There are more than a dozen P2P services to choose from, with snappy names such as Venmo and Zelle.
Many are small tech start-ups, but Internet giants such as Google and Facebook have gotten into the business, as have more established digital-payment providers such as Pay Pal and, most recently, a consortium of more than two dozen major banks and credit unions. To send money to someone, the service acts as a middleman, making an online transfer from your bank account and typically storing the cash in a digital escrow account for the recipient, who then is notified.
Self-defense: You can activate extra levels of security that P2P services provide such as PINs and/or fingerprint authentication.That’s because most P2P transactions still go through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network that banks have been using for 40 years.Only Zelle (see below) moves cash directly from your bank account to another person’s bank account within minutes. If you link to your bank account, transactions usually are free.Fees/limits: No fees, but you can link only your debit card to the service.Transactions are limited to no more than ,999 in a rolling 30-day period.By 2021, more than 129 million US consumers are expected to use these services to exchange hundreds of billions of dollars, according to Javelin Strategy & Research, a digital-money consulting firm.