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Reviews

Bank of Internet Reviews: Checking, CDs Rates, Money Market, and Savings Accounts

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Note: Bank of Internet has rebranded to become Axos Bank.

San Diego, Calif.-based Bank of Internet USA is a newer bank, having started up in the year 2000 while many traditional banks have been around for decades. It was also one of the first banks to exclusively operate online. Even though it’s a new kid on the block, it’s still a solid performer, and has received an “A” health rating from DepositAccounts.com, another LendingTree company, which indicates it’s a solid choice for consumers looking for a new bank account.

U.S. citizens and resident aliens 18 years or older are welcome to apply for an account with Bank of Internet. To apply online, you’ll need at least three pieces of information: a social security number, a U.S. driver’s license or state ID, and a physical mailing address (P.O. boxes aren’t allowed), along with other basic information about yourself like your name and phone number.

In this review we’ll cover Bank of Internet’s checking, CD, money market, savings, and IRA accounts. We’ll discuss the interest rates, fees, and rules that come along with each account so you can decide whether Bank of Internet will be the best bank for you.

Bank of Internet CD rates

While Bank of Internet’s CDs are pretty standard, they do offer a unique feature: interest is paid out every year for CD terms over one year in length.

Term

APY

3 months

0.55%

6 months

0.75%

12 months

1.00%

24 months

1.20%

36 months

1.30%

48 months

1.40%

60 months

2.25%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty:
    • For the 3-month CD, you’ll pay 1.5 months’ worth of interest.
    • For the 6-month CD, you’ll pay 3 months’ worth of interest.
    • For the 12-month CD, you’ll pay 6 months’ worth of interest.
    • For the 24-month CD, you’ll pay 12 months’ worth of interest.
    • For the 36-month CD, you’ll pay 18 months’ worth of interest.
    • For the 48-month and 60-month CD, you’ll pay 24 months’ worth of interest.

Bank of Internet offers a pretty standard CD with this account. You can choose from a range of terms, and you must bring a moderately-sized deposit to the table to open an account. You’ll also face a penalty for withdrawing your cash early, and if you do withdraw money, Bank of Internet will first remove it from the interest you’ve earned. Since the APY you’ll earn is calculated based on the assumption that you leave the interest in the account to earn even more interest, withdrawing any money early can reduce the actual APY you get.

One important heads-up: if you choose a CD term longer than a year, you’ll receive a payout of the interest you’ve earned from the prior year, rather than having it sit in your CD account until maturity. Additionally, the CD will auto-renew to another CD of the same term length when it matures. You’ll still have a 10-day grace period to withdraw the money or make any changes to the CD, however.

 

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How Bank of Internet’s CD rates compare

When it comes to CD rates, Bank of Internet is a bit like Goldilocks. It doesn’t offer the best CD rates out there, but it also don’t offer the worst. In addition, its minimum deposit size to open a CD is relatively standard among banks, however it will be a bit cost-prohibitive to many people, especially those just starting out their savings.

One option to get around this is to find another bank with a lower minimum deposit size for CDs, or to simply open a savings account until you have enough cash saved up to open a higher-interest-earning CD.

Bank of Internet checking account options

Rewards Checking

This fee-free account offers a great opportunity to earn high interest rates on your checking account money.

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

Up to 1.25%

$0

  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fees: $0
  • ATM fee refunds: Unlimited ATM fee refunds for any domestic ATMs
  • Overdraft fees: Free, if you link a savings or money market account to cover any overdrafts.

If you’re looking for a high-interest-earning checking account, this is a great one to consider. You can earn three different tiers of interest rates, depending on how you use the account. To earn the base rate of 0.4166% APY, you’ll need to receive at least $1,000 worth of monthly direct deposits into this account. To earn an additional 0.4166% APY, you’ll need to also make at least 10 purchases of at least $3 per month with your Bank of Internet Visa® debit card. Finally, if you also make another five purchases (for a total of 15) of at least $3 per month, in addition to the direct deposit requirements, you can earn yet another 0.4166% APY — totalling a whopping 1.25% APY.

