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With an ongoing pandemic and the flu season just around the corner, it’s no wonder people are reluctant to use cash in stores. There are better ways to pay your bill than by trading germs with store clerks by passing cash back-and-forth.  Enter mobile payment apps, a new and convenient way to make purchases and transfer money.  Here are some apps worth downloading on your phone.

Apple Pay

Since launching in 2014, Apple Pay has become one of the most popular mobile payment services.  It currently accounts for 5% of all global card transactions.  You can use your iPhone or Apple Watch to make contactless purchases in stores.  Need to send a friend some cash?  Simply ask Siri or send a message.  If you rely on public transportation, you know that every second counts when you’re trying to catch a train.  Apple Pay makes it quicker and easier to pay your fare.  Just hold your iPhone or Apple Watch up to the contactless reader and wait for it to vibrate. 

Google Pay

Whether you’re at the drugstore or supermarket, Google Pay lets you speed through checkout.  Just unlock your phone and hold it over the payment terminal until the check mark appears.  It’s that simple.  Additionally, Google Pay can be used to send and receive money using an email address or phone number.

Samsung Pay

Samsung Pay was specifically designed for people with Galaxy phones.  Instead of swiping or inserting your credit card at the register, you tap your phone to pay.  Samsung Pay can be used almost anywhere credit cards are accepted.  A major perk of using the app is that you can earn cash back rewards when you shop at your favorite stores.

PayPal

For years PayPal has made it easy to send money to friends and shop online at millions of sites.  Now they’ve taken it up a notch.  The PayPal app has a new touch-free feature which means you can pay in-person without reaching for your wallet.  Just open the app and scan the business’ QR code to pay.

Zelle

A Bank of America survey found that 53% of people have seen friendships end over money.  Don’t let an IOU ruin your relationships, Zelle is a quick way to send and receive money.  If you have a U.S. bank account, you probably already have Zelle through your bank or credit union’s mobile app.  Simply enter the recipient’s email or phone along with the amount you want to send.  The cash will be in their bank account within minutes.

Venmo

Splitting the bill for a group activity has never been easier.  You can pick up the tab with your credit card and have your friends Venmo you their portion of the bill.  It’s free to send or receive money when you use your bank account or Venmo balance.  However, there’s a 3% fee to send money using your credit card.  Venmo can also be used to pay businesses by scanning their unique QR code.

Cash App

Cash App is another popular way to transfer money without using cash or coins.  Just enter the recipients $cashtag, phone number or scan their QR code to pay.  Sending money is free if you use your debit card or bank account, but there’s a 3% fee if you use your credit card.  Keep in mind, there’s also a fee to get immediate access to the cash you receive.  Requesting an Instant Transfer comes with a 1.5% fee.  You can avoid the fee by having the funds transferred to your bank account which typically takes 1-3 business days.  Cash App isn’t just for money transfers, users can also request a Cash Card (debit card) that can be used online and in stores.  Plus, you can earn special discounts.

Tips for making safe mobile payments

No matter how much you trust an app, there are some safety precautions you need to take to protect yourself.

  • Put a lock on your smartphone and use a strong password.
  • Enable all the security features the app has to offer.
  • Avoid sending sensitive information over public Wi-Fi.
  • Check your transactions regularly and report any suspicious charges.