Venmo, PayPal, Zelle: Which One Should I Use to Send Money?

June 13, 2022
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P2P transactions are the electronic money transfers done from one person to another, mostly instantly. These payments are done through an intermediary (payment apps) such as Paypal, Venmo, Zelle, etc. Where making payments has become too easy without handling cash, there is another challenge that each person has. Which one is the best money transfer app to make peer-to-peer (P2P) payments? Let’s help you to get the answer in this blog.

All Apps At A Glance

Paypal is the older P2P payment transfer portal which was developed in 1998 as ‘Cofinity’ then it was acquired by eBay in 2002. Further in 2005, it acquired a digital wallet company, Xoom Corporation and gained access to its millions of user’s network. Venmo is a subsidiary payment app of Paypal that works exclusively in the U.S. It was developed by Andrew Kortina and Iqram Magdon-Ismail in 2009 to transfer money quickly. In 2012, Braintree bought Venmo and later in 2013, PayPal acquired Braintree. Thus, now it is owned by PayPal.

On the other hand, Zelle is an U.S. based P2P payment app that is functional only in the U.S. launch in 2017. It is backed by several banks of the U.S. namely, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Capital One, US Bank, BB&T, and PNC Bank. Like Venmo, Zelle also serves in the U.S.

Venmo vs. Paypal vs. Zelle

Comparison is done on the basis of,

  • Popularity
  • Charges
  • Transfer limits
  • Security
  • International Money Transfer


PayPal has been the oldest P2P payment app in this comparative guide, it has 305 million users in 203 countries and manages the fund exchanges in 26 countries.

Venmo is quite famous among millennials in the U.S. as it has interactive social media features that attract many U.S. youngsters. Other than this, there are many more features like bills splitting, instant transfers, and smooth online payments to approved merchants that make it different from others.

Most of the youngsters prefer Venmo in the U.S. It has a marketplace with around 40 million users.

Since Zelle is made by major banks of America, it has a wider network and partnership with over 500 U.S. financial institutions that makes it too popular in the U.S. Zelle is targeting the boomers and Gen Xers as it is an instant, convenient and easy to use app. Also, you can use it through your bank app or download its standalone app. It has almost 27.4 million active users as of now.

Fees & Charges

PayPal does not charge a single penny for bank transfers. Yet if you are making payment through debit card/credit card, you will be charged $2.9 + $0.30 per transaction. Whereas Zelle is absolutely free of cost P2P payment app. If any sum is charged, you must check with your bank account or credit union. On the other side, Venmo charges 3% of each P2P transaction but you can avail of its service for free if you can wait for fund exchanges to reach the recipient’s bank in 1-3 business days.

Transfer Limits

It is an imperative factor if you do innumerable online transactions. PayPal allows its verified accounts a limit of $10,000 in a single transaction. Unverified accounts have many limits on all transfer methods (debit/credit/PayPal balance). Venmo has set the limit to $299.99 for unverified accounts, and $4999.99 weekly for verified accounts. Whereas, Zelle does not have a specific limit. It varies from bank to bank. If you are using Zelle, you will have to check your spending/transfer limit with your respective bank.


Since all these are money exchange applications, they always keep their security standards high and upgraded. They use data encryption to protect customers’ confidential information. PayPal and Venmo provide second-layer authentication with a password or PIN for your phone. Zelle is backed by major American banks so it is considered the most secured application.

Make sure you check all the banking details before transferring the money as these are the instant money transfer applications so the transactions cannot be undone. If any transaction goes to the wrong bank account, no application will be able to help you to reverse the transaction.

International Money Transfer

Since PayPal has a huge network in over 203 countries, it can transfer funds internationally with best exchange rates and speed of transfer. However, Zelle and Venmo only operate in the U.S. so they do not offer international fund transfer service.

The Bottom Line

In a way, all the three apps are the best money transfer apps. All of them have some advantages that the other ones compensate for. You can use PayPal for international transactions and either of Venmo or Zelle for money transfer within the U.S. or if you need only one all rounder payment app, you must opt for PayPal.