In this article, we’re going to explain how you can send money online right now.
Including: The different methods, the pros and cons of each, and how you can decide which option is best for you.
This article is part of our free series on how to send a bank transfer, which you can get full access to right now by clicking here.
Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.
Table of Contents
- Send Money Online
- How to Transfer Money Online
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Ready to Explore Your Options?
Send Money Online
Send money online using one of the following methods: (1) money order, (2) peer-to-peer payment platform, (3) digital wallet, (4) traditional bank transfer, (5) bank e-transfer service, (6) cryptocurrency, or (7) foreign exchange provider for sending money abroad.
How to Transfer Money Online
You can transfer money online using one of the following seven options. We’ll break down the pros and cons of each option for you below. We’ll also share examples of each for you to consider.
Send Money Online via a Money Order
Example: Western Union (International)
Money Order Pros:
Money orders offer speed and flexibility to both the sender and the receiver. This is true whether you are sending money from Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, or anywhere in between.
The reason for the added flexibility is that the sender can choose how to send the money (e.g. cash, bank, credit) and the recipient can receive the money in different ways (e.g. cash or bank transfer).
Additionally, most money order companies have now moved online, allowing for even faster processing and sending of transfers to recipients around the world.
Money Order Cons:
Money orders are usually a more expensive option for sending international transfers. Also, depending on where the money is being sent, the recipient may need to show up in person to collect the money. While this may not be a problem for domestic transfers, it can be a burden when sending money to rural international locations.
Send Money Online via a Peer-to-Peer Transfer
Example: PayPal (International)
Peer-to-Peer Transfer Pros:
Peer-to-peer payment services companies offer immediate transfers from one user of a platform to another. In certain instances, these platforms can also be used for third-party payments, like making purchases online.
Additionally, when using international payment service companies like PayPal, users can send money to individuals anywhere in the world, if they have an account with the same platform. With this in mind, peer-to-peer transfers can offer an immediate way to send money online from places like New Zealand to Canada, or vice versa.
Another benefit to consider is that many of the large international payment service companies (like PayPal) are starting to introduce bank transfer services (e.g. Xoom). This allows users to send money to bank accounts from their peer-to-peer platform.
Peer-to-Peer Transfer Cons:
Peer-to-peer transfer platforms are almost always free to join. While that may seem like a “pro” it’s important to consider how the platform is making money. In most cases, peer-to-peer platforms charge very high fees for foreign exchange and cross-border transfers. While this may not be an issue for domestic transfers, it can make peer-to-peer transfers very costly for international transfers.
Additionally, unlike money orders and bank transfers, most peer-to-peer platforms require the receiving individual to have an account with the platform as well. This can be a challenge since the vast majority of peer-to-peer platforms only operate in one (or several) jurisdictions, making it impossible to send money to non-participating countries.
Send Money Online via a Digital Wallet
Example: Venmo (United States)
Digital Wallet Pros:
Digital wallets offer fast and low-cost transfers between users of the same platform. This is especially true when you send money online to someone in the same country. For example, Venmo is a popular US digital wallet that can be used to transfer between two people in the United States.
Additionally, international digital wallets often provide bank transfer functionality. While international transfers are typically higher cost than transfers to the same digital wallet, the fact that this functionality exists is a plus. That said, this is more commonly a feature of digital wallets in Europe and Asia than it is in the United States.
Digital Wallet Cons:
As mentioned, certain digital wallets are unable to send international transfers (e.g. Venmo). As a result, they can be limited in terms of the benefits that they can offer, though this depends on where you want to send money online, to begin with.
It’s also important to consider that most digital wallets rely heavily on algorithmic compliance, which can result in more frequent account closures. While similar compliance practices do exist at other financial institutions, digital wallets (and similar technology platforms) tend to lack the human interaction needed to understand the nuances of banking and sending money.
Send Money Online via a Traditional Bank Transfer
Examples: Citibank, HSBC, RBC, Chase, ANZ Bank
Bank Transfer Pros:
Most people choose to send money online via a traditional bank transfer because it’s convenient, accessible, and secure. In other words, you don’t need to set up a new account, join a new platform, or go through another onboarding process. Instead, you can just use your existing account to send money.
Additionally, while many of the technology-enabled platforms referenced in this article have limits on the amount that you can send, bank transfers effectively have no limit (at least when sending through SWIFT). So, if you are sending large transfers, a traditional bank transfer may be one of the best options available.
Also, if you have a premier level account, you may be able to secure preferential rates for foreign exchange, transfer fees, and more. Though this usually requires you to have a higher account balance and a specific status with the bank, like a Citigold or HSBC Premier account.
