Cash? What’s cash anyway? Back in the day, if you wanted to buy something or split a dinner or bar tab, you had to cough up the loot or, in some cases, write a check. In a worst-case scenario, you would have to dig out your credit card. Ugh.
Then came the blessed smartphone—lucky you to be born when you were. We started living almost our entire lives on screens, so it was only a matter of time before we would be paying our bills and tabs on them, too.
Now, when you do financial transactions or you want to spot a friend some money, it’s as easy as pressing a button—from wherever you are.
There’s a fancy name for it: peer-to-peer transfers, or P2P. The actual meaning is simple: it gives you the ability to send money to friends using an app on your mobile device.
The service simply connects to your bank account or credit/debit card, so you can send money to your friends’ accounts when needed.
Traditional banks are getting on board, but usually their services only benefit those who bank at the same place. Online transfers like these can be fast and cheap—and most importantly, easy.
How a P2P Transfer Works
Through a linked account that you can access through a phone app on a mobile device or a laptop,you access the account by simply logging into the website. Both parties (both you and the person you’re paying) typically need access to the P2P transfer service.
Most P2Ps require a connection to a bank account with your checking account number and routing number. Other services may ask for even more identification. You may even be able to link your credit card or debit card, which could be an extra cost.
Benefits of P2Ps
Make it Happen in Real Time
Usually the transfer can be completed within one day, but can sometimes take up to three days.
They’re Usually Free of Charge
But not always. It may be a good idea to find out ahead of time what the policy is for P2Ps. Some companies and banks may charge a fee for any P2P transfer, and some may charge fees for a certain number of transfers within a day, week, or month. Knowing what you’re going to be paying—or not paying—is on you.
All you need is your phone, your push-button finger and some nearby Wi-Fi. No more checks. No more trips to the ATM. No more schleps to the bank.
Ways To Pay Your Friends If You Have No Cash
Here are a few of the most commonly used options:
It was only a matter of time before Google got into the act. To pay a friend with Google Pay , all you need is your bud’s email address or phone number and you can send money via a linked bank account or debit card.
The money goes directly into their Google Pay account, and they have the option to leave it there or transfer the balance directly into their bank account.
Although generally easy to use, Google Pay does have restrictions like transaction limit , and limited availability , depending on how and where you’re paying. Google Pay’s support information is somewhat confusing as to what countries it supports payments to friends and family.
On one page, it indicates the service is only available in the U.S., but on another it indicates it’s available in the U.S. and India. It’s probably best to verify for yourself whether the service will work for your needs.
The Walmart2Walmart service is available at any of the 4,600 Walmart stores across the U.S. You can also send money to any U.S. Walmart store, as well as to some stores outside the country. Send the money to a fellow Walmart shopper, and they’ll receive the money in as little as ten minutes! Fees start at $4 for using this service.
Facebook Payments . Yep, why not? The money is transferred immediately, but it can take up to five days for it to become available, depending on your bank.
A SoFi Money® cash management account can be used to send money to anyone, anywhere.
Plus, transfers between SoFi Money accounts are instantaneous. Having a SoFi Money account means that you can earn 0.20% APY (annual percentage yield) on all your cash (subject to change), while having the convenience of moving your money around when you need it.
You can use your SoFi Money card the same as you would use a debit card—no need for a bank branch because you can take care of what you need via your phone, including photo check deposits and even customer service.
You can open up an account for yourself or share one with someone you trust. And whenever your money is spent, you’ll be alerted with a notification, which can help to stop fraud.
Plus, when you become a SoFi Member you get access to exclusive member benefits like access to credentialed financial advisors, career coaching, discounts on loans, access to our events, and more, all at no extra cost.
Unlike many other P2P services, a SoFi Money® money transfer is a no-cost service, and there is no minimum to get started. We wanted to keep it easy and simple, so that you can transfer money when needed, and keep track of it for your budget. The time it takes to open an account: two minutes, tops.
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SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.