This account also comes with a cashback rewards program. To enroll, you’ll need to log in to your account and navigate to the Purchase Rewards section, where you can see what cashback offers are available at local and online stores. You’ll need to manually activate the offers in order for it to work; otherwise, you won’t earn anything. If you do earn any cash back, it’ll be deposited into your account at the end of the next month.

 

Platinum Checking

The only string attached with the Platinum Checking account is that you need a high balance to earn any interest.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

0.71%

$5,000+

  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fees: $0
  • ATM fee refunds: Up to $8 per month from domestic ATM surcharge fees
  • Overdraft fees: $0

If you tend to keep a large balance in your checking account and don’t use it a whole lot, this could be a good rewards checking account to consider. You won’t earn anything on the first $4,999 in the account, but once you hit the $5,000 mark, you’ll earn a decent interest rate for a checking account, and with no strings attached like with Bank of Internet’s Rewards Checking account.

There aren’t any fees for using any domestic ATMs; however, you still might owe ATM surcharge fees from the ATM’s owner. Bank of Internet will reimburse you up to $8 for these surcharge fees, but unlike the Rewards Checking account, it’s not an unlimited amount — so this account may be better for folks who don’t use ATMs frequently either.

The Platinum Checking account also comes with the same cashback rewards program as the Rewards Checking account. Simply log into your online account, select which offers you’re interested in, and shop at that store. Your cash rewards will be deposited into your bank account at the end of the next month.

 

CashBack Checking

You can earn up to 1.00% cash back when you use your Bank of Internet USA debit card to make purchases with this account.
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fees: $0
  • ATM fee refunds: Unlimited ATM fee refunds for any domestic ATMs.
  • Overdraft fees: $25

Bank of Internet’s CashBack Checking account may be an option to consider if earning cash back if more your style. You’ll earn 1.00% cash back on any signature-based purchases made with your Bank of Internet USA debit card if you keep an average daily balance of $1,500 in your account. (A “signature-based purchase” is one where you don’t use the PIN pad.) If you have less than the $1,500 average daily balance in your account, you’ll still earn cash back, but at a slightly lower rate (0.50%).

You can earn up to $2,000 in cash back per month. Also, heads-up: this cash back is counted as income, so you’ll owe taxes on this money when you file your taxes at the end of the year (the bank will send you a 1099-MISC form to record on your taxes).

In addition to this cashback program, you’re also eligible for the regular cashback rewards program offered with the other checking accounts. All you have to do is log in to your online account, select which offers you’re interested in purchasing, make the purchase, and earn a set amount of cash back on top of what you’re already earning. The money from this cashback program and your normal daily spending will be deposited into your checking account.

 

Essential Checking

Bank of Internet’s Essential Checking account doesn’t earn any interest or come with any inherent rewards, but it won’t cost you anything either.
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fees: $0
  • ATM fee refunds: Unlimited ATM fee refunds for any domestic ATMs.
  • Overdraft fees: $0

This fee-free account also does not offer any interest, nor does it come with its own cashback rewards program like the CashBack Checking account.

However, this account is still eligible for Bank of Internet’s own cashback rewards program. To earn cashback rewards with this program, you need to log into your account online and select the cashback offers that you’re interested in. Then, simply use your Bank of Internet USA Visa® Debit Card to make a purchase with these merchants, and your cash rewards will be deposited into your bank account in the next month.

 

Golden Checking

The Golden Checking account allows you to earn a small amount of interest and free checks if you’re 55 or older.

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

0.20%

$0

  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fees: $0
  • ATM fee refunds: Up to $8 per month from domestic ATM surcharge fees.
  • Overdraft fees: $0

If you’re over age 55, you’re eligible to open Bank of Internet’s Golden Checking account. It offers a few extra perks on top of its regular accounts — you’ll earn a small amount of interest on any money you keep in the account (with no stipulations for minimum balances or transactions), and you’ll get a free box of checks as often as every six months.

