7 Things You Need To Know
The fees for transferring money between local US and UK bank accounts can be expensive.
For transfers to friends, family and businesses Cash App can save you $3-$5 USD on ACH transfers along with direct deposits, a free debit card, ATM withdrawals, Bitcoin and even stock purchases.
Not only that, you can make payments from your phone instantly using a cool app for free.
Sounds awesome right?
This is not your typical “Cash App is awesome” kind of review – instead we dig deep in it’s services. We also focus on real user reviews to understand when Cash App works and when it doesn’t.
Our goal is to help you make the right choice by uncovering everything – the good, the bad, and even the ugly when it comes to Cash App.
Let’s dive in!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
1. What is Cash App and the Cash App Card?
Cash App is a P2P payment app in the US and the UK that lets you pay friends, family, and people you trust (including businesses), receive your salary (or tax returns), and spend the money you receive.
P2P means – Peer-2-Peer (wiki) or more simply person-to-person which can mean there are some cost and service improvements.
In the US, you can also get a Cash App Visa debit card that you can use to pay for goods and services in store or online as well as for ATM withdrawals. (If your card ever gets lost or stolen, you can always block it from the mobile app – available on both iOs and Android).
The debit card (or “cash card” as they call it) is issued by Sutton Bank and while Cash App has a lot of banking features, it’s not a real bank.
Cash App in the US also supports Bitcoin purchases and stock investments, if that’s something you’re looking to do.
So today we uncover when Cash App is a great option for you and when it isn’t, and who you can turn to as a strong alternative.
This page is focused on the US, but a stripped down version of the Cash App is also available in the UK (which does not have the card, stocks or Bitcoin).
CashApp is not yet available in Australia and Canada, but they are actively recruiting large teams in Sydney, Melbourne, Toronto and Kitchener/Waterloo although these appear to be focused on remote development it could just be a matter of time.
Free peer-to-peer money transfer
Direct deposits supported – receive your salary or tax returns
Dedicated account and routing number
Free debit card for in-store and online purchases
Cash boosts at select stores to help you save money
Transfers are not always instant (See “How Cash App Works” below)
ATM withdrawals are chargeable (conditional – we’ll get to this in a minute)
Spending limits on the cash card
Not ideal for businesses
Sending via credit cards is expensive
Not a real bank – Funds aren’t FDIC insured
Limited options for international transfers
2. When Cash App Works and When it Doesn’t
2.1 When it Works
Sending money to people you trust
Cash App is a great way to pay or receive payments from people and businesses you trust. You can simply send them money or a payment request to their phone number, without needing to ask for their banking or other sensitive details.
Sending money Cash App is mostly fee-free, unless you’re using a credit card or want to
Receiving your salary
Like a bank, Cash App sets you up with a dedicated account and routing numbers that you can share with your employer to get your salary directly in Cash App.
Free debit card
When you sign up for Cash App, you have the option to get a free Visa Debit card that you can use for online payments, in-store purchases, or for ATM withdrawals (with a small fee). This is pretty handy if you want to receive your salary or wages in Cash App and need an easy way to spend your money on utilities.
Want to invest in crypto? Cash App easily lets you convert your money into cryptocurrency of your choice (for a small fee – See “Cash App Costs and Fees” below)
Want to get your feet wet in the world of trading? It’s easy to get started with as little as $1 on Cash App. Cash App supports investing in companies of your choice from the app – money will be deducted from the amount you’re holding in your Cash App account or from your linked bank account.
2.2 When it Doesn’t Work
Not a real bank
Cash App has some interesting banking features for a (largely) free service, such as direct deposits, a free debit card that supports online and in-store payments, and sending and receiving money, but it’s not a real bank. Moreover, your funds are not insured by the FDIC, which means it’s not ideal for holding large amounts in your Cash App account.
Not great for businesses
You can spend a maximum of $1000 USD on your Cash App debit card per day or week and $1200 in a month.
Also, your ATM withdrawals are limited to $250 USD per withdrawal (or per day), $1000 USD in a week, and $1250 USD in a month.
And, although you can withdraw your Square Point of Sale payments to Cash App, these spending limitations make it difficult for businesses to adopt it as a viable payment partner.
Limited international transactions
Cash App has limited international transfer capabilities. See “Does Cash App work Internationally?” below for clarifications and our recommended alternatives for your (large and small) international transfers.
