Sending Cash Through Texts?
By: Brian O'Connell

Need $300 from Mom and Dad? Leave the post office out of it and get the cash via text. That’s the promise behind a new technology from CashEdge Inc. Here’s the deal.

CashEdge is touting its POPmoney (abbreviated for Pay Other People) application that uses your bank’s online banking system to enable to transmit cash via, text, cell phone, or email. Users can transfer funds and generally move money from their bank account to a targeted party’s account -- all you need is the recipient’s email address, cell phone number, or bank account number.

Call it the next evolution of electronic cash transactions, or call it another blow to paper-based financial transactions, but text-based bank transactions looks like it’s here for the long haul.

CashEdge is pushing POP as the “first person-to-person payments (P2P) service for banks, enabling banks to provide simple and secure P2P payments from their online or mobile banking applications.” The company, which counts seven of the top ten banks as clients (and 600 financial institution clients in all), has injected an SMS text messaging application into POPmoney that essentially allows users to ship what the company refers to as small cash payments to family and friends. The current version of POPmoney enables consumers to send and accept cash, but not request money through the technology.

On the other send of the transaction, recipients need to have their banks plug into the CashEdge application. If so, the cash that was transmitted through POPmoney appears automatically in their bank accounts. The company is especially promoting the technology as a way for parents to automatically deposit cash into their college student child’s bank checking account.

Right now, the CashEdge POPmoney account comes with a two-tiered fee structure: $2 for regular transactions and $10 for “express” transactions. CashEdge says the fees are ultimately set by the participating financial institutions.

POPmoney is targeted at a September, 2009 release, giving banks time to align their online systems to accommodate the technology.

Demand-wise, CashEdge maintains that text-based person-to-person financial transactions are popular right now. The company conducted a survey of 1,000 consumers and found that

• 81 percent of respondents would use a P2P service if offered by their financial institution

• 77 percent of respondents would prefer to use a P2P service offered by their own financial institution over an independent online P2P service (such as PayPal or a similar service)

• 69 percent of respondents felt that a P2P service offered through their bank would be more convenient than an independent P2P service

It seems that as long as the consumer’s bank is okay with text-based cash transactions, then the safety factor is enhanced, and consumers are on board.

And why not? After all, it’s a tech driven world these days, and we’re just living in it.

—For more ways to save, spend, invest and borrow, visit MainStreet.com.

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