In addition, you’re eligible for Bank of Internet’s cashback program. If you log into your online account, you’ll be able to select from certain retailers offering cashback rewards. Simply activate these rewards, spend money with your Bank of Internet USA Visa® Debit Card at these retailers, and the money you earn will be deposited back into your account the following month.

 

First Checking

This checking account is a great option to wean your teen into managing their own money.

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

0.25%

$0

  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fees: $0
  • ATM fee refunds: Up to $12 per month from domestic ATM surcharge fees.
  • Overdraft fees: $0

Bank of Internet’s First Checking account is designed to be exactly that… your teen’s first checking account. It’s jointly owned by you and your teen (ages 13 to 17, or 18 in Alabama), so you also have complete control over the account, including being able to deposit an allowance into the account and monitor spending.

There are also a few other nice safeguards that come with the account. In order to prevent totally reckless spending, your teen is limited to withdrawing just $100 cash per day, or making just $500 in point-of-sale transactions. Even though it’s a checking account, this account doesn’t allow any check-writing capabilities, though it does come with a Visa® debit card. Finally, your teen won’t be allowed to make certain purchases or use their card at certain kinds of establishments, like bars, liquor stores, or casinos.

 

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How Bank of Internet’s checking accounts compare

We really like all of Bank of Internet’s checking accounts because they each come with low fees — or even no fees. You can use any domestic ATM you want without paying any Bank of Internet fees, and each of its checking accounts even offers at least some, if not an unlimited amount, of ATM surcharge fee reimbursements. This makes these accounts great for people who use ATMs frequently.

In addition, many of its accounts offers great interest rates. Some of these accounts — like the Rewards Checking account — are even currently rated as some of our best online checking accounts.

Bank of Internet’s Money Market account

You can write checks from this money market account, but you won’t earn as much interest as with a regular Bank of Internet Smart Savings account.

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

1.05%

$0

  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fees: $0
  • ATM fee refunds: None
  • Overdraft fees: $25

Bank of Internet’s Money Market account earns slightly less than its regular Smart Savings account, but in return, you get the option to write checks from this account. You can also pay your bills online for free with this account.

But, just like other money market or savings accounts, you’re limited to making just six transactions per month from this account, per Federal Regulation D. If you go over that number, you’ll pay a $10 excessive transaction fee per each new transaction.

Heads-up: if you also have a checking account and have opted into overdraft protection with this account, any overdraft transfers made on your behalf will also count against the six transaction limit. Finally, any checks you write will be counted against the six-transaction limit in the month that they’re posted to your account, not in the month that you write them.

 

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How Bank of Internet’s Money Market account compares

Unfortunately, Bank of Internet’s Money Market account offers a lackluster interest rate, especially compared to the best money market account rates out there — but we do like that it has no monthly account maintenance fee and no minimum balance requirement. This will make the account accessible to anyone, but if a high interest rate is what you’re after, you can still find higher-yielding accounts with no fees from other banks and credit unions.

Bank of Internet’s Savings account

This account offers a fairly high interest rate, but remember to request an ATM card if you plan on making ATM withdrawals from this account.

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

1.30%

$0

  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fees: $0
  • ATM fee refunds: None
  • Overdraft fees: $25

The Smart Savings account from Bank of Internet is a pretty standard savings account. Like all savings and money market accounts, you can only make up to six transactions per month from this account as per Federal Regulation D. If you exceed that amount, you’ll pay a $10 excessive transaction charge.

One thing to note with this account is that you’ll need to request a free ATM card with this account if you plan on making ATM withdrawals from it — it doesn’t come with one automatically. It’s not a big deal, but just something to be aware of if you ever plan on making an ATM withdrawal from your savings account.

 

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How Bank of Internet’s savings account compares

Bank of Internet does offers a higher rate than most banks, but still, it’s not the top contender out there. For that, you’ll need to instead turn to our recent rankings of the best online savings accounts.

Its terms, however, are quite fair. There are very few fees that come with this account, and if most people use it as intended, it’s possible that they never will pay any fees for having a savings account with Bank of Internet. In addition, there is no minimum balance, so it’s easy to get your savings started with this bank.

