Applications which allow you to send (or receive) money using a mobile phone are a hot topic. MasterCard (NYSE: MA), one of the world’s leading payment card brands, recently brought their “MoneySend” product to the U.S. MoneySend is a marriage of mobile phones and prepaid debit cards. We take a brief look at the service in this article.
What is MasterCard MoneySend?
MoneySend is a mobile phone service that allows you to transfer funds to friends and family in the U.S. To use the service, you go through a quick one-time registration. As part of the registration, you need to apply for a MasterCard MoneySend prepaid account. The prepaid account can either be a virtual prepaid debit MasterCard or a physical, plastic MasterCard MoneySpend prepaid debit card.
The prepaid card account is used as the funding source for MoneySend transactions You’ll need to load funds into your prepaid card account (you can load funds into the prepaid account using a credit or debit card or a bank account). The account you use to fund your MasterCard MoneySend prepaid account is completely separate from the account that is used when you send or receive money using your mobile phone. This ensures that your primary accounts are safe and secure and remain confidential.
How Much Does it Cost?
There is no cost to sign up for MoneySend or to receive funds using MoneySend, but there are two kinds of fees associated with using MoneySend. First, there are fees associated with using MoneySend to send money via your phone. In particular, there is a transaction fee associated with sending money based on the dollar amount. Also, some mobile companies charge you a fee per SMS message (check your carrier for details).
The second set of fees is associated with the MasterCard MoneySend Prepaid card that you use to fund your MoneySend transactions. The fees for this prepaid MasterCard are quite low (see our review of the MoneySpend Prepaid MaterCard for more information), but you’ll need to be aware of them so you aren’t surprised at the end of the month.
Sending Money Using MoneySpend
Once you’ve set up your account, here’s how you can send money using MoneySpend.
First, login to your account, then select the “Send Money” option. You’ll be prompted for the mobile phone number of the recipient. Enter it and the dollar amount you want to send (as well as your PIN). You can add a brief message to the recipient, and then click “Send”.
Your money is sent and the recipient can “pick it up” using their phone (they’ll get an SMS message with instructions).
Picking Up Money Received via MoneySend
If you receive an SMS message saying you’ve received money via MoneySend, you’ll need to either login to your MoneySend account (if you have one), or set up a new MoneySend account. The funds will be deposited into your MoneySend account (on your MoneySend prepaid MasterCard). You can withdraw the money in a number of ways. For example, you can link a bank account, and move money from MasterCard MoneySend into your bank. Or, you can use a physical MasterCard MoneySend prepaid card and withdraw funds at an ATM, or use your card to make purchases anywhere MasterCard is accepted.
We like the concept of MasterCard MoneySend. It certainly makes sending money easy, and may be particularly well suited for families who need to transfer money quickly. For example, a family that has a teenager in college could use MoneySend to quickly and inexpensively transfer money to the college student.