Cancelling cash app payments
As with pretty much all apps designed to pay others instantaneously, once the money is sent it is SENT with little recourse, unless know the recipient or trust them. While this is not a fault of Cash App (an advantage potentially), all apps like these are the target of money transfer scams.
Cash App to Cash App payments are instant and usually can’t be canceled. To be sure, check your activity feed to see if the payment receipt is displaying a cancel option.Cash App – How to Cancel a Payment
Beyond knowing the person, and asking them to follow the steps outlined here you can try to get the issue resolved through customer service.
However as we discuss below in “What Reviews Really Say (Incl. Negative Reviews)” you may need to be patient and recognise that recovering your funds through customer service may not be possible.
For most people sending money to people you know: Simply get the details of who you are paying right: Name, $Cashtag, SMS or Email.
3. How does Cash App work?
3.1 Creating your account
- Download the app from the Apple or Google Apps store
- Register with your phone number – Cash App will send a code to your number for instant verification
- Choose your $Cashtag (that is, your unique identifier on Cash App) by adding your photo and email address. You also get a custom link with your $Cashtag, which your friends or family can use to send you money.
- Link your bank account(s) or card to send and receive payments on Cash App
3.2 Sending money
You can send money easily from your Cash App balance, from a linked bank account, or a linked card (credit or debit – Cash App supports Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover) by entering your recipient’s email, phone number, or $Cashtag.
You can send up to $1000 USD in a month, but your limit can increase if you verify your name, birthday, and the last four digits of your Social Security number.
3.3 Receiving money
Share your $Cashtag link, your phone number, or your email address to receive money. You can also send a payment request to other Cash App users.
The money first enters your Cash App account, and then you have the option to withdraw it to your bank account or debit card.
You can check details of your incoming deposits from the “My Cash” section in your mobile app.
3.4 Withdrawing money
Tap “Cash Out” in your mobile app and enter the amount you want to withdraw to your bank account or card. Alternatively, you can simply get cash from an ATM with your Cash App card (with a small fee – see below you can avoid this charge).
4. Cash App Costs and Fees
Cash App is a largely free service, but the brand makes money with the following fees:
- Cash App to Cash App payments are instant but they take 1-3 business days to get the amount to your bank. If you want to “Cash Out” and send the money instantly, Cash App will charge 1.5% of the transfer as a rush fee and let you receive the money instantly to your debit card.
- Funding a payment with a credit card, get ready to pay a convenience fee of 3% of the transfer amount.
- ATM fees can be free but you have to deposit your salary. Generally withdrawals cost $2/withdrawal + the additional fee for using a card that belongs to a different bank. However if you enable direct deposit of your salary including unemployment insurance deposits (minimum $300 USD) Cash App will reimburse fees for 3 ATM withdrawals per 31 days, and up to $7 in fees per withdrawal.
- Buying Bitcoin on Cash App can attract a fee which is hard to figure out. They say, “These fees will be listed on the trade confirmation before you complete a transaction.”
- If you’re buying stocks on Cash App, there is no commission charged. However if fees are required by government agencies (such as the SEC) they will add those on. They also say, “We will disclose these fees prior to your confirmation of a trade…”
- Lastly, if you’re sending money to someone in the UK, they say, “there are no fees to send or request payments with friends in the UK.” Cash App uses the mid-market or interbank rate.
5. Cash App Safety and Security
Cash App uses industry leading encryption and fraud detection technology to keep your data and money safe.
But since your funds are not FDIC protected, it’s best to use Cash App for small amounts and don’t hold larger amounts in your Cash App balance.
To protect your money, CashApp also suggests always double checking the recipient’s $Cashtag, phone and mobile number before you send a payment.
6. What Reviews Really Say (Incl. Negative Reviews)
Cash App is rated 1.2/5 on Trustpilot with 2500 reviews – which suggests lots of room for improvement.
Overall, we noted only 3% of reviewers had a great experience while 92% had a bad experience with the experience.
These skewed proportions got us curious and we were keen to get to the bottom of it.
Before we get into it, it is important to note that 2500 reviews is actually a small number and people who are upset tend to make more noise than people who are happy with a service. Unless they are asked to leave a review. By comparison Venmo and Zelle (review) both score 1.2 as well.
After trawling through hundreds of reviews, here’s what we found.
First the positives:
- Cash App users love the streamlined, easy-to-use app for payments and investments.
