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Apple Pay Cash Review: How It Stacks Up

February 12, 2018
Banking, Banking Basics, Money Transfer
The New Apple Pay Cash

Apple Pay Cash is one of the newest money transfer services, which Apple launched in December.

The service is integrated into the Messages app, meaning you can send and receive money as you would a text message. Unlike other peer-to-peer payment services, no additional downloads are necessary once you’ve updated to the new iOS 11.2 operating system. Apple Pay Cash is available only in the United States.

At a glance

Cost
  • $0 if transfer is funded by a debit card
  • 3% if funded by a credit card
  • Payment optionsU.S. credit and debit cards (and some prepaid debit cards)
    Speed for cashing out to a bank account1-3 business days
    What you need
  • Apple device (with iOS 11.2 or later or watchOS 4.2 and later)
  • Two-factor authentication set up for Apple ID
  • Credit or debit card in Apple Wallet, a mobile wallet for storing payment cards
  • Special featureYou receive money on the Apple Pay Cash card, a virtual debit card that can be used for purchases wherever Apple Pay is accepted

    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, which involves making a voice command like “Send 15 dollars to Susan for lunch.”

    Transactions funded with a debit card or the Apple Pay Cash balance 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 your passcode, Touch ID, Face ID on the new iPhone X or a double-click on Apple Watch’s side button.

    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.

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

    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 or in-app balance 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 a bank account: Unlike PayPal and Venmo, Apple’s service doesn’t let you link up a checking or other bank account to fund transfers. Apple Pay Cash’s payment options are limited to debit and credit cards issued by banks and their nonprofit equivalent, credit unions.

    Three days to transfer money to your bank: As with Venmo, PayPal and Square Cash, money received on Apple Pay Cash goes on an in-app 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.

    Updated Feb. 12, 2018.

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