There are a number of tools that enable you to pay someone with a credit card, a debit card or with your bank account. Depending on your needs, the appropriate service may vary. Consider tools such as PayPal, Venmo and Facebook Messenger, as well as traditional money transmission services like Western Union and MoneyGram. The best way to pay a friend with a credit card may depend on the details of your circumstances. Watch out for scammers who may request money under false pretenses.
Sending Money with PayPal
One popular tool for sending money online is PayPal. It enables you to send money to friends and family and to pay for goods and services online. You can create a PayPal account by visiting the PayPal website or using the PayPal app on an iPhone or Android phone.
PayPal enables you to send money by using a linked bank account or send money with a credit card online or with a debit card. If you send money using a bank account, there is usually no fee involved, but if you use a credit or debit card, you generally must pay a 2.9 percent fee and $0.30 on top of your transaction amount. This fee may influence your choice of whether to use PayPal and how to pay when you send money or buy something with the service.
If you are paying for goods or services with PayPal, the merchant usually must pay a fee to receive the money. If you send money to friends or family, the recipient usually does not need to pay, but you will not receive PayPal's purchase protection. The recipient can, in some cases, pay to receive money from PayPal more quickly.
Sending Money with Venmo
Venmo is another popular tool for sending money to friends and family. It is owned by PayPal, but it's largely operated separately from the branded PayPal service. Many people use Venmo to quickly settle small debts with friends, family and coworkers, such as paying a share of a restaurant bill, group vacation or birthday gift.
Venmo enables you to send money using a debit card, credit card or linked bank account. If you use a debit card or a bank account, there is usually no fee to send money. If you use a credit card, however, you must pay a 3 percent fee. The recipient typically does not pay anything to receive money from Venmo, although in some cases there is an optional fee to transfer money to a bank account or debit card faster. If you are purchasing goods from a merchant who uses Venmo as a payment processor, there may not be a credit card fee.
You may also need to pay a cash advance fee to your bank if you send money through Venmo using a credit card, although this also doesn't apply in most situations with a bank account or debit card. Contact your bank or credit card issuer to see if there are any charges from your financial institution for using Venmo with your account or card.
Western Union and MoneyGram
Western Union and MoneyGram are services for sending money to people. They also can help you pay bills at companies like phone carriers and electric and gas utilities.
You can send money through these services by visiting stores such as supermarkets, drug stores, convenience stores and check cashing businesses that support either Western Union or MoneyGram. You can provide cash and pay a fee and indicate who you want to send money to, and that person will be able to walk into a Western Union store if you send money via Western Union or another MoneyGram store if you send money via MoneyGram, present identification and receive the cash, often essentially instantaneously.
These services also allow you to send money online using a credit card, debit card or bank account. You can do this using the Western Union or MoneyGram website or app. The fee you must pay will vary depending on how you send the money and how soon you want the recipient to be able to pick it up. Visit the Western Union or MoneyGram website to see your options and how much they will cost.
You may need to pay a cash advance fee to your bank if you send money with a credit card. Contact your bank to see what this fee might be.
The two services support different pick-up locations and offer slightly different deals for sending money, so decide which one is best for your needs. They are often more expensive than services such as PayPal and Venmo that don't offer instant cash pickup options but can be valuable when you do need such a service or need to send to someone without a bank account.
Using Chat Apps and Services
Some chat apps and services now allow you to send money to friends as you talk online.
Facebook's Messenger service allows you to send money using a linked debit card or PayPal account. You cannot send money with a credit card. Click or tap the dollar sign or dollar bill icon during a chat to see options for sending money. Recipients can transfer money to a linked debit card PayPal account of their own.
Numerous other chat and messaging services also allow you to send money, including Google's various chat apps and Gmail email service and WeChat. See if services that you and your friends and family are using to communicate allow you to send and receive money, what your payment options are and what fees may apply.
Sending a Gift Card
Sending money to someone online with a credit card can be convenient and fast, but it often carries a fee. A convenient alternative can sometimes be to send someone a gift card which typically does not require a fee. If you are looking to send someone money and they need to make a purchase at a particular store anyway, it may be logical to send a physical or digital gift card instead of actual currency.
Many popular stores allow you to purchase an electronic gift card which is instantly sent to the recipient by email or text message. Usually, you can purchase these without a fee using normal payment options such as credit cards, debit cards, linked bank accounts and payment services such as PayPal. See stores where the person you want to pay shops for details.
You can also purchase a physical gift card with a credit card. You can either buy this at the store where the gift card will be used or buy it from a gift card rack in a supermarket, drug store or other business. You can also often order physical gift cards online for free delivery.
If your recipient needs to use the physical gift card faster than you can mail it or deliver it in person, provide the recipient with the gift card number and any other information from the gift card. You can send this information via email or text or simply take a picture of the gift card. You may need to scratch off a security screen to view the gift card credentials.
Watching for Scams
Some scammers will try to convince you to send them money online or buy them gift cards. They may impersonate someone you know or offer you deals that are too good to be true. Avoid sending money to people you don't know and verify that requests for money from friends, family and coworkers are genuine.
- PayPal: Send Money via PayPal
- Venmo: Adding a Credit or Debit Card
- Venmo: Fees
- Western Union: Sending Money Online
- MoneyGram: Send Money Online
- Facebook: How Do I Send or Receive Money Through Facebook Using Messages?
- Google: Send & Receive Money with Gmail
- PassKit: How to Send Money Through WeChat
- Amazon: Gift Card
- CNet: 4 Black Friday Scams to Avoid in 2019: Phishing, Pyramid Schemes and More