Online Money Transfer 101

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Thanks to online banking, you don’t have to visit your bank to transfer money. You can transfer money from anywhere with an Internet connection and a smartphone or a computer.

How Do You Transfer Money Online?

In the past, the only method for transferring money was the Automated Clearing House (ACH) wire transfers. Still used today, ACH transfers are typically used for paying employees via direct deposit and business-to-business transactions. Most money sent between individuals today is via electronic fund transfer (EFT).

To clarify, the vast majority of banks use both electronic fund transfers and ACH wire transfers to send money.

There are dozens of reliable, secure options for transferring money online to a friend, family member, or business. Be diligent in shopping for online money transfer services. Only trust your money with large, well-established companies. Never trust individuals who promise to transfer your money safely.

Here’s a list of the Internet’s best money transfer providers. All of these service providers are fully vetted and among the most reputable financial institutions in the world. You don’t need a smartphone to use PayPal, Google Pay, or Western Union.

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PayPal

Founded in 1998, PayPal has grown into one of the world’s largest digital payment processors. According to The Pew Charitable Trusts, PayPal is the most popular digital money transfer app among Americans.

You can send money to trusted parties like friends or family members for free with PayPal. Sending money to friends won’t be protected by PayPal, however, meaning you can’t ask for a chargeback. You can load money to PayPal from credit cards, debit cards, and ACH wire transfer. A new PayPal program, PayPal Cash, even allows you to add money at Walmart’s Customer Service departments.

PayPal also offers a prepaid debit card, the PayPal Prepaid Debit Card. Members pay $4.95 in monthly plan fees to keep their accounts open. They also pay $1.95 for cash withdrawals at ATMs in addition to ATM fees. Although banks offer better services than PayPal, PayPal is a reliable alternative for people who want to send money online.

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Sales within the United States cost 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction.

Western Union

You’re probably familiar with Western Union. The company is still in service today, offering money orders in more than 200 countries. Unlike countless financial institutions that refused to adapt to the increasingly-digital landscape, Western Union began offering online money transfer nearly 20 years ago.

Although Western Union doesn’t offer a wide range of additional services like PayPal, its online fund transfers are available in more than 60 currencies. You’ll also be able to reach virtually anyone with Western Union’s 500,000-plus locations.

Google Pay

Google Pay makes paying for goods and services online easy. You can even pay for things in person with Google Pay. Setting up an account requires a Google account, a computer or smartphone, and an existing PayPal account, debit card, or credit card. Google Pay also acts as a digital wallet.

Sending money online may sound frustrating at first. However, with these three financial service providers, you’ll be sending money in no time.