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Popmoney review: direct transactions without third party accounts

Many customers using electronic payment services today like their convenience and speed, while there is a large number of those, who prefer to hold back from financial technologies on concerns of security of their personal data and funds. Here is where Popmoney decided to dispel doubts and offer its bank-to-bank payment solution, making it needless to store money in the account serviced by a payment system.

Many customers using electronic payment services today like their convenience and speed, while there is a large number of those, who prefer to hold back from financial technologies on concerns of security of their personal data and funds. Here is where Popmoney decided to dispel doubts and offer its bank-to-bank payment solution, making it needless to store money in the account serviced by a payment system.

Person-to-person or bank to bank

Popmoney was created in December 2010 as a person-to-person payment service by CashEdge, a company acquired by Fiserv in 2011. Initially, this payment platform was invented as a substitution for conventional check payment schemes. The name “Popmoney” comes from an acronym standing for Pay Other People Money.

P2P capability of Popmoney is somewhat unique, because most existing P2P payment providers hold the funds of their users in dedicated user accounts, while Popmoney enables direct transactions between the bank accounts of the parties. With this factor in mind, customers may remain confident about the safety of their money, if they tend to trust the banking system more than electronic payment providers.

Coverage and fees

After the takeover of CashEdge by Fiserv, Popmoney was integrated with Zashpay, which was dealing with P2P payment services. Fiserv’s Zashpay listed over 1,400 financial institutions registered for its platform, while Popmoney’s list was shorter, yet composed of larger financial players in the market. As of today with Zashpay’s 1,400 + financial services providers, partnership deals of Popmoney cover such major banks as Citibank, U.S. Bank, PNC Bank, TD Bank, BBVA Compass and others.

While Popmoney is automatically offered by participating banks, customers may opt for signing up directly on the website of Popmoney. Even if a user fails to find his/her bank in the list of supported financial institutions, the service can still be used for making and accepting money transfers, but at higher fees. Thus, the regular fee charged to a customer using the service directly on the Popmoney.com website makes up $0.95 per transaction. Accepting the money transfer is free, unless the money is requested from the sender. In this case Popmoney may charge a fee. Fees charged by participating banks and credit unions may vary, and customers should contact their respective financial institutions for additional information.

Popmoney applies some restrictions on the processing amounts. Thus, a debit card can be used to spend only $500 a day, and if a user sends money directly from the checking account the amount is limited to $2,000 a day. In most cases the transaction takes about 1 to 3 days to be processed, but in the spring 2013 the company made it possible to perform real-time payments for certain cases. Money transfers made from the debit card complete the next day, if the transaction is made before 5 p.m.

Using Popmoney

Popmoney can be used as a standalone mobile application downloaded onto the smartphone, or accessed either on its own website or through online banking platform. The process of sending money is based on the use of email address or mobile phone number of an addressee. When the money is sent a recipient is notified of the transfer through SMS or email message, and if the recipient’s bank is a member of Popmoney, the funds may be claimed directly from the bank account. If a user is not logged into the online banking profile, Popmoney should be instructed on where to route the payment by providing bank account information. If a customer has never used Popmoney before, additional details may be requested for completing the transaction.

Apart from sending and receiving money transfers, Popmoney can be used for sharing the bills and establishing recurring payments for some services, including a rental fee to a lessor. Besides, users may request money from another user or from a group of users. This function allows customers to share the bill for a dinner or collect the required amount to achieve some personal goals.

Security

There is no detailed information on the website of Popmoney about the security measures applied by the service to protect customers against identity theft or other types of fraudulent activity. There is just a general explanation that Popmoney is safe, nothing more. Potential users may rely on the fact that Popmoney is owned by Fiserv, and as such all transactions performed through this P2P service are processed by Fiserv, a provider of financial technologies dealing with about 70% of all bill payments initiated through financial institutions in the United States. Besides, the website of Popmoney is regularly checked by VeriSign.

However, highly recognized names may be just a vox for a great number of customers wishing to be sure about the safety of their funds and know more about security practices implemented by a financial services provider.

As long as Popmoney uses emails or mobile phone numbers for completing transactions, there is a risk of fake money requests sent from compromised email addresses. Bearing this in mind, users are recommended to take extra measures and talk directly to their friends or family members to confirm if the request comes from them.

Most experienced users find Popmoney as no great thing for shopping online, because it has no buyer protection practiced by other services like PayPal or Venmo. When paying with Popmoney for purchases online customers are left unprotected against inadequate goods or the cases when the goods are not supplied at all.

Key drawbacks

Major problem about Popmoney is the speed of transactions, as the processing time may take from 1 to 3 days, which is inconvenient for most of the users seeking fast money sending and acceptance services. It is especially a predicament for those users who cannot afford waiting for days before their money comes.

Another flaw in the service is the volume of personal information, which may be required, if a user or a recipient, in particular, is serviced by a non-participating bank. In this case a payee will have to disclose his/her bank details to Popmomey in order to claim the funds transferred.