Updated March 29, 2020

5 Ways to Pay Someone with a Credit Card

Credit Cards

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There are varying reasons you might want to pay someone with a credit card. For example, maybe you’re sending money domestically or internationally to a friend or family member.

Another reason to explore paying someone with a credit card could be to buy something from an independent seller, or maybe you need to pay someone who’s done work for you.

This could include someone who did in-person work, such as a home contractor, or someone who’s done online work for you or your business, such as a freelancer.

In the past, the main way to send money quickly to another person was the use of wire transfers, but a wire transfer can be costly.

You also have to provide quite a bit of information about the person you’re sending money to, and that might not be realistic for your situation.

When you’re looking for ways to pay someone with a credit card, you’ll need to consider fees and transfer speed, along with other factors such as the maximum transfer amount allowed.

Today I’m going over five ways to pay someone with a credit card, but first I’m going to talk about the pros and cons of paying someone with a credit card.

Pros of Paying Someone with a Credit Card

If you’re thinking about paying someone with a credit card, there can be good reasons to do so.

1. Credit Card Rewards

One reason you might want to pay someone with a credit card is to earn cash back or miles on your card, or perhaps meet the spending requirements for a sign-up bonus.

2. Fraud Protection

If you’re thinking about paying someone, particularly if it’s a situation where you don’t know the person, you may be worried about fraud.

If you use a credit card, the issuer is likely to have protections in place to safeguard against fraudulent transactions, and you may have dispute rights.

On the other hand, if you pay someone from a bank account or using a debit card, you may only have the protections offered by the payment platform itself, which are limited.

Some banks will say that if you sent the money, you’re responsible for the transaction. It’s more difficult to get cash back after you send it from a bank account or using a debit card, as compared to disputing a credit card charge.

3. Emergency Coverage

If you’re facing an emergency or an unexpected situation requiring you to send money to someone, you may not have the available cash to do so right now.

In this case, a credit card may be your only option.

Cons of Paying Someone with a Credit Card

Of course, there are several downsides of paying someone with a credit card to be aware of before launching this type of transaction.

1. Fees

There are some ways you might end up paying fees if you pay someone with a credit card.

First, most payment platforms and payment services providers will charge a fee of typically around 3% if you’re sending money with a credit card.

Then, on top of that, you may have to pay a cash advance fee to your credit card issuer, and the interest they charge may be higher on a cash advance than on normal purchases.

If you’re using a credit card because you want to earn rewards, you might find that the fees you pay are more than the value of the rewards you earn, so you have to do the math.

And of course, if you were to use a bank account or debit card rather than a credit card, you would pay no fee at all on many payment services apps and platforms, so keep that in mind.

2. Limited Service Providers

Many payment service providers don’t let you use a credit card to send money at all, so you have fewer options, which may mean you’re forced into paying higher fees or using a service you wouldn’t use otherwise.

3. Higher Exchange Rates

If you’re sending money internationally and use a credit card to do so, you may pay unfavorable exchange rates, whereas if you sent money using cash or a bank account, you may get more competitive rates.

5 Ways to Pay Someone with a Credit Card

Alright, so now that I’ve covered the pros and cons of paying someone with a credit card, I’ll now go over five ways to pay someone with a credit card.

Fee Transfer Speed Maximum Transfer Global Availability Learn More
Venmo

3%

Usually within one business day

Weekly limit of $2,999.99 for sending money, $2,000 per transaction for merchant payments.

$4,999.99 for all combined transactions

US only

PayPal

2.9% + $0.30 of the amount

Within one business day

$10,000 per transaction

Over 200 countries

Cash App

3% to use a credit card and 1.5% to make an instant deposit

Instant or up to three days

$2,500 a week, after verifying your personal information

US only

Western Union

Varies

From instant to the next day or several business days

$10,000 per transaction

Over 200 countries

Wire Transfer

Depends on the bank

Can happen same-day, it may take two business days for funds to available to the recipient

Depends on the bank

Over 200 countries

Venmo

  • Venmo: Best For Mobile Users
      • Basics: Venmo is often described as a social network for sending money. You can add your friends to your Venmo account, and you can also see their transactions through your feed, although you can’t see the exact amounts.

        You can make free Venmo transfers if you’re using your bank account, the balance you hold in your Venmo account, or you use a debit card or prepaid debit card. But if you pay someone with a credit card through Venmo, there’s a 3% fee.

        There aren’t any protections for you as a buyer or seller through Venmo. The fact that Venmo does let you use a credit card to pay people makes it different from Zelle, which is Venmo’s primary competitor.