Bank of Internet’s IRA accounts

IRA CD rates

These CDs earn a much lower rate than Bank of Internet’s normal CDs, but in return you do get the tax benefits of an IRA account.

Term

APY

12 months

0.60%

18 months

0.70%

36 months

0.75%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty:
    • For the 12-month and 18-month CD, you’ll pay six months’ worth of interest.
    • For the 36-month CD, you’ll pay 18 months’ worth of interest.

Although Bank of Internet’s IRA CDs offer a paltry rate compared to its regular CDs, you do still get the tax benefits from opening these accounts within an IRA. Specifically, you can open a Roth IRA or a traditional IRA through these CDs.

This CD comes with a $1,000 minimum deposit, which may be a hard pill to swallow for savers just starting out on their retirement savings journey. There are other signs this account is geared towards older savers, too: if you need to take a required minimum distribution (RMD) from your IRA, you can do so from these CDs without paying an early withdrawal penalty — this is a nice feature.

When your IRA CD matures, it’ll automatically roll over into another IRA CD of the same terms, but with the new interest rate of the day. You’ll still have a 10-day grace period to make any changes to the CD without paying any early withdrawal penalties.

There are a few fees to be aware of with this account: If you close the account and/or transfer your money out, you’ll face a $35 fee. If you’d like an annual paper statement, that’ll also set you back $10.

 

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How Bank of Internet’s IRA CD rates compare

We’ll be honest — Bank of Internet doesn’t offer very high interest rates on its IRA CDs. It may be convenient for you to open an IRA CD here if you already have an account, but if earning the best returns on your money is your primary concern, you will be better off choosing one of these IRA CDs with much higher rates.

IRA Savings account

You can earn a low rate on your retirement savings but have more flexibility for moving your retirement cash around with this IRA Savings account.

APY

Balance Requirement

0.15%

$250 - $1,000

0.70%

Over $1,000

  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • Overdraft fees: $25

If you think you might want to move your retirement savings to a new institution before your CD term is up and you don’t want to pay early withdrawal fees, then you may want to consider an IRA savings account. You can get started with your retirement savings with as little as $250 with this account, making it much more accessible to those just getting started. You can also choose from a Roth IRA or a traditional IRA.

You won’t get an ATM card with this account (if you’re saving for retirement, you probably don’t need one anyway). If you decide to roll over or close your IRA, you’ll face a $35 IRA transfer fee or a $35 IRA closing fee as well. Finally, you’ll pay a $10 fee if you’d like an annual paper statement from your account.

 

Overall review of Bank of Internet’s products

Bank of Internet is a bit hit-or miss. They have many different types of checking accounts, and most of them offer fantastic rates and perks, such as a cashback rewards program. Additionally, these accounts don’t come with any maintenance fees. However, the interest rates offered on its money market, savings, and CD products aren’t really that great, especially compared with its competitors.

It may be worth keeping a checking account with Bank of Internet if you’re looking for a low-fee, high-earning account. But at the same time, it’s also possible to find great rates on the whole package — checking and savings accounts — at other banks as well.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

Lindsay VanSomeren is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lindsay here

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College Students and Recent Grads, Reviews

Review: SunTrust Custom Choice Loan

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

mortar board cash

SunTrust offers students a good option to finance their education with its Custom Choice Loan. Interest rates are fairly low, students may apply with a cosigner, and it comes with several repayment options. As a bonus, SunTrust offers graduates a 2% principal balance reduction as long as students graduate with at least a Bachelor’s degree.

 

Details of SunTrust’s Custom Choice Loan

The minimum amount you can borrow is $1,001 and the maximum amount you can borrow is $65,000. The total amount of Federal and private student loan debt you take out per year can’t exceed $150,000. You can choose a 7- or 10-year repayment term, and a 15-year term is available for borrowers taking out $5,000 or more.

Fixed APRs range from 5.35% to 14.05%, and variable APRs range from 4.37% to 13.38%.

