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Instant-payment apps that fit the bill

The Venmo app, from online payment giant PayPal,

The Venmo app, from online payment giant PayPal, allows quick payments between friends, and transfers are free. Credit: PayPal

In the old Popeye cartoons, J. Wellington Wimpy would repeatedly tell friends and acquaintances, “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” Too bad Wimpy and his buddies didn’t have one of these popular apps, where friends can send each other payments to settle accounts for things like splitting a dinner check.

Venmo

(iOS, Android; free)

For many millennials, Venmo has become a verb: “I’ll Venmo you the money.” The app, from online payment giant PayPal, allows quick payments between friends, and the transfers are free. One big caveat: Like all peer-to-peer payment apps, send money only to people you know. Scams have been reported where strangers claiming to be selling things like concert tickets ask for payment on Venmo. The tickets never arrive, and your money is gone.

PayPal

(iOS, Android; free)

Venmo’s big brother PayPal has been around almost as long as the internet. While it is primarily used to purchase items from online vendors, PayPal can double as a friend-to-friend payment app — as long as both friends have PayPal accounts. If you send money via a funded PayPal account, the transaction is free. If you use a credit or debit card, each transaction costs 30 cents plus a 2.9 percent charge on the amount of money sent.

Square Cash

(iOS, Android; free)

This app comes from Square, best known for its in-store payment devices used by retailers. But Square Cash (known simply as Cash on the app stores), allows friends to send and receive money with no transaction charges, as long as the funds are charged to a debit card. You can send money charged to a credit card, but a 3 percent transaction charge is added.

Facebook Messenger

(iOS, Android; free)

Yes, this is a message app. So why is it listed here? Because the social network giant has added a payments feature to the app where Facebook friends cannot only exchange texts, photos and videos, they can send each other money. Payments can be set up using a bank debit card. Credit cards, however, are not accepted.

Leaving its mark

Did you buy a pricey Apple HomePod? Keep if off your even pricier wood furniture. HomePod users have been complaining that the $350 smart speaker leaves stains on wood. Apple says “oils diffusing between the speaker’s base and the table surface” are causing the marks, but claims they will “often go away after several days” when the speaker is removed from the wooden surface. — PETER KING

Block party

Google says its Chrome browser has begun blocking “annoying ads,” including video ads that automatically play sound or giant pop-ups that take over the entire screen. Google says Chrome will block ads from sites that repeatedly display disruptive ads after they’ve been flagged by users. Chrome is the world’s most popular browser, used by about 60 percent of internet users. — PETER KING

Hitting the jackpot

The Secret Service has issued a warning to all financial firms about “jackpotting,” a crime in which a bank ATM is hacked to dispense its money. A problem in Europe for years, jackpotting has only recently been reported in the U.S. Unlike most cybercrimes, it requires physical access to the ATM’s hard drive, which is reconfigured to force the machine to spit out cash. — Bloomberg News

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