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How to avoid a trip to the ATM with popular payment apps for your cellphone

Posted at 5:59 PM, Jan 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-01 19:42:20-05

A need for cash normally means a drive to the ATM and possibly a wait in line, but not anymore because peer-to-peer payments are a new innovative tool.

Want to loan a buddy some cash or maybe pay some back? Banking expert Kimberly Palmer with Nerd Wallet suggests payment apps like Venmo, Square Cash and Zelle as tools that eliminate the need for cash in certain situations.

Here's how it works: You and your friend download a payment app, connect it to your bank or credit card account, pick who you want to pay and send them cash

Everyone wants to save time but what about security? Apps may use encryption or not store your information to begin with but Palmer says the biggest security risk may be you.

If you accidentally add a zero or send more money than intended that cash comes right out of your bank account. What if you send it to the wrong person? It could take days to get your money back. So before you download know the dispute process in case there's an issue and once you use it stay off public WiFi because it may not be safe.

What about the cost? Linking bank accounts is usually free. Credit cards cost 3-percent per transaction.