You have four choices of repayment plans:

  • Immediate Payment – There’s no grace period as you begin full payments while in school
  • Interest-only Payment – You pay the interest that accrues on your balance while in school
  • Partial Payment – Available on loans $5,000 or more, you can make payments of $25 per month while in school
  • Full Deferment – You get a grace period of six months when you choose this option, and you’re eligible for deferment as long as you’re enrolled in school part-time at an approved school (this option is the closest to how Federal student loans function)

The interest rate you get approved for is based on your credit history, loan term, amount requested, and other information provided on your application.

A 0.25% interest rate reduction applies if you set your loans to autopay, and SunTrust customers benefit from an additional 0.25% reduction if they pay through their SunTrust bank account.

How Does the Custom Choice Loan Compare to Federal Student Loans?

Before applying for the Custom Choice Loan, you should exhaust all of your federal student loan options first. Make sure your family fills out the FAFSA form to see what you might be eligible for. Federal student loans have lower fixed interest rates, and come with more benefits than private student loans do. These benefits will help in case you hit a rough patch with your money.

For the 2018 – 2019 Academic year, Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans have a fixed interest rate of 5.05%. That makes the 5.35% fixed APR and 4.37% variable APR of the Custom Choice Loan comparable. However, those are the lowest possible APRs available, and if you don’t have excellent credit, you may not be eligible to receive them. Variable rates are also subject to change, which means they can increase over the life of your loan and become more expensive.

SunTrust doesn’t have an origination fee with its loan, but the Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan has a 1.062% disbursement fee from October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019.

SunTrust’s APRs aren’t horrible, though. If you can, apply with a cosigner who has better credit, as you’ll be eligible for lower rates. You want to get as close to Federal interest rates as possible to get the best deal.

[7 Things You Need to Know about Private Student Loans]

Eligibility Requirements

You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to apply. A majority of four-year public or private colleges are eligible – you can check eligibility on the first page of the application.

If your credit history isn’t sufficient enough, you can apply with a cosigner, and there’s a cosigner release option available after 36 consecutive, on-time payments.

You must also be the legal age of majority when completing the application. Applicants residing in Iowa or Wisconsin aren’t eligible for this loan.

[How to Tell if Your Loans are Federal or Private]

Application Process and Documents Needed

You can apply online by yourself or with a cosigner. After your application and credit (a hard credit inquiry is used) are reviewed, you’ll be presented with your loan options. If you choose to move forward with the loan, you’ll be provided with a list of documents you need to upload.

Once you’ve submitted everything, an Approval Disclosure will be sent to you for acceptance. You have 30 days to accept the terms of the loan before they expire.

Upon acceptance, SunTrust will contact your school to request certification of the loan, as you’re only allowed to borrow enough to cover your education expenses. This also ensures you don’t take out more student loan debt than necessary.

Once everything is complete, you (and your cosigner, if you applied with one) have three days to back out of the loan. After that, the loan is finalized, and the funds are sent directly to your school.

Have these documents ready to submit when applying:

  • Proof of income – the student or cosigner must show proof of positive income in the form of a recent W2, paystub, or tax return
  • Photo ID
  • Proof of residency may be required if Photo ID isn’t sufficient

The Fine Print

There are no origination, application, or prepayment fees for this loan. If you’re 10 days past due on a payment, you’ll be charged 5% of the unpaid amount as a late fee.

The minimum loan amount is different in certain states: $5,001 in Alaska, $3,001 in Colorado, $2,501 in New Mexico, $5,101 in Oklahoma, $5,001 in Rhode Island, and $3,701 in South Carolina.

[Student Loan Disbursement 101]

Repayment Assistance Options

American Education Services is the loan servicer for SunTrust. If you experience any difficulty repaying your student loans, you’ll have to contact them for repayment assistance options. You may be able to apply for a deferment, forbearance, or interest-only payment for an extended period of time.

Pros and Cons of the Custom Choice Loan

Pro: If the borrower dies, then the balance of the loan may be forgiven as long as SunTrust is contacted and provided with proof of death. (If the cosigner dies, the student remains responsible for the loan.) Students who become permanently disabled can apply for a loan discharge as well.

