How do money transfer apps rank? Consumer Reports takes a look

WASHINGTON — Whether you’re splitting a dinner tab or paying a friend for concert tickets, money transfers using smartphones are becoming increasingly popular. So, which app is ranked best?

Consumer Reports analyzed five of the most popular services people use to pay other people: Apple Pay, Facebook person-to-person payments in messenger, Square’s Cash App, Venmo and the stand-alone app Zelle.

First, the good news: All those services are safe to use.

“But, we did find real differences in the data security and data privacy practices,” added Consumer Reports’ financial services expert Christina Tetreault. “And the real standout in this area is Apple Pay.”

Data privacy helped Apple Pay earn its top ranking among all the services. Compared to the other services, Apple Pay collects less of your personal information when you use it. Also, Apple’s disclosures adamantly state your data won’t be sold.

Another feature that helps Apply Pay stand out is requiring every transaction to be affirmed with either a pin or fingerprint.

“This can help prevent errors and keep you from sending money to the wrong person,” Tetreault said.

Here are some of Consumer Reports’ tips to help keep person-to-person money transfers and data secure:

  • Only do mobile transfers to people you trust;
  • Keep the software and app up to date;
  • Select the highest security and most private settings.

“Take advantage of the extra security offerings that some of the apps do. Not all providers will have those as default settings,” Tetreault said, noting it only takes a few seconds to set up a pin.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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