I never have cash on me. Truth. After the tooth fairy made her first appearance, my son referred to his stash, which he had already misplaced, as “the green stuff.” Obviously, he rarely sees me using dollar bills as I pay for virtually everything online, with a card or with my phone.
At the end of a lovely date night with my husband, nothing screams buzz kill more than this conversation: “How much do we owe the sitter? Do you have enough cash? I thought you had money. Let’s stop at an ATM. Does she take a check? Can we pay her next week?”
After one too many of those heated discussions, I approached my twenty-year-old babysitter and asked if she would take an online payment. Surprisingly, she told me she preferred it since she uses her debit card for everything and would rather have the money deposited directly into her checking account. My love for her blossomed at that precise moment.
I signed up for Popmoney (acronym for “Paying Other People”) through Citibank, a free service that allows me to send my babysitter a payment without her being a Citibank customer. Once I completed setup on my end, she checked her email and authorized my payments to her chosen account. That’s it. At the end of the night, I log in to Citibank, click on Popmoney, make a payment to her email account, she gets immediate notification and receives the money in her account within a few days. I receive an email confirming when she receives the money. Popmoney ensures that my sitter and I do not share any account information, only our names and email addresses, and I like this added security feature.
The biggest disadvantage of Popmoney is the wait of one to three business days for the transaction to complete, but my sitter assures me that she doesn’t mind. It probably helps that I tend to be a bit more generous and round up more when paying her with Popmoney since I don’t need exact cash. Although I have the Citibank app on my phone, I find it easier to make the payment through my computer.
If your bank does not participate in Popmoney, you can enroll directly through their website, although a small transaction fee of less than a dollar applies. As of now, the following institutions participate: Ally, TD, Fifth Third, Regions, US Bank, Bank of America, Citibank, PNC, Sun Trust, and Wells Fargo. Chase and INC have their own versions of electronic payment.
I wish everyone in my life accepted online payment: the handyman, plumber, and music teacher. In the meantime, I’ll continue to keep some paper checks on hand, and go to the ATM when I need to get some more “green stuff.”
Stay tuned for my upcoming review on Venmo, a competitor in the online payment world.
Have you used Popmoney or the like? I’d love to hear your thoughts.