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What are the most popular electronic cash services?

"I don't carry cash." That all-too-common phrase has only become frequent within the past few decades, as consumers have switched from carrying dollars and cents to debit and credit cards instead. Now, it seems as though those pieces of plastic with a magnetic strip may become obsolete as well thanks to tap-to-pay services and other electronic options.

The idea is simple. Instead of carrying around rewards cards and cards linked to your banking accounts, these electronic payment applications allow you to link the information directly to your phone. It makes for easy transferring funds between your accounts, paying for items online, giving money to friends or even tapping and paying at a register in some tech-savvy shopping locations.

The tap-to-pay service may be the most revolutionary, as it strips away the need for a credit card in almost every circumstance. Instead of swiping, your smartphone communicates with receivers at cash registers using secure near-field communication. A narrow radio frequency transfers cash to the register within a moment's notice, and you're on your way.

For people making money online, it's just one more way you can move your financial dealings into the modern age, but what are the most popular services to use?

PayPal
For users that don't like the idea of tap-to-pay, PayPal offers an alternative. Using the PayPal app, you can locate shops that accept the service and simply pay online ahead of time. No wallet, no waiting in line, no signing and you can easily switch which source the money is coming from within the app. Perhaps best of all, PayPal doesn't charge fees per purchase. According to the company, consumers spent $20 billion making purchases using the PayPal app in 2013, so it's already been tested millions of times. Even the U.S. Treasury is beginning to accept PayPal, according to The Verge.

Google Wallet and Apple Pay
Perhaps the two biggest tap-to-pay services currently are Apple Pay and Google Wallet. They both use the secure NFC technology at the register and a series of anti-fraud measures. For instance, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple Pay requires a fingerprint authentication on a smartphone to work. Moreover, Apple Pay doesn't rely on credit or debit card numbers that can be stolen and used. 

Google Wallet, on the other hand, uses an additional PIN number to make purchases. Also, users that have had their phone stolen or lost can deactivate the payment option remotely. While the technology seems innovative and promising, the folks at these tech companies are still waiting for it to catch on at many retailers, restaurants and other businesses.

Venmo‚Äč
This app prides itself on making paying friends back easier. You can use a Venmo account or link a bank account to send money to other Venmo users or virtually anyone with a phone or email address instantly. It's free in nearly every circumstance and makes splitting a tab a breeze.


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