Do you carry cash around with you? If you’re like me, probably not (or at least not much). I’d rather keep my money with my bank, so that if my wallet gets stolen, I can tell the bank and they’ll close my cards and refund me any unauthorized purchases. But the downside to keeping all of your money at the bank is that it’s not quite as easy if you want to pay your friends or family for something on the spot.
Thankfully, there are several apps that allow you to send money quickly and securely, from your bank account to theirs. With these, you can keep your money at the bank and not have to worry.
Note: A lot of banks have services that allow people to transfer money between each other if they use the same bank, or sometimes if at least one of them uses that bank and the other person makes an online account with them (but not a bank account). All of these choices aren’t run or sponsored by any banks — these are completely neutral and available to anyone (availability by country varies).
Venmo is currently the most popular choice, all thanks to free transfers and slick apps to control it all. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that a lot of people have Venmo accounts. So if you need to send someone money, there’s a decent chance that they have a Venmo account and can receive your money immediately.
Transferring money is the only thing that Venmo does, so people also have a lot of confidence in it compared to similar services offered by providers such as Snapchat. If you’re looking for a simple and straightforward solution, Venmo is a great choice.
Tons of people use Snapchat, and if you’re one of those people, then it’s easy to use Snapcash to send money to your friends. All you (and your friends) have to do is add payment information to Snapchat and you can start sending and receiving money as easy as sending a Snap. And if you’re worried about potential security issues since Snapchat has been hacked before, apparently there’s no cause for concern because Snapcash is powered by Square. Your sensitive information should be stored by Square also, with only a link to your Snapchat account so that it knows who you are.
To send money, just send the amount (starting with the currency symbol) in a chat to whomever you’re wanting to send money to. That’s it. Before you actually send or accept money, Snapchat will make sure that you have payment information entered.
PayPal is also a very good choice, despite what people may think about the service. PayPal is often not used because people believe that money transfers cost money, but if you make personal payments within the US, they’re completely free if you use your PayPal or bank account balance. There is a slight fee if you use a debit or credit card to fund money transfers.
The other very slight downside to PayPal is that all payments that someone receives goes to their PayPal balance first, and then they’ll need to manually withdraw their PayPal balance onto their bank account. It’s a bit of a hassle at times (and slow because of the amount of time it takes for the withdrawal), but it’s very reliable and quite a few people have PayPal accounts as well.
While PayPal is best known for payments in exchange for products or services, there are other alternatives that some merchants may support.
Do you use Gmail? Do your friends have Gmail? Then it’s easy to send money via Gmail, all thanks to Google Wallet integration! This is a great solution because it’s absolutely seamless to use if you and your friends use Gmail. Just click on the little dollar icon when composing a message to your Gmail friend, and you’re able to send money from your Google Wallet balance or any linked debit card.
Payments will go to the recipient’s Google Wallet balance, but the balance can be withdrawn to their bank account. People might have privacy concerns with this offering simply because it’s a Google product, but I wouldn’t be concerned. If you’ve bought anything from Google Play, you’ve already connected payment information to your Google account.
The makers of Square, which allows you to accept credit cards for transactions via an adapter that plugs into your mobile device’s headphone jack, have also come out with Square Cash. This is yet another similar service that allows you to send money to others who are also signed up for the service. Connecting to bank accounts or debit cards is free, but using credit cards will incur a 3% fee.
The big feature of using Square Cash is that people can pick out “cashtags” which are basically just usernames that people can use to send you money. While this doesn’t have any major benefits if you’re getting money from friends, it does make it easier to collect money (such as donations) from strangers. So you can share your “cashtags” with anyone you want because all they can do with it is send you money; they can’t use it to get money from you.
Coming Soon: Facebook
What’s used more than Snapchat? Facebook. Although the most popular social media site doesn’t have person-to-person payments implemented just yet, they have announced that they’re planning to add it. So far there’s no expected release date for the new feature, but don’t be surprised to see it eventually. Since it seems like everyone and their dog are on Facebook, this should make it super easy to send and receive money (assuming everyone opts into the feature). We’ll have to see how it turns out once it’s actually available. Keep your eyes peeled.
You Have Options!
These five (soon six) options should be more than enough to send and receive money between friends. So pick whatever is most convenient, or whatever your friends use most, and never have to worry about sending money to friends and carrying cash.
Which is these options is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!
Image Credits: hand giving money via Shutterstock