Need to send money to somebody in a hurry?
Gone are the days of writing paper cheques to your friends and family. Today, online money transfer services like Venmo allow users to easily send money to friends and family or pay for services with the tap of a button.
Below, I’ll show you some of the best alternatives to Venmo in Canada, so you’ll always have an easy way to send and receive money.
Based out of the US, PayPal-owned Venmo is one of the most popular money transfer services in North America. In late 2022, the app had over 77 million users and is projected to grow its user base to over 120 million in the first quarter of 2023.
The app allows users to link their bank account or debit card and sync their account with their phone’s contacts list to generate a list of all of their friends and family members who also use Venmo.
As contactless payments became increasingly popular during the global pandemic, many small businesses also began accepting Venmo as a form of payment to limit the use of traditional card readers. Today, even Amazon accepts Venmo!
Unfortunately, Venmo is not available to Canadians.
If you’re visiting Canada from the US and have an existing Venmo account linked to your US-based bank, you’ll still be able to use the app in Canada. However, Canadian residents with Canadian bank accounts will not be able to sign up for Venmo.
While Canadians can’t use Venmo, plenty of other Venmo alternatives allow you to send and receive money, pay for goods and services, or accept payments for your small business.
Below, I’ll give you a complete list of alternative services and what they’re best for, so you can determine the best payment solution for your situation.
- Learn More: Interac.ca
- What It’s Best For: Sending money to friends and family, paying bills
Interac e-Transfer is easily one of the oldest and most trusted money transfer services in Canada. Founded in 1984, Interac was the first electronic payment network in the country.
It allowed financial institutions to provide shared cash dispensing through the use of ABMs, by allowing customers to access their bank accounts and withdraw cash, even when they couldn’t make it to their bank.
In 2003, Interac launched its e-Transfer service, which allowed banking customers to send and receive money digitally. Today, you can log into your bank’s online portal and use Interac e-Transfer to easily send money to your contacts, providing that you have their bank account information.
Many Canadians also use the Interac network to pay their hydro bill, water bill, and other utilities.
While there are limits to how much you can send or receive at one time, these limits are typically imposed by banks and may be adjusted by speaking to an account manager. Some banks charge a small fee to initiate Interac e-Transfers, while others (such as Tangerine) offer the service for free.
The one drawback of sending money via an Interac e-Transfer is that the service can only be used through your online banking portal. It also isn’t the quickest. With Venmo, funds are typically deposited instantly, while Interac e-Transfers can take anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes.
How It Works:
- Sign up for a Canadian bank account
- Access your online banking portal
- Use the Interac e-Transfer service to send money to other Canadians or pay your bills
- The transaction should be processed within 30 minutes and the money will arrive in the recipient’s bank account
- Learn More: Koho.ca
- What It’s Best For: Sending money to friends, earning cashback on daily purchases, budgeting
KOHO is a Toronto-based fintech company with a unique business model. Its most popular product is the KOHO card – a prepaid debit card that allows users to earn cashback on everyday purchases.
In this way, it’s similar to a credit card but doesn’t require a credit check to sign up for. That being said, KOHO also offers an affordable credit-building service that you can subscribe to for $10 per month.
That’s not all, though. KOHO also offers a peer-to-peer (P2P) money transfer service that’s very similar to Venmo and Cash App. This service allows KOHO users to easily send and receive money between themselves, as long as both the sender and receiver are KOHO members.
To help you manage your finances and stay on top of your budget, KOHO even provides a built-in budgeting tool that allows users to keep track of their spending habits (including money sent via the platform’s P2P money transfer service).
The only drawback of KOHO is that it’s not quite as popular as other money transfer services, which makes it a bit challenging to send money to strangers who aren’t already members.
Currently, KOHO only has around 500,000 users, but the platform is quickly growing and could see widespread adoption over the next few years.
How It Works:
- Sign up for KOHO for free, and receive your free prepaid debit card
- Link your bank account to reload your card and fund your KOHO account
- Use your KOHO balance to send and receive money using KOHO’s P2P money transfer service
- Learn More: Wealthsimple.com
- What It’s Best For: Sending money to friends and family
Wealthsimple’s latest product is Wealthsimple Cash. The company launched its P2P money transfer platform in January 2020 to fill the market gap left by the absence of Cash App and Venmo in Canada. Wealthsimple Cash has a remarkably similar user interface to Venmo.
Unlike Interac e-Transfers, which require you to log into your online banking portal, Wealthsimple Cash has an easy-to-use app available for download on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
Once you download the app, you can link your Wealthsimple account to your existing chequing account or debit card to send and receive money to other Wealthsimple Cash users.
You’ll also be able to request the Wealthsimple Cash Card, which is a prepaid Mastercard that allows you to spend money using your account balance. This limits the number of bank transfers you’ll need to initiate and can be a real time saver.
How It Works:
- Download the Wealthsimple Cash app on the Google Play Store or the complete Wealthsimple app (which includes Cash) on the Apple App Store
- Create a Wealthsimple Account if you don’t have one already
- Load your Wealthsimple Cash account with money by linking it to your chequing account or debit card
- Send and receive money using Wealthsimple Cash’s P2P money transfer service
- Request a Wealthsimple Cash Card to spend your balance
- Learn More: Pay.google.com
- What It’s Best For: Paying for goods and services, sending money to your contacts
If you’re an Android user, then Google Pay offers a comprehensive P2P money transfer service and contactless payment solution.
If you have an Android smartphone, your device probably comes with Google Pay already installed. If not, you should be able to download it from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store (yes – it works on Apple devices as well!).
