How to Choose Between Instant Transfers and Standard Transfers

Ever had to move money from a mobile payment app into your main bank account?  

Let’s say you told the waiter “I’ll take the check,” then realized you needed to Venmo request everyone in your party of eight. Perhaps you told your buddy he could pay you back for that concert ticket from six weeks ago via Paypal. Or maybe you diligently collect Cash App payments from your six roommates to pay the monthly electricity bill. 

Whatever your situation, Cash App, PayPal and Venmo all give you a choice – “Instant” transfer, or “Standard” transfer? 

🔍 But what’s the real difference between these two options? 

🧐  Why do instant transactions come with fees while standard options don’t? 

👀  How does it work???

 If you’ve ever found yourself asking any of the above questions, this article is for you. 😌  Here’s everything you need to know to make the right choice between instant and standard transfers when moving money.  

“Instant”🥷 vs. 🤺“Standard”

Like “instant” implies, the most important difference between these two delivery methods is how long they take. We say delivery methods because you’re really choosing between two different money transfer processes, using different networks and technologies. 

Standard Transfers typically take 1-5 business days to make your money accessible in your account.

These types of transfers are actually still pretty fast compared to traditional (read: pre-internet) transfers – at least you don’t have to mail a check! 

When you select this option in an app, notice is sent electronically to your bank pretty quickly. But your payout time all depends on your bank’s clearing process. Many banks and fintech companies use the global ACH (Automated Clearing House) networks for what is usually termed “standard” or “traditional” transfers.

Instant Transfers on the other hand, take a maximum of 30 minutes to make your money available.

Using different RTP (Real Time Payment) technologies, companies can push money to your (qualifying) account instantly. Pretty convenient for those last minute moments, right? But that convenience creates extra costs associated with online processing and liability. 

That’s why these transactions charge you a percentage of your transaction, with maximum fees for services hovering around $15. 

⚙️ Lots of Moving Parts

Keep in mind that with either of these two types of transfers there are a lot of moving parts. Different factors like which type of bank you use, the size of your transfer, the time of day you submit, and your account status can affect how fast transfers go through. 

Platforms also reserve the right to suspend transfers that they flag for suspicious activity. You’ll see “pending” messaging while your account and transaction are double checked. Basically, when exactly you get your hands on your money will vary, and it’s best not to wait ‘till the last minute. 

Find yourself looking to get organized and build more healthy money habits? Here are some financial independence and saving tips from the CARD Blog

Instant Transfers with Venmo

These days, it’s rare to come across someone who has never used Venmo to send money to a friend. Along with ApplePay, Venmo is the US’s most popular payment app! 

According to Venmo’s help center, instant transfers from your Venmo account to an eligible US bank account or Visa/Mastercard debit account take about 30 minutes. 

To get you your money fast, Venmo charges a 1.50% fee – with a minimum charge of $0.25, and a maximum charge of $15 (raised this year from $10). 

Here’s a detailed step-by-step on Venmo-to-bank/debit account transfers. First, make sure your desired account qualifies, then follow this guide to navigate money transfers in different versions of the app. 

Instant Transfers with PayPal

PayPal and its family of brands actually acquired Venmo in 2013, so it’s kind of like Venmo’s serious older brother. Trying to choose between these two platforms for your next transaction? Here’s a Forbes guide on deciding which is best for your situation. 

As you could have guessed, PayPal’s instant transfers work just like Venmo’s. They take 30 minutes max and charge a 1.50% fee with a $0.25 minimum and $15 maximum. Here are PayPal’s resources for understanding consumer fees. 

Keep in mind that both Venmo and PayPal have daily and weekly withdrawal limits, which vary based on whether you choose instant or standard transfers.   

Instant Transfers with Cash App

Cash App is another popular online payment app comparable in functionality and setup to Venmo. However, it does have some fun bonus features if you’re trying to get more involved in fintech! Through Cash App you can invest in stocks or get into the Bitcoin trade. 

When you “Cash Out” (the term Cash App uses for transferring money out of your balance) choose “instant deposit.” Type in your desired amount and be prepared for the standard 1.50% fee. 

Cash App also has a $0.25 fee minimum, so get ready to say goodbye to some change, even if you’re transferring a small amount! To answer any leftover questions, here’s Cash App’s “Cash Out” FAQ page


When it comes down to it, there are a lot of factors to juggle when deciding between payment platforms and transfer methods. Here is a general guide to mobile payment apps for beginners, and a detailed comparison article for app connoisseurs.     

Always keep in mind what kind of bank or debit account you have and how much money you’re trying to move. Do your research and pick the transaction speed that works best for you and your specific circumstances.

⚡️ Remember that instant transfers, although they charge fees, can help you out in a pinch and get you access to your hard-earned cash right away. 

🏦  Standard transfers will have you waiting for your money, especially if you initiate your transaction after hours, on a weekend, or on a bank holiday. But you’ll always avoid fees - which can add up over time! 

🔗 Here are the links to Venmo, PayPal, and Cash App’s instructions on how to transfer money to your bank or debit account. 

Share this post to your favorite social platform...