You probably wouldn’t think of leaving the house without bringing along money, but it no longer has to be in the form of paper bills, coins, a checkbook or even your credit card. In our increasingly cashless society, more and more people take along only their phone or smart watch for payments.
Except for tipping or making small purchases under $5 or $10, digital currencies like banking and mobile payment apps have widely taken the place of cash. It’s not hard to understand: cash is bulky to carry around, and if it’s lost or stolen, it’s gone. Digital currencies offer ease, speed, convenience, security, and like credit cards, some let you earn rewards.
While millennials were the first generation to embrace digital currency, baby boomers make up the fastest-growing group of new adapters. Competition in the market is fierce, which means that existing apps are continually being improved as new options enter the field. Need to split a cab fare or restaurant bill with friends? Want to pay the babysitter or the friend who sold you her old treadmill? Money transfer apps to the rescue! Here are some of the most popular:
Venmo is a peer-to-peer app that lets you make and share payments with friends through their Venmo accounts. You can draw funds from a Venmo account that you set up or link it to your bank account or debit or credit card. Founded in 2009, it’s considered to be the first to the mobile payment table.
One of the earliest in the market and best known, Paypal’s mobile app is simple to use and compatible with most credit and debit cards issued by major banks. Though widely associated with EBay, you can also use it for goods and services from other merchants as well as personal payments. Send money from your bank account to your PayPal account for free (you will pay a fee for credit and debit card payments, however).
Love Apple products? Apple Pay is the mobile wallet for iPhone, iPad and the Apple Watch. Using your Apple device, you can pay for purchases at over a million U.S. stores and restaurants. Use credit and debit cards to load up your account.
Originally called Android Pay, it’s an easy way to send money to friends and pay at businesses. All you need to set up your Google Pay is a credit or debit card and Google account. Those you pay don’t need to have the Google Pay app to receive your funds.
This app lets you send digital payments to friends and pay for goods and services. As a part of the Square Cash payment system, your Cash account links to your bank account, debit card, or credit card to transfer funds. By enabling your Cash Card for purchases, you can earn credit back into your Cash account for what you buy.
No time to stand in line for your morning latte? LevelUp is an app that lets you place and pay for food and drink orders ahead of time. It even tells you when your order will be ready and where the pickup area will be.
Ready to go cashless?
There are a wide range of options available, but when choosing which one is right for you, compare important features like compatible operating systems, account notifications, fraud protection and security, transfer speed, fees and overall user experience. Once you find the one that’s right for you, you can pay with a tap of your phone or watch and stop searching for that ATM!
What about Cryptocurrency?
Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Peercoin, Dash, EOS... what do they have in common? They’re all forms of cryptocurrency.
Cryptocurrency is a digital type of currency. It takes the form of virtual coins or tokens that exist on computers and not in physical form. The first part of the name refers to the intricate cryptographic algorithms which allow the tokens to be generated, stored, and transferred securely and anonymously.
Unlike traditional currency, there is no central bank that supports cryptocurrency. When you use it, you are swapping out trust in government financial institutions and instead relying on the cryptography used to power the cyber network.
Bitcoin, launched in 2009, was the first crypto currency on the market. Now there are thousands of crypto currencies, with an aggregate market value of over $200 billion according to Investopedia.
You can buy crypto currency from individuals or exchanges. Your funds are stored in digital wallets that live on the cloud or on user’s computers. Since the algorithms are encrypted, the chances of fraud and identity theft are reduced.