Con: The loan isn’t available to those living in Iowa or Wisconsin, and minimum loan amounts differ in six states. Make sure that doesn’t apply to you in case you’re not looking to borrow a large amount.

Pro: The Custom Choice Loan fittingly gives you a few choices when it comes to loan repayment options. Choosing partial payments or interest-only payments can help lessen the amount of interest you’ll pay over the life of your loan, and are easier to manage than going into immediate repayment.

Pro: SunTrust offers a Graduation Reward where 2% of your principal balance will be reduced, provided you graduate with at least a Bachelor’s degree. The principal balance is based off the net total of all disbursements you receive from SunTrust.

SunTrust Bank

APPLY NOW Secured

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Private Student Loan Alternatives

Not eligible for a loan with SunTrust? There are many other private lenders offering student loans, such as Citizen’s Bank and Sallie Mae.

Citizens Bank: You can borrow up to $90,000 and your combined Federal and private student loan debt can’t exceed $120,000. Fixed APRs range from 6.39% to 11.65%, and variable APRs range from 6.14% to 11.40%. Repayment terms offered are 5, 10, and 15 years.

Citizens Bank (RI)

APPLY NOW Secured

on Citizens Bank (RI)’s secure website

Sallie Mae: One of the most well-known private student loan lenders, Sallie Mae has a Smart Option Student loan with fixed APRs ranging from 6.25% to 9.16%, and variable APRs ranging from 4.00% to 9.04%. You can borrow up to the cost of attendance, and this loan comes with a Graduated Repayment option.

Sallie Mae Bank

APPLY NOW Secured

on Sallie Mae Bank’s secure website

It’s also worth checking with your bank or local credit union for their rates. If you or your cosigner have an existing relationship with a bank, that could help you secure lower rates.

Are you afraid of your credit being negatively affected if you apply with too many lenders? As long as you complete applications within a 30-day window, then the credit bureaus will count all inquiries as one inquiry, ensuring your credit doesn’t take a huge hit. Shopping around for the best deal is worth the effort with student loan debt being such a burden. Lower interest rates will make your loan more affordable.

A Solid Option if You Have to Use a Private Lender

The SunTrust Custom Choice Loan is a solid option for students requiring more financial assistance than what the Federal government can provide. SunTrust customers benefit more with the 0.50% interest rate deduction, and no one can complain about receiving a 2% principal reduction on their loans upon graduating.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Erin Millard
Erin Millard |

Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at erinm@magnifymoney.com

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Reviews

Apple Pay Cash Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

With so many peer-to-peer money transfer options on the market, it can be difficult to figure out which is the most functional. If you’re an Apple user, you’ve probably been exposed to their proprietary product: Apple Pay Cash. Is it the best option for you, though, as far as fees and security are concerned?

Let’s dive in to find out.

Apple Pay at a glance

Fees: 3% fee if you use a credit card; free if you use a debit card or balance from Apple Pay Cash

How long it takes to receive funds: Funds are sent immediately to the recipient.

Fraud protection: If you feel you are a victim of fraud or a scam, Apple encourages you to contact the company immediately.

Compatible devices: iPhones (XR, XS, XS Max, X, 8, 8 Plus, 7, 7 Plus, 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, and SE models), iPads (iPad Pro 3rd generation, iPad 6th generation, iPad Pro, iPad 5th generation, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3 and iPad mini 4 models), Apple Watches (1st generation, Series 1, Series 2, Series 3 and Series 4 models), and Mac models introduced after 2012 with an Apple Pay-enabled iPhone or Apple Watch. Mac model must have Touch ID.

How Apple Pay Cash works

Before you can start sending money, you need to link a card or bank account to your Apple Pay account.
First you’ll have to identify if your financial institution participates. If they do, you can then add your account to your device in the ‘Wallet’ section. You will have to add each individual card to each individual device. Keep in mind that while sending money to friends and family is free with a debit card, you will incur a 3% transaction fee if you use a credit card to send those same funds.

