Popmoney Seemed Easy, Then I Tried To Actually Get My Money

Popmoney seems like a great idea, and lots of banks offer it to their customers. It’s sort of like PayPal, but without having to deal with PayPal. You send people money using their mobile number or e-mail address. It’s a new offering from Fiserv, a company that you probably haven’t heard of but have most likely done business with indirectly. They handle money transfers behind the scenes for banks, and other financial institutions.

George doesn’t think that it’s all that great an idea, though. He signed up for it when renting out his vacation home, and everything went just great until he tried to actually withdraw the money and get it into his bank account. Somehow he had missed that savings accounts weren’t eligible for the service, or at least hissavings account wasn’t eligible. Oops.

He writes:

To accept payment for the rental of our vacation home, I signed up for Popmoney and designated an account with my bank. I sent a request for the money on Friday… bang… an immediate email confirmation of the transaction. I’m favorably impressed.

The renter sends the money on Friday… so they say. No email confirmation… so I’m wary. I log on to verify. And there a record of the money being transferred. That’s good… except they floated the money for 3 business days plus the weekend. Monday, it’s not in my account. Not good… but I’m patient. I can wait until Tuesday.

I log in on Tuesday and finally call their support… and get an ‘look at the end of the day’ message. Finally, on the Wednesday, I discover that the money is being returned to sender… because there’s a problem with my account.

The supervisor in customer service can’t fix it. I should have ‘noticed’ that a savings account isn’t acceptable. The software accepts it… because they are planning to do it… just not yet. He admitted that it’s a flaw that I didn’t get a notice… but the system didn’t know that my account wouldn’t work until a payment came in.
AND THEN… because it didn’t work. They returned the money.

Popmoney’s own help page describes accounts eligible for the service as follows:

You can use any Eligible Transaction Account. An Eligible Transaction Account is a transaction account from which your payments will be debited, your Popmoney service fees will be automatically debited or to which payments and credits to you will be credited. Today you can send money from a checking, money market or other direct deposit account or a debit card account (you cannot send money from a credit card account). You can only deposit money into a checking, money market or other direct deposit account (you cannot deposit money using a debit or credit card account).

Wait, is a savings account not a “direct deposit account?” Not depositing money using debit and credit card accounts makes sense, since that’s how direct deposit usually works.George should check with his bank to make sure that there isn’t something particular about the way his savings account works that precludes it from receiving transfers from Popmoney.