All You Need To Know About P2P Payment Systems

Young woman hands waiter her chip enabled card to pay for her and her friends lunch at an outdoor cafe.Cash is so overrated. Why fumble through wads of crumpled bills and piles of change when you can easily pay back the $6.75 you borrowed from your friend simply by using your phone?

Peer-to-peer (P2P) payment systems are changing the way we handle our money and our social finances forever. Eating out and splitting the tab is super-easy. Collecting money for a shared gift is no longer a hassle. Paying back borrowed money can be done anywhere, and at any time.

First popularized by PayPal, the world of P2P systems has exploded. Many financial institutions Advantage One, offer the option of P2P payments between members, and lots of social media platforms let you transfer money between friends as well. However, the most popular way to pay a friend back is through money transfer apps like PayPal’s Venmo, Square’s Cash App and Zelle. In fact, according to eMarketer, the total value of mobile P2P transactions in the U.S. could increase from $156.49 billion to $244.03 billion from 2018 to 2021.

Are P2P payments really the wave of the future, or just the latest hype? Read on for all your questions on P2P payment systems, answered.

How do P2P payments work?
Say you’re eating out with a bunch of friends and your pal, Meghan, offers to cover the tab and have everyone pay her back. She hands her card to the server while you and your friends pull out your phones. You’ll open up the cash-transfer app of your choice and find Meghan in your contact list. Just key in the amount you owe and send. You may have to input your PIN or prove your identity in another way before the transaction is finalized. Within seconds, Meghan will get a notification that the money’s been sent. Once the funds actually transfer, Meghan can choose to leave them in the P2P account until it’s her turn to pay, or she may move the money to a checking account at the financial institution of her choice.

Will it cost me to transfer money?
Depending on the service provider you use, there may be a fee for transferring money through your phone.

Most P2P systems will allow you to make a payment from a linked financial account or directly into the P2P account at no cost. However, several providers will take 2-3 percent of any payment made with a debit or credit card. Also, if you want your transfer to happen immediately, you’ll usually have to pay: Square Cash will charge a 1.5 percent fee while Venmo takes a flat $0.25 for every instant transfer.

How long will it take for the money transfer to clear?
Your friend will receive notification of your payment soon after you hit the send button. However, the actual money transfer usually takes one to three business days to clear. As mentioned, if you really need that transfer to clear your account immediately, most providers allow you to pay a small fee to make that happen.

Are P2P payments safe?
All P2P systems are careful to encrypt your financial information and to use security measures for protecting your funds. However, these measures aren’t foolproof. Many P2P systems have been targeted by hackers and scammers.

Protect yourself from P2P scams by taking the following steps:

  • Use two-factor identification and a PIN before completing a transaction.
  • Asked to be notified about every transaction.
  • Never use a P2P service for business purposes or for a money transfer with someone you don’t personally know.
  • Triple-check your recipient’s information before you send a payment; a misspelled email address could send your money to the wrong person.

If something goes wrong with a P2P payment, who is responsible for covering the loss?
Unfortunately, if you’ve been scammed or have had another issue with a P2P payment, you’re on your own. Most services will offer their assistance to law enforcement agencies and notify users if they’ve been scammed, but that’s usually the extent of their fraud protection.

If you choose to use your P2P payment service for a business-related transfer, fraud protection is limited even further. P2P services were created to be a means of transferring funds from friend to friend; most services clearly state in their policies that their platforms should not be used in business transactions. Many consumers, though, choose to ignore these warnings and use Venmo and Square Cash to pay for goods they’ve bought on Craigslist, to sell a used item or even to accept funds for a service they’ve provided.

If you disregard these rules, the service will likely offer no fraud protection or assistance in reclaiming lost funds. Many of them will not even honor a business transaction at all. It’s best to only use P2P payment services among friends and people you know and trust.

Lots of users mistakenly think their financial institution will back them up if a P2P payment goes sideways. However, financial institutions like Advantage One are never responsible for a P2P payment transfer. While we never want to see you lose money for a simple mistake or because you’ve been victimized by a scam, there’s not much we can do about it after the fact. For this very reason, we strongly advocate practicing caution when transferring money online or by app.

In short, if something goes wrong with a P2P payment, you’ll be the one who is responsible for the fallout.

When used responsibly, P2P payment transfers can be a super-convenient way for friends to share expenses or pay back borrowed funds.

Your Turn:
Do you use a P2P payment system? Tell us all about it in the comments, below.

