DALLAS — It’s bad enough to send an email, a text or a topline message at work to the wrong recipient. But have you ever sent money to the wrong person? Or sent the wrong amount of money to the right person?
There are many platforms where it can happen, including PayPal, Apple Pay, Venmo, Zelle, and Google Pay, among others. They are known as peer-to-peer, or P2P, payment services.
A recent LendingTree survey estimates that 84% of us have transacted this way, and that 23% of us have sent money to the wrong person using P2P payments.
Additionally, they found that 15% of us have been scammed into sending someone money this way. And the percentages for mistakenly sending a P2P payment to the wrong person and getting scammed in a P2P payment jump to 42% and 22%, respectively, for people who use P2P services several times a week.
The issue is that many people have their peer-to-peer payment accounts linked directly to actual money. Once you hit send, that real money is no longer yours… even if you mistakenly sent it to the wrong person or if you just accidentally typed in $500 instead of $5.00.
Consider linking your account to a credit card instead of cash
If you still want to send money P2P (peer-to-peer) but you’re really worried about all the R4E (room for errors), then some advise that you tie your account to a credit card instead of a debit card.
Some of the major platforms won’t accept a credit card as a payment instrument in your account. And the ones that do accept a credit card will often charge you a transaction fee of about 3%. But with a credit card, you are protected by Regulation E.
As Consumer Reports explains, that provision shields you from liability for any payments over $50 "in the event of fraud or a payment made in error." But you usually have to notify the financial institution within two business days of a problematic payment to qualify for that protection.
What if you have sent money to the wrong person or you sent the wrong amount?
Experts advise that you only pay people you know through peer-to-peer payment systems. If your P2P account is associated with your cash and you make a mistake, most of the payment services suggest you contact the person you mistakenly sent to and ask them to give the money back to you.
Some of them will cancel a payment if the person you sent it to doesn’t claim it within a certain time frame. And in some cases, some peer-to-peer payment services ask you to contact them to help sort these things out.
Here are the policies of some of the major platforms:
Additionally, you may be able to file a formal complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.