Smart Buying

Peer-to-Peer Payments Made Easier

These prepaid cards are linked to peer-to-peer accounts.

Venmo, a peer-to-peer (or “P2P”) payment app, recently unveiled a Mastercard-branded card that allows users to pay for items with money stashed in their accounts. The card is similar to a Visa-branded card introduced last year by Square Cash that allows users to spend money in their Cash P2P app.

Both cards can be linked to your bank account. In the case of the Venmo card, you can choose to have your card auto­matically reloaded if you don’t have enough money in the app to pay for a purchase. The Cash card must be reloaded manually from your bank account. If you don’t have enough money in the app to pay for a purchase, the card will be declined.

Meanwhile, Starbucks has introduced a Visa-branded prepaid card aimed at people who can’t get enough free coffee. Unlike the Starbucks app, which can only be used to buy Starbucks products, the Chase Bank prepaid card can be used anywhere that Visa is accepted. Users earn one star in the Starbucks loyalty program for every $10 they spend with the card.

None of the cards has a monthly fee, and all offer zero liability as long as you report unauthorized transactions within 60 days.

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