Best apps for paying your friend back

Cash app
Cash app (Image credit: iMore)

We've all been in this situation like this before: we're out with friends getting some food and drinks, and perhaps the place has a minimum for credit card payments and splitting the check in half isn't going to work, so one of you pays for the entire bill and the other will pay them back. Or maybe you asked a friend to get something for you for a discount, and you'll pay them back later.

While Apple has implemented Apple Pay Cash so you can send and receive money in Messages, and keep a separate pool of money for Apple Pay purchases, not everyone uses a bank or credit union that implements Apple Pay yet. For these times, it's best to use cold hard cash, or better yet, a third-party money transferring app.

What are the best options out there? Let's dive in and find out!

Square Cash

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This one is a personal favorite of mine, as it's how I pay almost everyone back.

All you need to do is a "Cashtag," which is basically your username. Link up your debit card or bank account to directly send and receive money to and from other Cash users. Transfers usually complete within 1-3 business days, though you can also do Instant transfers with a one percent fee.

Another option is to link up a credit card with Cash, and you can use that to pay people as well. This does come with a fee of three percent though, so only use it sparingly if needed.

Cash also works with Bitcoin, and you can also keep funds in your Cash account to use later. You can send and request money from users at any time, and the app keeps a detailed history of your activity too, which is great if you need records of payments. There's also Siri integration.

Just input the amount, select Request or Send, and then input the other user's $Cashtag. You can include an optional note, then tap on "Pay" and your money is on the way.

Free - Download Now


This is another one I've been using frequently to pay for services and friends who don't use Cash.

Like Cash, just create an account by linking up your debit card or bank account and make a username. There's also the option for credit card usage, but with the same three percent fee to use it.

With Venmo, just get the recipient's username, or you can search by phone or email if the other person allowed it. Then input your amount, provide a reason for the transfer, and then Send or Request.

One of the fun things about Venmo is the social aspect. You can make your payments public or private, and there's a lot of emphasis on emojis here. If a payment is public, others can see it, such as your friends, or it even goes on the global feed.

Any money you receive with Venmo can also be stored in Venmo itself and used later, like a separate fund pool.

Free - Download Now


It's hard to find someone who doesn't use PayPal at least once in their life. PayPal has been around for a long time, and it's a viable option when it comes to paying back your friends.

All you need is a valid email address and a bank account or debit card to start using PayPal. You can also link credit cards to your PayPal account to pay for online things, but there is a fee to pay other users with a credit card.

If you have some funds in your PayPal wallet, then that will be used first before your bank or debit card, naturally.

Free - Download Now

Google Pay

If you want the fastest and most simple way to pay someone, then Google Pay is the answer.

Chances are likely that you're already using a Google account, so there's no new account to worry about (unless you're not using Google). Just log in with your Google account and then add a debit or credit card (the latter is unavailable for transferring to other users, only online purchases).

When you send money to someone with Google Pay, all you need is their email address or phone number. If you're on the receiving end of a payment through Google Pay, you'll get an email or text message with instructions on claiming the money. It involves signing in to your Google account, adding a payment method, and then that payment (and future ones) will go directly to it.

Google Pay also works at any store that accepts Google Pay as payment, like Apple Pay, so you can keep some funds in your Google Wallet if you use it often.

Free - Download Now


If you and your friend are Chase customers, then Chase QuickPay is one of the fastest ways to send and receive money.

With Chase QuickPay, you can look someone up by their email or phone number. Once you do, just input the amount of money you want to send or request, choose when to send it, and even make it a recurring payment if needed. Notes are optional, and then you can send the payment or request directly to the other person.

Your friend gets an email or text message that they've received a payment, and it's pretty straightforward from there. Chase-to-Chase customers see the money within minutes, but since this is done through Zelle, it can take between 1-2 days for other banks.

Free - Download Now

Facebook Messenger

If you're still using Facebook, then Facebook Messenger is the easiest way to pay back your Facebook buddies.

First, you'll want to make sure that your payment information is up-to-date in Facebook, and that can be done by going here. Then go into Facebook Messenger, find the person you want to send money to, and then tap the "+" button next to the text input field. Payments should be one of the first options, so tap on it.

Then it works like other payment apps. Put in the amount, add a note, and send or request it. The money goes directly to the other person's payment method, which should be a debit card, and can take about 1-2 days to complete.

Free - Download Now


Zelle is what most banks or credit unions use for money transfers directly to other customers. For example, the Chase QuickPay we've already talked about uses Zelle.

Usually, if your financial institution already has some kind of money transfer service to other customers, then it's already implemented. However, you can still use Zelle as a standalone app if the bank doesn't offer it inside their own apps.

All you have to do is sign up for Zelle by enrolling a Visa or MasterCard debit card that's linked to a U.S. checking account, or by enrolling your bank account directly by inputting username and password. Then you can find the person you need to pay or request money from by looking up phone number or email address.

If the recipient is already enrolled with Zelle, they get the money in mere minutes. Otherwise, they'll need to do additional steps to complete the payment.

Free - Download Now

Rollin' in that green dough!

There's plenty of ways to pay back others with when it comes to money, and these apps make it incredibly simple! Plus, they're pretty fast and reliable, and creating an account just takes a few seconds. It's definitely faster than plain old cash!

Christine Chan

Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.

When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.