How can you spend money from Venmo

The best ways to send money using your phone

When you need to pay someone back for dinner, send rent money to a roommate or send cash to someone if they need it. You can do all of this easily from your smartphone. We've rounded up the best mobile payment apps that are easy to use to send money.

We should state right up front that you shouldn’t ever send money to anyone online without confirming that you were really sending to the right person and that the person actually asked you to do it (preferably with a phone or video call). There are many scammers out there trying to trick people into sending them money.

The biggest problem with mobile payment apps

While all of these apps have pros and cons, perhaps the biggest problem with sending money digitally in general is that the recipient may not be using the same mobile payments app that you are using. For example, if you use PayPal to send money but the recipient is not using PayPal, they will need to sign up for a PayPal account to receive that money.

It's hard to avoid this situation. So it's important that setting up the app and creating an account is easy and quick. You could just install at a time all of mobile payment apps so they're ready when you ever need them. However, this isn't for everyone, and many people just want to make room for a mobile payment app.

The contenders

We've selected six popular mobile payment apps to try out: Square Cash, Venmo, PayPal, Google Pay Send, Apple Pay Cash and Facebook Messenger. Apple Pay Cash is the only company among these six that is proprietary to a mobile platform (iOS). While not necessarily an "app," we feel it is significant enough to include this. We also introduced the Western Union app because if you really want to give cash to someone, no matter where they are, this is the best option.

CONNECTED:Here's how to set up Apple Pay and Google Wallet on your phone

Keep in mind that all of these apps have some similarities, including the ability to link a debit card or bank account to add money so people can pay (as well as transfer money back to your bank account). They also support credit cards (with a 2-3% fee). Let's see which of these apps are worth your time and money.

Apple Pay Cash

iPhone users will likely find that Apple PayCash is the easiest mobile payment platform to use from the get-go, especially since it's built into iMessage and very quick and easy to set up (especially if you already have a debit card with Apple Pay have set up). The big downside is that it only works on iPhones. So you can't send or receive money to anyone who has other types of phones.

If sending only between iPhones isn't a problem, however, there isn't a better solution for you. It's as easy and quick as selecting Apple Pay Cash in iMessage, selecting a dollar amount, and sending it like you would a text message.

Venmo

When you think of mobile payment apps, you are probably thinking of Venmo. This is one of the most popular options, thanks largely to a social aspect where you can add friends for faster transactions and even see those friends' recent transactions (if you're into that sort of thing). You can also send money to any other Venmo user, as well as to any phone number or email address (in which case the recipient will receive instructions on how to register).

Venmo is also owned by PayPal, which allows you to use your Venmo balance to shop at online merchants that use PayPal as a method of payment. This means you don't need a PayPal account to use this payment method on retail websites. This makes it a little more convenient when you have Venmo cash to blow out.

PayPal

While Venmo is PayPal's mobile payment app, you can also use the PayPal smartphone app to send and receive mobile payments. It is likely that you already have a PayPal account. If you've already set it up, this is a handy option.

The app is nothing to write home about; although. The registration process is not as quick and easy as with other mobile payment apps. It takes a few taps to send money to someone other than those other services. Also, PayPal has had a ton of hot water in the past, especially account freezing and withholders' funds for wrong reasons or without any explanation.

On the plus side, PayPal is available in almost every country, and when you're sending money to someone using a different currency, PayPal will automatically convert the payment into the required currency. So it's great for international users.

Facebook Messenger

While Facebook Messenger is best known as this messaging platform, you can also send and receive money to and from other Facebook users. The best part is that almost everyone uses Facebook. Therefore, it is difficult to find someone who cannot accept a payment quickly and easily through the platform.

However, since it's not a dedicated mobile phone, payment app, you need to navigate a bit to get to the screen where you can send money to someone. However, it's pretty easy to use once you get to this point.

Google Pay Send

Google Pay is Google's own mobile payment platform and Google Pay Send is the name of the mobile-to-mobile payment app. You'd think it's proprietary to Android devices, but it's actually available on pretty much every platform, including the iPhone, as well as the web browser on any computer.

You probably already have a Google Account, too. So signing up for Google Pay is pretty easy. You may just need to link a debit card to complete the process.

Square cash

Square Cash is one of the easiest and cleanest mobile payment apps out there. Setting up an account is quick and easy. Every time you open an account you are immediately greeted with a keyboard to start sending money.

Perhaps one of the best features of Square Cashist is that you can request and receive money from anyone, even if they don't have a Square Cash account. You simply send them your personal "cash tag" link and all they have to do is enter a dollar amount and their debit card information.

The biggest downside to Square Cash, however, is that it isn't FDIC insured, which is a big problem considering it goes without saying for pretty much every bank and money app on the market. Hence, it is probably best not to have a lot of money in your account. At the very least, you should return any free cash to your linked bank account whenever you can.

Western Union

This is slightly different and no different from directly competing with the other apps we talked about. They don't send digital money to people for them to spend or withdraw into their bank account. Well, you can send money to someone else's bank account, but you will need their full bank account information to do so. Rather, the real value of this app is that it offers a modern twist on Western Union's centuries-old service: providing cash to users.

We felt it was important to include this one because it offers something that the others don't. Imagine traveling almost anywhere in the world and losing your wallet and phone. You will need cash to find your way around while you get things done.

After signing up for the service and creating your account, open the app, enter the destination (which can be one of half a million locations in 200 countries around the world) and the amount you want to send, and the person on the other end can visit the location and collect their cash register.

So which app should you be using?

It is important to know that the "best" mobile payment app is the one that is the most convenient for you you. If you find that most of your friends are using Venmo, this is probably your best bet. Likewise, Apple Pay Cash is great when everyone you know has iPhones.

But if you're looking for an all-rounder, it's easy: As an app that anyone can use, Square Cash was simply my favorite - it's available for both iOS and Android and has a super simple user interface that makes it really easy to use. It's also pretty quick and easy for a new user to sign up for an account.