Now that you have a funding source, you can send money to family and friends easily. On your iPhone or Apple Watch, you can simply ask Siri. Apple tells consumers you can say something along the lines of “Send $50 to Mom,” to use this functionality.

You can also do a completely manual transfer. On your iPhone or iPad, you’ll be doing it through messaging. Open up a conversation with your recipient and press the Apple Pay button.

It looks like this:

If you don’t see it, click the button that looks like this:

You’ll be prompted to enter a dollar amount.

 

apple pay apple pay

 

Then simply type in the amount you’d like to send, add a message for your recipient if you so desire, and press the button that looks like this:

Finally, to send the payment, you will need to verify your Face ID, Touch ID or passcode.

To do the same with your Apple Watch, you will also need to open a conversation in messages and press the Apple Pay button. Turn the digital crown to set your payment amount, then turn it again when you’re ready to submit. Press “Pay,” and then double click the side button.

When someone sends you money via Apple Pay Cash, it will be deposited into your Apple Pay account. The first time you receive money, you will have to formally accept the payment within seven days. From there on out, payments will be automatically accepted unless you change your account settings.

You can leave your money in your Apple Pay Cash account, or you can transfer it to your bank account. Bear in mind that when you send money, it will be drawn from your Apple Pay Cash account first. If you send more than you have in your Apple Pay Cash account or your do not have a balance, it will come from your first payment method. This will preferably be a debit card so you can avoid the 3% fee which is incurred when you use a credit card.

Apple Pay Cash vs. Venmo

Except in rare instances where there is a hiccup in the payment process, both Apple Pay Cash and Venmo transfer money from user to user automatically. It may take one to three days to transfer money into your bank account, but your funds will be available via your Apple Pay Cash or Venmo balance immediately.

These two services also have the same fees as noted in our in-depth comparison: 3% of all transactions paid via credit card.

The biggest difference between Venmo and Apple Cash Pay is that Venmo is available to those who don’t have an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or compatible Mac. If most of your friends and family use Apple products regularly, this accessibility issue could be a moot point. But if you or much of your social circle uses Android or products with other operating systems, Venmo may be the way to go.

Apple Pay Cash vs Zelle

If you don’t feel like waiting a few days to get your money into your bank account, Zelle is a good alternative. Offered by many banks, Zelle is very much like Apple Pay Cash and Venmo except that money is transferred directly from bank account to bank account. You won’t have a “Zelle” balance like you would have a Venmo or Apple Pay Cash balance. Transactions with Zelle are usually completed within minutes.

Zelle itself doesn’t charge consumers any fees to use its service, but your bank or credit union might. The only fee to worry about with Apple Pay Cash is the 3% fee when you use a credit card as your payment method.

Risks of mobile payment apps

Apple Pay Cash is secured on various levels. First, you will have to enter a passcode, Face ID or Touch ID to send any money. This is required each and every time you make a transaction. Secondly, your actual card numbers aren’t stored directly on your mobile device or Apple’s servers, which helps keep you safer from potential hacks.

Because these security measures are already in place, the remaining bulk of staying safe with Apple Pay Cash is placed on your shoulders. Make sure you don’t accept payments from people you don’t know. In fact, Apple encourages you to report these payments as “junk.”

Even with people you do know, you should be careful of imposters. You may get a payment from a “friend” with a dummy phone number or email address and/or Apple Pay Cash account. If you’re not expecting a payment from someone, verify that they sent you money by getting in touch with them before accepting the payment.

If you want to have to opportunity to reject payments, you will have to change your settings. While you will have to formally accept your first payment, after that the default is to accept all payments automatically. Go into your settings to change payment approval to “manual” in order to dodge any shady incoming payments.

Finally, Apple cautions users to be wary if a company requests an Apple Pay Cash payment via messaging. Apple will never ask you to pay your bill this way, and it’s not the safest way to pay your other bills either as you can’t be 100% sure it’s really the entity you owe money to rather than an imposter.

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Brynne Conroy
Brynne Conroy |

Brynne Conroy is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brynne here

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