7 Modern Ways to Send Money to Your Kid


As a father of three boys, I know that it's only a matter of time until they start asking me for money. Whether it's for a toy for a toddler, a movie ticket for a teen, or a college tuition payment for a young adult, kids often need an extra hand from their parents.

Fortunately, we have come a long way from sending a paper check in the mail. Sending money to your kid — especially when they live far away — is now possible through many modern modes. Here are seven that focus on convenience and low-cost.

1. Online Transfer Within the Same Financial Institution

One of the fastest, most affordable, and convenient ways to send money to your kid is by opening a joint account that is under both of your names at your preferred financial institution. That way, when you get that last-minute request to cover a bill, you can log in to your bank's online portal through your computer or smartphone and do a funds transfer from your account to your joint account.

If your kid has a debit card for the joint account, she can have access to the funds immediately or within a couple of minutes. Some financial institutions may have a cutoff time for same-day access to funds, or a limit to the number of transfers that you can do per month, so double check applicable terms.

2. Walmart Money Transfer

With over 4,650 locations in the U.S., your kid is likely to live close or be a short drive away from a Walmart. If your bank takes a long time to process transfers within accounts and your kid needs money within 10 minutes, using a Walmart money transfer can be a good option.

Through its partnership with MoneyGram, Walmart allows you to send money online or in-store for pickup at any Walmart store within the U.S. or Puerto Rico and any international MoneyGram location. Walmart charges $4.75 for transfers of up to $50, $11.50 for transfers from $51 to $900, and 2% of the total transfer for transfers over $900. (Depending on applicable state laws, additional taxes and fees may apply.)

Funds are typically available within 10 minutes. For sending $50 or less, Walmart is more affordable than Western Union, which charges at least $4.99 for this type of transfer.

Bonus: If you belong to one of the estimated 9.6 million U.S. households that don't have a bank account, Walmart is your cheapest option to buy a money order. At most Walmart locations, you can buy a money order of up to $1,000 for a $0.70 fee.

3. PayPal

By using PayPal, you can send money online to your kid anywhere in the U.S. from your bank account or PayPal account balance. It's free for you and the recipient. If you would like to use a debit or credit card to fund the transfer, PayPal charges 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction. However, you decide whether you or your kid covers the applicable fee.

While money transfers using your PayPal balance, debit card, or credit card are instantaneous, those using a bank account may take three to five business days to clear.

PayPal is a good option to send funds abroad because the company charges a 0%-2% fee when fully funding the transfer with your bank account or PayPal balance, or a 2.9%-5.99% fee plus a fixed fee based on the payment currency when funding the transfer with a credit or debit card.

If you're planning to send your kid money using PayPal, encourage her to get the PayPal Debit Card, which allows him to use the funds worldwide at ATMs, online, or anywhere MasterCard is accepted. Also, he'll earn 0.5% cash back whenever he signs for a purchase using this debit card.

4. Google Wallet

Now this is one email from you that your kid will be excited to open!

Through its integration with Google Wallet, Gmail allows you to send money to any Gmail account. If you start a new email on Gmail, find the blue "Send" button, and then check the "$" icon a couple spots to the right. It's free to send money to your child anywhere in the U.S.

Sending money is always free as long you're using your Google Wallet Balance, debit card, or your bank account linked to Google Wallet. Receiving money is always free, and your kid can claim funds using a computer or smartphone.

For sending and receiving money, there's a limit of $9,999 per single transaction and a total limit of $50,000 per five-day period. Google Wallet allows your kid to claim the funds directly into her bank account without verifying her identity as long as she receives less than $300 the first time, less than $1,000 in the last 30 days, and less than $10,000 in total. Once she reaches any of those limits, she'll have to verify her identity to be able to claim the funds.

Through a Google Wallet Card, she can withdraw or use the funds sent to her at no cost wherever Debit MasterCard is accepted. There is no fee to request a Google Wallet Card, either. However, there may be applicable fees when using certain ATMs to make a withdrawal.

5. Facebook Messenger

Through the popular social media network's instant messaging service, you can send and receive payments.

  • Create a new message and select your kid's name;
  • Click on the "$" icon and enter the amount you want to send;
  • Tap pay; and
  • Enter your U.S. debit card to fund the transfer.

Facebook doesn't charge you for sending funds within the U.S. as long as you and your child live in the U.S., are over 18 years old, and use a U.S. debit card to fund the transfer. Credit cards, prepaid bank cards, and any other forms of payment aren't eligible to send funds via Facebook Messenger. Funds are transferred right away but may take up to five business days to become available to your kid.

Facebook Messenger enables your kid to message you to request money, so that you can know how much exactly she needs. Currently, Facebook hasn't yet set a maximum amount limit for money transfers using Messenger.

6. Snapcash

If your kid is under 24 years old, there is a higher chance that he or she will have a Snapchat account (45%) than a Facebook account (16%).

Fortunately, you can also send money to your kid in Snapchat using Snapcash, a peer-to-peer payment feature within the social media app. Currently, Snapcash is only available in the U.S, excluding U.S. territories and military bases outside the U.S.

Just like with Facebook Messenger, you can only fund transfers using your standard, U.S.-issued Visa or MasterCard debit cards and pay no fee for the transfer. The mechanics to send and receive monies on Snapcash are similar to those of Facebook Messenger. When you send your kid money and she hasn't signed up yet, she will receive a chat that says, "Tap To Receive $," and will have to enter her debit card details. There is 24-hour limit to enter a debit card to claim funds and unclaimed funds will be returned to the original sender's bank account.

Funds sent through Snapcash are directly deposited into your kid's bank account within one to two business days after you sent them. Weekends and bank holidays don't count as business days.

One important difference from Facebook Messenger is that Snapcash has limits on how much you can send and receive. First-time users can send up to $250 a week and receive up to $1,000 per month. However, those limits can be raised by verifying your identity through Square by providing your full name, social security number, and date of birth.

7. Venmo

Primarily known for being a super easy option for splitting the bill or sending money to friends, Venmo is a solid choice for money transfers. Venmo is connected to your bank account, and allows you to send money to anyone in a flash. And you can label each transaction using text or emojis — which might be the communication method of choice for your kiddo. There are no fees to use Venmo and transactions are instant.

What are other modern ways to send money to your kid?

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