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How to send, receive money using Popmoney

Innovations and Payment Systems

How to send, receive money using Popmoney

Everything you need to know about fees, security, privacy and funding options with Popmoney

Summary

Popmoney is a peer-to-peer payment app offered by Fiserv. Whether you’re a Popmoney pro or using the app for the first time, here’s what you need to know, including fees, security and privacy.

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It seems like every day brings a new peer-to-peer money service.

But Popmoney’s no newcomer. It’s been on the scene since mid-2009, says Whitney Stewart Russell, senior vice president of product and strategy for e-payments with Fiserv Inc.

With Popmoney, consumers send and receive money among family members and friends, funding transactions using bank accounts or debit cards. The system is an offering of Fiserv, which supplies technology services to banks and credit unions.

Are you considering using Popmoney? Do you want to learn how to employ it more effectively? Here’s everything you need to know:

See related: How to choose a P2P payment service

What does Popmoney do?

Popmoney lets you send money electronically from one checking account to another via your phone, tablet or computer. You can also use it to receive payments or request money from friends, family and clients.

  • When you set up Popmoney, you access your financial institution’s online or mobile banking services.
  • After logging in, you supply your email address, cellphone number, and your debit card or bank account number.
  • To send money, you and your recipient must both have signed up for Popmoney. And senders can steer money using the recipient’s phone number, email address or account number.

The one possible obstacle: Less than 6 percent of U.S. consumers with a bank account use Popmoney, according to a 2018 study by Javelin Strategy & Research.

Where do you find Popmoney?

  • More than 2,500 banks and credit unions include Popmoney with their online or mobile banking services, says Russell.
  • You can also download the stand-alone app for Android or iOS.

Lakeland Bank has offered Popmoney “for several years,” says Elaine Petit, director of enterprise solutions for the bank. As with many financial institutions that offer Popmoney, “it’s integrated with our online banking suite of products,” she says. “It’s available for online banking and mobile banking.”

How long does it take for a Popmoney payment to arrive?

That depends. And you may have a couple of choices.

  • If you’re sending from a bank account, the transfer moves on the ACH network (similar to an e-check). Those generally take three days, according to the Popmoney website.
  • There’s also a next-day service option, which also uses the ACH network.
  • If you send via your debit card, the transfer moves over the card network, the money arrives almost instantly, says Russell.

Ultimately, banks and credit unions decide which of the various speeds they want to offer, she says. And they also set the fees, which can vary with the institution, speed and whether you use your bank account or debit card.

If the recipient hasn’t already subscribed to Popmoney, they will be invited to enroll, says Russell. And that could slow the delivery time.

How much does it cost?

Institutions decide which speeds they’ll offer and set the fees, so those vary, says Russell.

If you use a debit card to send money, it will often arrive within minutes but that speed sometimes comes at a cost.

“We’ve found that [the immediate transfer is] not widely popular due to fees,” says Petit. While the speed is “near instant,” she adds, their bank’s fee is $5.

With the standalone app, sending or requesting money costs 95 cents, if you fund payment from your bank account, says Russell. And the money takes a few days to arrive.

Is there a limit to how much money someone can send via Popmoney?

Likely, yes. But banks and credit unions set those limits, and they also vary from consumer to consumer, says Russell.

  • If you use the standalone app, the limits are $500 per day and $1,000 every 30 days if you send with a debit card.
  • If you send via ACH, the limits are $2,000 per day, and $5,000 every 30 days.

What happens if I accidentally send the wrong amount or send it to the wrong person?

If you make a mistake while sending out a payment, Popmoney (like most P2P systems), can’t guarantee you’ll get it back.

But in some circumstances, “you can cancel the transaction,” says Russell. “And some financial institutions have the ability to let them cancel digitally. With others, you call in.”

  • Some institutions may put a time limit on being able to cancel a transaction, she says.
  • Others may let you file a dispute, rather than cancel the transaction, she adds.

“You can also dispute with us,” Russell says. “It really depends. We would typically reach out to the recipient’s financial institution.”

The response would vary by situation and factors like whether the money was still in the recipient’s account, she says.

It’s smart to ask your bank these questions before you enroll:

  • What happens if I send the wrong amount, or if I send the right amount to the wrong person?
  • And how do my options change depending on whether I use a debit card or the ACH network?

Is the money protected against loss, fraud and theft?

That depends. The Electronic Funds Transfer Act – and “Regulation E,” which implements it – govern Popmoney transactions.

If your bank account or debit card is hacked, or someone you’ve never authorized uses Popmoney to take money from your account, your bank or credit union should reimburse you for all but the first $50, (and will probably cover that, too) if you report the loss within 60 days of your statement, says Lauren Sanders, associate director for the National Consumer Law Center.

But if you use Popmoney to send money to the wrong person or in the wrong amount, the bank must investigate the error but not necessarily give you the money back, she adds.

Also, Regulation E doesn’t necessarily protect you if you send money for something that turns out to be defective, a scam or not what was promised.

Just as with other P2P systems, “you need to be really careful about sending money to someone,” says Lauren Saunders, associate director for the National Consumer Law Center. “No mistakes. [Because] you may not have any recourse.”

Also, stick to paying people you know. “We don’t believe they should be used to pay unknown recipients,” says Petit. “It’s really intended to pay trusted individual, like dinner with friends” rather than a stranger you’re buying from online or in person.

What kind of security features does Popmoney offer?

If you use Popmoney through a bank or credit union, that institution will determine which security features are offered.

Therefore, it’s smart to ask what the institution is doing to protect you, and what they will do for you if something goes awry.

With the standalone app – which you use if your own institution doesn’t offer Popmoney – “we use third-party data sources to make sure we can match you to the [bank or credit union] account you’re trying to use,” says Russell.

In addition to password protection, the system could check an ever-changing checklist of items to make sure you are really you, she says.

These could include ownership of your phone, whether you currently possess the phone number, and if your IP address is consistent.

Explains Russell, “We try not to make it the same every time.” Otherwise, she says, “it’s too easy for criminals.”

Can I link Popmoney to a credit card?

No. Popmoney is for checking accounts and checking account debit cards only.

Are Popmoney transactions public?

No. Only the sender, the recipient and their banking institutions are privy to the transactions.

Does Popmoney offer its own credit cards?

No.

Do I need extra security?

If you’re using your phone – or tablet, laptop or desktop – as a wallet, it’s time to improve your electronic security.

These strategies will help with any P2P system:

  • Enable password protection – both on the device and your financial programs or apps. When you’re done using either, log out.
  • Never use public or shared devices or computers for money transfers. The same goes for public Wi-Fi.
  • Keep your systems updated. And use antivirus, antimalware and antispamware if your operating system allows it.
  • Enable any text or email alerts the app or your financial institution can offer when it comes to money transfers.
  • Shorten the amount of time your device sits unused before it locks. That way, if someone grabs it, they’ll have a harder time accessing your financial information – and you will have more time to call the bank and shut down everything.

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