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Digitally Paid in Full

Mobile is changing how we pay each other. Here’s the skinny

Whether closing a happy-hour bar tab with co-workers, wrapping up a big group brunch or turning over your half of the bills, payments between friends and family used to mean cash or check. And who has either of those on hand these days? The same used to be true for small-business transactions. You had to have cash to buy that screen-printed tee, for example, because the cost of credit-card processing equipment and services was too high for all but the most successful. But thanks to advance in digital banking, sending and receiving money on the spot can now be as simple as grabbing your phone and hitting send on a variety of apps and tools.


Many of these tools have low transaction fees and can guarantee availability in minutes—or even seconds in some cases. Check out a few below.


Friendly Transactions

Square’s Cash app is an instant money-sharing tool. The app makes cash transfers possible immediately or the next business day, depending what you opt for. You can also store cash in the app or create a unique Cashtag to easily get paid through the app or desktop site. Cash utilizes APIs that package personal payment information from various financial institutions. But there are limits in place, $250 per week in fact. Once you reach that, the app requires account verification. But once that’s done, you can transfer up to $2,500 weekly. Instant transfers are charged 1%, and tack on another 3% if you’re using a credit card.


Social Integration

Say, your roommate picks up breakfast on the way back from the gym. Venmo lets you pay your share instantaneously from your phone while scrolling through your various social media timelines. In fact, the app has a timeline of its own. Should you be so inclined, you can track in real time the movement of money within your network, who’s sending what to whom when. We don’t recommend that, though. Too much good TV these days. You can save and store funds within the app or link to your bank and credit card accounts of choice.


Handle Business

PayPal is a great tool for fledgling entrepreneurs who need a system for accepting digital payments, administering invoices, tracking shipments and accessing working capital. PayPal integrates into most point-of-sales systems, and customers can easily check out by attaching their bank or card info to their account. All of this security and value does come at a cost, though. PayPal charges 2.9% plus $0.30 per sale on average or as high as 3.9% for international sales. There are also additional fee structures for various PayPal products and services like their mobile card readers and online merchant products.


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