Google Pay allows users to link their debit cards and credit cards, allowing them to utilize the tap-to-pay feature offered by most payment processors. Users can initiate a contactless payment by tapping their smartphone or connected smartwatch on the POS device.
In addition to contactless payments, Google Pay also allows users to send money to anybody in their contacts list. Money can be sent directly from a debit card linked to the account or using Google Pay’s preloaded account balance.
You can even send money to contacts who don’t have a Google Pay account set up (which is a huge plus). Once you send the money, the recipient will be notified by Google to set up their account. If the recipient fails to set up their account within seven days, the money will be returned to the sender.
All money transfers and payments are secured using Google’s state-of-the-art encryption protocol, which makes it one of the fastest, cheapest, and safest alternatives to Venmo Canada.
How It Works:
- Download the Google Pay app on your smartphone
- Connect your debit or credit cards to your account (you can add multiple cards)
- Once your payment method has been linked, you can use tap-to-pay with retailers or use your debit card/account balance to send money to other Google Pay users
- If the recipient doesn’t have a Google Pay account, they’ll receive a notification and have seven days to set up their account and access the funds that were sent to them.
- Learn More: Sign up for free today!
- What It’s Best For: Sending and receiving money internationally
Need to send money internationally? If so, you can’t go wrong with Wise. Formerly known as Transferwise, this fintech company allows users to create an online bank account that can be used to send and receive money within Canada and around the world.
With Wise, you can hold money in over 40 currencies, get a card to spend in over 150 countries, and send money to over 160 countries, all at an excellent exchange rate!
If you’re a freelancer or digital nomad, this is a dream come true. In fact, I use Wise myself whenever I’m travelling internationally to send money to my associates and staff.
The fees are lower than any other traditional bank, and transfers are usually quick. Wise even offers a service to help transfer large sums of money.
If you’re into eCommerce, you can link your Wise account to Stripe, Amazon, PayPal, and other merchant services, so you can cash out your earnings no matter where you are in the world.
In addition to its international money transferring service, Wise offers a multi-currency card that allows you to spend your Wise account balance in different countries.
The multi-currency card allows you to send and receive money in 10 major currencies and convert and hold 51 global currencies.
How It Works:
- Download the Wise app or use the desktop site
- Create a Wise account
- Link your primary chequing account to fund your Wise account
- Send and receive money in 170 different currencies
- Learn More: Paypal.com/ca
- What It’s Best For: Sending money to friends and family, paying for services.
PayPal is arguably one of the largest and most well-known money transfer services in the world, which is why it’s so popular in the freelancing and eCommerce industries.
Creating an account is very simple, and you can add your credit or debit card to easily send money or pay for goods and services.
PayPal doesn’t charge any fees to transfer money to your friends and family (personal transactions). However, if you’re transferring money internationally or using PayPal for business purposes, then you’ll have to pay a processing fee of up to 3.5% along with a fixed fee that ranges between $0.05 and $0.49.
Even though PayPal isn’t the fastest or cheapest money transfer service, it is one of the most popular, as it has over 429 million users worldwide. This can make it easier to send and receive money as the individual on the other end doesn’t have to sign up for a completely new platform.
How It Works:
- Create a PayPal account
- Verify your identity details
- Link your primary payment method (credit, debit, or bank account)
- Use PayPal to send and receive money for free in Canada or pay a fee for international/business transfers
- Learn More: Pay.facebook.com
With Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp in its portfolio, Meta is now the largest social media platform in the world and has billions of users. Although Meta isn’t exactly a payment processor, the company’s Facebook Pay service (now Meta Pay) has given Facebook users a reliable way to send money to each other.
The service is currently available in Canada, the US, the UK, France, Australia, Spain, Thailand, Brazil, and Mexico.
To use Meta Pay, simply access your Facebook account settings, navigate to Facebook Pay, and add your debit card as a payment method. From here, you’ll be able to send money to any account that you’re connected with.
To send or request money, initiate a chat through Messenger and press the ‘$’ icon towards the top of the keyboard bar. Once the payment has been verified, the amount should arrive in the recipient’s account within a few minutes.
How It Works:
- Sign up for a Facebook account or log into your existing account
- Access your Facebook account settings to add your debit card for Facebook Pay
- Send money or request money via Facebook Messenger with Facebook Pay
To wrap up, here’s a quick Q-and-A regarding alternatives to Venmo in Canada.
Unfortunately, Apple Pay and Apple Cash are not yet available in Canada, as they require a US-based bank account to use. However, the Apple Pay and Apple Cash trademarks were approved in Canada in 2021, indicating that the company plans to expand its services to the rest of North America soon.
Yes! Google Pay is available on Android and iOS devices, making it one of the most versatile ways to transfer money to friends and family.
In many ways, Zelle is similar to Interac. Like its competitor, Zelle works directly with major banks in the US, allowing users to safely send and receive money for goods and services or send gifts.
Unfortunately, Zelle is not available to Canadians. Like Venmo, Zelle accounts must be linked to a US-based bank account.
If you’re visiting from the US or temporarily living in Canada, you can still use Zelle with your US bank account. However, you won’t be able to send money to those with a Canadian bank account.
All money transfer services require users to be at least 18 years old with a valid bank account or debit card.
I would say that the best alternative to Venmo in Canada is Interac e-Transfer or Google Pay. The platform is simple, fast, and easy to use, available to Android and iOS users, and works just as well in Canada as in the US.
Users can use Google Pay to safely initiate contactless payments at POS terminals, make online payments, or send money to people in their contacts list using their linked debit card.
If you’re trying to send money internationally, I’d say Wise is the best option. Keep on reading to see my full review of Wise!