Best Ways to Send Money to Your Student
The morning rush to give your kid lunch money may be over now that he’s graduated from college, but you’re probably still contributing to his expenses.
Lou Anne Alexander, president of the payments group at consumer news agency Early Warning Services, was at work recently when her daughter called. She was standing in line to buy a college textbook that cost $ 250, more than her bank account balance. Without breaking a sweat, Alexander used a peer to peer provider to send the money to his daughter before she reached number one.
Here’s more information on P2P providers and other great tools you and your student can use to avoid a rush on sending money.
Transfer between linked bank accounts
If you and your child have linked checking accounts at the same bank, simply transfer money between them using the bank’s website or mobile app. Details vary by bank, but transfers are usually free and the money arrives within minutes on business days.
Best if: You and your child share a bank.
Use a P2P service like Zelle or Venmo
P2P payment services tend to be free, fast, and convenient, but there are some differences between them. Here are two good choices:
Zelle: This is the service used by Alexander to transfer money from his account to that of his daughter. Zelle typically transfers money between bank accounts for free and within minutes, regardless of the time of day. Zelle, created by Early Warning Services, went live in June on some of the websites and mobile apps of America’s biggest banks and will have a standalone app later this year. It’s not available everywhere, so check if your bank has signed up.
Venmo: Owned by PayPal, Venmo is popular among college students. It allows you to send money online and on its mobile application. You can also include short messages and emojis, which appear on a Facebook-like feed. Transfers are free when you pay with a bank account or debit card, and the money usually arrives within one to two business days. The fast-growing app transferred $ 5.6 billion in the last three months of 2016.
Best if: You and your child have different banks.
Transfer between linked prepaid debit cards
Prepaid debit cards are easy to obtain and generally do not require a credit check. More importantly, most do not have overdraft fees or programs, so your child can only spend what they have.
To make transfers to a prepaid card, you and your child will likely need the same type of card. Some cards allow users to transfer money from a PayPal or bank account.
Bluebird by American Express and the Movo Virtual Prepaid Visa Card are two solid options. Neither has a monthly fee or bill you when you make a purchase, which some prepaid debit cards do – and both allow you to send money to others for free with the same prepaid card.
Better if: You or your child does not use bank accounts or your child tends to overspend.
Do not be surprised
Internet transfers are much more secure and convenient than cash or checks, and also faster when time is of the essence. As your child heads to college, it is wise to be prepared for surprises.
As Alexander notes: “There are always these unexpected things. “