Consumer Reports: Peer 2 Peer paying apps

Local News

Millions of Americans are paying each other without actual paper cash ever changing hands.  

It’s all done through peer to peer payment services, like Venmo, Zelle and Square Cash.  

But are they secure? 

In this evening’s Consumer Reports, Brandon Cooper shows us which P2P services they think can be trusted to transfer your money and keep your data safe.

It’s a convenience that’s growing in popularity. From millennials to baby boomers, an estimated 79 million Americans will use a mobile peer to peer payment service this year. 

“It’s really easy like splitting a check at the table.”

“Sometimes you have to send money to your parents or your siblings, so it’s a lot easier for me to do that.”

Throw in messages and emojis and…

“It’s also sort of fun.”

But with consumers worried about data breaches and hacks, can P2P services be trusted?

Consumer Reports rated 5 of them, focusing on privacy and security. 

“We didn’t find any of the services were so bad you shouldn’t use them,” Consumer Reports Money Editor Tobie Stanger said.

Although there are differences consumers should know about. Apple pay for instance was the only one to score top marks for data privacy.

“They try to take the least amount of data and keep the least amount of data to keep your privacy protected,” Stanger said.

However, it’s only available if both the sender and the receiver use an Apple smartphone, watch, or tablet a newer version at that. That’s one thing to note with P2P in general—you have to use the same service to exchange funds.

“So I have to have Zelle, you have to have Zelle,” Stanger said. “I have to have Venmo, you have to have Venmo.”

Depending on which service you use, accounts are linked to your bank account, credit or debit card, prepaid card or PayPal account. So if you do sign up for a P2P service, CR recommends you opt for the highest app privacy and security settings possible adding, for instance, a pin or fingerprint authentication.

Also, as fun as the feed may be, with Venmo you really set it to keep your transactions private.  Most importantly, don’t use P2P to send money to strangers.”You should really only pay people that you know,” Stanger said.

Also you want to keep your app up to date. Hackers are always trying to find new vulnerabilities so make sure you are using the most recent version available.

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