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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

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

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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.

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.

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.

STEP 4: Send money!

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

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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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!

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.

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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