Last year, Chase decided to put an end to allowing people to deposit cash into accounts that didn’t belong to them. The controversial move drew criticism from MyBankTracker readers (and Chase bank customers), so we offered eight other ways to move money around, including using Chase QuickPay. A reader commented that those eight ways mostly involved opening an account with Chase. What if someone didn’t have a Chase account?
I decided to see if there were more alternatives. Luckily, I found four more — however, three are heavier on fees, and a cheaper method.
Expensive option #1: Wire transfer
When you need to send cash to someone in a pinch and you’re not interested in getting a Chase account or using QuickPay, a wire transfer can get the job done fast. As long as you have their account number and routing number, you can typically get the money to them within a a matter of one to three business days, depending on who you bank with. There’s a catch, however, since you’re going to pay a pretty decent fee to complete the transfer.
As of March 2015, the average fee for an outgoing domestic wire transfer was a hefty $27.40. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the person you’re sending the money to has to pay a separate fee to receive it.
The average fee to accept a wire transfer into your account comes to $15.50. That’s nearly $43 that ends up in the bank’s pocket just for moving money from one account to another. If you need to send money to someone overseas, the fees climb even higher.
Expensive option #2: Credit or debit card transfer
Credit cards are designed to be used for making purchases but it’s also possible to use them to fund a bank account.
Some banks, including Bank of America, allow you to set up transfers from your credit card to a checking or savings account as a direct deposit. If your card issuer gives you the green light to deposit money into someone else’s Chase account, here are two reasons not to pull the trigger.
First, the bank may treat it as a cash advance. That means you’ll pay a cash advance fee to make the deposit, which can be anywhere from three to five percent of the amount you’re transferring. A $1,000 deposit would cost you anywhere from $30 to $50, which isn’t chump change.
You’ll also have to pay interest on the advance until you pay it off. The APR for cash advances is usually much higher than what you pay for purchases. Having to fork out 25 to 29 percent interest on top of the fee only adds insult to injury.
You could load the cash onto a prepaid debit card and link it to their bank account, but these cards come with fees of their own so you’re still paying something to transfer the money.
Tip: If your card issuer won’t allow a direct transfer to a bank account that belongs to someone else, you may still be able to make the deposit using a convenience check.
Expensive option #3: Walmart money transfer
Last year, Walmart revamped its money transfer services to make it easier for customers to send money to someone else, either online or in-person. Transfers can be made in as little as 10 minutes, which is great if the person you’re sending cash to needs to get their hands on it in no time flat. Just like a wire transfer, however, it comes at a price.
If you use the MoneyGram service, the fee ranges from $4.75 for the first $50, up to 2 percent of the transfer amount if you’re sending $900 or more. A Walmart2Walmart transfer is slightly cheaper, starting a $4.50 for transactions of $50 or less and going up to $9.50 if you’re transferring up to $900.
Compared to the standard bank wire transfer fee or cash advance charges, using Walmart to send money is definitely less expensive, but it’s not the most ideal because of the costs involved.
Cheap option: Use a mobile payment app
Mobile payment apps are perfect for quick and easy money transfers, especially if you know your way around a smartphone.
With Venmo, for example, you can link up your checking account, debit card and credit cards so you can send money instantly to anyone in your contacts list. They don’t need to have a Venmo account to receive money and there’s no fee if the funds are transferred directly from your bank account.
Just keep in mind that there is a fee if you use a credit card instead.
Rebecca is a writer for MyBankTracker.com. She is an expert in consumer banking products, saving and money psychology. She has contributed to numerous online outlets, including U.S. News & World Report, and more.