- A couple of reviewers even said that the app was easier to use than PayPal or Venmo
Now the top issues:
Accounts blocked and payments cancelled
As a registered financial services provider, Cash App is required to audit incoming and outgoing transfers as well as monitor your account on the regular for any red flags.
So, if they come across any transfer that doesn’t fit their policy, your payment can be cancelled and repeated attempts may also lead to an account block.
Sometimes, they also cancel payments if they detect a scammer or phishing operation in play to keep your money safe.
When this happens, typically your money is back to your Cash App account or your linked bank account in 1-3 business days.
Cash App recommends the following to avoid account blockages and cancelled payments
- Link bank accounts and cards that are registered in your name
- Only send money to people and businesses you trust (if you don’t know a business but would like to pay them anyway, Cash App recommends looking for a “verified” badge on the person/business entity’s profile)
- Double check your recipient’s details
Overstretched customer service
Many reviewers were annoyed by Cash Apps unresponsive customer service. Some of them said it took Cash App over 3 weeks to verify their account, while others could hear customer service representatives switching between users during an active support call.
For a digital payment service, customer support is everything to build up a loyal customer base – something Cash App definitely needs to look into.
Things gone wrong with stock purchases
With a minimum investment of only $1, buying stocks on Cash App sounds pretty cool. But some reviewers were unhappy with the additional fees for using this service as well as for losing money in the market.
But you’ve read this far, you’re unlikely to be surprised by an unexpected charge on Cash App. As for losing money on your investments, that totally depends on the market conditions and it helps to research the company you’re investing in.
6. Cash App Vs. Venmo
Cash App and Venmo may seem like they can pass for each other, but there are some big differences between the two.
Both are great for paying friends and family you know in the US and typically ideal for small transfers (with the spending limits applicable).
While Cash App has a host of features that can be awesome (direct deposits, free debit card, Bitcoin support, stock trading), Venmo does not.
As far as speed goes, if you make payments where the other person also has Cash App or Venmo they are instantaneous.
But instant payments for Cash App to a debit card (normally processed in 1-3 days) costs the 1.5% rush fee applicable.
Payments on Venmo can also be “rushed” in 30 minutes with a 1% fee (with a minimum fee of $0.25 and a maximum fee of $10), even on weekends and holidays.
Venmo can cost 1% instead of 1.5% to rush transfers. On the other hand, Cash App allows Bitcoin and share purchases.
So which is right for you?
Ultimately, it depends on your specific needs.
7. Can you use Cash App internationally?
Okay, so we’ve mentioned a couple of times that you can use Cash App to send to people you know and trust in the UK.
So does Cash App work internationally?
Unfortunately, international payments aren’t Cash App’s strength right now, barring your small USD-GBP transfers at the mid market rate.
So for now, outside of small US-to-UK transfers you’re better off with dedicated money transfer services for your international payments.
Cash App International Transfer Alternatives
There are many options to send money abroad affordably from the US or UK – and yes, you can save big if you steer clear of your high street bank or relatively expensive transfer services like Western Union (review) and PayPal (international fees).
Recommended: Wise (Personal and Business Transfers | Bank-to-bank transfers only )
Wise (review) has a transparent and affordable fee structure to send money abroad from the US to 50+ countries across the world, which makes it the go-to for many users.
But that may not be the best bit.
You can also opt-in to their useful Borderless account (review), where you can get a MasterCard debit card (great for traveling and online payments), bank details in major currencies (USD, CAD, GBP, EUR, AUD, NZD), and the ability to pay and get paid like a local in supported areas.
Wise also have an App which can be used for payments to others. This makes them a viable alternative to Cash App especially if you are dealing with multiple currencies or need to pay anyone overseas (apart from the UK).
Apps like Cash App can be great for paying friends and family “instantly” for free with your cell phone.
The ability to add a debit card, trade individual stocks and Bitcoin can make them more attractive.
But there are limitations you need to know.
When Cash App says payments are “instant” they are referring to Cash App to Cash App. For most folks this works great, but if you actually want the cash in a your bank account instantly this will cost you 1.5%.
Speaking of cash, ATM fees can also be expensive unless you deposit your salary.
The catch with depositing your salary is that funds held in your wallet don’t earn interest and your funds are not FDIC protected. That said, you can always move money to your bank account for saving (rather than speculate on Bitcoin or high flying tech stocks).