Popmoney is a payment service that moves money electronically from one bank account to another. It was originally designed for payments between friends and family, and Popmoney for Small Business allows businesses to use the service as well. The service is legitimate—but as with all forms of payment, it’s important to verify you’re not being scammed before you send money.

Electronic transfers: Popmoney moves funds directly from one bank to another bank using the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network. Unlike other forms of payment (like PayPal or Venmo), you don’t have a Popmoney account that holds any balance—the money is always in the sender or recipient’s bank account. Payments can be made to an individual using their email address or mobile number.

An option for payment: With electronic payments, there’s no need to carry cash or write a check. If you’re out with friends, one person can cover the bill and pay their share electronically (as opposed to everybody getting change for a $20 bill or handing over a stack of credit cards). One person can pay, possibly earn rewards on their credit card, and get reimbursed electronically. If you’re the one receiving payments, you don’t have to cash a check, make change for friends, or hope that people will pay you back eventually.

Personal payments: The ideal use of Popmoney is to send funds to someone you know and trust (or to receive payment). Some businesses have business accounts with Popmoney, and others use a personal account “informally” to accept business payments. Just be aware if you use the personal service for business payments, you might not have all the typical protections in the event of fraud. You might be comfortable paying your landlord or your babysitter with Popmoney, but buying goods online is risky because of the potential for card or identity theft.

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