With a particular focus for our US readers, we delve into the payment solutions provided by Zelle, Venmo (PayPal) and Cash app (Square). Three of the most well-known P2P ‘social payment’ platforms to have launched in the US in recent years. We’ll discuss exactly what payment functionality is possible through these apps and answer questions surrounding their international payment solutions, such as, does Zell work internationally? Does Venmo work internationally? And, can square cash be used internationally? Read on to discover the answer to these and more.
Zelle – What is it and are Zelle International Money Transfers Possible?
What is Zelle?
Zelle is a United States–based digital payments network owned by Early Warning Services, a private financial services company owned by major US banks – Bank of America, BB&T, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase, PNC Bank, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo. The Zelle payment network launched in 2017 as a mobile banking feature for banks participating in the network. The app also launched in 2017. The idea behind Zelle is that it would work as a P2P payments company that provides an easy way to send money directly between U.S. bank accounts.
Once users are registered for the service all they need in order to make a payment is the email address or mobile phone number of another user on the platform. With this, they can make a payment to another account within minutes, regardless of who they bank with.
How does Zelle work?
Once the Zelle app has been downloaded from either the App store or Google Play store, users can register for an account. If your bank is a participating member of the Zelle network (which the ones above certainly are) then you’ll be able to access Zelle from your mobile banking app too.
Registering for an account is pretty straightforward, you’ll just need to provide your contact information, email address and mobile number. You’ll then link the Visa or Mastercard debit card that’s linked to your domestic US bank account in order to make payments via Zelle.
You can send, request, or receive money with Zelle. After you’ve registered, simply add your recipient’s email address or U.S. mobile number, the amount you’d like to send or request, review and add a memo, and hit “confirm.” To receive money, you just need to share your enrolled email address or mobile number with a friend or person you trust and ask them to send you money with Zelle.
Does Zelle Work Internationally?
Are Zelle international transfers possible? Unfortunately, at this stage, Zelle international money transfers are not possible. Zelle is a slick solution for users based in the US who are making payments within the US. If you’re trying to receive or send money to an international bank account, you’ll need to find a zelle alternative for international transfers, such as our best international money transfer companies we have reviewed on MoneyTransferComparison.
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Venmo – What is it and can Venmo Send Money Internationally?
What is Venmo?
Much in the same fashion as Zelle, Venmo allows users to send and receive money using an individual’s phone number or email i.e eWallet. The Venmo payment network was not something created by the banks though – it’s actually owned by PayPal.
It’s not just individuals who can send and receive money on the Venmo app. Unlike Zelle, Venmo has a large focus on merchants too. Users simply set up a business profile and are provided with a unique QR code. Customers simply scan the code and make payment via the Venmo network. Companies including Uber and Abercrombie & Fitch have got on boar, though it’s perhaps most popular with local businesses from hairdressers to coffee shops.
How does Venmo work?
Venmo is an app based solution, so you can access Venmo payments either by downloading the Venmo app on the app store or google play. Similarly the app can be found by visiting the Venmo website.
There is one quite significant difference between how Zelle and Venmo work. Zelle works by being directly linked to your domestic US bank account, thus transferring money directly between one user’s bank account to another. Venmo works by creating a digital bank account for the user. Venmo’s payments are made specifically to another user’s Venmo account, meaning users can hold a balance from which they can make payments from. Acting as a digital bank account, Venmo even allows users to order a debit card from which to make card payments from their Venmo account balance and withdraw funds at ATMs.
If you receive a payment through Venmo and want that money in your main US checking account, you would need to move it there in another step by transferring your Venmo balance to your linked account. If you need to make a payment via the Venmo app and the balance in your Venmo account is not enough, payments can still be funded by an external card that you have linked (just like with PayPal).
Venmo has a big focus around the social element allowing users to send text and emojis on each payment they make. The app even allows users to follow friends on their timeline so they can view, comment and like their friends’ purchases (though users do have the option to keep transactions private as well of course!).
Can Venmo Send Money Internationally?
Even though Venmo works differently to Zelle and provides users with a digital bank account, it’s still not possible to make Venmo international transfers. In fact, does venmo work internationally at all? No, not even for same currency payments outside of the US – it’s a US domestic offering only. PayPal has other solutions itself which act as a venmo alternative for international transfers – namely Xoom who we have reviewed on MTC – though it isn’t one of our preferred options (it can be rather expensive) and we would recommend alternative money transfer companies.
Cash App (Square Cash) – What is it and Does Cash App Work Internationally?
What is Cash App?
Square, perhaps best known for its point-of-sale software for smartphones and tablets, is also the owner of Cash App (formerly Square Cash).
Cash App is the last of the peer-to-peer payment networks we are reviewing. Just as with Zelle and Venmo, users can make payment to anyone else on the Cash App platform providing they have their mobile phone number.
Cash App has the most functionality of all the P2P networks and eventually, Square thinks Cash App could do just about everything a traditional bank does for most people.
How Does Cash App Work?
If we compare Cash App to Zelle and Venmo then it is most similar to Venmo in the sense that users will create a virtual USD bank account on registration. They can then upload funds to their Cash App account to pay contacts over the peer-to-peer payment network. Its speed makes it just as good for splitting bills and ensuring your friends are covered for any funds they are due. With QR code technology, users can also pay businesses or friends by scanning their unique identifier.
Just like with Venmo, users can also order a debit card which links to their cash app balance. They can then use their card to withdraw funds at an ATM and begin making debit card purchases.
Cash app’s unique functionality is definitely its investment capabilities. Cash app is perhaps one of the fastest ways to get going with stock trading and buying bitcoin. It’s all about improving accessibility to stock trading for everyone and to be fair, Cash app certainly does this. Users can begin investing with as little as $1.
Does Cash App Work Internationally?
No, Cash App is a US domestic P2P solution which has the added functionality of stock trading. Of all the P2P providers currently available in the US, Cash App is the most focused on innovation and new product delivery. With the goal to make Cash App as close to a normal checking account as possible, it wouldn’t completely surprise us if Square launched Cash App international payments, but for now, users will need to find a Square alternative for international transfers. \
The Best Alternatives for International Transfers
Zelle alternative for international transfers: N/A – With Zelle being a domestic P2P payment network that works by being directly linked to your US transaction account, there is no real likewise solution for this when it comes to international transfers. Though users who want to make an international payment are likely to get a much better deal through OFX than using a US bank.
Venmo alternative for international transfers: TransferWise – Just as with Venmo, users can create a virtual USD account. Payments can easily be made to other USD bank accounts as well as international payments around the world.
Square alternative for international transfers: Revolut – Revolut is similar to Cash App in that it allows for stock trading as well as local payments. The big difference is that it also allows international payments. Though it’s better suited to low value transfers, so if you have to make a large international payment then the best Square alternative for international transfers is OFX.
It’s worth noting P2P payments (i.e. payments made via email/phone number) are not possible with these international transfer companies but payments can still be made easily providing you have the beneficiaries bank details. You will just have to format the payment in the usual way – inputting the routing number and account number of the beneficiary.
Final Word on Cash App, Zelle & Venmo International Transfer Alternatives
The focus of these P2P apps is really about making local US transfers as smooth as possible. A noble intention, especially with the US banking system being as outdated as it is. As a result, users can make local transfers with much more ease than before which are both faster and cheaper than using a US bank or credit union. However, if you’re looking to make Cash App international transfers, Zelle international transfers or Venmo international transfers then you should know this simply isn’t possible. The good news is that just as these P2P networks have made local US transfers much easier than using a US bank, money transfer companies have done the same for international payments and are nearly always a better option for making an international wire than a US bank.