Money Tips

Mistakes to avoid when using cash transfer apps

It’s a digital world, and we’re just living in it. While there are many technological updates that have become available over the last few years, one of the most widely used digital shortcuts are apps and services that allow you transfer cash. Whether you use it to pay back a buddy for getting the pizza last week or to receive your weekly paycheck as an employee, there are few, if any, people who have not had the chance to at least explore the benefits of cash transfer apps. But, as with all things, we do need to be cautious about using these apps well—and avoiding common mistakes.

What are you talking about?

You may be one of the few people we mentioned who have never used a cash transfer app. No worries—we can help. Many people prefer to send or receive funds instantly, as opposed to waiting for a check in the mail. That’s where these apps come into play. You create an account with a username, set up your app or service to withdraw from or deposit into a bank account or credit card, and from there it’s just a matter of requesting or sending funds. Easy, right?

Is it safe?

Each app is required to disclose the way it protects your private and financial information. While you always run a small risk anytime you enter in personal details, the most popular apps are invested in keeping your information safe because they want you to use their services, so they work hard to keep your info safe. Take some time to research your concerns—if an app has had trouble, the internet will know.

What are the most popular cash transfer apps?

There are many popular cash transfer app choices these days, and if even you don’t use one yourself, you have likely heard of these.

Zelle is a common choice for people looking to make a transfer from their bank account to another bank account. PayPal is another fan favorite, largely due to its easy set up and ability to use it as an app or on a browser. Venmo has risen in popularity over more recent years and is a great tool for splitting that large dinner check between you and a group of friends.

So…what are the mistakes?

Right—we mentioned mistakes. There are some common errors that many people make when using these apps, so read on for ways you can avoid the same fate:

Sending money to the wrong person

This may seem very simple—why would you send money to someone you don’t know? Well, you probably will if you ever buy something off Facebook marketplace or need to buy last-minute shin guards at your child’s soccer game.

When that happens, you want to make sure that you have the right username and account for the person you want to pay. Some apps have protection built in to help you get your money back if you make a mistake, but not all of them do, so be sure to check and double check your recipient each time.


There is nothing worse than trying to send someone $20 and accidentally sending $200 instead. But it happens more than you think. When you send someone money, take your time—there are very few situations in which a cash transfer app is part of a true emergency.

Take a minute before you press that final confirmation button to be sure you are sending the right amount (to the right person); otherwise, you will be at the mercy of the recipient to hopefully return the amount you overpaid.

Neglecting to protect your phone and apps

It can be a huge pain to enter a password, scan a thumbprint, or scan your face to unlock your phone when you’re in a hurry. And it’s tempting to get rid of the protection altogether, but—read carefully—don’t do it. That protection isn’t just to keep someone from posting silly photos on your Instagram; it’s a way to protect your very sensitive financial info.

In fact, we vote you take it a step further and add a password or facial recognition requirement to your cash transfer apps to ensure that someone can’t send or receive on your behalf.

Not keeping up with your transactions

Even the most careful people can make mistakes. If you notice someone else seems to have access to your accounts, change your passwords and contact your bank ASAP. Consider doing a weekly review of your cash transfer apps to ensure there are no questions or surprises.

Many apps will send you a monthly transaction statement—review it, compare it against your own notes, and be on the lookout for anything that you don’t remember sending or receiving.

Forgetting the rules

Did you know that Zelle transfers money to and from your bank account instantly? If not, you need to do some research—or all the cash transfer apps you use. It’s imperative to know when you will send or receive your money, especially if you have immediate plans for your new funds. Knowing the timeline of your transaction, along with any associated fees, will help you balance your budget and stay on top of your finances.

Trusting the wrong person

It’s sad, but true—scammers are also using cash transfer apps to trick you out of your hard-earned cash. Scammers know how to make themselves look legitimate, so before you send a $1,200 deposit to secure an amazing apartment, do a little research to make sure everything is on the up and up.

If you’re still not sure, ask to use a different payment method or to meet in person to ensure you are paying the right person for the right good or service.

Have we scared you away from cash transfer apps? Don’t be afraid—they are a great tool to use, and we all know technological trends like these are here to stay. But do be cautious: guard your funds and app carefully, double check all your details, and pay attention to service fees and other app rules. Following these steps will help you avoid mistakes and enjoy your funds that much faster.


  1. Gayle Bricker-Stockinger

    do you have zelle? how do I get to it, if you offer it?

    • Ashley D.

      Gayle — While we don’t offer Zelle, we do have a similar service called Pay a Person, which you can learn more about here.

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