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The New Apple Pay Cash: How It Works, How It Stacks Up

Banking, Banking Basics, Money Transfer
The New Apple Pay Cash

Apple has soft-launched Apple Pay Cash, a new peer-to-peer payment service similar to Venmo and Square Cash, by making it available for testers on the new iOS 11.2 public beta. The move suggests the upcoming launch of iOS 11.2 will include the new service.

Apple Pay Cash is integrated into the Messages app, meaning you can send and receive money as you would a text message.

Unlike other P2P payment services, no additional downloads are necessary once you’ve updated to the new iOS 11.2 public beta operating system. Apple Pay Cash is available only in the United States.

How does Apple Pay Cash work?

With Apple Pay Cash, people can send money and get paid directly in the Messages app or by using virtual assistant Siri.

Transactions funded with a debit card are free, while a 3% fee applies to credit card transactions. Users will have to add their cards to each device on which they plan to use Apple Pay Cash. Outgoing transfers must be approved with Touch ID, or Face ID on the new iPhone X.

Once users receive money, they have a couple of options. They can store and eventually spend it using Apple Pay or transfer it to a bank account, which can take up to three days.

How does Apple Pay Cash compare with competitors?

Only on iOS: Apple Pay Cash is available only on iOS, while Venmo, Square Cash and PayPal are available on both Android and iOS devices.

Costs the same: Apple Pay Cash costs the same as Square Cash and Venmo; it’s free to send money using a debit card and costs 3% of the transfer amount if you use a credit card. With PayPal, sending money with a debit or credit card costs 2.9% of the total amount plus 30 cents.

No funding directly from your bank: Unlike PayPal and Venmo, Apple’s service doesn’t let you fund transfers directly from a bank account.

Three days to transfer money to your bank: As with Venmo, PayPal and Square Cash, money received on Apple Pay Cash is applied as a balance, which you can then transfer to a bank account. This can take up to three days with each of the four P2P payment services. If getting money into a bank account quickly is a priority, Zelle — available in about 50 banks’ mobile apps — does it instantly and for free.

Can be used like a virtual debit card: Apple also lets you keep cash in Apple Pay on a full-fledged virtual debit card, the Apple Pay Cash card, which is issued by a bank. That means the money is federally insured up to $250,000, just as it would be in a traditional bank account. You can use money received via Apple Pay Cash on many apps and websites as well as at millions of stores that accept Apple Pay. With Square Cash, you can receive a physical debit card, while Venmo has offered the same service to a select number of customers.

Similar transfer limits: Apple Pay Cash allows you to send up to $3,000 per transfer, and up to $10,000 per week. With Venmo, you can send up to $2,999.99 per transfer and per week, and Square Cash lets you send up to $2,500 per transfer and per week in most states. PayPal caps individual transactions at $10,000 per transfer.

Tony Armstrong is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: tony@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @tonystrongarm. NerdWallet staff writer Spencer Tierney contributed to this report.

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