Benefits of payment apps like Venmo, PayPal and how to use them

Instead of writing a check or paying cash, has anyone ever said “Venmo me” or said “Just pay me with Zelle?"

We asked Carl Carlson from Carlson Financial  what these mobile wallets and mobile payments are all about.

Mobile payment apps seem to be starting to take some foothold out there, but are they safe?

Carlson said he thinks for the most part they are pretty secure and said he thinks they are more secure than credit cards.

You have to be careful though, Carlson explained.  You need to make sure that you have authentication set up on your phone.  Like finger print id or face id.  And maybe a six number pin instead of a four number pin.  And if you are using something like Apple Pay, which is pretty cool, you should have the Find My iPhone app set up so that if you lose your iPhone you can get into this app and shut off your apple pay and get rid of any credit card or debit card info. But for the most part these mobile phones use special architecture, like “sandboxing architecture” that really helps add another layer of security.  Carlson did say to avoid public Wi-Fi connections as well.

One of the most popular payments apps is PayPal, who actually owns Venmo. You can send money through that mobile app to other people.  But some complaints are that it sometimes takes a little longer for people to get the money and while the money is in transit it isn’t FDIC insured.  So enter Zelle.  This is an app that is used by banks and while money is sitting in your account it is FDIC insured and it almost instantly hits the other persons account and they are FDIC insured, Carlson said.

So it seems faster and safer, but it only works between people whose banks have Zelle and that is maybe only 30 big banks. But there are at least a dozen or more mobile wallets, like Google.

Many people tend to ask if you send money back and forth to other people, do you have to know their bank account numbers and other info?

Carlson said no, that’s what is nice about these apps, all you need to know is their cell phone number or email address.

A recent article said that 25% of people have used a mobile payment app and Carlson a lot of those folks are the probably millennials.