Bank Transfer Cons:
That said, people often look for alternative ways to send money online because traditional bank transfers tend to be expensive. Seeing as the vast majority of people do not have premier accounts, they can face a wide range of fees that quickly add up.
Important fees that are worth considering include transfer fees, foreign exchange fees, receiving fees (for the recipient), and even “search” fees in case a transfer is lost in transit. While most of these fees impact international transfers more than domestic transfers, it’s still important to consider the many fees that could impact your transfer before sending.
Sending Money via e-Transfer From a Bank Account
Example: Interac e-Transfer (Canada)
If you choose to send money online via an e-transfer, you’re probably sending a local transfer to a family member or friend. In these instances, an e-transfer like those offered in Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, and elsewhere are one of the best available options.
While e-transfers are not instantaneous, they’re very fast. In most cases, arriving in 30-minutes or less. Likewise, because e-transfers originate from your bank account and get sent directly to your recipient (usually by email), they are a secure form of payment.
After an e-transfer is received and deposited, there is no turning back. In other words, if you accidentally send too much money, or you send it to the wrong person by accident, that money is deposited. So, if you need to reverse a transfer or get some of the money back, you will need to ask the recipient to manually return the funds to you.
Additionally, most e-transfer options have strict limits on the amount of money that can be sent in a given day, week, or month. This can impact how much money you’re able to send. With this in mind, if you are sending a larger amount of money, you may want to send it via a traditional bank transfer instead.
Send Money Online via Cryptocurrency
Example: Your Crypto Wallet (International)
Cryptocurrency Transfer Pros:
Sending money via crypto isn’t anywhere near as popular as the other items on this list. But, it is a fast and affordable way to send transfers of all sizes, especially very large transfers. The reason for this is that there is no “middle man” charging fees for facilitating the transfer. Instead, funds are sent from person to person, that’s it.
Cryptocurrency Transfer Cons:
Crypto is volatile and considered to be high risk. So, we don’t suggest that novices try this approach unless they take the time to educate themselves on the process, the technology, and the risks involved.
Send Money Online via a Foreign Exchange Provider
Example: Wise (International)
Foreign Exchange Provider Pros:
Unlike most of the other options on this list, foreign exchange providers specialize in sending cross-border transfers in different currencies. In most cases, users are able to capture better foreign exchange rates than they will via traditional banks, money orders, and peer-to-peer transfer services.
Additionally, most foreign exchange providers can send money online to traditional bank accounts. So, you can quickly send money to an international recipient bank without needing to engage a traditional financial institution.
Lastly, while many of the options above have limited ways to fund a transfer, foreign exchange providers typically allow you to use debit cards, credit cards, and bank transfers in order to send funds.
Foreign Exchange Provider Cons:
Like most digital platforms that facilitate financial transactions, foreign exchange providers typically have restrictions on citizenships and residencies. Additionally, unlike traditional banks, they may also have restrictions on the specific geographies that they can serve.
So, if you do not live in one of the geographies that a particular foreign exchange provider (e.g. Wise) currently serves, you won’t be able to use this service in order to send transfers.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Below are five of the most common questions that we receive from people wondering how to send money online. If you have further questions you would like answered, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly.
How Can I Send Money Instantly Online?
To send money instantly online you can consider using a money order, peer-to-peer platform, e-transfer, or cryptocurrency. Of course, the specific option that you choose will depend on which accounts you have available. Or, which accounts you’re willing to open. Additionally, each of these options has its own pros and cons. So, it’s important to review the options carefully before choosing how you want to send money online.
Can I Send Money Using My Debit Card or Credit Card?
Yes, you can send money using your debit card or your credit card. In fact, most money transfer options allow users to fund transfers using their debit cards. However, only a handful of options will accept credit cards. Importantly, in addition to the fees charged by the transfer service that you choose to use, credit card providers often charge high fees and interest when credit cards are used to fund money transfers. So, be sure to check the specific terms and conditions of your credit card before funding transfers this way.
Can I Transfer Money Using a Wire Transfer in the US?
Yes, you can transfer money using a wire transfer in the US. Additionally, wire transfers can be used when sending money internationally. In both cases, wire transfers are typically used when sending large transfers. For smaller transfers, alternative methods are often faster and more cost effective for the person sending the funds.
How to Send Money Instantly With Routing and Account Number?
To send money instantly to your account you will need to provide the sender with your routing number and account number. From there, the sender can initiate a transfer to your account from their online banking platform or by visiting a branch in person.
What Is the Fastest Way to Send Money to Someone?
The fastest way to send money to someone domestically is usually an e-transfer, digital wallet, or peer-to-peer transfer service. If you are sending an international transfer, the fastest option is usually a foreign exchange service or a money order provider.
Ready to Explore Your Options?
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