Met up with some friends for coffee and then realize you’ve left your wallet at home? Relax; you can still pay your way! Let your buddy pay for you and then grab your phone. Choose an app, thumb out the amount you owe and send it over to a friend. Payback, done!
The app market is full of cash-transfer apps that help you pay up on borrowed funds or collect money that’s owed to you. While each of these apps serves the same function, there are differences when it comes to their accessibility, speed, transfer limits and more. Also, while every service is compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard Level 1, some have vulnerabilities you may not be aware of.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular peer-to-peer (P2P) payment apps on the market.
Formerly Google Wallet, Google Pay offers wide accessibility, generous limits on transfers and the ability to store money in the app.
Accessibility: Download the Google Pay app, link a debit card or a checking account and you’re ready to send money to any email address. And some merchants allow you to use Near-Field Communication (NFC) features to pay for purchases with the funds in your Google account. But take note: There’s no way to use Google Pay with a credit card.
Fees: Sending money with your Google Pay balance or a linked checking account is completely free. If you’re paying with a debit card, though, you’ll cough up a 2.9 percent fee to transfer money.
Limits: $10,000 for each individual transaction, and a $10,000 cap per 7-day period.
Security: Google Pay uses the latest technology to keep its service safe, including PINs, passwords, fingerprint recognition and even retina-scanning screen locks.
Speed: Google Pay transfers take 2-3 business days to clear; transfers from linked accounts can take up to 10 days.
PayPal stands above the pack as the pioneering cash-transfer service, and it’s the one with the widest reach.
Accessibility: With more than 26 currencies and 200 countries supported in its system, your money goes furthest with PayPal. Lots of vendors accept PayPal as well. You can send money to anyone by entering their email address or mobile phone number, but the recipient won’t be able to access the funds unless they sign up for PayPal.
Fees: PayPal won’t charge you to move money from your PayPal account or with funds in a linked checking account. Otherwise, you’ll pay 2.9 percent for every transaction, plus a $.030 fee for using a debit or credit card. There are more fees for out-of-country transfers, which vary by location.
Limits: $10,000 for each individual transaction; no limits on the total sent per verified account.
Security: PayPal’s popularity has spawned dozens of hacks. Beware of suspicious emails appearing to be from PayPal.
Speed: PayPal transfers from linked accounts or cards usually take 3-4 business days to clear. If you send money from one PayPal account to another, the transfer will happen instantly.
Square Cash prides itself on being super-accessible. There’s no need for both users to have a Square Cash account— and all you need is an email address and a debit card number.
Accessibility: This app makes cash transfers almost effortless. You can set up your own URL, or a “$Cashtag” for accepting payments and sending money with an email address or Snapchat account.
Fees: If you use a debit card or a linked account for your money transfer, Square Cash is free. For business purposes, or to use a credit card, you’ll pay 3% per transaction.
Limits: $250 weekly for unverified accounts; $2,500 weekly for verified accounts. $1,000 receiving limit for unverified accounts; no cap on funds received for verified accounts.
Security: Square Cash allows you to discover nearby users using Bluetooth technology so you’re sure your money is going to the right recipient. A big vulnerability with Square Cash, though, is that anyone with access to your email also has access to your debit card.
Speed: Your initial Square Cash transfers can take up to 2 business days to clear. Once your card is on file, the money can move within 24 hours. For instant transfers,there’s a 1.5% fee.
Venmo offers a social networking platform and cash-transfer app rolled into one. Look up where your friends are shopping, “like” their purchases and comment on the stuff they’ve bought.
Accessibility: You can sync your Facebook account and phone contacts to see who among them is a Venmo user. “Venmo” money with an email address or phone number—but only to friends who also have the app.
Fees: Sending funds from your Venmo account, a linked financial account or with a major debit card is free. For credit cards and non-major debit cards, there’s a 3% fee.
Limits: $299.99 for unverified accounts, $2,999.99 for verified accounts.
Security: Every transaction you make on Venmo becomes public information. You’ll need to adjust your privacy settings to make that information private.
Speed: Venmo transfers take 1-3 business days to clear. For instant transfers of any size, Venmo charges a flat $0.25 fee.
Your Turn: What’s your favorite cash-transfer app? Tell us all about it in the comments!