SOURCES:
https://www.wired.com/story/venmo-alternatives/

https://paymentweek.com/2018-3-30-problems-p2p-mobile-payments/

https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/banking/p2p-payment-systems/

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.usatoday.com/amp/36726065:

Are P2P Payment Systems Safe?

Close-up of the hands of four people holding smart phonesP2P payment services, like Venmo, Zelle and Square’s Cash App, are aiming to make cash obsolete – and some would contend they’re succeeding! Just a few quick swipes, and you can transfer funds to a friend, pay for an item you bought online or collect money that’s owed to you.

Convenient as they are, P2P payment systems have unfortunately become a breeding ground for scams and hacks. From compromised accounts to fraudulent transactions, using a P2P service opens you to some risk of losing your money to a scammer.

Read on to learn how to better protect yourself from a P2P payment scam.

How do P2P payment scams happen?
There are lots of ways using a P2P payment system can put you at risk, but the following two vulnerabilities are most common:

1.) The bogus buyer
In most cash-transfer apps, when you receive a payment, the money goes into your P2P system balance and stays there until you transfer it to an external account or use it to pay for another transaction. This transfer usually takes one to three business days to clear. Crooked scammers are taking advantage of that “float” in the transfer process to con you out of your money.

Here’s how it works:
A scammer will contact you about an item you’ve put up for sale or tickets to an event. Together, you’ll arrange for an exchange of funds and goods. You may even take precautions against a possible scam by insisting on an in-person meeting for the exchange or refusing to send out the item until you see the money in your P2P account. Things proceed according to plan. You’re notified that the money has been sent to your account and you hand over your item. Sadly, you won’t realize you’ve been ripped off until a few days later when the money transfer does not clear and the contact has disappeared with your goods. Unfortunately, there’s no way you can get your money back, because most P2P providers will not offer compensation for a fraudulent sale. Similarly, your linked financial institution bears no responsibility for the scam and can’t help you recoup the loss.

2.) Publicized payments
PayPal’s Venmo is the only P2P app with a built-in social networking component. This feature has led to a host of privacy issues that have been brought to the attention of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

In short, every Venmo transaction you make is up for public scrutiny. No one can access the payment amounts, but anyone who is interested can track the restaurants where you like to eat, the clothing stores you most frequent and check out when you last filled your gas tank. Creepiness factor aside, all that information going public makes Venmo users super-vulnerable to scammers and identity thieves.

Venmo allows you to tweak your privacy settings to keep your information from going public, but most people are unaware of the issue and/or neglect to take this measure. Recently, the FTC ruled that Venmo must make this detail clearer to users. Venmo has since created a popup tutorial for all new users demonstrating how to adjust your privacy settings to keep your transactions from going public. If you choose to use Venmo, check your settings to be sure your money habits aren’t being broadcast for the world to see.

Protecting yourself
You can keep your money safe and still enjoy the convenience of cash-transfer apps with these simple steps:

  • Only send money to people you know and trust.
  • Never use a P2P service for business-related transactions.
  • When using Venmo, adjust your privacy settings and opt-out of public tracking.
  • Carefully read the terms and conditions of a P2P service before using.
  • Always choose two-factor identification and use a PIN when possible. If your app and phone allows, choose fingerprint recognition and/or touch ID for added protection.
  • Accept any security updates offered by the P2P app you use.
  • Check your recipient’s information carefully before completing a money transfer.
  • Choose to be notified about every transaction.
  • Link an external account instead of keeping your funds in the P2P account.

Your Turn:
Do you think P2P systems are safe? Why, or why not? Share your take with us in the comments.

SOURCES:
https://triblive.com/business/technology/13358843-74/peer-to-peer-apps-come-with-risks-ftc-warns

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2018/02/tips-using-peer-peer-payment-systems-and-apps

https://paymentweek.com/2018-3-30-problems-p2p-mobile-payments/

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/events-calendar/2016/10/fintech-series-crowdfunding-peer-peer-payments

https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=9efa141a-40d2-4773-b930-bb395111d226

https://www.consumerreports.org/scams-fraud/how-to-protect-yourself-from-p2p-payment-scams/

 

Cash-Transfer Apps

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.

Google Pay logoGoogle Pay

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 logoPayPal

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 logo, bright green round corner square with a dollar sign in the middleSquare Cash

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 logo, white "v" on medium blue circle backgroundVenmo

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!

SOURCES:
https://www.thesimpledollar.com/best-apps-to-send-money/

https://www.wired.com/story/venmo-alternatives/

https://www.lifehacker.com/money-transfer-showdown-square-cash-vs-venmo-vs-payp-1752058723/amp

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.thepennyhoarder.com/smart-money/free-money-transfer-apps/amp/