5 Best Money-Sending Apps

picture of person sending funds electronicallySend money easily with these convenient phone apps
In the modern economy, most financial transactions are entirely digital, which makes sharing money between individuals something of a dilemma. Luckily, there are a number of convenient phone apps available that facilitate this process with no physical cash required.

Facebook Messenger
One of the most prolific mediums of communication available is social media. Digital Trends and Quicken point out that Facebook Messenger allows its users to send money by simply asking users to link a debit card. To complete a transaction, the money sender just needs to tap the dollar sign and enter the amount being sent, which turns into a hyperlink that the receiver can click. Payments can take up to five days to process, but the app makes up for that time with its convenience compared to other methods like finding an ATM.

Google Wallet
Recommended by both Digital Trends and Quicken, Google Wallet acts, as the name implies, as a virtual wallet. Money can be sent and received within the United States via an email or a phone number. Once the money is in the Google Wallet account, it can then be used at retail stores that accept tap-to-pay or debit Mastercards.

PayPal
As one of the oldest names in the digital financial industry, PayPal offers the ability to transfer funds to other users. PayPal is one of the few apps to allow transfer of funds to people outside of the United States. While PayPal tends to take between five and 10 days to process, it also offers the ability to pay for purchases at a variety of establishments.

Square Cash
Gizmodo recommends Square Cash as one of the easiest-to-use money-transfer apps available. Square Cash doesn’t require the recipient have an account; instead, users just need an email address. It is free to use for most individuals, though businesses and those using a credit card must pay a fee. Standard deposits typically appear the next day; same-day deposits are available with Square Cash, but require a small fee.

Venmo
Venmo is recommended unanimously by Quicken, Digital Trends and Gizmodo, with Digital Trends even calling it the best money-sending app on the market. This app is intended for easy money transfers to and from friends and family, and although it requires that both parties have the app, debit transactions are free. Venmo is structured like a social media network for payments (including the ability to like and comment on specific payments) and is becoming well-known enough to have created the phrase, “Venmo me.”

Using these apps, sending money digitally has become easier and more accessible than ever before.

Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

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Mobile Wallets: Moving Shopping Into the Future

A more secure and convenient way to make payments
These days, most transactions don’t involve physical money, so why should they involve physical wallets? Thanks to new technologies like Samsung Pay, Android Pay (formerly Google Wallet) and Apple Pay, you can now use your smartphone to securely make transactions without ever having to take out your credit card.

According to the latest survey data from market research firm CMB, only about 15 percent of smartphone users actually utilize these technologies to pay for purchases, but usage nearly doubled from 2013 to 2015 and will likely continue to rise over the next few years as the benefits of mobile wallets are better understood.

If you are not sold on the idea of joining the new trend, here’s why you may want to reconsider:

Ease of use
A mobile wallet is an app that can be installed on a smartphone, or may even come pre-installed. Investopedia explains how they work: “Once the app is installed and the user inputs his payment information, the wallet stores this information by linking a personal identification format like a number or key, QR code or an image of the owner to each card that is stored.”

You may also have to contact your financial institution to allow the mobile wallet app to use the payment card. Once everything is set up, the mobile app uses a radio-based technology called Near-Field Communication (NFC) that communicates with the merchant’s point-of-service terminal. In other words, you only need to wave or hold your device over a store’s reader to make a payment.

Security
Because mobile wallets use encrypted payment codes and never actually transmit your account number, they are much safer to use than credit cards. In addition, paying with a mobile wallet requires your fingerprint or personal identification number, so even if a thief managed to get their hands on your smartphone, they would have a much harder time spending your money than if they had stolen your credit card.

“Even if a thief bypassed all the security, the risk to you is low,” Jeff Blyskal writes in an October 2016 article for Consumer Reports. “Mobile wallets usually require an underlying credit or debit card to fund transactions, and those cards limit your liability for erroneous or fraudulent charges to little or nothing.”

