Five Unspoken Etiquette Rules to Keep in Mind When Using Money-Sharing Apps

For one, make sure you're sending funds to the right person.

The popularity of money-sharing apps—namely CashApp, Venmo, and Zelle—means that it is easier than ever to split the check between friends at a restaurant or send money to a family member or friend in need. All you have to do is download an app and connect it to your bank account; once that's done, you'll be able to send money with the push of a button. Many of these apps also offer instant transfers (with a fee) so that recipients can add the balance directly into their bank account right away. But with this ability to transfer funds digitally comes a set of unspoken rules. For this, we asked Jacqueline Whitmore, trusted etiquette expert and the founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, to tell us more.

friends paying one another with phone app
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Ask ahead of time.

In regards to friends or family and money, make sure to ask ahead of time. "I always ask my clients, 'How do you prefer to pay me? Venmo, Paypal, CashApp, or Zelle?' I only list those cash apps that I use," says Whitmore. "If the client says, 'Zelle,' I know they have accepted money via Zelle before and it will be a smooth transaction." Your recipient may use only one of these apps or may actually prefer cash.

Confirm the recipient's information.

Nothing is worse than sending money only to find that you sent it to the wrong recipient. "Getting the right handle saves time and eliminates aggravation," says Whitmore. "I suggest getting a cell phone number, too." Double-check the handle, phone number or email address before sending the funds. It is very difficult to get money back after sending it to the wrong person.

Keep the language in your transfers cordial.

Unless you are 100 percent sure that your friend or family member has their wall set to private, you don't want to announce some things to the entire world. "Simply say something like, 'Services rendered' or 'Thank you,'" as Whitmore suggests. "Keep it generic. Less is more."

Make sure your transactions are set to private.

Setting your transactions to "private" ensures that strangers, including potential scammers, will not be able to easily see your transactions. While you're at it, you should also set up two-factor authentication if the option is available. "It's always a good idea to set privacy settings on cash apps as well as social media apps," says Whitmore. "This way, your transactions are not seen by others."

Always pay promptly.

If you told a friend that you were going to pay half for dinner, don't wait too long before sending the money. "Sending money on time and on schedule maintains your friendship as well as your credibility. A reasonable amount of time is within 24 to 48 hours, unless another agreement has been discussed. If you can't pay on time, let the other person know when to expect payment. Keep your word; that's good etiquette."

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