Your friend ordered the takeout but split it with you. And it’s also the end of the month, so you need to pay your rent. In both instances, you want to send money soon.
Your head may be spinning from all the available options, since today’s technology has multiplied the ways to send money. That’s why we’ve rounded up the latest digital-friendly, as well as the more traditional ways to send money, so you can choose which option is best for you when you need to hit send.
What are the best ways to send money?
With so many choices available today, it can be hard to narrow down how you’re going to send money to someone.
Bank Account Transfer
If you’re looking to send money from one bank account to another, you might want to take advantage of an Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfer. All banks, including Ally Bank, utilize this network. The timetable for these transfers can range from standard (three business days) to next day.
Certified Checks, Cashier’s Check, and Money Orders
Relatively safer and more reliable than paying by cash or personal checks, these traditional ways of sending money can all be done from your bank.
Certified checks are “certified” because they carry a guarantee from your bank that funds will be available when cashed by the recipient. Unlike regular checks, they’re both endorsed by both you and verified by your bank, adding an addition layer of guarantee to the recipient. This certification does come with a price tag: $5 to $15 but usually no limit on the amount.
Cashier’s checks work similarly. When you purchase one from your bank, the money is withdrawn from your account, and the bank becomes financially responsible for the amount. Cashier’s checks cost an average of $10 each and typically don’t have a limit.
When you purchase a money order, you pay the seller a specific amount. The recipient can redeem the money order for that sum. Money orders, unlike certified checks and cashier’s checks, don’t require you to have a bank account and can be sent internationally (as long as the country accepts U.S. money orders). They’re also available at places like grocery stores, package delivery services, and more, making them convenient. Money orders are more affordable (on average $5) but have a $1,000 limit.
This type of transaction is done across a network of banks or transfer agencies, usually within 24 hours. The sender pays and initiates the transaction through a bank (or financial institution), providing the recipient’s bank account numbers. Wire transfer fees are usually between $25 and $30 for domestic and $45 and $50 for international transactions.
People choose this method because of its speed — wire transfers are one of the fastest ways to send money. Just remember, when electing to transfer money via wire transfer, you should remain cautious and confirm the identity of the recipient in advance since wire fraud is one way cybercriminals defraud people.
Mobile Payment Apps
In this increasingly digital world, many people choose mobile payment apps because you can send with ease from your phone or mobile device.
You can make secure person-to-person (P2P) transactions and payments, but the service is only compatible with iOS devices.
If you want to send or receive person-to-person payments, you can utilize the in-app Google Pay Send, which is available for all types of mobile devices.
Convenient for folks with Samsung phones and devices, this platform includes person-to-person payments.
Square Cash App
If you’re just looking to send and receive payments, this app offers straightforward simplicity, since you don’t even need the app to send money.
Venmo features the ability to split checks, transfer money to your bank account, and make payments online with PayPal.
Geared towards those looking to send mobile payments internationally, Xoom senders and recipients only need a PayPal account.
Zelle allows you to send and receive money online or via your mobile devices. It does require you to have a U.S. bank account, but works within the apps of most large banks, including Ally Bank.
For a more in-depth take on the security and features of these mobile payment apps, read our deep dive.
Whether you’re paying for a large expense in your monthly budget or your weekly date night dinner delivery, both traditional and digital methods ways of sending money could be a payment option. Each have their own rules and transaction fees, but all are secure — meaning you can feel confident in whichever method you select.
Transfer money the simple and secure way.