Paying Your Pals with Digital Options from Venmo to Facebook

Cash is passe, say digital mavens. If you really want to pay your friends back for that pizza party, use an app to shoot money to their mobile-phone number -- or their Facebook account.

Such technology-enabled peer-to-peer payments are growing quickly. Forrester Research predicts mobile peer-to-peer payments will hit $17 billion by 2019, growing an average of 26 percent annually. That compares with expectations of total U.S. mobile payments of $142 billion by that year.

PayPal and its Venmo service have carved out an early lead in the arena, particularly among millennials. Venmo has been growing by leaps and bounds: It processed $2.4 billion in payments in 2014 and almost that much -- $2.1 billion -- in the most recent third quarter alone.

The buzz has grown loud enough that even Apple may join the fray, perhaps as early as next year, according to recent reports. (Apple declined to comment.) Though it's not yet time to throw away your checkbook; peer-to-peer payments are still just a sliver of total online spending.

Here's a closer look at your current options for blasting digital dollars to your online acquaintances:


How it works: PayPal lets you send money directly to other people via its website or app, much the same way you can use the service for online shopping. It also offers a dedicated site called PayPal.Me, which generates personal links you can send to your deadbeat friends so they can transfer money directly to your PayPal account.

Payment limit: No limit if you've linked your bank account to PayPal, but $10,000 dollars if you're paying via a linked credit card.

Fees: None if you're sending funds from a link bank account, but there's a 3 percent charge if you use a credit card.


How it works: Venmo's app [pictured] adds a social component to payments. Users sign up via the...

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