Free & cheap ways to send money within the U.S. and overseas

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Free ways to transfer money within the U.S. and overseas
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Looking to send money from person to person without spending a fortune? There are more options available for free or at a very low cost to you.

PayPal is one great option. You can send money from your PayPal to another PayPal user by linking up bank accounts. This is significant because it allows you to send money overseas for nada.

Read more: Mobile banking risks on the rise: 9 ways to protect your money

These free apps will help you transfer money in the U.S.

Mobile apps have really taken off as ways for people to send or request payments for free to another person.

  • Venmo, is a popular payment app available for Android and iPhone, while it is only limited to the United States, the service allows you to send up to $299.99 over a seven-day period.
  • Cash App, formerly Square Cash, allows you to send up to $250 within any given seven-day period, and receive up to $1,000 per 30-day period. The service expanded into the UK in early 2018.
  • Zelle,  which only allows transfers in the U.S. for now, has exploded over the past year as a way for people to transfer money for free. Other options include Google Wallet and Facebook Messenger.

So let’s say you’re at dinner and you’ve got to split the bill. One person pays with a credit card or cash, but what do you do as the other party if you don’t have enough cash on hand to give them for your part of the bill?

That’s where something like Venmo or Cash App comes in handy. You can send money with a simple e-mail to anyone you want for free. With Cash App, for example, you just put in an e-mail address, how much you want to send them, and then you CC a special Cash App e-mail address. Just like that you’re done; it’s seamless, easy, free.

The one question is security on systems like payment apps. But if you set a $250 maximum daytime cap, you can rest pretty easy.

Zelle, another payment app, is very popular but it has been dogged by reports of less-than-stellar customer service. Users are especially upset about Zelle’s inability to retract payments if you send money to the wrong person.

If you’re thinking of choosing a payment app, read the terms of service so you know what you’re getting into.

Read more: 9 places you should never use a debit card

Send money internationally for cheap with these services

When you need to send money internationally, consumers have historically had to pay very high fees. It’s not been unusual to spend 8% to 10% in fees alone. But now new apps make it possible to lower what you pay to about 1%. Here are some options:

Let’s explain each one in detail, including any fees you need to know about:

WorldRemit

WorldRemit allows you to send money from your smartphone or PC. You can see the exchange rates and fees before you send anything.

When it comes to tranfer fees, they vary and are based on what country you’re sending the money to. Again, before you hit send, you’ll be able to see what you’re being charged.

Azimo

Azimo facilitates transactions in more than 60 currencies in nearly 200 countries around the world, making it an international money source for millions. Like the other apps, how much you’ll be charged for a money transfer depends on where you are sending to and from, and the delivery method that you choose.

The thing about Azimo is that they only accept Visa, Mastercard and Maestro. If you have any prepaid cards, PayPal and even American Express, they’re not compatible with the service.

Currency Fair

Currency Fair allows you to send money while getting some of the most favorable exchange rates in the world. Because it is a marketplace, Currency Fair is able to set its own exchange rate.

Currency Fair charges a flat fee per transaction of 3 Euro (around $3.39 USD at the time of this update). This upfront fee does not change no matter the size of your transfer.

Here’s how Currency Fair explains its system: “CurrencyFair charges 0.25% or 0.3% (depending on the currency pair being exchanged) of the total amount exchanged on each side when customers match each other. In the event that there are no other customers providing a competitive rate for your exchange, CurrencyFair will step in and match with you instead.”

TransferWise

TransferWise is one of the most popular services for transferring money internationally. TransferWise pays your recipient from their account in their country, using the real exchange rate.

TransferWise charges a transfer fee made up of a percentage of what you’re sending + a flat transaction fee based on the currency (for a Western currency such as the U.S. dollar, pound or euro, it will be around $3). There website has a pricing calculator to let you know beforehand how much you’ll be charged for an individual transfer.

Zoom

Run by PayPal, Zoom is another service that lets you send and receive money abroad. The transfer fee depends on where you’re sending the money to and from. Xoom has a fees and exchange rates calculator to help you know what you’re paying upfront.

For more money-saving advice, see our Money section!

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Clark Howard About the author:
Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. More about Clark
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