Convenience and incentives
Mobile wallets can be used for more than just emulating credit and debit cards. “In addition to payment cards, the mobile wallet can also be used as a storage device for driver’s license, Social Security Number, health information cards, loyalty cards, hotel key cards and bus or train tickets,” Investopedia explains.

Thanks to mobile wallets, you can carry hundreds of rewards cards virtually, making it easier to keep track of the ones you own and to remember to use them. You can even use mobile wallets to make online payments, removing the need to tediously enter dozens of digits for each transaction.

You can also save money with various reward programs. For example, Android Pay offers rewards for using the app at selected partners, while Samsung Pay offers a tiered rewards system based on how many monthly purchases you make with it.

Widespread adoption
So far, the main obstacles faced by mobile wallets are the different payment methods. While almost all modern smartphones will support Samsung Pay, Android Pay, Apple Pay or a combination of these, all three of these apps may not necessarily work at all retailers.

“Samsung Pay can be used at more than 10 million U.S. stores, Apple Pay at more than 3 million stores, and Android Pay at more than 1 million stores,” Blyskal says. “The numbers will grow as retailers upgrade their payment card readers.”

Being able to use Samsung Pay at more than 10 million stores easily makes it the most attractive of all the mobile wallets, but you have to own a Samsung smartphone to use it. The upside is that it works everywhere: according to Ethan Wolff-Mann in an October 2015 article for the Time’s Money, “[Samsung Pay] works everywhere, since it can mimic a magnetic strip if NFC technology is unavailable; retailers don’t get your credit card info.”

This doesn’t mean that Samsung will continue to be the best option for smartphone owners interested in mobile wallets, as both Google and Apple are strongly invested in using this technology to sell smartphones and will continue to implement rewards for using them. Furthermore, using a mobile wallet speeds up transaction times, which gives retailers extra incentive to adopt NFC-capable card readers.

For the time being, mobile wallet adoption across retailers may still not be good enough to leave your credit card at home. In the future, however, it’s very likely you’ll never need to go out shopping with more than just your smartphone.

Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

Benefits of MyBranch Online Banking

Being eCount members, we’re pretty certain that you’re comfortable doing things online. If you haven’t done so already, you should head over to our site and get your account set up on MyBranch. MyBranch is our free online banking portal. From there, you’ll be able to see what’s going on in your account 24/7. Get started with MyBranch here.

The other benefit that getting set up on MyBranch offers is that you can start using the rest of our online tools, such as our mobile app, ePay, Popmoney® and $napshot. All of these tools will give you more access to, and control over, your account, which can be really important when you’re on the go.

Mobile App
Our mobile app will give you access to your account over any app-enabled smartphone. Check balances, transfer funds, use ePay to pay bills or Popmoney to pay other people, even deposit paper checks, all through your mobile phone. Visit www.aofcu.com on your mobile device.

ePay
ePay is a great tool if you have at least a few bills that you pay regularly every month. ePay lets you pay a bill electronically, even if your recipient doesn’t accept electronic payments. Most vendors like cable companies, retail stores or utilities are already set up to accept electronic payments, and those payments go through as quickly as the very next business day. For others that don’t have an electronic payment processor, such as a small doctor’s office, for instance, an actual paper check is cut and mailed for you, free of charge when you use ePay. These won’t get there the next day, as they do have to be mailed, but you don’t pay for the check, the stamp or the envelope.

Another big plus to ePay is that it allows you to pay all of your bills from one site. No more logging into 15 different websites to pay your various bills, set them up once in ePay and you’ll never have to visit each individual site just to pay a bill. From now on, you’ll simply log into ePay, and there you’ll see all of the billers you have set up, as well as pending payments and payment histories for each one. Want to know how much the last cellphone bill was and when you paid it? ePay has that info at your fingertips, 24/7. You can even schedule payments in advance once or on a recurring basis. All from one safe, secure, easy to use site.

Probably the best part of ePay is that all of your payments are guaranteed. ePay guarantees that the recipient will receive payment by the guaranteed date, assuming you have the funds in your account, of course. If ePay doesn’t get the payment there by the guaranteed date, ePay covers the cost so there are never any late fees for you. Knowing when the payment will come out of your account and knowing that it will get there on time, every time is a nice bit of security. So stop spending money on stamps, envelopes and paper checks and start using ePay.

