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How To Pay a Friend With a Credit Card in 2023 [3 Ways]

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Stephen Au

Stephen Au

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Stephen is an established voice in the credit card space, with over 70 to his name. His work has been in publications like The Washington Post, and his Au Points and Awards Consulting Services is used...
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It’s easier than ever to pay a friend back for a night out thanks to the advent of smartphones and clever software applications.

And even though it’s easy to pay a friend through a debit card or bank account through a platform like Zelle, Apple Cash, or Google Pay, it’s getting more and more challenging to pay a friend with a credit card.

Obviously, if you’re able to use a credit card to pay your friend back, you might get some awesome rewards — in this guide, we’ll walk you through all of the best ways to pay a friend with a credit card.

Let’s get started!

The 3 Best Ways To Pay a Friend With a Credit Card

When you consider paying a friend with a credit card, the main question you’ll need to ask yourself is: are the rewards I earn worth any fees I’ll have to pay?

Paying a friend with a debit card or bank account is easy — but what are the ways through which you can use a credit card to pay a friend?

Read on to find out.

Hot Tip: Many banks charge cash advance fees for payments from these platforms. Give your bank a call to try to set your cash advance limit to $0 before trying a purchase on any of these platforms! 


Image Credit: Venmo

Venmo is just about as ubiquitous as a peer-to-peer payment platform can get. In fact, it’s become such a hit that it’s become a verb — it’s common to hear someone say “I’ll Venmo you,” or “You can Venmo me.”

The platform allows you to make fee-free payments and transfers using your bank account, your Venmo balance, and a debit card (including prepaid debit cards).

However, if you want to Venmo someone using a credit card, you’ll be charged a 3% fee.

However, you need to remember that your credit card issuer may categorize Venmo transactions as cash advances, which will trigger a large fee.

At the moment, American Express and Discover code Venmo as a purchase instead of a cash advance.

All of the other banks generally code Venmo as a cash advance, including:

Beyond that, there are no monthly or annual fees or other associated fees for using Venmo.

Just download the Venmo app (iOS, Android), follow the instructions to create an account, and add your credit card to your Payment Methods. After that, you can send payments to your friends and fulfill them using your credit card as the payment method.

Bottom Line: Venmo is one of the best ways to use credit cards to pay friends. Venmo has become ubiquitous in everyday life, but just keep in mind that there’s a 3% transaction fee for using a credit card, and the only banks that consistently code as purchases (instead of cash advances) are American Express and Discover.


Image Credit: PayPal

PayPal is one of the largest payment platforms in the world. Even though it actually owns Venmo, it operates completely separate services from Venmo.

You can pay friends and family through PayPal instead of just businesses and online websites, which is probably what you’re accustomed to.

Currently, the fee for personal transactions like sending money to friends and family is 2.9% plus $0.30. If there’s a currency conversion, there’s an additional currency conversion spread of 4%.

PayPal is best known for being a business-centric payment platform, which makes it slightly less user-friendly than Venmo.

But if you have a credit card that isn’t an Amex or Discover card, you can use PayPal to avoid any cash advance fees that you might get hit with when using Venmo.

You can send money through PayPal’s app (iOS, Android) or website — just create an account, link your credit card to your account, and enter the payment details to the recipient.

Hot Tip: Amex also partners with Venmo and PayPal to offer a unique benefit called Send & Split, which allows you to split bills with friends and family (up to 20 Venmo or PayPal users). There are no additional transaction fees to use Send & Split, though there’s a limit of $4,000 on The Platinum Card® from American Express and a $2,000 limit on other Amex cards, except the Centurion® Card from American Express, which has a $5,000 limit.

Cash App

Image Credit: Square

The last method we’ll be discussing is Cash App, which is a similar platform owned by Square.

It accepts credit and debit cards. Credit cards can be used to send money with a 3% transaction fee.

However, some banks code Cash App as a cash advance due to its merchant category code.

You can download Cash App (iOS, Android) from the appropriate app store and follow the prompts to create an account, add your credit card to the app, and start sending money.

Unfortunately, we don’t have any clear data points or rules of thumb that illustrate which types of banks treat Cash App transactions as cash advances.

Final Thoughts

The array of options to pay friends with credit cards was growing for a time, but it’s currently shrinking, especially with the elimination of credit cards as a viable payment method from Apple Cash and the increasingly large number of payments that are getting flagged as cash advances.

Luckily, we still have 3 options:

  • Venmo (3% fee)
  • PayPal (2.9% fee plus $0.30 for U.S. transactions)
  • Cash App (3% fee)

Venmo transactions are generally charged as cash advances unless you use an Amex or Discover card. PayPal is consistently coded as a purchase, while Cash App is sometimes coded as a cash advance.

If you’re looking for maximum reliability for all types of credit cards, PayPal is the way to go. If you’re looking for ease and convenience with your Amex or Discover card, Venmo is great. Cash App is a tertiary method we’d recommend only if neither of the 2 options above works for you.

While there’s no “silver bullet” solution, these are the 3 best apps available for paying back your friends with a credit card.

The information regarding the Centurion® Card from American Express was independently collected by Upgraded Points and was not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I pay a friend with my credit card?

Yes, but be wary of any cash advance fees you might incur. The 3 main options to pay a friend with a credit card include Venmo, PayPal, and Cash App.

Can you pay someone friends and family with a credit card?

Yes, you can! You can pay friends and family with a credit card using Venmo, PayPal, and Cash App.

Can I use PayPal to pay someone with a credit card?

Yes, you absolutely can! With a credit card, you’ll be charged a 2.9% fee with a $0.30 flat fee for U.S. transactions.

What app can I use to send money with a credit card?

The 3 best options are Venmo, PayPal, and Cash App. All of these charge fees for credit card transactions, but it could be worth it if you are using the card to earn a welcome bonus.

Can you Zelle with a credit card?

No, you cannot use Zelle with a credit card (or a debit card).

Can I add a credit card to Cash App?

Yes, you can add a credit card to Cash App. Whenever you use your credit card on Cash App, though, be wary of cash advance fees that may be charged to your account.

About Stephen Au

Stephen is an established voice in the credit card space, with over 70 to his name. His work has been in publications like The Washington Post, and his Au Points and Awards Consulting Services is used by hundreds of clients.


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