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Best P2P Payment Services of 2019

Best P2P Payment Services - Peer to Peer Money Transfer Apps

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Whether you’re splitting a check, pitching in on a gift or paying back a friend who loaned you some cash, P2P payment apps make sending and receiving money easy. They connect to your bank account or a credit or debit card and quickly transfer money to whoever you want. Some include social features like messaging and sharing, while others are built-in features of social media platforms.

Venmo

(Image credit: Venmo)

Venmo is one of the most popular P2P payment apps. It’s simple to use and quickly transfers money to other Venmo accounts. When someone sends you money, it can take one to two business days for the cash to show up in your bank account. You can link your bank account, debit card or credit card. There are no fees to use Venmo unless you use a credit card – then the service charges a 2- to 3-percent processing fee to transfer the money.

One of Venmo’s most appealing features is its social feed that shows who your friends have sent money to.  It doesn’t show the dollar amounts, but it’s another fun way to interact with friends.

Cash App

(Image credit: Square)

Cash App is a P2P app created by the payment processing company Square – a name you may recognize from shopping at small businesses or farmers market booths. Cash App makes it easy to transfer money between friends. 

You connect the app to an email address or phone number and a debit card. You don’t need to create a special account or link the app to your bank account, so it’s easy to set up. Most transactions don’t have fees attached, but you’re charged a 3 percent fee if you send money with a credit card. Individuals and businesses can set up “cashtags,” which are individual URLs friends, family and customers can send money to. 

Zelle

(Image credit: Zelle)

Zelle is a newer P2P app developed by some of the largest banks and credit unions. It’s also one of the fastest growing mobile payment apps. You access Zelle through your bank’s website or mobile app and can send money to anyone who also has a Zelle account. If your bank isn’t partnered with Zelle, you can download the app and connect it with a debit card to use it.

The biggest benefit of Zelle is its transfers are instantaneous. With most other P2P apps, it can take one to two business days for your cash to deposit – with Zelle, your money appears immediately. There are no fees to use this app.

PayPal

(Image credit: Paypal)

Using PayPal’s mobile app, you can quickly transfer money to another person’s PayPal account – just enter their email address, set the amount, hit send and you’re done. There’s no fee to send money if you use your bank account or existing PayPal balance. However, if you use a debit or credit card, it charges you 2.9 percent plus 30 cents. PayPal is one of the few P2P apps that charge for using a debit card to transfer money. The app also makes it easy to see your receipts so you can keep track of how much you’ve sent out.

Circle Pay

(Image credit: Circle Pay)

Circle Pay is a P2P app developed by Goldman Sachs and other investment groups. It’s similar to Venmo and other apps, though a bit more bare-bones. It lets your transfer money from a connected bank account or debit card. However, to keep transfers free, you can’t use a credit card with Circle Pay. Unlike Venmo, you can send money internationally with Circle. It also distinguishes itself by letting you transfer bitcoin – you can’t buy or sell bitcoin, but if you own some, you can transfer and receive it through this app.

Google Pay

(Image credit: Google)

Google Pay combines Google Wallet’s and Android Pay’s main features, letting you store money, send money to friends and buy from businesses. One advantage of Google Pay is you can pay at stores with the app. Some cities, including Portland, Oregon, let you use the app for public transportation – in the coming months, more cities will add that capability. One of Google Pay’s drawbacks is it can take as long as three business days for money to transfer, which is longer than with some other apps.

Messenger

(Image credit: Facebook)

Messenger is Facebook’s chat app, but it also allows you to send money to friends. It’s very simple to send money – just add your debit card, fill in the amount and message the recipient. However, they need to have their debit card added to their Messenger account to receive the money. You can only use debit cards, though Facebook recently integrated PayPal with the app. One drawback of using Messenger for payments is it can take a few days for the transactions to complete, so if you need money immediately, Zelle is a better bet.

Popmoney

(Image credit: Popmoney)

Unlike Venmo and other P2P apps, Popmoney doesn’t store money in an account – it just transfers it between bank accounts. This is like Zelle. However, Zelle is a superior service. Popmoney is slower, and it can take several days for money to arrive in your account. There are also fees to use Popmoney, with each transfer costing you 95 cent. It’s free to receive money, but if you request it, the transaction also costs 95 cents. You aren’t charged if your request isn’t paid. You can’t use Popmoney to shop in stores, so it’s a little more limited than other apps.

Apple Pay

(Image credit: Apple)

If you have an iPhone, you already have Apple Pay. Once you link a debit or credit card, it’s easy to send money to other iOS users. However, Apple Pay isn’t cross-platform, so you can’t send money to Android users. You can send money in the iMessages app as well as pay using near field communication (NFC) in stores. Many stores have NFC systems set up, and you pay by just tapping your phone to them. That way, the merchants don’t see your personal or financial information. It can take up to three days to transfer money from your Apple Pay account to your bank.