One final thing to be aware of regarding ePay is that it is free, but only if you use it. I know, that sounds odd, so let me explain. The credit union incurs an expense to provide the service to our members, and we’re fine doing that so long as the service is used. So, as long as you make at least one payment every 30 days using ePay, we continue to provide it to you free of charge. If you don’t use it, however, there is a $2 charge per month to have the service. Just make sure to use ePay if you sign up for it. We think it’s a really great service, but we don’t want you incurring any fees unnecessarily. You may also cancel ePay at any time, simply call us and cancel the service. Find out more about ePay here.

Popmoney®
Popmoney is a complementary service to ePay. Where ePay lets you pay bills, Popmoney lets you pay other people, request funds from others and even receive funds, all over your app-enabled smartphone. Ever been short on cash to pay back a co-worker for lunch? Popmoney solves that issue. Simply send the money straight from your account to theirs using Popmoney. You can read more about Popmoney in this article or on our website

$napshot
Finally, with MyBranch access, you get full access to our free, personal money manager, $napshot. The single nicest feature of $napshot is that it lets you bring in accounts from your other financial institutions so that you can keep track of all of them in one place. What ePay does for your bills, Snapshot does for your accounts.

Set up spending budgets, and saving goals easily. Track investments or accounts at other credit unions or banks. $napshot lets you keep track of all of it, quickly and easily. $napshot uses a cool tag-based system, so you can label your expenses in ways that make sense to you. And the best part is, $napshot is 100% free of charge. Check out $napshot here.

Popmoney = Convenience

The Popmoney® personal payment service is our new eService that lets you send, receive or request money from friends, family or just about anyone with an email address or mobile number*. Popmoney is integrated directly into ePay, our online bill payment service, to let you move money from your bank account to theirs safely and securely, with ease. You can move money right from your MyBranch home page! And Popmoney is easy for your friends and family to use at their bank or at Popmoney.com, too. Click here to visit our page and see how to set up Popmoney on your account. And if you want to view even more information on Popmoney, you can visit them on their home page here.

*Terms and Conditions Apply. **Popmoney® personal payments services offered at  http://www.popmoney.com are provided by CheckFreePay Corporation, a licensed money transmitter, and CheckFreePay Corporation of New York, which is licensed as a Money Transmitter for payment services by the New York State Department of Financial Services.

A bigger ATM network is better

When you need convenient ATM accessATM without paying a surcharge, a bigger network is better.  AOFCU is pleased to belong to the CO-OP ATM network, the largest credit union-owned ATM network in the United States. The CO-OP ATM network operates nearly 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs across the country for the benefit of credit union members.  How convenient is that?

Anyone who’s had to wander from place to place searching for an in-network ATM knows the value of more locations. CO-OP ATM network locations are found in credit union branches, supermarkets and 7-Eleven® stores, as well as a multitude of freestanding locations.  Simply put, they’re everywhere. And they are always surcharge-free for AOFCU members.

What’s even better than surcharge-free ATM access?  How about choice?  Suppose you’re standing in front of an ATM that doesn’t belong to the CO-OP ATM network and you really need the funds, regardless of surcharge. Your AOFCU ATM card also works at ATMs worldwide, because CO-OP Network has links to NYCE, STAR, Cirrus, Pulse and Plus.  You get the best of both worlds: the largest network of fee-free ATMs and expanded choices when fees are not an issue.

The CO-OP ATM network isn’t just bigger; it’s better.  It’s designed strictly for the benefit of its credit union members, no collecting fees in order to turn a profit and no making money at your expense. Because credit unions and the ATM network they support are owned by members, the dividends (convenience, free access) are yours.  It’s the largest surcharge-free credit union ATM network on the planet, and it belongs to you.

To find the surcharge-free CO-OP ATMs in your neighborhood, visit www.co-opnetwork.org.