waived). There may also be a fee to receive one.
Third Party Person-to-Person (P2P) Apps
A growing number of P2P services (also known as person-to-person or peer-to-peer services) allow customers to use an app or website to send money from a bank account, a credit card, or a debit card to someone else.
Let’s say you’re planning to book a short-term home rental with a group of friends, and one friend has volunteered to make the deposit. Each vacationer could send her share using a P2P app. And the person who is doing the booking may be able to make the payment for the rental using one of these apps as well.
The set-up, services, and transaction times can vary somewhat from one app to the next. Generally, however, they’re easy to use and are typically free, although there may be fees involved (say, to expedite the transfer of funds to a bank account, or when paying using a linked credit card).
Some, though not all, providers may require both the sender and receiver to set up an account within the same transfer service.
Here are some popular P2P providers to consider:
PayPal is the grandaddy of money transferring apps. It remains popular because it’s so ubiquitous, tends to be easy to use, and offers a variety of payment methods.
• It’s free to register for an account, and when you send money to another PayPal account holder, the money can be transferred to that person’s bank account as soon as the next day.
• Sending money to someone in the U.S. through a PayPal account balance or linked bank account is free, but there may be extra costs if you use a credit or a debit card, or if the money is going overseas.
Cash App is another P2P money transfer app that’s used in the U.S. and the U.K.
• Both parties involved in a transaction must download the app and log in.
• There are no extra charges to send funds, although your bank might assess a fee if you move money internationally, and you’ll be assessed a fee if you use a credit card to fund your transaction.
• There are limits to how much you can send at first: $250 during the first seven days after you sign up, but after a month, you can send up to $1,000 at a time.
Venmo is a subsidiary of PayPal, and the process and costs for sending money to someone work in much the same way.
• There’s also a social aspect to Venmo that has made it popular. You can add friends, share posts, and use emojis. Or you can change your settings to keep things a bit more private.
• Transfers between Venmo accounts are instantaneous.
• If you realize you made a mistake, the transfer cannot be undone.
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You can make a money transfer using the Zelle app or, if your financial institution partners with Zelle (and many do), you can use your mobile banking app or your bank’s website.
• Zelle works with traditional and online banks, as well as credit unions.
• Money moves directly from your bank account to your recipient’s bank account. So, if you’re both already registered with Zelle, the company says it takes just minutes to complete a transfer. That’s one path to instantly send money to a person or retailer.
• Zelle doesn’t charge any fees to send or receive money. However, you may want to check with your financial institution to be sure it doesn’t add a fee for the service.
• As with Venmo, you can’t cancel or reverse a payment made in error.
Facebook allows users to send and receive money free of charge through both the Messenger app and Meta Pay (previously known as Facebook Pay).
• Both the person sending and the person receiving the money need to live in the U.S. and link a debit card or PayPal account to Facebook or Messenger.
• Meta Pay works similarly to Messenger, but unlike Messenger, it allows users to send and receive money across its platforms (Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp).
• Meta Pay also enables users to purchase things, such as games and items for sale on Facebook Marketplace and Instagram, and to link a major credit card, in addition to a debit card or PayPal account.
• As with other services listed here, you can’t cancel a payment after you send it.
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Any time your personal information is online, the possibility exists that someone could access it and use it to steal your money.
So even though banks and other major money transfer networks are taking state-of-the-art steps to prevent hacking and cybertheft, no financial site or mobile app is entirely without risk. Bank account fraud and similar crimes can happen when scammers get a hold of your financial details.
Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to help safeguard your money:
Only Doing Business with a Secure Network
If you’re making a transfer using a website, it’s a good idea to make sure the URL starts with (https://) and there’s a little padlock in front of the web address in the search bar. This shows that the site is secure and the data you enter will be encrypted.
Making Sure Your Device is Protected
Even if you believe you’re dealing with a secure site, it’s wise to make sure you have the most up-to-date anti-virus and anti-malware programs enabled on your devices and run regular scans.
Not Downloading Any App You Haven’t Vetted
Using a Strong Password
It’s a good idea to make your password as long and complicated as possible. Consider using a mix of numbers, upper- and lowercase letters, and throw in a symbol or two.
It’s best not to use the same password for every account you have.
Vetting People and Companies Before You Send Them Money
Do your research before hitting “send.” Because it’s so easy to transfer money to someone, it’s also easy to get scammed. And typically there’s no going back on a transfer once the money is in the other person’s account.
Double Checking Everything
Making sure you have the right name, address, account information, and other details for the person you’re sending money to. That can help keep your money from going to the wrong place.
If you’re sending a large sum, you may want to send a small test amount first to confirm you have everything correct.
Keeping a Record of the Transaction
Consider holding onto the proof of transfer until your recipient confirms that he or she has access to the money. The transfer might take a few minutes or a few days.
Transferring funds to another person has become increasingly quick and easy as technology and financial services have evolved, with such alternatives as a P2P service, a wire transfer, a bank transfer, or money transfer service. Depending on the particulars of your transaction, whether you’re repaying a friend for the latte they got you or making a purchase, there’s likely an affordable and reliable option or two.
To make money transfers as well as all your other everyday financial transactions fast, simple, and safe, consider opening an online bank account with SoFi. Our Checking and Savings account lets you spend and save in one convenient place, and offers easy ways to transfer funds. Plus, you’ll earn a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), and there are no account fees to nibble away at your balance.
3 Great Benefits of Direct Deposit
- It’s Faster
- It’s Like Clockwork
- It’s Secure
As opposed to a physical check that can take time to clear, you don’t have to wait days to access a direct deposit. Usually, you can use the money the day it is sent. What’s more, you don’t have to remember to go to the bank or use your app to deposit your check.
Whether your check comes the first Wednesday of the month or every other Friday, if you sign up for direct deposit, you know when the money will hit your account. This is especially helpful for scheduling the payment of regular bills. No more guessing when you’ll have sufficient funds.
While checks can get lost in the mail – or even stolen, there is no chance of that happening with a direct deposit. Also, if it’s your paycheck, you won’t have to worry about your or your employer’s info ending up in the wrong hands.
What is the fastest way to send money electronically?
Services like Zelle and Google Pay can be very quick ways to transfer money electronically. The money can be delivered within minutes. Wire transfers are also regarded as a fast way to move large sums or make international transfers.
How can I send money instantly with routing and account numbers?
You can likely use your financial institution’s transfer feature to send funds to another account if you have the routing and account numbers.
How can I send money instantly without a bank account?
If you don’t have a bank account, you can use a money transfer service (such as Western Union or Moneygram) and pay in cash. The funds will be then forwarded as you direct them. Services like Venmo and Cash App may be another good way to move money; you can link them to a debit card (prepaid or not) or a credit card.
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