Pay­ing your pals with dig­i­tal op­tions from Venmo to Face­book

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

NEW YORK: Cash is passe, say dig­i­tal mavens. If you really want to pay your friends back for that pizza party, use an app to shoot money to their mo­bile-phone num­ber - or their Face­book ac­count.

Such tech­nol­ogy-en­abled peer-to-peer pay­ments are grow­ing quickly. For­rester Re­search predicts mo­bile peer-to-peer pay­ments will hit $17 bil­lion by 2019, grow­ing an av­er­age of 26 per­cent an­nu­ally. That com­pares with expectations of to­tal U.S. mo­bile pay­ments of $142 bil­lion by that year.

PayPal and its Venmo ser­vice have carved out an early lead in the arena, par­tic­u­larly among mil­len­ni­als. Venmo has been grow­ing by leaps and bounds: It pro­cessed $2.4 bil­lion in pay­ments in 2014 and al­most that much - $2.1 bil­lion - in the most re­cent third quar­ter alone.

The buzz has grown loud enough that even Ap­ple may join the fray, per­haps as early as next year, ac­cord­ing to re­cent re­ports. (Ap­ple de­clined to com­ment.) Though it’s not yet time to throw away your check­book; peer-to-peer pay­ments are still just a sliver of to­tal on­line spend­ing.

Here’s a closer look at your cur­rent op­tions for blast­ing dig­i­tal dol­lars to your on­line ac­quain­tances:

VENMO How it works: Venmo’s app adds a so­cial com­po­nent to pay­ments. Users sign up via the app and con­nect to friends who have also signed up. You have to add a de­scrip­tion for each pay­ment you send, which - just like a Face­book post - you can then choose to make pub­lic, re­strict to your Venmo net­work or keep pri­vate. Venmo is owned by PayPal.

Pay­ment limit: New users face a rolling weekly limit of $300. Once you con­firm your iden­tity by

link­ing your Face­book ac­count or pro­vid­ing other per­sonal in­for­ma­tion such as part of your so­cial se­cu­rity num­ber, the limit goes up to $3000.

Fees: Free for trans­ac­tions via bank ac­counts or debit cards; 3 per­cent charge per trans­ac­tions via credit cards.

SQUARE CASH How it works: Sign up for the Square Cash app or on the web­site and you’ll get a per­sonal link called a “$Cash­tag” that peo­ple can click on it to send you money. Square has also worked with Snapchat and Twit­ter (whose CEO Jack Dorsey co­founded Square) so that you can send money on those net­works via “$Cash­tags.”

Pay­ment limit: An ini­tial $250 spend­ing limit per week. You can ver­ify your iden­tity via the last

four dig­its of your So­cial Se­cu­rity num­ber or by link­ing to a Face­book ac­count, which ups the limit to $2,500.

Fees: Free for trans­ac­tions via a bank ac­count or debit card; 3 per­cent charge per trans­ac­tion to link to a credit card. click on a dol­lar sign icon and en­ter the amount you want to send. To re­ceive the money a per­son has to add their own debit card to their Face­book ac­count. Pay­ment limit: None Fees: None

GMAIL How it works: First, you need a Google dig­i­tal wal­let; once you have that, you can send and re­ceive money via Gmail by click­ing on the dol­lar sign icon in the Gmail tool­bar. You can ei­ther send or re­quest pay­ments; once you’ve es­tab­lished the amount, you “at­tach” it to an email mes­sage much the way you’d at­tach a doc­u­ment. Pay­ment limit: $10,000 per trans­ac­tion Fees: None

POP­MONEY How it works: Citibank, Bank of Amer­ica, Wells Fargo and many re­gional banks of­fer per­son-to-per­son pay­ments via Pop­money. (You can also sign up for the ser­vice on your own if you like.) Like other ser­vices, it lets you send or re­quest money by way of a per­son’s email or phone num­ber.

Pay­ment limit: $500 per day if you link a debit card, $2,000 per day from a bank ac­count.

Fees: 95 cents per com­pleted trans­ac­tion, ei­ther pay­ment or re­quest. It’s free to pick up a pay­ment.

THE BIG BANKS: How it works: Most ma­jor na­tional banks have of­fered on­line pay­ment ser­vices for years un­der names such as Chase Quick­Pay or Bank of Amer­ica Mo­bile Pay. The ser­vices run through bank web­sites and apps, and let you can send money from your bank ac­count via your re­cip­i­ent’s email ad­dress or phone num­ber.

Pay­ment limit: Varies; typ­i­cally $1,000 to $3,000 per trans­ac­tion.

Fees: None —AP

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