The 5 best payment apps of 2022 (2024)


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What is the best payment app? PayPal is ZDNet's No. 1 choice. To determine our top pick, as well as four other honorable mentions, we researched and compared the apps based on criteria like the platforms they're available on, whether there are fees for sending money, and if foreign transactions are allowed. We believe a good payment app should help simplify your payments and make spending easy.

The 5 best payment apps of 2022 (1)

Written by Lena Borrelli, Contributing Writer

Reviewed by

Elyse Betters Picaro
PayPal | Best payment app overall
The 5 best payment apps of 2022 (2)


Best payment app overall

View now View at PayPal

CashApp | Best payment app for simplicity
The 5 best payment apps of 2022 (3)


Best payment app for simplicity

View now View at CashApp

Stripe | Best payment app for businesses
The 5 best payment apps of 2022 (4)


Best payment app for businesses

View now View at Stripe

Zelle | Best payment app for bank transfers
The 5 best payment apps of 2022 (6)


Best payment app for bank transfers

View now View at Zelle

The world has gone digital, and we officially find ourselves in the Age of the App. With mobile apps so prevalent, it makes sense that they would change the way we make payments, too.

The days of mailing cashier's checks and money orders are long past, thanks to the development of several key payment apps that simplify the payment process and make receiving money a breeze. But which one is the best to handle your money?

When it comes to your finances, these are the best payment apps to help you make and receive payments.

  • Platforms:Android, iOS
  • Cost: Free with an additional fee for currency conversion

PayPal has been a popular pick for many years, and it remains the best payment app today. Over 400 million users today use the service with easy QR codes to both pay and receive payments. If you have trouble paying your bill in full, there is the option to buy and now then pay over four interest-free payments. Simply choose the Pay in 4 option at checkout to proceed.

Another unique option is the ability to pay with cryptocurrency. Instead of needing a crypto credit card, you can use PayPal as a taxable transaction at millions of stores, giving you one more option. PayPal is free to use, although there is an additional fee when you need currency conversion. Available via mobile app, PayPal also offers online access. Plus, when you sign up, there is a $5 reward when you spend $10 or more.


  • Free to pay
  • Built-in security measures
  • Multiple financing options


  • Lackluster customer service
  • Drawn-out dispute process
  • Platforms: Android, iOS
  • Cost: Free

With Cash App, it is free to both send and receive money, saving you tons of money in transfer fees. Simply create a $cashtag and use it to make payments anywhere. The Cash Card bears the Visa® logo and enables you to make both in-person and online purchases using your Cash App balance. It is compatible with both Apple Pay and Google Pay for easier use.

Getting cash is also simple. When you deposit $300 each month, you get three free ATM withdrawals per month. One of the best parts about Cash App is that you can receive your paycheck up to two days earlier when you open an account.

You can also buy bitcoin starting at just $1 in a format that is user-friendly to both novice and experienced investors. There are built-in security measures to help keep your information private, such as verification locks and data encryption.


  • Free to use
  • Simple to use
  • Tax filing tools


  • Lacking advanced features
  • International limitations
  • Platforms: Android, iOS
  • Cost: 2.9% + 30¢ per successful charge. Customized packages are also available.

Stripe boasts some pretty impressive stats - 90% of American adults have purchases from a business that uses Stripe. It is easy to see why -- it is available in more than 35 countries and supports over 135 currencies. It is also used by millions of small and large companies, including Instacart, Google, Shopify, and Amazon.

The app is used not only for sending payments but also for receiving them. There are also integrations for several systems, including Shopify, NetSuite, and WooCommerce. You can embed your own custom checkout using JavaScript with a custom UI toolkit for complete personalization. With extreme care built into its systems, customers can enjoy over 99.99% uptime with additional compliance procedures.


  • Reporting features
  • Instant deposits
  • 24/7 customer service


  • Must pay for use
  • Limits apply for in-person purchases
  • Platforms: Android, iOS
  • Cost: 3% when sending money from a linked bank account, debit card, or Venmo account

Venmo is popular for sending money between family and friends, thanks to its over 83 million users. Whether it is paying for the family groceries or splitting the rent with a friend, Venmo is super popular for sending and receiving money among acquaintances. You can also invest in crypto directly through the app since it supports multiple types of cryptocurrency.

For businesses, there is the ability to create a profile so you can receive greater exposure to both existing and new clientele. You also have the option to get a Venmo Credit Card with up to 3% back and a personalized QR code to make receiving and sending payments easy. Rewards categories change on a rotating basis.


  • Compatible with cryptocurrency
  • Simple to use
  • Commonly accepted where PayPal is accepted


  • No international transactions
  • Limited website tools
  • Platforms: Android, iOS
  • Cost: There are no fees to use Zelle, although your bank or credit union may assess their own fees.

Zelle is an easy way to send money using your bank account. You must use a U.S. bank account, thereby excluding an international clientele. However, for U.S. accounts, Zelle is one of the best payment apps for bank transfers. You simply set up your account using your email address or phone number, then link your bank account. There are no restrictions on the exact bank you have to use as long as you use a U.S. account.

The Zelle app is available via the Zelle app, or you can send transfers directly through most banking apps. It is compatible with more than 1,000 bank apps. All you need is the email address or the phone number of the recipient, and then you enter the amount you want to send. It could not be simpler.


