Educate me on getting paid online besides Paypal

I’ve had Paypal for nearly 20 years so I’m familiar with it and it’s risks (chargebacks) but there are new ones that seem to pop up nowadays. Twice now when selling something on Craigslist or Facebook the buyer comes over to buy, doesn’t have the cash, and asks if I take such and such a payment. I say no and direct him to the nearest ATM for cash. My concerns with these services is a week later somehow they reverse the payment. What are the chances of that happening with Zelle, Venmo, Cash App, etc.?

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Most all electronic forms of payment are subject to reversal. Even if you had a merchant account with a bank and accepted credit cards, you run the risk of chargebacks. I suppose cryptocurrency is an option, but that is much more complicated than going to an ATM and taking out some cash.

I think your policy of exclusively accepting cash is a wise one for these types of as-is, in person transactions.


Venmo is PayPal. Zelle is EWS, which is owned by some of the biggest banks.

And like sullim4 said, none of these are irreversible. The buyer could have paid you from a stolen account, so the transaction would be reversed because it was fraudulent.

I wouldn’t worry too much about small transactions as most people are honest, and it’d be too much effort to run a scam with a bunch of low value, in-person transactions. Personally I only take cash because I like my privacy, and some of the apps leak or require personal information (like name, phone #, email address).


Doesn’t that only apply to credit card based transactions? Aren’t these more like cash or debit card transactions which have much less protection for the buyer?

If you did not authorize the transaction, you should be able to get your money back.

Cash has no protection (best you could do is write it off as a loss on your tax return, but IIRC it has to exceed the 2% of AGI floor and I’m not sure if this survived the more recent tax law changes). Debit card transactions do have the same protection against unauthorized charges – the only reason they’re not as good as credit cards is because the money comes out directly from a checking account and could trigger a waterfall of problems (bounced checks, overdraft fees, late fees, etc).


My rule of thumb is to remind the buyer of the price and to have exact cash. I word it slightly differently in most text/email messages after we’ve agreed to meet. I still bring a reasonable amount of change because some people use that as a final negotiation attempt.


I looked into this a couple of weeks ago and came across a PC Mag article “The Best Mobile Payment Apps”

“When you receive money, most apps store your money in a holding place, a sort of limited bank account. Zelle and Google Pay are the exceptions here, delivering funds directly to the recipient’s bank account.”

From this sentence, I decided Google Pay was the best option (Zelle is a pain to use); I figured it was less likely to be reversed when receiving payment.


Zelle is integrated into all the major banks. I just use it from CapitalOne website and app. But you can also use it from Chase or Wells or BoA or Citi or any of the others.