We do almost everything online now. We chat with friends, share photos, and find dates. We watch movies and listen to music. And, increasingly, we shop and send and receive to each other money online. As online commerce was coming into its own, the world needed a company like PayPal that let you pay and get paid online. It still does, but now some people are asking, “Does it have to be PayPal?” No, it does not. Join me in a search for a PayPal Alternative: 10 Sites Like PayPal presented for your consideration.
Who ever knew there was so much profit to be made from sending money for free? Yet it seems companies are clamoring for our business in peer-to-peer payments. PayPal was arguably the first, but more and more are popping up, noticeably from Internet companies like Google and Facebook (with Apple looking into it).
Peer-to-peer payments are those made from one individual to another, like sending money to your Mom, which all good kids at least think about doing. Or maybe a friend sends you a text with a cool pic of something she found at a yard sale; peer-to-peer lets you send her the funds to get it. Peer-to-peer systems usually use an email address to direct the payment your way. That keeps all account information private between payer and payee.
Most peer-to-peer services companies also have vendor payment systems. This may be upfront, like when you use PayPal to pay on a site or Google’s Android Pay in a store or it may be back end enterprise support like processing payments and payroll for large companies.
I’m a huge fan of PayPal and have been for years, probably one of its earlier customers following its launch in 2002. I did a lot on eBay back then both as buyer and seller. PayPal sounded much better than money orders and personal checks, the currency of online auctions back then. With PayPal, all either partner in the sale needed to send or receive money directly to or from their bank account was an email address, and payment was immediate. That made shipping at least 2 or 3 days faster since we no longer had to wait for the money order to arrive in the US Mail.
After so many years, I’ve grown comfortable with the convenience of PayPal. I like to find it as an accepted method of payment when shopping new stores online or making an online charitable contribution. It’s so much faster but most of all, it’s safer to use PayPal on a site I don’t know well because I do not have to provide my credit card information to that vendor.
When I made PayPal my choice, there were no real competitors. I chose it and have grown to be happy with it. But what if I hadn’t come to PayPal when it was the only company doing what it does? Would PayPal still be my first choice? If I were just today deciding to use an online payment system to both send and receive funds, what options are available? Would PayPal still be my choice?
Maybe, maybe not. PayPal is a hard act to beat. They offer peer-to-peer payment plus I can find it as an accepted payment method at many online retailers. A lot of supposedly similar services do only one or the other — vendor payments or peer-to-peer. The right combination of two services on either side of that could work, too. It just depends on what’s out there, so let’s start taking a look at them now.
Peer-to-Peer Payment Solutions
Since last year, Facebook friends have been able to send payments in Facebook Messenger. All you have to do is connect a debit card from a U. S. Bank to your Facebook account. Open a chat with your friend, click on the dollar sign icon, and send them cash. Like most other peer-to-peer payments, you see the transfer immediately but may not have funds available in your bank account for up to five days. There’s never a fee. Facebook’s product manager, Steve Davis, says “We’re not trying to make a profit out of payments,” comparing it to stickers and photos users can send in the app.
All you need is an email address and a bank account to become part of Chase QuickPay. Just make sure that either you or the person you’re exchanging money with has a Chase checking account. Also, payment is not received as fast as the commercials make it appear. What you see in the commercial is the person on the receiving end accepting the payment. Chase’s FAQs reveal that if the payment is made between two Chase accounts, “funds are typically available as soon as possible, but not later than the next business day.” When using a non-Chase account to send payments to a Chase customer, “funds are typically available 4-5 business days after the business day that the recipient accepts.”
When you withdraw funds from PayPal into your bank account, the site tells you to allow 3 to 5 days for the transfer; however, my personal experience is that it usually is there the next day whether I draw it down to my account in the large and fancy bank or the little in-town one. Maybe Chase QuickPay does better than promised, too.
Once known as Moneybookers, Skrill has rebranded and expanded into becoming a highly rated digital wallet system. You can send and receive payments to people similar to the way PayPal and Google Wallet do it — with an email address — plus you can get a Skrill debit card to access funds in the real world. Sending and receiving money is free, but withdrawing to your bank account involves a fee.
Fee-free sending and receiving of peer-to-peer payments is what Payza brings to the table. They offer a link to currency exchanges services which may be helpful if you need to send money to parts of the world where that’s not always an easy thing to do.
Vendor Payment Solutions
Sometimes an online retailer does not accept PayPal but will accept Amazon Payments. That’s a great alternative for anyone who is a regular shopper at Amazon because you simply login using the same email and password that you use for an Amazon purchase. The credit or debit cards stored on your Amazon account are used for the payment at the other site. If you’re an Amazon customer, you are already part of Amazon Payments.
The service lacks one huge component, however: there is no way to send money to individuals. It’s not that it’s more complex than PayPal’s simple send to email payment system it’s that it does not exist. Amazon used to make that available via their WebPay service but that was discontinued in 2014 with nothing to replace it.
Amazon Payments is an easy alternative when PayPal is not accepted on a site but not at all useful as payment for auctions or small personal payments.
You may be familiar with the Visa Checkout or Verified by Visa payment options at some vendors. It’s a convenient way to use your Visa card that doesn’t require you to enter your card number on the site plus it makes sure it’s you using the card.
MasterPass for Everyone
MasterPass for Everyone basically does for MasterCard customers what Visa Everywhere does for their Visa counterparts. Between the two, they have everyone and everywhere covered.
Combined Payment Solutions
You knew Google had to have an entry in the list. Google Wallet has everything it takes to give PayPal a run for its money. Its features are so similar to those of PayPal, it’s eerie enough that PayPal sued Google for a breach of fiduciary trust in 2011.
What does Google Wallet do? It lets you send money, receive money, pay online retailers that accept Google Wallet, and when you download the app, use Android Pay on your smartphone at point-of-sale locations. You can do just about everything with Google Wallet that you would ever want to do with money except roll around in it.
Where Google Wallet beats PayPal (and all the rest) is in its funds availability times. When withdrawing cash to the bank account behind the bank debit card you are using for Google Wallet, funds are often available within mere minutes but never more than 24 hours later. Funds are available within 3 days when withdrawn to a bank account other than the one on that debit card.
A true competitor for PayPal, Dwolla lets you send money with another person’s email or phone number (via SMS), or to contacts on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Payment is supposed to be fast and there are no fees for the payer or the payee.
Dwolla has the other part of what makes a good digital wallet in that it is available to merchants to use in processing online payments, but the roll out has been slow.
Remember the Bookmobile from school days? The Batmobile from movie and TV fame? Bankmobile is nothing like those for it has no wheels though it does have an eye toward becoming like something that does. Aiming to be, “the Uber of banking,” Bankmobile offers no-fee banking with peer-to-peer payment support. If you’re looking for a bank that can do it all and an ATM is enough brick-and-mortar support for you, it might be worth your time to take a look here.
When it’s time to make a choice of companies for peer-to-peer payments and online shopping, there are plenty of choices available to us today other than PayPal. Maybe you want an all-in-one service like Google Wallet. If you are a part of Facebook with their Messenger app on your smartphone, that may be all you ever need for transferring money to and from friends and family. For online shopping, you might want to be set up at not only PayPal but also Visa Everywhere, MasterPass Everyone, Google Wallet, and Amazon Payments so that you lessen the places on line where you will ever need to enter your credit card information. PayPal is a fine banker, but it’s always good to have all the bases covered, like you can with any of these PayPal Alternative: 10 Sites Like PayPal. Let us know which one(s) you like best in the comments here.