PayPal vs. Google Pay vs. Venmo vs. Cash App vs. Apple Pay Cash

Money makes the world go ’round. Whether you owe a friend for drinks or you need to send rent money to your roommate, the easier it is to transfer money to friends and family, the better.

With modern technology, there are plenty of great options for sending money to others. Sure, PayPal may be the best-known of these services, but it’s certainly not the only one. Google reorganized Android Pay and Google Wallet into a single service called Google Pay. Then there’s Venmo, which has skyrocketed in popularity, and Cash App, built by payment company Square. Perhaps it was a little late to the game, but we can’t forget about Apple Pay Cash.

Which of these payment services should you use to send money to your friends, family, and others? We put them side by side to find the best.

PayPal Google Pay Venmo Cash App
Apple Pay Cash
Compatibility Android, iOS, Web Android, iOS, Web Android, iOS, Web Android, iOS, Web iOS
Payment methods Credit, debit, bank transfer Credit, debit, bank transfer Credit, debit, bank transfer Credit, debit Credit, debit
Credit fee 2.9% + $0.30 Up to 4% 3% 3% 3%
Debit fee 2.9% + $0.30 1.5% or $0.31 (whichever is greater) Free (1% for instant transfers) Free (1.5% for instant transfers, min $0.25) Free (1% for instant transfers, min $0.25)
Bank transfer fee Free (1% for instant transfers) Free Free Free Free
Withdrawal speed Around 1-3 business days Around 1-3 business days Usually 1 business day Around 1-2 business days Around 1-3 business days
Transfer limits $10,000 $5,000 $5,000 $7,500 $10,000
Special features PayPal.me shareable links Integration with other Google services Quick transfers to banks No need to set up an account Automatically available in iOS

PayPal

As previously mentioned, PayPal is perhaps the best known of these services — though that has been changing in recent years. PayPal has long been the go-to for online shopping, and the fact that it can be used to transfer money between friends is simply a bonus.

PayPal’s interface is extremely easy to use, largely thanks to a major redesign. Simply open up your PayPal account, press the “send money” button, and follow the instructions — it only takes a few seconds to send money. The PayPal.me initiative has made sending money even easier. If you have your friend’s PayPal.me link, simply follow the link and enter how much you want to pay them. There are no fees to send or receive money from friends and family in the U.S — but if you’re sending or receiving payments from another country, fees apply.

What PayPal has going against it, however, isn’t related to its ease of use. Out of the five services, PayPal is the most expensive, if you don’t want to connect the service to your bank account (or for sending or receiving international payments). Now, we would highly recommend connecting it to your bank account anyway, as it makes things a lot easier if you happen to lose your debit or credit card or when you get a new one. However, if you choose not to, PayPal will be one of the most expensive services for you. Not only does it charge a 2.9% fee for money sent from a debit or credit card, but it also charges an extra 30 cents on top of that. If you’re planning on sending or receiving money internationally, fees are even steeper.

PayPal also charges a 1% fee for instant withdrawals to your bank account or card.

One advantage is that PayPal allows the largest transactions of the bunch, tied with Apple Pay Cash and Google Pay. Using PayPal, you can transfer up to a hefty $10,000. Most people won’t need that — but it’s nice to have in case you do.

You can pay for goods in stores by scanning the app’s QR code to pay using PayPal, or use the Pay Later feature to spread the cost of purchases by paying a down payment today and the remainder in three installments.

Like some of the other services on our list, PayPal won’t transfer money directly to your bank unless you manually do it. Instead, money will sit in your PayPal account and can be used for purchases or sent to your bank, as you see fit. Also, PayPal Credit users might prefer PayPal, as it eliminates the need to have any extra accounts.

Android iOS

Google Pay

Google Pay is one of the cheapest services on the list, although with the launch of the new Google Pay app, fees have changed slightly. You can no longer use your credit card to send money to friends and family — instead, you can use your debit card for which Google Pay charges a fee of $0.31 or 1.5% of the total transaction (whichever is greater). There are no fees to transfer funds from your bank account to your Google Pay balance and vice versa. The maximum amount per transaction has been reduced to $5,000, with a maximum withdrawal amount per rolling seven-day period of $20,000. The maximum amount you can pay friends and family per rolling seven-day period is also $5,000. The new Google Pay app also caps the total amount of withdrawals you can make at 30 withdrawals every seven days, and you can only hold up to $25,000 at any one time in your Google Pay balance.

Of course, you can still use your credit card to make contactless payments in stores using Google Pay, but only if you’re on Android, as this service isn’t available on iOS. Your credit card provider may charge fees of up to 4% for using Google Pay.

There are some other changes to Google Pay too, including the way it integrates with other Google services — which used to be what really set Google Pay apart from other payment services. Since July 2020, you can no longer send, request, or receive money through Gmail, Android messages and iMessages, Contacts, or Google Assistant. These days, the only way to send and receive money is through the actual Google Pay app or at pay.google.com. However, you can use Google Pay with a whole host of other apps such as Kayak, Airbnb, DoorDash, Fandango, and others.

Sending money via the new Google Pay app is as simple as tapping Pay Friend or Group, searching for your contact by name, email, phone, or QR code, entering the amount and payment method, and tapping Pay. If you try to send money to somebody who’s not in your contacts list, the app will alert you. You can also use your fingerprint sensor or Face ID to unlock the app.  Transferring money into your bank account could take up to three days, but it’s usually instant when you’re sending it to a debit card.

The app can also store loyalty or gift cards or even flight and concert tickets.

Android iOS

Venmo

Venmo has grown a lot more popular over the past few years, becoming the preferred way for many people to transfer cash to their friends. In fact, Venmo has become a verb — “Venmo me!” After creating your account, you’ll be asked to add people to your friends list, which makes it easier to transfer money the next time you need t

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