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Which mobile pay app is right for you?

We tested the seven major peer-to-peer mobile payment apps, sending dollars to friends and family to see just how easy the apps were to use and, more importantly, how much information they shared with third parties.

We tested everything from the first payment app PayPal to corporate cousin Venmo, the up and coming Cash app from Square, Apple, Facebook and Google’s payment apps and Zelle, the bank consortium that offers payment within bank apps like Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America.

Security firm Disconnect followed our transactions by monitoring them as they were made on an iPhone 11 Pro to watch the information flow. 


What it is: A PayPal-owned “social” network to pay friends. 

Numbers: 52 million active users

Cost: Free to pay individuals, a 3% fee if used with credit cards. Your funds don’t get to the account for three days unless you pay a 1% fee to speed it up. 

How it works: Link to your debit or credit card or bank routing and account number and pay friends electronically. Note: All payments are, by default, set to “public” so that everyone on the Venmo social network can see who you’re paying and what you’re buying unless you change the setting to friends only or private.  

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