Tech Talk

Tech Talk: Send Money Easily

If someone hasn’t said to you, “Venmo me,” you aren’t spending much time around people under 40. The ability to send money to someone has expanded since the invention of smartphones and apps. And since most seem comfortable connecting their banking information with an app on their phone, you no longer need cash. I decided to explore how people prefer to send money easily to one another.

PayPal continues to be a dominant player in peer-to-peer money transfer. To make it easier for PayPal users to send money to friends, the company created Venmo. The Venmo app is easy to set up and use. You pay a fee (3%) if you send money to others using a credit card, but if you have a Venmo balance (someone sent you money) or use a debit card, it’s free. You can request and send money.

There is a social network aspect to the app as well. If you allow the app to link to your phone’s contacts or connect with your Facebook account, you can see who your friends sent money to and why. Then, you can comment on people’s payments and ‘love them’ by clicking the heart. People get creative with their payment descriptions by using emojis or Snapchat Bitmoji. It does take a couple of days to transfer money from your Venmo account back to your checking account (this isn’t automatic). They now offer an option where you can get your money faster by paying a small fee ($0.25), but most users leave a balance in their Venmo account to use for later.

My teenager isn’t a fan of the social aspect of Venmo, so he has it set to make all of his payments private. He and his friends actually prefer Cash App, which was developed by Square (it used to be called Square Cash). There isn’t a social network aspect to this app, and it is very easy to use once you are signed up. While the user interface is easy, I found the signup process difficult as my phone keyboard kept covering up the field. I am not good at typing blindly. Once set up, though, it was easy to find my son’s account, which is linked to his cell phone number, and send him money.

Both of these payment processors offer an option where you can access your money via a Visa (Cash App) or Mastercard (Venmo) debit card. Cash App even lets you direct deposit your paycheck, making it your banking account as well. It is important to note that the apps have a daily, weekly and monthly limit on the amount you can send and receive.

Many of you may be Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Google Pay users and find it is a great way for you to send and receive money. Most banks offer ways for you to transfer money to others (many using Zelle), but these options can be limiting and require you to know your bank information to transfer the funds from one bank to another. No matter what, you should be careful with your account security and only send or receive money with people you know.

So the next time you don’t have cash on you for lunch, just ask your friends if you can Venmo them!

Sheila Burkett is an information technology expert and CEO of Spry Digital, an interactive design agency delivering smart digital solutions. Follow Spry Digital on Twitter (@Sprydigital), Facebook (facebook.com/sprydigital), Instagram (@Sprydigital) or LinkedIn (linkedin.com/company/spry-digital-llc).

 

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