Apple Pay and Apple Cash Review: How They Stack Up

Apple Pay and Apple Cash are Apple’s digital payment services.
Tony ArmstrongNov 4, 2020
Apple Pay and Apple Cash Review: How They Stack Up

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Apple Pay and Apple Cash are digital services from Apple designed to streamline paying bills and sending money to friends and family.

The services are integrated into the Messages app. You can send and receive money as you would a text message, with no additional downloads necessary beyond the operating system. These services are available only in the U.S.

How do Apple Pay and Apple Cash work?

Apple Pay users make payments from their mobile device, funded by a linked credit or debit card. These payments must be approved with a passcode, Touch ID, Face ID or a double-click on Apple Watch’s side button.

Apple Cash can be found in Apple’s digital wallet. You can load cash from a debit or prepaid card, then use the wallet to fund Apple Pay transactions or send and receive money from others.

For users who have the Apple Card, Apple Cash is also funded with Daily Cash. When you pay with your Apple Card through Apple Pay, you automatically get back a percentage of your purchase as Daily Cash. In that way, you can get cash back with Apple Pay. (Learn more about the Apple Card and Daily Cash.)

You can send and receive money directly in the Messages app.

People can also send money and get paid directly in the Messages app or by using virtual assistant Siri, which involves making a voice command like “Send 15 dollars to Susan for lunch.”

When a user receives money, it’s kept in the recipient’s Apple Cash account. The user can store and eventually spend it using Apple Pay or transfer it to a Visa debit card or a bank account, which can take up to three days.

For balances over $1, Apple Cash has a $1 minimum transfer requirement when transferring money to a bank account. But if your balance is under $1, you can transfer the full balance.

The minimum deposit is $10 when you transfer from your debit or prepaid card into the wallet.

Here’s a chart with a summary of Apple Pay and Apple Cash features.

Apple Cash and Apple Pay

Digital wallet cost

  • There’s no fee to send, receive or request money using Apple Cash with normal delivery.

  • If you select “instant transfer” when moving Apple Cash money to your bank account, however, there is a 1% fee subject to a $0.25 minimum and $10 maximum.

Linking options

  • Eligible U.S. credit, debit or prepaid cards.

Speed for cashing out to a bank account

  • Within 30 minutes with Instant Transfer if using an eligible Visa debit card.

  • 1-3 business days to use a bank transfer.

What you need

  • Apple device with the most recent operating system.

  • Two-factor authentication set up for Apple ID.

  • Money on the Apple Cash card or an eligible debit card that’s linked to the mobile Apple Wallet.

» Plan to save the money you receive? Check out NerdWallet’s best online savings accounts

How do Apple Pay and Apple Cash compare with competitors?

Available platforms: Apple Pay and Apple Cash are available only on iOS, while competitors Venmo and PayPal are available on both Android and iOS devices.

Digital wallet costs: Apple Cash and Venmo are free to send money using a linked debit card or in-app balance. With Venmo, you can also use credit cards, but it costs 3% of the transfer amount. With PayPal, sending money with a debit or credit card costs 2.9% of the total amount plus 30 cents.

Transfer speed: As with Venmo and PayPal, money received in Apple Cash goes on an in-app balance, which you can then transfer to a bank account. This can take up to three days, or up to five days with PayPal.

Apple Cash, Venmo and PayPal also have an instant transfer option, which delivers funds within minutes. The transaction fee is 1% of the transferred amount, subject to certain minimums and maximums.

FDIC insurance: Apple Cash transfers are serviced by a bank. When you register your Apple Cash account, your money is federally insured up to $250,000, just as it would be in a traditional bank account. Balances in PayPal and the Venmo app aren’t insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Transfer limits: Apple Cash allows you to send up to $10,000 to another recipient per transaction, and transfer up to $20,000 per week to your debit card or bank account. With Venmo, you can send up to $4,999.99 per transfer and per week. PayPal caps individual transactions at $60,000, and in some cases $10,000, per transfer.

You can use money received via Apple Cash on many apps and websites as well as at millions of stores that accept Apple Pay. In addition, you can apply for the company’s credit card, the Apple Card, which also integrates with the other digital applications.

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