Thanks to smartphones and apps, it’s never been easier to exchange money with your friends, pay your invoices, or go on a shopping spree. But when your restaurant check arrives and you ask your friends if they have Venmo, some of them might have Cash App or PayPal instead. If you don’t have these apps, you’ll face some temporary challenges, but in the long run, you might ask: Should I sign up for another app, or switch altogether? That’s why this Cash App vs. Venmo vs. PayPal guide exists. Learn all about each one below to decide which is best for you.
Table of contents
What Is Cash App?
Cash App is a peer-to-peer payment service that allows users to send and request money from anyone else with a Cash App account. It lets you transfer funds to and from your bank with just a few taps on a screen.
- It’s easy to link bank and card information.
- There’s a no-fee option when you send and receive money.
- You can buy and sell bitcoin on the app.
- There’s a $1,000 limit on sending or receiving money for your first 30 days.
- You can’t use the app internationally — it’s only available in the U.S. and the U.K.
- An instant deposit will cost you 1.5 percent of the deposit amount.
What Is Venmo?
Venmo is a social app through which you can pay your friends and family or request money from them. Now owned by PayPal, Venmo is primarily used for sending or receiving money from friends and family, although business features are currently being rolled out as of October 2021.
- Venmo adds a social element to sending and receiving payments.
- The app is free to use when you send money from a linked bank account.
- You can pay other users via either debit or credit card.
- There’s a 3 percent fee when you fund transactions with a credit card.
- You have to change privacy settings to customize who sees your Venmo transactions.
- Payments can’t be canceled.
What Is PayPal?
PayPal is the most popular online payment platform, largely because it’s been around for more than two decades. PayPal is predominantly used as an online checkout option in e-commerce, but it’s still considered a popular option for sending and receiving payments between individuals.
- PayPal is ubiquitous and easy to use, with browser and app options.
- PayPal records and organizes transactions in a highly streamlined, professional manner.
- PayPal accounts are free.
- You’ll pay a 2.9% transaction fee for using a credit card through PayPal — a fee that you can elect to pass on to the recipient.
- PayPal can freeze your account without warning if there is suspicion that a transaction is not valid.
- PayPal may charge additional bank fees.
What are the features of Cash App vs Venmo vs Paypal?
Cash App, Venmo, and PayPal are all feature-rich, and many of these features overlap heavily with one another. As such, it can be difficult to decide which app best suits your needs. To that end, below is a list of key features you should look for in a payment app. You’ll also find out which app best provides each of these features.
Venmo, PayPal, and Cash App all allow you to log in online. However, only PayPal allows you to make payments via a web browser. Cash App and Venmo require you to make payments through the mobile app.
When it comes to international transactions, PayPal can facilitate payments across borders, but you’ll pay a fee for these types of payments. Only U.S. or U.K. based users can use Cash App, and the app doesn’t support international payments. Venmo can only be used in the U.S.
Winner: PayPal. With browser and app options and the ability to send money across international borders, even with a fee, PayPal is your best option if you need more easy and convenient options for sending and receiving money.
If you simply want to make a payment, all three apps facilitate that. However, each app offers unique payment features. For instance, if you want a more private payment option, Cash App allows you to send money without others seeing it. Venmo, on the other hand, is more of a social application where everyone can see your transactions. You can set your transactions to private, but doing so is another step (not to mention an inconvenience).
What makes PayPal unique is how widely accepted it is in the retail world. Although Venmo is gaining more popularity with stores, many retailers and e-commerce sites have used PayPal for years. The company offers a plethora of flexible options so you can pay for goods and services in a number of ways, including digital transfers and card readers.
Winner: PayPal. Coupled with the app’s international flexibility, ease of access, and how widely it’s accepted, PayPal is one of the easiest apps to use to make payments both to friends and for goods and services.
While all three apps allow you to send money, Venmo and Cash App are specifically designed for this purpose, while PayPal offers a more robust solution. But when it comes to simply sending money between friends, the difference is in the transaction limits and fees.
Overall, PayPal will charge you the highest fee but allows you a $10,000 transfer limit. Venmo and Cash App charge roughly the same fees, but Cash App has a limit of $7,500. Venmo’s limit is $5,000.
Winner: It depends. You may want to avoid PayPal if you want to skip fees, but you may have no choice if you’re sending more than $7,500 at a time. For amounts under $7,500, you may want to go with Cash App.
If you don’t want to run to the bank to cash out a check, you’re in luck. Venmo, Cash App, and PayPal all come with mobile check deposit services.
For Venmo and Cash App, all you need to do is snap a picture of the check – no fees apply. However, if you’re going to deposit checks through PayPal, you’ll need to sign up for PayPal Cash Plus. You’ll be charged fees for your deposits.
Although both Cash App and Venmo allow you to deposit checks without a fee, Venmo makes your funds available more quickly. You can get your funds in just minutes, whereas with Cash App, you may need to wait several business days.
Winner: Venmo. This is the better option due to the lower fees and the smaller wait for your money.
Cash App and Venmo are newer than PayPal, and they’re both designed for peer-to-peer use. As such, they’re both still working on becoming more merchant-friendly. Venmo rolled out a business pilot program in 2020. In the summer of 2021, the company announced that personal accounts could be used for business transactions for a fee. Cash App operates Cash for Business, charging a 2.75% fee for processing business transactions on the platform — slightly less than PayPal and Venmo. That means you can use Cash App and Venmo to make purchases with vendors who accept the payment method.
PayPal has taken on a more significant role in business transactions. PayPal’s commerce platform allows businesses to accept a variety of payment types, with many in-depth solutions for businesses of all sizes. The merchant service options offered through PayPal include credit and debit card processing and accompanying card readers, website integrations for e-commerce payments, and more.
Winner: PayPal. This platform offers the most robust suite of solutions for business owners looking to accept payments easily; plus, the ubiquity of the name means that many associate PayPal with business transactions. However, Cash App and Venmo may catch up soon, especially with Cash App’s appealing lower fee.
Creating a Cash App, Venmo, or PayPal account is always free — it’s the fees that can add up. For example, PayPal charges 2.9 percent plus $0.30 for each transaction on a debit or credit card. Cash App and Venmo charge 3 percent if you’re using a credit card.
Additionally, if you don’t need instant access to your funds, both Cash App and Venmo are free. However, if you opt for instant transfers, Venmo charges you 1 percent, while Cash App charges 1.5 percent. Over time, this may make Venmo the slightly less expensive option.
Winner: Venmo. Although it’s just slightly less expensive than Cash App and only for instant transfers, that small amount is enough to give it an edge in this guide.
Who Should Use Cash App or Venmo or PayPal?
Anyone with a mobile device can use either Venmo, PayPal, Cash App – or all three! All three apps are great for personal use and one-on-one transactions. Each platform offers its unique features and drawbacks, ranging from unique features to each of use to cost.
All three apps are great options, but for e-commerce or bill payments, PayPal may be your best option. If you need solely personal, peer-to-peer services, Venmo and Cash App may be better. For more tips on how to spend, send, and receive money, visit our banking section.