Perhaps you’re a week out from payday and a sudden emergency comes up back home. Or maybe you just don’t have the time to stop by an ATM for an unexpected financial matter.
Whatever the case, if you don’t have cash, it’s still possible to send money to a friend, family member, or another loved one using your credit card. Money transfer services like Remitly make it easy to send money overseas with a card, too.
Whether you’d like to use a credit card to send money online domestically or abroad, we’re here to help guide you through the process.
Sending Money from a Credit Card to a Bank Account
Before you begin sending money with your credit card, it’s important to understand that these transfers are often treated as cash advances by financial institutions.
For those new to this term, you can think of a cash advance as a short-term loan from your credit card company.
In other words, by taking out a cash advance, you’re essentially borrowing money from your card’s line of credit—which comes with a transaction fee. You’ll find the interest rate for cash advances is higher than for other charges, too.
Depending on your credit card issuer, this could be a percentage of the total amount transferred or a flat fee, generally whichever one is greater. Always check with the financial service about their transfer fees so you’re not surprised.
Given these extra costs, it may be better to wait until you have cash and can send money using your debit card. That’s because your debit card draws from your checking account, which means you can’t spend more than you have (without incurring an overdraft fee, that is).
As convenient as it is, transferring money to a bank account using a credit card should be treated as a last resort or in case of an emergency.
Using a Credit Card to Transfer Money Domestically
While many money transfer services exist, not all of them allow people to send money using your Visa, MasterCard, or other credit card. For instance, the platform Zelle only accepts payments made through linked debit cards and checking and savings accounts.
So which services accept credit cards as a payment method? Below are three providers for sending money to recipients within the same country as you.
As one of the most recognizable names in the online payments world, PayPal is a popular solution for sending and receiving money digitally.
Using your PayPal account you can transfer money so long as you have your recipient’s email or phone number. Though there are no fees for sending funds within the U.S. with your bank account or PayPal balance, sending money with a credit card comes with a fee. You can check their website or app to research the current fees.
Venmo is a U.S.-specific payment platform and digital wallet. It offers a more social experience than similar apps, as users can send emojis, GIFs, and other messages with their payments.
You can make purchases from businesses that accept Venmo using your credit card without a fee. However, when it comes to sending money to others with a credit card, Venmo charges a fee. Carefully check the app before sending so you’re aware of the fee amount at the time you send.
Cash App, formerly known as Square Cash, is very similar to Venmo, albeit with a less social experience. In fact, it offers slightly more anonymity since you can use “$Cashtags”, which function like screen names.
For money transfers, however, its fees are the same as Venmo, charging an additional 3% for transfers funded by credit card.
Sending Money Internationally With a Credit Card
International money transfers with a credit card are a slightly different story, as not all of the services above allow sending money to recipients in another country. Venmo, for example, isn’t available to users outside of the U.S. Similarly, only users in the U.S. and UK can send money using Cash App.
If you want to use a credit card to send money overseas, you’ll have to use a bank wire transfer, which is often expensive, or a money transfer service such as Western Union, MoneyGram, or Remitly.
What makes international money transfers more challenging? Sending money to recipients in another country comes with the added hurdle of currency conversion. Exchange rates change daily; you can learn more here.
What’s more, certain money transfer services charge quite a bit extra in transaction fees. With a little research, you can make sure that more money makes it home.
We’ll explain this in more detail below.
Look out for high fees and exchange rates.
While some companies enable users to send money both domestically and internationally, they may apply high transfer fees and exchange rates to your international transactions. This is regardless of whether you pay with a credit or debit card. For this reason, it’s worth reading their fine print.
PayPal, for instance, can handle both domestic and overseas money transfers. However, its transfer fees and exchange rates can add up. Check the app or website carefully before sending so you’re clear on the total cost.
What’s more, if you use a credit card to send funds internationally, you may still face a cash advance fee from your credit card issuer, which PayPal has no control over.
Services that specialize in international transfers may offer better rates.
Because these additional fees can add up quickly, the best option for sending money abroad is generally a money transfer service that specializes in international transfers.
Since these services focus exclusively on global money transfers, they tend to offer better exchange rates and lower transfer fees than banks.
To be clear, using a credit card account to fund your transfer may still come with fees from your credit card issuer.
Plus, money transfer apps are both fast and secure. Most provide additional peace of mind by making it possible to track your transfer status. This is true whether you’re sending funds to a bank account, to a cash pickup location, or to a mobile wallet.
How to Send Money with a Credit Card via Remitly
Remitly makes it easy to send money internationally using a credit card. To get started, follow these five simple steps.
- Download the Remitly app and create an account if you don’t already have one.
- Navigate to your payment methods by tapping the “My Remitly” button, which features a gear icon. “Payment Methods” will appear in the menu. (If you’re accessing your account on a desktop computer, hover your cursor over your name in the upper righthand corner and click “Settings.” Payment Methods will appear in the next screen’s menu.)
- Tap “add” in the upper right corner of the Remitly app.
- Complete your new payment method’s details. Be sure to select “credit card” under “payment type” and double check your information before proceeding.
- Tap “save” once you’ve finished entering in your credit card information.
It’s important to note that to use a credit card on Remitly, your card must:
- Have an expiration date.
- Match the name on your Remitly profile.
- Have a CVV or CVC—the three- or four-digit security code on the back of a card.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to sending money, whether internationally or at home, the most cost-effective option is generally using your bank account or debit card. This way, you can avoid the high cash advance fees charged by credit cards.
That said, it still is possible to send money using a credit card, which may be necessary when you don’t have cash in the bank.
When you make these transfers to someone in another country, be sure to explore options to find the lowest fees. Your best bet may be a service that specializes in international remittances.
Remitly is committed to helping immigrants learn more about personal finance.