Print Friendly and PDF
Baby boomers share stories of staying at home during these coronavirus pandemic times
New website offers details for consumers on mortgage and rent relief during the coronavirus pandemic

Most of Americans unaware of dangers of using payment apps, survey shows

Paypal-3258002_1920Seven in 10 people rely on peer-to-peer payment apps to transfer money in a quick and easy manner, according to an AARP survey. It also found that about half believe they’re able to reclaim money sent in error.

While the platforms are convenient, the difficulty of recovering funds sent through them makes the technology, and those who use it, uniquely vulnerable to scammers, said Kathy Stokes, AARP director of Fraud Prevention Programs. This may especially be the case as more people use delivery services for groceries and other necessities during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We know scammers are already capitalizing on anxieties and fears around coronavirus,” Stokes said. “With so many people at home, consumers should be alert for possible scams on peer-to-peer payment platforms.”

She said it’s crucial for people to know how these platforms work and that sending money to someone you don’t know presents significant risk.

Common peer-to-peer payment apps include PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, Square, Google Pay, and Apple Pay. The “Peer to Peer Payment Practices and Associated Risks” report details how often people are using these platforms, reasons for using them, and associated risks. It also highlights the misuse of peer-to-peer tools due to insufficient understanding of how the platforms work.

The survey findings include:

  • 71 percent of U.S. adults report using peer-to-peer payment platforms. Among those, users say they sometimes, 24 percent, frequently, 35 percent, or rarely, 41 percent, use peer-to-peer payment platforms.
  • More education is needed to raise awareness on how peer-to-peer payment platforms operate. Over half of U.S. adults incorrectly answered a quiz question about being able to reclaim your money if you make an error sending money through a peer-to-peer payment platform.
  • U.S. adults are using peer-to-peer payment platforms to send money to people they don’t know. When making a purchase through an online bidding site, over half send the money to a seller with whom they have previously never done business and three in five send the money to a seller rated highly for fulfillment and delivery.

For more information on scams, go to the AARP Fraud Watch Network, a resource for people of all ages. Consumers can sign up for “Watchdog Alert” emails that offer information about scams, or call 877-908-3360 to report scams or get help if someone falls victim to a scam. The network website provides information about fraud and scams, prevention tips, an interactive scam-tracking map, and links for AARP’s podcast series, The Perfect Scam.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Carol Cassara

It wasn't until I read this that I had any concern at all. Thanks for linking to informative resources. I'll be following up.


I use them because they make things easier but it's usually for people I know and clients. Good to know, though.


Hi Carol and Rebecca,

I'm glad you found the article informative. It's good to be cautious with these apps and know the pros and cons of use.


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)