        To send money with Venmo, both you and the person you’re sending it to need an account.
      • Pros: The fact that Venmo lets you use a credit card to pay people is a big pro, compared to similar platforms. You may like that Venmo is a socially driven way to send money, and if you’re receiving any payments through the app, they’re always free.
      • Cons: To use a credit card to send money on Venmo, you’ll pay a 3% fee. Also, with the Venmo user agreement, your credit card issuer may handle a transaction using a credit card as a cash advance, which could mean you pay another upfront fee and a higher interest rate on that charge.

        If you want to use Venmo as part of your strategy to max out credit card rewards, there is a limit on the number of credit and debit cards you can have linked to your account within a six-month period. Within six months, you can’t have any more than four cards, active or deleted.
      • FEE

        3%

      • TRANSFER SPEED

        Usually within one business day

      • MAXIMUM TRANSFER

        • Weekly rolling limit of $2,999.99 for sending money through Venmo.
        • $2,000 weekly limit per transaction for merchant payments.
        • There’s also a weekly rolling limit of $4,999.99 for all combined transactions.

    PayPal

    • PayPal: Best for Security and Large Transactions
        • Basics: PayPal is one of the most commonly used ways to send money, and it’s extremely convenient. When you initiate a PayPal transaction, you verify your account, and then the transfer is usually complete within one business day.

          You can use a debit or credit card, as well as your PayPal balance or a bank account to send money to friends or family. You can also send money internationally in more than 100 currencies.
        • Pros: Using PayPal is simple and most people already have an account. You can do international transfers, and the recipient doesn’t see your financial information when you complete a transaction through the platform.

          If you purchase something through PayPal, including a good or service, you also get purchase protection in case fraud occurs.
        • Cons: To use both a debit and credit card to send money using PayPal, you do have to pay a fee of 2.9% in addition to 30 cents of the amount.
        • FEE

          2.9% plus $0.30 of the amount

        • TRANSFER SPEED

          Within one business day

        • MAXIMUM TRANSFER

          $10,000 per transaction

      Cash App

      • Square Cash App: Best for Instant Transactions
          • Basics: With the Square Cash App, you can transfer funds using a linked credit card for a 3% fee.

            The Cash App is only available in the 50 United States.
          • Pros: The Square Cash App is relatively easy to use and offers the option to transfer money immediately, so if you’re in a bind, this could be preferable for you.

            Fraud protection features include a Security Lock setting on the Cash App, and there is a weekly spending limit of $2,500 but no receiving limit after you verify your account.

            If you’re using Cash for personal use, there’s no fee to send or receive funds from a bank account or debit card.
          • Cons: You can’t use the Cash app to send money internationally, and the 3% fee to use a credit card to send money to someone is slightly higher than Paypal’s.
          • FEE

            3% to use a credit card and 1.5% to make an instant deposit

          • TRANSFER SPEED

            Instant or up to three days

          • MAXIMUM TRANSFER

            $2,500 a week, after verifying your personal information

        Western Union

        • Western Union: Best for International Transfers
            • Basics: Western Union is the world’s largest money transfer services provider. Western Union's reach expands over more than 200 countries, and they also offer a significant amount of variety in the different ways you can make transfers.

              To use Western Union, you can register online for an account, and use your credit or debit card that’s issued by a U.S. bank to send money that can then be picked up as cash. You can also opt for cheaper and slower delivery of funds.
            • Pros: With Western Union, the primary perk of the service is that you can send money essentially anywhere in the world. However, the transfers to developing countries often have lower fees and better exchange rates than sending money to developed countries.

              If you want to send money to somewhere like Canada or a country in Europe, it may be better to use another service.
            • Cons: While the fees vary based on different factors, Western Union is almost always one of the most expensive ways to send money. If you use a credit card, your transaction will likely be categorized as a cash advance, so you’ll pay not only a fee to Western Union but also higher interest to your card company.
            • FEE

              Varies depending on the type of transaction and the amount of money being sent, as well as where it’s being sent

            • TRANSFER SPEED

              Varies from instant to the next day or several business days

            • MAXIMUM TRANSFER

              $10,000 per transaction

          Wire Transfer

          • Bank Wire Transfer: Best for In-Person Transactions
              • Basics: Depending on your bank, you may be able to send money with a credit card using a wire transfer. A wire transfer or a bank transfer is a safe and reliable option, as long as you’re sending the money to someone you’re comfortable with.

