Transferring Money For Free? It's Easy as P2P


A Philadelphia bank has developed a unique way to send money from one banking account to any savings or checking account in the U.S. It’s called Person-to-Person Funds Transfer, and it’s definitely worth a look.

What’s the big deal? In a word, it’s all about momentum. According to the research firm Javelin Research, person-to-person (P2P) electronic payments will “grow rapidly” during the next five years. Javelin says that P2P growth doubled in 2009 and with new online apps available for common technology tools like cell phones and popular Web sites like Pay Pal.

Among the findings from Javelin ...

  • Online bankers move person-to-person funds more than other financial institutions, with research showing they recently used account-to-account banking transfers at a rate that is triple that of all other consumers.
  • Mobile P2P payments will expand significantly over the next several years, but due to limited “P2P coverage” (places to use these services) consumers must still expect some obstacles.
  • Global cross-border and remittance transfers are among the fastest growing online, mobile and multi-channel P2P services.

One bank that has really taken big steps with P2P technology is Univest National Bank, based in Philadelphia. The bank’s Person-to-Person Funds Transfer Payment system allows bank customers to bypass wire transfers (and the fees that go with them) and send money from account to account for free.

According to Univest, a P2P transfer is just like writing a check to someone else except P2P transfers are faster than using checks, more secure and cheaper than using other funds transfer providers, check cashing stores or wire services.

For example, if your spouse is out of town and needs some extra cash,  Univest’s P2P technology enables you to send cash along online that hits your spouse’s bank account the very next day. Or, Univest users can use the P2P tool as an “allowance” mechanism for parents and their off-to-college kids. Every month, parents can send money from their bank account to their son or daughter’s bank account for free. The recipient doesn’t need to be a Univest customer and the money is transferred via a secure Web page and no third party ever sees the transaction.

Restrictions aren’t so bad. You can’t send more than $2,500 per transaction and money can only be sent from your Univest personal checking account. In addition, to make sure the money transfer you’ll need to get the recipient to “sign off” on the transaction by 3 p.m. the next day.

Expect, as Javelin cites, P2P bank transfers to become more pervasive in 2010. For a real world example, take a closer look at what banks like Univest are doing and see if P2P isn’t a good banking option for you.

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