Nowadays, it seems like everything is going virtual, including our payment methods. While we have had electronic payment options for many years, cash apps may soon become the standard. For some people, cash will always be king. But, many others prefer the convenience of sending money right from their smartphone. After reviewing the most popular ones and taking a look at which ones I use most, here are the best electronic payment and cash apps out there.
The 5 Best Electronic Payment and Cash Apps
While there are many reviews out there, this list is evaluating the best electronic payment and cash apps based on their convenience. From my personal experience, these five are the simplest and safest for my financial needs.
As one of the pioneers of digital wallets, PayPal has one of the most secure and simplest ways to send and receive money. They are well-known and used in 200 different countries around the globe. Since nearly all my contacts have accounts and it’s free among family and friends, it is one of the best electronic payment and cash apps for me.
I first set up my account back in college when eBay was the rage, and have used it to handle my international and business transactions ever since. The site is easy to navigate with a plethora of tools to track and handle payments, or quickly request refunds if you sent money to the wrong account.
And, they have a strong reputation that can ensure the security of your accounts. However, you will pay for the convenience. There are additional fixed fees and 2.5% fees for transactions from credit cards, 2.99% for commercial accounts, and 3.49% for those using the invoicing tools. But, sometimes the peace of mind is worth the price.
Since I already used PayPal, it was an easy transition to Venmo once I moved back to the U.S. It’s free, designed for your smartphone, and popular among my friends and family. Some of them even insisted on Venmoing the money instead of cash for repayments. After signing up, I received my first transaction in a few minutes.
While I appreciate how easy it is to use, I’m not a huge fan of it being made public on social media or the 3% fee to link it to a credit card. And, it caps your spending at $299.99 until you verify your account.
However, it remains one of the best electronic payment and cash apps because it is widely accepted for peer-to-peer and business transactions. Venmo has improved its security with additional verification. But, they still don’t guarantee recovery of funds. Although it’s not my preferred cash app, I’m sure I’ll continue to use it with vendors and clients in the future.
Zelle is an option that I initially overlooked, but have come to appreciate more as my client base grows. I didn’t realize that I already had it available with most of my accounts through their mobile banking apps. Zelle is free to use and will ensure you get your money the same day.
I was still able to sign up even though my primary credit union didn’t offer it. However, I was limited to only $500 when using these accounts. Moreover, some banks charged fees for the transfer.
But, it is still one of the best options if both parties already have an account. You get immediate transactions and the added security guaranteed from your financial institution. And, the list of participating banks continues to grow which will make it even easier to use as it adds new members.
4. Google Pay
Google Pay is another electronic payment option that I find myself using more often. If you already have a Gmail account, then you basically already signed up. And, you can use it from your PC or smartphone. Since it integrates so easily to Google products, it can handle nearly any online transaction. And there are no fees when you send money to your family and friends.
Unfortunately, it is still somewhat limited for in-person transactions. However, more retailers and vendors are adding it to the list of electronic payments they will accept. The other drawback with Google Pay is that it can take some time to receive your money. You may have to wait up to 24 hours with transactions tied to your credit card, and 3-5 days with your bank account. Despite these time constraints, it provides a secure way to send and receive payments.
5. Apple Pay
Although it isn’t available to Android users, Apple Pay is super convenient if you use iOS. Anyone who has an iPhone 6 or later already has this option in their digital wallet. And, most users have already been buying music, movies, games, and apps with it for years.
The biggest draw is Apple Pay’s ease of use. It can be used at stores with NFC terminals for your in-store purchases. It also offers advanced security measures to obscure your information with single-use digital tokens. And, don’t forget that the high rewards credit card is another incentive to use it for your digital transactions.
But, you can’t overlook its disadvantages. It excludes millions of users from other platforms. And, they limit your transactions to$3k per message or $10k within a 7 day period. There is also a 3% fee if you fund transactions with a credit card. However, if you have converted to Android over the years like me, it isn’t likely to be your primary cash app.
Using Common Sense
Electronic payments and cash apps are financing the future. Not only do they provide a more convenient way to send and receive money, but they also add an additional layer of security to keep your information safe. Ultimately though, the best electronic payment option is the one that suits your individual needs.
While they make life much easier, you have to use common sense when funding your electronic payments and cash apps. You still have to keep track of your spending habits and be aware of tax regulations on large transactions. However, there is no denying that digital wallets will likely become the primary means of payment for millions of people worldwide.
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Jenny Smedra is an avid world traveler, ESL teacher, former archaeologist, and freelance writer. Choosing a life abroad had strengthened her commitment to finding ways to bring people together across language and cultural barriers. While most of her time is dedicated to either working with children, she also enjoys good friends, good food, and new adventures.