What are P2P payments?

What are P2P payments?

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Peer-to-peer (P2P) payments are money transfers from one person to another - in simple terms, how you’d split a dinner bill if you left your wallet at home.

In recent years, P2P transactions have gained ground as a convenient alternative to cash payments between individuals and peer-to-peer payment services are soaring. So let’s take a closer look at P2P money transfers - how they work, their benefits and risks, and how to make a P2P money transfer.


  • What are P2P payments?
  • How do P2P payments work?
  • Who prefers peer-to-peer payments?
  • Security of P2P transactions
  • Advantages and disadvantages of P2P payments
  • How to send money using a P2P payment system
  • Summing up
  • FAQ

What are P2P payments?

Short for peer-to-peer or person-to-person, P2P payments are money transfers from one person to other people (as opposed to a merchant or institution).

P2P transactions are mostly used for sharing expenses, paying rent, paying for occasional services, shopping from private sellers on online marketplaces, or simply sending money to family and friends.

Peer-to-peer money transfers can be traced back to PayPal and were widely popularized by the likes of Venmo; many other applications exist today, including Cash App, Zelle, or Fin.do.

How do P2P payments work?

A P2P payment can be done using a P2P money transfer application or service. To use such an app, you need to own a bank account or a bank card.

Once you’ve decided on a P2P app, install it and sign up for an account using your email address and/or phone number. Next, you’ll need to connect your card(s) or bank account(s) to the app in order to start making payments.

Sending a payment is often a simple process which only takes a few taps. You can typically find other users by their username, email, or phone number. Depending on which service you use, a P2P transfer can take from a few minutes to a few days to complete.

There is a great variety of P2P payment apps and you should carefully consider your options before selecting the right one for you. Some of the factors to keep in mind are:

Balance vs. no balance

Many apps carry a balance - this means you have to add funds to your P2P account in order to send a payment. Topping up your P2P app balance from your bank account can take several business days and your bank may apply a fee each time you do it.

Other apps (including Fin.do) don’t require a balance so they don’t store funds; this means money travels straight from your card to that of your recipient, making the transfer much faster and cheaper.

Accessing your funds

If the app holds a balance, you’ll normally be able to transfer money to your checking account and then withdraw cash from your linked card. This can entail additional charges and you’ll typically need to wait a few days before funds are available in your bank account.

With Fin.do, transfers take place between cards which makes funds immediately available for use on your card.

Who prefers peer-to-peer payments?

P2P payments are a preferred means of payment by people who want to avoid trips to the bank or ATM and the hassle of making a conventional bank transfer especially when it comes to recurring transactions. More than half of the people using P2P payments use the system to send money to their family.

While younger generations (like Millennials and GenZ groups) are the most active P2P users, peer-to-peer transactions are growing in popularity worldwide among all consumer groups. The number of American adults who used a P2P service grew from 57% in 2017 to 70% in 2020.

Security of P2P transactions

Because many P2P services are provided by fintech companies which rely on technology to secure customer data, P2P payments are usually a safe way to send and receive money.

Data encryption, anti-fraud monitoring, and added layers of security (such as 3DS) are some of the common measures companies take to make sure your financial and personal information is secure.

But, as with any online money transfer system, you should always be careful how and to whom you send money. Here are a few measures we recommend to help keep yourself safe from online fraud.

Advantages and disadvantages of P2P payments

Like any other payment method, peer-to-peer transactions come with benefits and drawbacks.

The most obvious advantages of P2P money transfers include:

  • They are easy to use. Sending money using a P2P app usually takes a few seconds and no effort since all the information needed for completing the transaction is contained within the app;
  • They are convenient and pretty safe. You can leave home without cash or your wallet and still be able to pay for goods and services;
  • Money is usually delivered pretty quickly - at least compared to bank transfers.

On the other hand:

  • You cannot get a refund or retract a transaction if you sent money to the wrong user;
  • You might need to maintain a balance and regularly top up your account in order to make payments;
  • You may need to wait several days before being able to access funds in your checking account;
  • Some transfers can take up to 3 business days;
  • They typically only work for same-currency transactions - in other words, domestic transfers.

Fin.do eliminates many of these downsides by enabling you to send money from and to any card, instantly, without having to top up a balance from your bank account.

