As applications like Zelle®, Venmo©, Paypal©, and CashApp© continue to grow in popularity, let’s take a moment to brush up on the rules, regulations, and best practices supporting these apps.

FRAUD NOTICE: Person-to-person payment platforms are among the top targets for scammers, and fraudulent activity surrounding these popular applications is on the rise. These apps are quick and easy to use, and have become the perfect target for stealing money before you even realize what has happened. We encourage you to be vigilant, verify you are sending money to the right person, and be on the lookout for scammers.

DID YOU KNOW: USCCU has integrated Zelle¹ with our online banking platform, simplifying the process of sending money to, or receiving money from, PEOPLE YOU TRUST – no matter where they bank. The Zelle platform incorporates fraud mitigation analytics, making it a safe avenue to pay the sitter, split the dinner check with friends, or even pay your roommate for rent.

All cash app platforms have different user terms, meaning each app may define acceptable/unacceptable transactions differently².

If you choose to use platforms other than Zelle, review the scenarios below — don’t get caught in a situation where you could lose your money with no way to get it back.

SCENARIO 1: Sending Money to Your Sister to Cover Lunch

You and your sister go to lunch together, and she picks up the tab. You owe her $23. You don’t have any money on you, so you pull out your phone and use a cash app to send her $23. She receives your payment, and transfers it into her account.

This is an acceptable use of these payment platforms.

REMEMBER: Always transfer money through cash apps to someone you know, trust, and can verify.

SCENARIO 2: Sending Money to Purchase Concert Tickets on Social Media

You score an awesome deal on concert tickets from a social media marketplace. While you have never met the seller before, they have the tickets you want at a price you can afford. Neither one of you want to meet in person, and you both agree the tickets will be sent after payment is made. The seller sends you their CashApp© information, and you send them the $150 for the great seats.

The tickets never show up, and you can’t get in touch with the seller, even though they accepted your payment. Have you thought about what you would do in this scenario?

REMEMBER: This transaction may not be covered under Visa’s Zero Liability Policy, meaning you could be out the money you just sent the seller. We suggest using caution when trying to purchase items for sale from people you don’t know, or haven’t met in person. When in doubt, do not send payment until the goods or services have been received.

Even if you do receive the concert tickets from the seller, what happens if the concert gets cancelled or rescheduled? Most likely, the seller will receive information on the rescheduled event, as opposed to you. Always practice caution in these situations.

SCENARIO 3: Paying Your Friend for Dogsitting, but You Use the Wrong Email Address

You owe your friend $50 for dogsitting. They give you their email address so you can send them payment. You enter their email address and authorize the transaction. You realize, after the fact, you entered their email address incorrectly.

The address you mistakenly entered was a valid email address, and the unknown person who received your $50 accepted the payment. What would you do?

REMEMBER: Once you hit send, the money is immediately available to the recipient, which is why we always recommend confirming the information is correct before going through with the payment. In this instance, because you verified the transaction, the recipient has no obligation to return the money to you!

SCENARIO 4: Using a Cash Transfer App to Shop Online

You are online shopping for clothing, and the merchant accepts cash apps like Venmo© or Paypal© as a form of payment. You fill your cart, and proceed to the online checkout. Instead of entering your USCCU debit or credit card information, you select to use your cash app information.

You receive the items a few days later, and one of the shirts is the wrong size. You want to return it and get a refund.

Has this ever happened to you?

REMEMBER: This scenario does not qualify as an unauthorized transaction in a cash app, and you will need to work with the store directly to initiate your return and resolve the issue.


¹Transactions typically occur in minutes when the recipient’s email address or US mobile number is already enrolled with Zelle. Must have a bank account in the US to use Zelle. To send payment requests or split payment requests, the US mobile number being used must already be enrolled in Zelle. Zelle and Zelle related marks are wholly owned by Early Warning Services, LLC and are used herein under license.

²To review the user terms and agreements for each cash application platform, please follow the below links: