Need to get money to a friend or family member? A peer-to-peer payment service can help. In most cases parties to the transaction need to create accounts, and fees depend on the amount being transferred or the payment method.
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Square Cash, launched in October, simplifies the process—and it’s free. Neither member of the transaction has to set up an account. Just address an e-mail to your recipient, enter “firstname.lastname@example.org” in the cc: line, type in the amount you want to send in the subject line (you may write a message in the body if you wish) and hit “send.” The first time you use Square Cash, you’ll receive an e-mail prompting you to enter your debit card number at the service’s secure Web site. If your recipient hasn’t used Square Cash before, she’ll have to enter her debit card or bank account number to receive the money. Funds transfer in one to two business days. You may not transfer more than $2,500 a week.
Among other P2P services is Dwolla, which moves funds by connecting to users’ bank accounts rather than to debit or credit cards. If you set up an account, you may send up to $5,000 per transaction. The service charges the recipient 25 cents for transfers of more than $10. PayPal, the only service mentioned here that supports international transfers, lets you send as much as $10,000 per transaction with a debit or credit card. But one party to the transaction must pay 2.9% of the amount plus 30 cents (domestic transfers are free if you connect directly to your bank or PayPal balance). Google Wallet charges 2.9% for a debit or credit card transfer (it’s free if you transfer money from your bank or Google Wallet balance); you may send up to $10,000 per transaction and $50,000 within five days.