Fin.do is a P2P app for cross-border money transfers, which means you can send any of our 160 supported currencies with the same speed, ease of use, and convenience as a domestic P2P transfer, with no currency exchange markup fees.

Once you link your card(s) to Fin.do, you’ll be able to send money from your card straight to another card, without funds being stored in the Fin.do app. This eliminates waiting times and unnecessary fees.

With no third party storing your money, you can also rest assured that your transfer is secure.

How to send money using a P2P payment system?

Using a peer-to-peer payment system like Fin.do is easy and straightforward. Fin.do enables instant cross-border money transfers from card to card in more than 50+ countries.

Getting started with Fin.do takes a few simple steps:

  1. Install the app and sign up for a free account; for security purposes, you’ll need to verify your email address and phone number
  2. Add at least one card and indicate the card currency; you can add any debit, credit, prepaid, virtual, or gift card to Fin.do, as long as it’s branded Visa or Mastercard
  3. Once your card is verified, you can start sending and receiving money transfers
  4. To send money, simply pick a card to send from, select a contact from your phone, enter the amount you wish to send, and send. There is no need for additional recipient information such as IBAN or SWIFT codes.

If you don’t have your recipient’s phone number, you can enter their 16-digit card number instead.

Summing up

P2P transactions are a convenient replacement for cash payments and they can be used to send money to your family, split expenses with friends, or pay bills faster and more easily than via traditional payment methods like bank transfers.

Depending on the P2P transfer app you decide to use, peer-to-peer payments can be fast and secure. When selecting a service, consider the costs, funds delivery times, and factors such as having to top up a balance or having to withdraw cash to your bank account.

Some apps (like Fin.do) give you the option to send from card to card, meaning your funds will be readily available for use as soon as you receive money. Plus, you don’t need to maintain a balance, which reduces the risk of running out of funds and having to perform costly top-ups from your bank account.


What are peer-to-peer payments?

Peer-to-peer payments are digital money transactions between two people. These transactions allow the transfer of funds via a third party app (for example Venmo, Cash App, Square App, Fin.do, etc). In order to send money using a P2P system, a bank account or a bank card has to be connected to the P2P service or mobile app.

Peer-to-peer solutions are an alternative to cash payments between individuals and are a simpler means of payment compared to traditional methods like check payments or bank transfers.

How fast are P2P payments?

Money delivery times vary greatly from service to service. Some P2P payment apps offer instant funds delivery, whereas others can take up to 3 business days.

When considering P2P solutions you also need to take into account the time it takes for the recipient to actually access the funds. Platforms that store money and require you to manually withdraw funds to your checking account may add a few days to the process.

If the P2P solution you use carries a balance, topping up the balance from your bank account may also take a few extra days before you are able to send money using the service.

Are P2P payments safe?

P2P payments are generally secure. They use encryption, fraud monitoring technology, and implement other security measures meant to keep your finances and personal information safe. However, there is no way to be sure that every online payment you make is secure, so it is advised to always take extra security measures when making payments online.

One downside of P2P transactions is that payments get through instantly, which means there is no way to recover your money if you’ve sent a payment to the wrong person, unless they agree to reimburse you.

What is a P2P wallet?

A P2P system allows you to send money from your card or bank account using a mobile device. Using a P2P wallet you can connect multiple money transfer accounts and make P2P transfers from one place.

What are P2P payments used for?

P2P payments can be used for a wide range of transactions. The most common use cases include splitting costs with friends, paying rent, sending money to family members, or buying goods or services from private sellers.

Conventionally, peer-to-peer money transfers are used for domestic transactions, where the sender and the recipient use the same currency and are located in the same country.

However, newer technologies such as Fin.do allow for international P2P payments that are equally simple, convenient, secure, and fast, with the added benefit of utilizing any two currencies required for the transfer.

Can I send or receive a P2P payment without a bank account?

Yes, it is possible to make a P2P transaction without opening a bank account. Fin.do is a card to card P2P payment app, which means funds are moved directly between cards instead of bank accounts or via a P2P app balance.

Using Fin.do, you can send and receive money between any types of card, including credit, debit, virtual, prepaid, or gift cards, provided they are issued by Visa or Mastercard.

Download Fin.do to send money today

Countries we work in

Are you planning to transfer money abroad? Fin.do is currently available in these countries: