Can We Finally Send Money to Friends Without a Fee?

by Jason Unger

I’m that guy.

You know me. When we go out with friends, and the check comes, I’m the one who never has any cash for splitting the bill.

Sorry. I know. It’s just that I don’t carry cash on me – or else it burns a hole in my pocket. I pay for everything with a debit card, and do all of my banking online.

So when the bill comes, I’m either

a) asking if we can get separate checks
b) paying for the whole bill, and getting re-paid, or
c) having someone cover for me and I’ll pay them back

Yeah, I know – it’s annoying. Sorry.

If we’re dealing with option C, where someone else is covering and I need to pay them back, it’s probably with an e-check sometime in the near future. It’s relatively convenient for me, but can take a few days, and needs to be deposited by the person who gets it. So it’s not as convenient for them.

But there’s never been an easy way to just send money to people without dealing with fees taking a piece of the action. PayPal lets you send money easily, but unless it’s already in your PayPal account, they’re taking a cut of the transaction. So someone’s losing some money in the process.

A bank-to-bank transfer works great, but only if you and the other person both use the same bank.

Now, there may finally be a way to transfer cash or pay someone back quickly and easily without any fees. Square Cash, the app that allows you to send and request money, has a new version out that lets you send or request money from someone simply using their phone number or email address — for free. And they don’t even need the app.

Here’s how they explain it.

People use the free Cash app to pay for group vacations, dinner bills and even to send funds for back to school supplies, meal plans and textbooks. Cash also enables anyone to request money, even from up to 25 people at once, streamlining payment collection for sports teams, parties, and events by helping groups easily manage their money.

The majority of people who use Cash receive funds in their bank account within minutes – ready to spend – with no fees, or the inconvenience of a secondary account balance. Some banks can take between 1-2 business days to deposit a payment.

The other person will need to link their account, however – it’s not like the app prints out money. But the money doesn’t sit in a Square “account” – it actually goes into your bank account.

They’re currently offering a free $1 for signing up and $1 for every time someone you invite via text message signs up, says TechCrunch. I haven’t tested it out yet — I will be shortly — but Walt Mossberg, one of the top technology journalists in the country, had a very positive review when Square Cash first came out late in 2013.

Do you use Square Cash? What’s your experience been so far?

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