Kiplinger Personal Finance: What You Need To Know About Payment Apps | Economic news

While peer-to-peer apps like PayPal or Venmo are handy, they can also make you more vulnerable to fraud.

Dream time / TNS

Whether it’s sharing a restaurant bill with friends, paying the pet sitter, or tipping your barber, chances are you’ve found yourself using a peer payment app. -to-peer – or at least to consider it.

PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, Cash App, and more make it easy to send and receive money.

You link your bank account, debit card, or credit card to the app, so you don’t have to exchange sensitive account information with the other person during a transaction. Instead, you share details like a username, email address, or phone number. Usually, transfers arrive in the recipient’s app balance quickly, although it may take a few days to transfer funds from the app to a bank account at no charge.

But peer-to-peer applications can also make you more vulnerable to fraud. They are an increasingly popular target for crooks who, for example, trick users into sending money for goods or services that never materialize. Or a scammer may pose as someone you know and ask you for funds.

Unfortunately, you may never get back the money lost in such scams because you made the payment yourself. But it’s worth asking the company to cancel the transfer if you’ve been scammed.

However, if a criminal accesses your peer-to-peer account and performs unauthorized transactions, you have legal protections.

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Elaine R. Knight