Cash payment apps are safer if you link your credit card to them

Linking your credit card will cost you a 3% fee, but if you send money to someone you shouldn’t, you can get it back.

GREENSBORO, NC — Cash is king, as the saying goes, but not many of us carry it around anymore. In place, peer-to-peer payment apps, such as PayPal, Venmo, and Zelle, bring the convenience of cash right to our phones. What happens when something goes wrong, for example, some type of scam?

Could your hard-earned money be in danger? consumer reports explains how to protect your P2P electronic payments.

The main risk of using a P2P application is that you have no recourse to get your money back if you send money to a scammer or the wrong person, or if you send the wrong amount because of a typo.

Last year alone, according to the Federal Trade Commission, there were more than 70,000 reports of fraud and $130 million in losses with mobile payment apps.

The apps have come under fire from consumer advocates demanding protection against fraud and user error.

Until that happens, CR says one way to protect your payments using P2P apps is to link your credit card to the app and fund your payments through the credit card. When you do this, you might get the same purchase protection your credit card offers, but it might not be free. Many P2P apps charge around 3% when you use a credit card.

“If you choose to keep your P2P app linked to your bank account, CR warns you: if you’re going to use your P2P account for things like sending money to people you don’t know, you really need to be very careful, because you have no way to get that money back if something goes wrong, and it could get very expensive,” said Octavio Blanco, editor of Consumer Reports Money.

Consumer Reports contacted Cash App, PayPal, Venmo and Zelle. All said keeping users informed and educated — and protecting them from fraud — were top priorities.

For details on which P2P applications can be linked to a credit cardas well as step-by-step instructions on how to do so, please visit our website.

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