Sending Money To Family And Friends – My Search For A PayPal Alternative Ends Here!

I had written about my frustration earlier on how complex it was to send money to my wife since we keep our finances separate and in different banks.

Of course, PayPal would be the first avenue that would come to one’s mind. But my wife’s PayPal account isn’t linked to her bank account but to a credit card. Plus I have my misgivings on PayPal.

The solution was to open a joint account as a hub account. Since both our banks are linked to this, I can transfer money from my account to my wife’s via this account. Though this works, it isn’t the best solution. To give an example, It took about 13 calendar days for a transfer from my account to my wife’s!

But my search for the perfect money transfer solution ended when I found this service called PopMoney.

Send money to family and friends via popmoney

Send money to family and friends via popmoney

Here’s how PopMoney works:

  • I log in to my Ally bank account and make a money transfer to my wife via Popmoney
  • My wife gets a notification and the money is made available in 3 days
  • No fees either for the receiver or the sender!

What is PopMoney and how is it better than PayPal for personal money transfers?

  • PopMoney is available with select banks as a free service
  • You login to your bank as usual and make the transfer
  • If the receiver is someone close to you like a family member, you can send money directly to their bank account. If the receiver does not wish to share his/her account information, you can send the money to the Payee’s email id or mobile number
  • If the money was sent via a bank account, once the receiver acknowledges the transfer, the money is deposited directly to the account
  • If the money was sent via an email id or a mobile number, the receiver has to register with PopMoney, link his/her email id/mobile number to his bank account and the money is deposited there. This extra step prevents the sender from knowing the receiver’s bank account information
  • You cannot send money via the PopMoney website. You can only send money through a bank that provides this service
  • There are no fees involved either for the sender or the receiver
  • Unlike PayPal, your transactions are protected by your bank

PopMoney account opening process

The screenshots below are from Ally bank which offers this service. Other banks that have partnered with PopMoney will have different screens but the process is essentially the same.

STEP 1: Log in to your bank account and choose the recipient

To send money, login to your bank account, not PopMoney’s site. You cannot send money from PopMoney, unlike PayPal.
PopMoney Setup Screen In Ally

STEP 2: Register your phone number with PopMoney

The next step is to register your phone number with PopMoney. PopMoney will send a verification code which you need to enter to register. This step is required only once.
Register your mobile number with Popmoney

STEP 3: Setup payee

You can set up recipients in the Add Contacts screen. Each recipient can be associated with an email id, phone number or the payee’s bank account. This too, is a one time process.
PopMoney Add Contact

STEP 4: Send money!

To send money, select your funding account and the payee you created in step 3.
PopMoney Send Money

Receiving money

If the Payee was associated with an email id or a phone number, the recipient will receive a notification to claim that money within 10 days. The recipient can claim the money by registering with PopMoney and the money is deposited to the bank account as registered.

If the Payee was associated with the Payee’s bank account, the money is deposited directly within about 3 days. The recipient need not register with PopMoney to claim the funds.

Closing thoughts

From my experience PopMoney is a great way to send money to family and friends. I haven’t used it long enough to think of any drawbacks yet, but from what I see, the service is simple and commission free for easy money transfer to family and friends.

This is not a paid review nor was I contacted by Ally or PopMoney to write this review. I happened to see this service when I logged in to my bank account and my curiosity got the best of me (in a good way)!

I use Ally, but a number of banks provide PopMoney service including Citibank, PNC, DCU and US Bank. You can see the full list here.

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49 thoughts on “Sending Money To Family And Friends – My Search For A PayPal Alternative Ends Here!

  1. It looks like an interesting alternative. I’ve been getting annoyed with PayPal’s fees!

  2. Thanks so much for the detailed tutorial! I’m wondering if it would be accepted as a payment method for services/items bought online. That could be very nice!

    • From how this service is described, I don’t think so. It is more geared towards cash transfer within family and friends. PayPal, if I remember correctly, started with the same idea but morphed into an ecommerce payment system, so what you say might be a possibility!

  3. I wish this industry would settle down a bit. I’m feeling overwhelmed by all the different ways to send money online. It used to be Paypal or nothing. Now there are like 10 different options. I can’t keep track. I mean, it’s good… choice is good. But I would like a winner of the competition to rise up and be “the one”.