                A wire transfer means you’re electronically transferring money. Most wire transfers are bank-to-bank.

                To wire money, you would provide your bank with information about the recipient of the funds, and you may have to fill out a form provided by your bank, but you might also be able to do it online. There are fees to both send a receive a wire transfer, and if your bank lets you use your credit card, you’ll have to pay cash advance fees as well.
              • Pros: The pros of going through your bank to pay someone with a credit card includes the overall safety of the process. A bank wire transfer can be especially safe if you’re sending funds to someone in the U.S. because it’s difficult to bank anonymously.
              • Cons: The cons of a bank wire transfer are the high costs. The fees you’ll pay to send money using a credit card through your bank may be more than what you pay using a payment app in some cases.
              • FEE

                Depends on the bank

              • TRANSFER SPEED

                Can happen same-day, but it may take two business days for funds to be available to the recipient

              • MAXIMUM TRANSFER

                Depends on the bank

            Frequently Asked Questions

            • What apps can you use to pay someone with a bank account or debit card?

              If you’ve done the math and decided you’d rather pay someone with a bank account or debit card, you can use the options detailed above, but you also have access to other options.

              For example, you can use Apple Pay, which relatively recently discontinued person-to-person credit card payments but still lets you use debit cards to pay someone. If you have iPhone using Apple Pay is incredibly easy, and you just need to use the Apple Pay button in a text conversation.

              Zelle is another option that’s similar to Venmo but doesn’t allow for credit card transactions. As long as the person you’re sending money to has Zelle, you can send them money in just a few minutes.

            • Are the fees to pay someone with a credit card worth it?

              If you’re wondering whether the fees are worth it to send money using a credit card, you need to sit down and crunch the numbers. If you’re paying a 3% fee and you’re sending a significant amount of money, the fees can add up quickly.

              Most credit cards have reward rates around 1-2%, so paying a 3% fee isn’t going to overset itself in rewards.

            • Can You send money using a credit card on Facebook?

              Facebook Messenger has a service that lets users send money to someone else directly with a PayPal account or a debit card. However, you can’t use Facebook Messenger to send money with a credit card currently.

            • What is a credit card cash advance?

              The concept of a cash advance fee was mentioned several times above, and essentially what this is is a way for you to use your credit card and get a cash loan either at your bank or at an ATM. Most cash advances are limited only to a few hundred dollars at a time, and some cards will charge a flat fee for a cash advance, usually ranging from $5 to $10.

              Other banks will charge a percentage of the amount you receive, and this can be as high as 5%.

              There may also be ATM or bank fees depending on how you access the cash, and the interest rate for a cash advance is going to be higher in almost all cases than the rate you pay on purchases.

              Cash advance interest also starts accruing right away without a grace period as you get with purchases.

              Due to the high costs, cash advances are only recommended when you’re in a serious situation with no other option.

            • How long does it take to send money to someone?

              The time it takes to send money to someone using a credit card or any other type of funding depends on the platform you’re using, where you’re sending the money and other individual factors. Some services are instant, so as soon as you send it, the recipient has access to the funds.

              Other services can take a few business days up to a week, and this doesn’t always include how long it takes the money to clear in the recipient’s bank account.

            • How can you avoid scams when you’re sending money?

              Anytime you send money if you’re sending it to someone you don’t know and sometimes even if you do know them, there can be a risk of fraud and scams.

              One of the most common ways scammers gain access to funds is by asking someone to complete a wire transfer.

              You have to be very cautious about sending money, especially overseas because once you send the funds, it’s going to be tough to do anything with your claim and a foreign government isn’t likely to get too involved.

              With a money transfer, if you’re the victim of fraud, there is very little likelihood of you getting the funds back.

              If you are in a situation where you have to send money to someone you haven’t met in person, send it in small increments rather than all at once.

              You should also ensure you’re using a reputable service.

              With payment apps like Zelle and Venmo, your options for dealing with fraud can vary. For example, if someone gains access to your bank account and then makes a fraudulent payment, you can report it as unauthorized activity, and often you can get your money back if you report what happened.

              However, if you’re tricked into sending money to someone and it turns out to be a scam, it’s going to be more difficult to get your money back because you authorized the transaction.

            Ashley Sutphin Watkins

            Ashley is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill where she studied journalism. She has worked as a journalist, content creator, and copywriter for nearly a decade, with a focus on personal finance, real estate, and healthcare. She now lives in Knoxville with her husband and young kids. During her free time, she enjoys traveling and enjoying the outdoors in East Tennessee.

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