  • Free to use
  • Built-in security measures
  • No limits for receiving money


  • No international accounts
  • Payment limits apply

What is the best payment app?

PayPal is my go-to payment app. It's a popular choice with millions of users and can be used to send money to friends and family or to transact with businesses large and small.

Payment app


Fee for sending money

Foreign transactions


Android, iOS

Fee applies for currency conversion


Cash App

Android, iOS




Android, iOS

2.9% + 30¢ per successful charge



Android, iOS




Android, iOS



Which payment app is right for you?

It can be confusing to pick the best payment app, so here are our expert recommendations to help you find the best payment app for you.

Choose this payment app...

If you want...

Cash App

A straightforward app without complications


A versatile app that offers flexibility with your payments


A payment app worthy of your business' needs


To send money to family and friends


To use your bank account to make payments

How did we choose these payment apps?

When choosing the best payment app, it is critical that each app meets certain criteria. These are some of the factors we consider while searching for the best payment apps.

  • Security: One of the most important things is to ensure that your money is safely secured within the app. We look for security features like two-factor authentication and fraud detection.
  • Fees: Not all payment apps are free to use, so we consider if there are fees and packages available to offer you an affordable payment app.
  • Transfer speed: Some apps can take weeks to transfer funds, but the best payment apps offer easy, efficient transfers, regardless of whether you are the one sending or receiving the money.
  • Availability: Some apps are only available in the U.S., which can be inconvenient when you have friends and family living abroad. Other apps may limit how much you can send or receive, and additional fees may apply. Be sure to consider your needs when it comes to sending money internationally.

How do payment apps work?

Payment apps are a simple way to send and receive money using your mobile device. They are generally used by several types of customers, including individuals, contractors, and business owners. You can typically store your credit card or banking information within the app, so it just takes the touch of a button to send money across the country or even the world.

Are payment apps safe?

Many of the best payment apps incorporate additional security features to keep your most personal details safe from prying eyes. Apps use security measures like Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), digital certificates, and fraud protection against unauthorized transactions.

Are there alternative payment apps worth considering?

While searching for the best payment app, we found several options that may be worthy of your needs, whether they are personal or professional.

While you are thinking of all things financial, consider our picks for the best credit cards for good credit, best rewards credit cards, and the best international travel cards of 2022.

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I'm an expert in the field of technology and digital payments, with a deep understanding of the criteria and features that make payment apps reliable and user-friendly. My expertise extends to various aspects of the technological landscape, including security measures, app functionalities, and the overall digital payment ecosystem.

In the provided article, ZDNET emphasizes its commitment to independently testing and researching products to provide trustworthy recommendations and advice. The evidence of this expertise is demonstrated through their extensive process of gathering data from various sources, including vendor and retailer listings, independent review sites, and customer reviews. The editorial team at ZDNET aims to deliver accurate information and knowledgeable advice to help readers make informed decisions when it comes to tech gear and various products and services.

Now, let's delve into the information related to the payment apps mentioned in the article:

  1. PayPal:

    • Platform: Available on Android and iOS.
    • Cost: Free with an additional fee for currency conversion.
    • Features: QR codes for payments, Pay in 4 option for interest-free payments, and the ability to pay with cryptocurrency.
    • Pros: Free to use, built-in security measures, multiple financing options.
    • Cons: Lackluster customer service, drawn-out dispute process.
  2. Cash App:

    • Platform: Available on Android and iOS.
    • Cost: Free.
    • Features: $cashtag for payments, Cash Card for in-person and online purchases, early paycheck access, and the ability to buy bitcoin.
    • Pros: Free to use, simple to use, tax filing tools.
    • Cons: Lacking advanced features, international limitations.
  3. Stripe:

    • Platform: Available on Android and iOS.
    • Cost: 2.9% + 30¢ per successful charge.
    • Features: Used by businesses for sending and receiving payments, supports over 135 currencies, integrations with various systems.
    • Pros: Reporting features, instant deposits, 24/7 customer service.
    • Cons: Must pay for use, limits apply for in-person purchases.
  4. Venmo:

    • Platform: Available on Android and iOS.
    • Cost: 3% fee when sending money from a linked bank account, debit card, or Venmo account.
    • Features: Popular for sending money between family and friends, supports multiple types of cryptocurrency, offers a Venmo Credit Card.
    • Pros: Compatible with cryptocurrency, simple to use.
    • Cons: No international transactions, limited website tools.
  5. Zelle:

    • Platform: Available on Android and iOS.
    • Cost: No fees to use Zelle, but the user's bank or credit union may assess their own fees.
    • Features: Easy way to send money using a U.S. bank account, available in more than 1,000 bank apps.
    • Pros: Free to use, built-in security measures.
    • Cons: No international accounts, payment limits apply.

The article provides a helpful comparison of these payment apps based on various criteria, such as platform availability, cost, features, and pros and cons. Additionally, it offers expert recommendations on choosing the right payment app based on specific needs and considerations. The factors considered in selecting the best payment apps include security, fees, transfer speed, and availability. The safety of payment apps is also addressed, highlighting the security features like SSL, digital certificates, and fraud protection that many of the best payment apps incorporate.

Furthermore, the article suggests alternative payment apps worth considering, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Meta Messenger, and Xoom, each catering to different user preferences and needs. This comprehensive overview showcases ZDNET's commitment to providing valuable insights into the digital payment landscape.

The 5 best payment apps of 2022 (2024)
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