  4. Thanks MC. This is a great explanation. The three day waiting period for known users seems to be competitive.

  5. I like the tree day waiting period as well. I may try it with my younger daughter who is paying me monthly for the car she is driving!

  6. Finally, some alternatives are popping up. The fees on paypal are a killer and I sure hope a competitor enters the market in order to drive them down.

    • I do like the fact I can send money without registering with yet another site. Will be interesting to see if PopMoney will be able to take on PayPal.

  7. It does sound like a good alternative to Paypal, that is for sure. What a great tutorial!

    I can’t imagine the mess we would have if my husband and I had separate bank accounts. I probably would have invented a ‘popmoney’ to save my sanity.

    • Your last line made me smile ET! Not that we don’t trust with each others finances, it is just that we’ve always kept accounts separate and she is loyal to her bank and I’m partial to my bank!

      And neither of use want a physical cash exchange! PopMoney fills that gap nicely.

  8. I use paypal to transfer my money between my two banks, but it takes me about 10 days to get the money from one bank to another. This sounds like a better option, but I’m not sure if my banks use this… Still, it’s something to inquire about, and the banks I use may be interested in using this service.

  9. Thanks for the great write-up on Popmoney! Please let us know if you need any more information about the service.


  10. Thanks for the info MC!

    I got burned by PayPal years ago on some phishing scheme through Ebay. I have stayed away ever since and haven’t really had a reason to go back.

    This seems like a great alternative!

    • If PopMoney continues to keep the service free and if it can convince more banks to sign up, this could gain good traction.

  11. Pretty cool; we’ve been sending money to our office for my small biz to the Philippines using Xoom, but there’s a fee; I wonder if this would be compatible with banks there. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Nice write up MC. Don’t need to transfer money too often. I do use Wells Fargo to transfer to my family who are Wells Fargo customers, too. No fees, takes a day or two, but there is a $1000 limit.

    • A number of banks are offering free member-to-member transfer. Now if only I can convince Mrs. to switch to my bank! :)

  13. Nice find! I’ll definitely check this one!

    Thanks for the great tutorial too!

  14. I haven’t heard of popmoney, but I’ll check it out when I need to send money. Usually, I just cut a check and send it, but I guess that’s not very secure. I don’t send money very often though.

    • The last time I sent a check (parking ticket) a $15 fine turned into a $50 because they claimed they never received the check! :)

  15. Thanks for the introduction to PopMoney. Please keep us posted on the overall experience once you have more experience with it. :) Looking forward to it, so far sounds great.

  16. I’ve only ever transferred money to someone who was banking at the same institution at which I was banking … honestly, I never considered what to do if I needed to transfer money to someone at a different bank! I almost never transfer money, and if I needed to do so, I’d just write a check … but it’s good to know that this service is out there in case I need it!

    • Good to know that a number of banks are now offering member-to-member transfer facility.

      I find PopMoney a refreshing alternative to PayPal.

  17. Good to know! Haven’t heard of them before. Paypal is one shifty system and it’s a relief to know there are more options out there. -Sydney

  18. PayPal fees have gotten enormous! I like this solution :-)

  19. Thanks for sharing this website. I did check out their list of banks and none of mine use this service, but maybe banks will catch on to this and begin offering it as an easy way to transfer money. I’d definitely use it!

  20. Very neat! It’s nice to have an alternative to Paypal. I think their fees have increased since I started using them, but, as much as I love excel sheets and tracking things, I haven’t tracked my fees!

  21. Be forewarned that the terms vary from bank to bank. At PNC, a transfer scheduled to go out on Monday to ANOTHER PNC account was deducted from my account on Wednesday and still hasn’t appeared in its destination account. So, if you really want someone to have immediate access to funds, you’re better off finding another route. This one certainly isn’t efficient for intra-bank transfers.

  22. Sorry this system sucks!! Made a transfer to another person with their checking account, got the confirmation email which I followed the link to confirm, was given the date that the transfer would be completed. Now one day after that day, there is no transfer and also no record on on my checking account that I requested the transfer. However there info is listed in the accounts that I can send money to. Never had this problem with paypal in 8 years.

