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Electronic Fund Apps: What You Should Know


Long gone are the days of waiting in line at the bank to cash a check. Electronic Fund Technology (EFT) came along decades ago and drastically changed the banking landscape for the better.


EFT is the technology that is utilized when you use an ATM machine to take money from your account. The same technology allows you to receive your paycheck by direct deposit, eliminating the need to put that paycheck in the bank. EFT is also utilized when you shop for groceries or almost anything these days. You just scan your debit card and the money transfers from your account directly to the merchant.


In recent years, EFT has given us even more payment options through apps like PayPal, Zelle, Venmo and more. Mobile payment apps make it easier to pay without using your bank card or a credit card. When you receive money through a payment app it goes either directly into your bank account or into the payment app’s account, which you can then transfer to your bank account. These peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions provide a fast and easy way to split the bill with friends and family. There’s no need to carry cash, and the transactions are extremely convenient since everything can be initiated with your smartphone.


GETTING STARTED


Mobile payment apps are easy to set up. Once you sign up for an account and link your bank account or debit card details, you can start sending and receiving money right away with others who have the same app. With setup complete, it only takes a few clicks to send and receive money between parties.


Each payment app is a little different in how you receive the funds into your account. For example, Zelle automatically transfers to your bank account. With apps like Venmo and PayPal, when someone sends you money, you’ll need to click on the app to initiate the transfer to your bank account. You have the option of receiving the funds immediately for a small fee. Or, if you’re not in a hurry to get the money, you can wait a few business days and eliminate the fee.


PROS & CONS OF PAYMENT APPS


Here’s a breakdown of the most popular apps with pros and cons noted for each:


PayPal


Pros:

• Simple (and free) to set up an account

• No fees when you send money to friends or family members

• Strong encryption technology keeps accounts secure

Cons:

• Business owners are charged a fee to receive payments

• PayPal has the ability to freeze your account


Venmo


Pros:

• Easy way to split the bill with friends and family

• Instant transfers option

Cons:

• 3 percent fee for sending money with a credit card

• Privacy default is public view, which means others can see who is sending who money. You can resolve this by changing the privacy settings.


Cash App


Pros:

• Easy to link your bank account via a debit card

• Offers users a digital wallet

• Option to buy and sell bitcoin

Cons:

• Can only send $250 every 7 days and receive $1,000 every 30 days without verification


Zelle


Pros:

• Many large banks offer Zelle

• Same-day transfers

• No fees for sending or receiving money via Zelle

Cons:

• You can only send funds from one designated bank account


Google Pay


Pros:

• No fees to send money to friends and family

• Integrates with Google products, like Gmail

• Easy to use from a laptop or smartphone

Cons:

• Transfers to your account can take 3-5 days

• Fees for debit card transfers (1.5 percent or $0.31, whichever is greater)


Meta Messenger (Facebook)


Pros:

• Transfers are private, unlike some other apps that have a public option

• Easy to use from your Meta chat experience

Cons:

• You need to have a Facebook profile to use it

• You need to link your debit card or PayPal account to your Meta account

• Transfers to your bank account can take 3-5 days


SAFETY FIRST


As with all your financial transactions, it’s important to use common sense to avoid scams. All EFT payments are protected through the Electronic Fund Transfer Act. When using these apps, no sensitive information is shared with the receiver.


The app is set up using either your phone number or email address. Your card information is only entered into the payment app when you first sign up, and that information is never shared when using the app, eliminating the possibility of your account details being stolen.


One thing to remember, however—payment app transactions cannot be reversed, so you have to be diligent about who you are sending the payment to and the amount you are sending.

Finally, monitor your bank account regularly and call the bank immediately if you see any unauthorized payments.


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