Best Payment Apps for Small Businesses

Payment apps are an easy way to make peer-to-peer transactions with your customers. But which payment apps should you have on your phone?
Best overall
Google Pay
4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Many POS integrations
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Cheapest credit processing fees
Best for Apple users
Apple Pay
4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    App comes standard on iPhones
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Many terminal integrations
Most widely used
Venmo
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Widespread usage
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Quickest withdrawal speed
Best Bluetooth integration
Cash App
4 out of 5 stars
4.0
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Square integration
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Bluetooth-enabled transactions
Highest transfer limit
PayPal
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Many transfer methods
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    $60,000 transfer limit ($10,000 per transfer max)

Cash apps are becoming more and more popular among consumers. What started as a way to pay a friend back for that pizza they bought you has blossomed into a huge industry of customers who want to pay for your goods and services using their favorite payment app.

As a business owner, you can capture these payment app sales in one of two ways:

  • By getting a credit card processing system or POS (point of sale) system that integrates with the most popular payment apps and digital wallets
  • By installing a few popular payment apps on your phone

This article focuses on the second solution, recommending need-to-have apps for peer-to-peer (P2P) payment transactions. The one limitation of this second approach is that it’s most useful for small-business owners who are making payment transactions on their phone. It’s not a great solution for a brick-and-mortar business that needs a more permanent processing solution.

Transaction fees

Payment app details

Brand
Credit fee
Debit fee
Sent payment limits
Received payment limits
Withdrawal speed
Learn more
Google Pay
2.9%
Free
$5,000/week$50,000/mo.1–3 business days
Apple Pay
3%
Free
$10,000/week$10,000/week1–3 business days
Venmo
3%
Free
$6,999.99/weekNot specifiedAround 1 business day
Cash App
3%
Free
Up to $7,500/weekUnlimited1–2 business days
PayPal
2.9% + $0.30
2.9% + $0.30
Up to $60,000 per transferNot specified1–3 business days

Google Pay: Best overall

Google Pay
4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6

Google pay is a good all-around payment app to have on your phone because of its low credit transaction fees and point-of-sale integrations.

Google Pay should be on your phone if you use payment apps to make sales. You can set up a Google Pay business account and integrate that account with a POS system. Google Pay currently integrates with many popular payment platforms:

  • Clover
  • Square
  • 3dcart
  • Braintree
  • First Data
  • Stripe
  • Worldpay
  • Shopify

In addition to being designed with small business in mind, Google Pay also has the lowest credit card processing rate of any of the most popular payment apps at 2.9%.

So, if you have a Google account and a phone, it’s easy and smart to have Google Pay as a way to send and receive cash.

Apple Pay: Best for Apple users

Apple Pay
4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4

The Apple iPhone is one of the most popular devices on the market, and it comes preloaded with Apple Pay, making it easy to send and receive cash from any other iPhone users.

If you have an iPhone, you probably already have Apple Pay installed on your phone. The same can be said about any other iPhone user. Because of this, it’s easy to send and receive money from other Apple users.

You can even send and request money via text message instead of having to manually type in an email address on your phone, like in other peer-to-peer payment apps.

You can also use Apple Pay to make purchases at stores with terminals that accept Apple Pay. By that same logic, you yourself can accept Apple Pay if you get the right payment processing terminal. Many modern processing providers, like Square, offer terminals that accept Apple Pay.

Venmo: Most widely used

Venmo
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3

Venmo was one of the first payment apps on the market and has maintained a strong database of users.

If you’ve heard the phrase, “you can just Venmo me for the pizza,” then you know why Venmo is on this list. Not only is Venmo a very widely used P2P payment app, it also has some of the quickest withdrawal times of any payment app on the market.

Venmo is also great if Facebook is one of your primary markets for selling your wares. You can link your Venmo account to your Facebook friends list right from the get-go, making all of your Facebook friends with Venmo available for money transfers—it’s that easy.

Venmo doesn’t have many other bells and whistles to speak of, but its popularity makes it a must-have app for any business owner looking to take mobile payments.

Cash App: Best Bluetooth integration

Cash App
4 out of 5 stars
4.0

Cash App is a latecomer to the P2P payment-apps game, but it comes with a few neat features that make it a good optional download.

You don’t have to download Cash App if you have all the above-listed apps, but you may find it useful if you’ve noticed clients asking to pay you on the platform.

One of the cool things about Cash App is its ability to make and receive payments over bluetooth. You can open the app and send money to anybody with the app enabled in the area. No numbers, no email addresses.

Also, if you’re feeling daring, you can use Cash App’s Bitcoin investment feature that lets you buyBitcoin holdings straight from the app. While it’s probably not the best way to get yourself into the cryptocurrency game, it’s sure one of the easiest.

PayPal: Highest transfer limit

PayPal
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3

PayPal is a processing workhorse with relatively high transaction fees.

Compared to other peer-to-peer payment apps, PayPal has the highest transaction fees. This makes it hard for us to recommend it as your main payment app, but you shouldn’t discount it completely. PayPal can be really useful if you need to make big transactions over a payment app.

With PayPal, you can send up to $60,000 in transfers. That said, you can only send $10,000 per transfer. PayPal also has a lot of ways it lets people pay you. They can pay you with a card, with their PayPal account, or directly from their bank account.

Honorable mentions

Samsung Pay
This payment app comes standard on many Samsung phones.
Zelle
Zelle is a P2P payment service used by banking companies, like Wells Fargo, to allow bank-to-bank transactions between patrons.

Payment app FAQ

Why would a small business owner use a payment app?

Payment apps are useful for transactions on the go and from home. That said, we recommend using a more sustainable processing method if you are receiving more than $10,000 a month, as you may be able to save money on fees.

If you are receiving a good chunk of change on P2P apps, you may want to look into mobile processing solutions. A number of credit card processors, like Square and Payment Depot, offer mobile payment apps with lower transaction rates.

Are payment apps better than mobile card readers?

It depends. For one-off money transfers, a payment app is great. But if you’re selling food at a farmers market and need to keep track of sales and inventory, using a dedicated mobile reader for a POS system like Square will make it easier to process and track many transactions.

Also, processors like Square and Payment Depot have cheaper transaction rates. If you receive $10,000 a month in credit card transactions with an average ticket price of $500 per transaction, you’ll pay $261 in total fees with Payment Depot versus $300 in fees with Apple Pay.

The takeaway

Payment apps are an incredibly easy way to send and receive cash between friends, associates, and customers. While it may not be the best long-term payment-processing solution, it’s great to have the most popular payment apps downloaded and ready for those on-the-spot transactions.

To really up your mobile-processing game, check out our picks for the top mobile card readers.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Andrew Mosteller
Written by
Andrew Mosteller
For four years, Andrew has been writing copy to help business owners expand, manage, and advertise their unique brands. His upbringing in an entrepreneurial family nurtured a passion for small business at a young age. Andrew’s father, an equity fund manager, taught him the ins and outs of investment financing and owning and operating a successful business. Now he brings his expertise and experience to entrepreneurs as a regular contributor on Business.org.
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