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Financial Friday: Using Person-to-Person Payments

Valrie Chambers, Ph.D., Stetson University professor

Valrie Chambers, Ph.D.

Person-to-person mobile phone apps like BBVA/Dwolla, Chase QuickPay, Facebook Payments in Messenger, PayPal, Snapcash, Square Cash and Venmo let one person send money directly to another by app, email or text.

To set up, download your bank app, enroll in the optional P2P feature and link to your email and/or cell phone, or download a non-bank app, create an account and link it to your bank account, credit card, debit card or prepaid card. To pay, enter the dollar amount and recipient’s contact information. Once you pay, the recipient receives notification that you paid with instructions on how to retrieve the funds.

Betty Thorne, Ph.D.

The Pros

A pro of P2Ps is that receiving money is free. Additionally, payments are fast, easy and generally safe.

The Cons

A con is that sometimes there may be a fee of up to 3 percent for paying this way, particularly if the underlying link is to a credit card.

Also, you may pay immediately, but that doesn’t mean the recipient receives the money immediately. Sometimes, the recipient does not have access to this money for up to five business days, which in weeks with a holiday could be 10 regular days.

The recipient has to have some financial sophistication, so many older or poorer friends and family may not access cash this way. And, without your phone (or sufficient battery life), you don’t have access to this money.

These apps also collect a lot of personal data on your purchases and finances, so if privacy is an issue, you’re probably better off paying cash. Additional data charges may apply.

If you know that you have a tendency to overspend, you might want to avoid these apps.


Valrie Chambers, Ph.D., is Chair of the Accounting Department and associate professor of taxation and accounting. Betty Thorne, Ph.D., is a professor of statistics and the Christian R. Lindback Chair of Business Administration. They write Financial Fridays to bolster students’ financial wellness, including preventing financial mistakes, safeguarding their assets and identity, and thinking critically about financial decisions. For questions, contact Valrie Chambers at Valrie.chambers@stetson.edu.