  23. their not “there”

  24. Pop Money SUCKS, sent a tenant some money for an emergency and he had to wait 5 days to get it because they are not open on weekends because of Federal Regulations. Tellers whose bank advertised this service didn’t even know what pop money was. It was advertised same day, however, when calling pop money, they say at least 3 days and even more, which it will be 5 days. When asking bank employees what I do next, they could not even answer.

  25. I’ve tried to use this service via Citibank on a couple of occasions and have had nothing but trouble. Emails to the recipient didn’t go through, lag time was longer than stated, status was inaccurate. Maybe it’s a Citibank problem, but it’s been more trouble than it’s worth.

  26. Must be a Citibank problem is right! Decided to try this service via Citi…needed to send $$ to my son at college. 5 days later, no email, no transfer. Citi says keep waiting. I physically went to my bank and made a deposit in his branch 2 days ago. Forget POPMoney…do it the old fashioned way…Stanton line in a bank branch!

  27. Something seems to have gotten worse about Popmoney since it first came out, at some banks more so than others. Ally seems good still. PNC is really slow. Fifth Third charges a fee for Popmoney! (Yes I have too many bank accounts.)

    One thing I’m not clear about is this.. I have several accounts that I can send Popmoney from. When someone sends me Popmoney, which one does it go to? So far it seems to go to my Ally account, which is the first one I used with popmoney. Is there a way to change the destination account?

    I created an account on and there’s absolutely nothing on there about my bank accounts or transaction history. It seems completely separate from the popmoney transactions at your bank. Very poor execution.

  28. popmoney is difficult to operate, unclear in how/when transactions occur and might “hold” your transfer for “security reasons.”

    I’d say cancel your account and drop ‘em like a hot rock.

  29. POP Money sucks….they are WHY Western Union still exists. Bank to bank transfers are NO less than three days whether you pay a fee for express service or not. RUN from this SCAM!

  30. POPMONEY SUCKS!!! My realtor sent my security deposit using this service and it was a royal PITA. The instructions are not very clear on what you need to do (which is a lot for a one time usage deal) and it was VERY frustrating. Customer service was virtually non existent and the rep basically said to wait and see what happens to which I said “NO, DO IT NOW!!!” If it weren’t for me insisting to delete everything and for me to recreate everything (create an account, provide address, bank account number, routing number, phone number, email address) and waiting for another email and phone call I would probably have never gotten my money and the transaction would have expired. I tried to get the text message of a verification code resent 6 times and no text messages. The rep blamed it on the phone company blocking some ad type of message but I think their system sucks the big one. I WOULD HIGHLY RECOMEND NOT USING THIS LAME SERVICE!!!


    Sent someone “Pop Money” on Monday. They needed it on Thursday. As indicated on the Pop Money website, the money should have been in their account on Wednesday, no later than Thursday. We got an email late Tuesday saying it was under investigation. Absolutely no reason for that, as there was more than enough money in our account to cover the transfer. Called them Wednesday morning and they indicated the money would be in the recipient’s account the next day. It was not!! Called on Thursday and they indicated it would be Monday. It is Monday morning and it is still not in their account. (Their customer service in nice, however, they don’t have a clue about banking systems and they are telling you bad information. Even their so called experts don’t know what they are talking about.)

    This is our first and last experience with Pop Money!! They hold your money in their account for days and make up excuses of why it has been taken from your account and is nowhere to be found. They try to make you think it is the Federal Reserves fault, when you know how quickly money flows from one Federal Reserve to another. Just write an out of area check and see. Western Union is the best way to go. It may cost more, but at least they are honest and can quickly get your money to where it should go!

  32. Be Warned. I have used Pop Money two times because it is a service with my online banking. Both times the money was delivered 3 days late. The transaction promise a 3 day delivery and they took the funds from my account and nothing was delivered to my son’s account until the end of the 6th day. On days 3 and 4 I called customer service and said there was nothing they could do. No explanation. I was promised a return call from a supervisor that never happened. Timing in financial transactions is critical and can be costly. Be warned.

  33. I’m not happy with Pop Money either. The interface is difficult to use and not at all convenient if you really think about it. I sent my landlord duplicate rent payments by accident. I was able to “cancel” one of them while it was pending deduction from my account, but the funds couldn’t be returned to me without another of round of processing. It’s been 3 business days, not counting Saturdays on which my bank will usually post transactions. I’d prefer not to use Pop Money again and to go back to checks/online bill payment.

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