By now, you have no doubt heard about or seen in action a mobile payment. The idea of paying someone using just your computer or smartphone is relatively new, but there are already plenty of options out there for consumers, and those options have been tried and reviewed by many consumers and professionals alike. Here are some details on a few of the most tried-and-true options for sending money online.
Venmo is a free mobile app (available for both iPhone and Android) that allows users to send money from their Venmo accounts, bank accounts, and debit or credit cards to another Venmo account. In most cases, Venmo is fee-free to use, and it is free to sign up. It also includes security features like a PIN-based login and account notifications. There is a fairly quick turnaround for receiving your money, at 1-2 days, but sorry, international travelers, it is for use only in the United States at the moment. Venmo can also be used online.
Probably the best-known and trusted of all the online money-sending services, PayPal is much like Venmo (naturally, as PayPal owns Venmo), with transferred money being deposited into a PayPal account.
“You can transfer money online or by phone to anyone with an email or mobile phone number using the app, email or text message, but the recipient must have a PayPal account to receive it,” summarizes Spencer Tierney, staff writer at personal finance website NerdWallet.
One advantage is its ability to transact with people outside the U.S., but it has a slow delivery speed, at 3-4 days.
This system is less complex in that you can transfer money only by using a linked debit card, and money received automatically—and almost immediately—goes into that same checking account. It’s quick, easy and free to use via the app (again available on both iPhone and Android) and online in the U.S., but email transfers are a little more complicated, with the need to create web addresses, Cashtags and more.
Send money via Gmail with a single click of a “$” icon. Google Wallet is yet another reliable person-to-person transfer service, complete with an app and an online version as well. It could take anywhere from a few minutes to several days to receive your money, and you have to have a Google Wallet account to do so, but many users forgive that inconsistent turnaround time because of Google Wallet’s 24/7 fraud monitoring.
Have you ever scheduled automatic bill pay online through your financial institution? That same technology—Automated Clearing House, or ACH—processes the funds and directly deposits them into another U.S. account, be it of a business or institution, or of a person. Fees depend on the financial institutions involved, but ACH has a fairly quick delivery speed. As for security, well, you know how many password and image recognition screens you have to go through to access your account online, so it’s safe to say that your transaction will be just as safe.
All of these options use encryption methods to scramble your financial information during transactions. New entrants into the online payment game are emerging every day, with social media companies like Facebook and Snapchat recently throwing their hats into the ring. Because these social options are so new, however, there is not much information available on their security features or advantages over the aforementioned transfer techniques.
As with any transaction, checking with your financial institution is the safest first step. Contact your financial institution today to see what options they recommend for sending money online.