More banks are starting to offer person-to-person (P2P) payment services which allow you to send money to anyone with a US-based bank account using just an email address. These services are similar to PayPal but they have an advantage in that you don't need to use PayPal as the middle man to transfer money. You can send money directly from your bank account. Also, these services don't require the recipient to have an account at the money transfer service.
ING Direct has offered its Person2Person Payment service starting when it launched the Electric Orange Account in November 2006. As you would expect from ING Direct, it's a free service. You can send payment to a person who has a checking or savings account from another US-based bank.
One major issue I have with ING Direct's service is that the sender must have the bank account number of the recipient. The account number, routing number, name and email address must be entered into ING Direct's service by the sender. I suspect many people would not feel comfortable in providing their account number unless the person is a close friend or family member. Here is what ING Direct says about this concern in its Person2Person Payment FAQ
Remind your friends and family every time they wrote a check in the past, they were disclosing their account number, even if they didn't realize it. It's at the bottom of the check. Plus, unlike a paper check that touches many hands before being deposited, a Person2Person Payment is a secure, direct transfer between you and your friend.
This seems reasonable, but it may not convince the recipient.
Summary of ING Direct's Person2Person Payment service:
- No fees to send or receive
- Requires recipient's bank account number
- Payment is limited to $5,000 per transaction and per day
- Payment to an account outside of ING Direct takes up to 2 bank business days to post after the recipient confirms his/her account information
- Payment will expire after 45 days
Update 5/11/2011: ING Direct added a new feature to make it easier for checking account customers with iPhones to pay each other. According to its press release, "Bump Person2Person Payment technology that allows Electric Orange Checking account Customers with iPhones to instantly and securely send money to one another."
FNBO Direct started offering its P2P payment service, called POPmoney, in January of this year. POPmoney is a service provided by CashEdge. If you do a lot of online banking, you're probably familiar with CashEdge. Many online banks use their transfer service that allows customers to initiate ACH transfers to and from their other bank accounts. The nice thing about POPmoney is that it's being adopted by other banks. One major bank is PNC. If the recipient's bank offers POPmoney, they'll be able to receive the payment just by logging into their bank account. Otherwise, they'll need to accept the payment through POPmoney.com where they need to provide POPmoney their bank account and routing numbers. This leads to the other nice aspect of POPmoney that differentiates it from ING Direct's service. The sender does not need the recipient's bank account number.
Update 5/11/2011: The standard 3-day ACH delivery is now free. The one downside to FNBODirect's POPmoney is that it's not free. There is a $2.00 standard fee for 3 day ACH delivery There is a $10.00 express delivery fee for next day transfers. I noticed that it wasn't free when I received FNBO Direct's email today notifying me that the use of POPmoney will be free in March.
Summary of FNBO Direct's POPmoney Payment service:
- Free for standard 3-day ACH delivery or a $10.00 express delivery fee for next day transfers (3-day delivery used to cost $2)
- Does not require recipient's bank account number
- minimum amount that you may transfer in any one transaction is $10.00. In addition, you may not transfer more than: (i) $1,000 from your account in any one transaction; (ii) 10 transactions on any one business day; or, (iii) $5,000 from your account in any one month.
- FNBO Direct will return any unclaimed, refunded or denied payment within 30 days of the date you initiate payment
The internet bank, UnivestDirect, may not be as popular as ING Direct, but it provides many of the same services with similar rates. Like ING Direct, UnivestDirect offers an online savings and checking accounts that have no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. Also, like ING Direct, UnivestDirect offers a free ACH bank-to-bank transfer service. The one advantage UnivestDirect has over ING Direct is that they allow paper checks.
UnivestDirect's Person-to-Person Payment service has two of the best features of the other two: 1) like ING Direct the service is free, and 2) like FNBO Direct the recipient does not need to give the sender his/her bank account number. When you send payment through UnivestDirect, the recipient will receive an email with a link that points to the website where they will enter their bank account info. I was a little worried about this since phishing attempts are so prevalent. However, I was told that the email will include the sender's name, email address and phone number. In addition, the recipient should be expecting a payment from the sender, so that should put the recipient's mind at ease.
Summary of UnivestDirect's P2P Payment service:
- Free to all personal Univest deposit account holders
- Does not require recipient's bank account number
- Maximum of $2,500 per transfer
- Transaction Completed On Next Business Day
- All P2P transfer requests expire after 15 calendar days following the date of the original request (money never leaves sender's account)
Value of Person-to-Person Payment Services?
Have you used a person-to-person payment service from your bank? Do you find it a valuable service? Or do you prefer using PayPal, online bill pay or just a plain old paper check?
One thing to note about paper checks is that your account number is on the check. As mentioned in ING Direct's FAQ, the check can touch many hands before it's deposited.