What's the cheapest way to send money online?
July 7, 2007 5:28 PM   Subscribe

RentFilter: What's the best way for my roommates to pay me their rent, paypal seems like they take way to big of a cut.

Being the last person on my lease, I pay the rent to my landlord each month. I'd like my roommates to be able to pay me their share online, as I'm pretty awful about collecting and depositing checks. The 4.9% that paypal wants to charge me seems a bit exorbitant. Is there something better out there that will let my roommates send me the money for free?

I don't mind giving them my bank account # and/or routing # if there's some way they could directly deposit into my account.
posted by christy to Work & Money (22 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Some banks have free email money transfers.

Also, if you set up a "business" account with Paypal, you pay lower fees.
posted by acoutu at 5:48 PM on July 7, 2007

Oh, and take a look at Google checkout. The service is free till January.
posted by acoutu at 5:49 PM on July 7, 2007

You might want to have a look at Obopay, which charges $0.10 a transfer. I can't vouch for it from personal experience, but I do use the related BillMonk service to track bills and rent with my roommate. BillMonk does a bang-up job and I'd expect OboPay to be equally good. Of course, judging from this thread most of the Blue would probably be surprised that BillMonk is even still in business.

Otherwise, I would think you could all sign up for secondary personal PayPal accounts. According to this chart there's no fee for a PayPal instant transfer, which I think would involve your roommate transferring money from her bank account to your PayPal account. You'd then put in a request to withdraw your PayPal balance, which is free if you have it electronically deposited in your bank account. It looks like you're only charged if your roommates try and fund it with a credit or debit card (and you'd have to get a business or premier account to fund it).
posted by Mock Turtle at 5:49 PM on July 7, 2007 [2 favorites]

Ah, I hadn't realized the roommates would pay from their bank accounts. Mock Turtle has a better solution.

However, depending on how long all this takes to clear, you might need to get their payments in advance or else carry a balance in your account to cover the rent payment.
posted by acoutu at 5:56 PM on July 7, 2007

Some banks have free email money transfers.

ING is one of them.

Have you and your roommates sign up for an ING Electric Orange checking account.

From their website:
Send money securely for free with Electric Checks.
With Electric Orange, you can send money to an individuals’ bank account with Electric Checks for free. Simply enter the person's information, the details of the payment, and an email will be sent to the recipient. The person can click on the link within the email to go to a secure page to enter their account information and the money is transferred!
Basically, you add a person's account info, put in the amount, and the money is transferred electronically between accounts as described above. I've only sent ING to ING; those transfers are immediate. ING to another bank takes 2-3 business days.
posted by mathlete at 6:34 PM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

Well, I'm not quite sure about how best to trade money online, but Buxfer, developed at my school, is a good way to track what people owe you. It's got a nice Web 2.0 interface, and it's effective. Just send them bills and have them write you checks.
posted by Aanidaani at 7:11 PM on July 7, 2007

You could provide your roommates with deposit slips and envelopes and they could send in checks to your account (write "for deposit only: (your account number) where you would normally endorse the check. Many banks provide free envelopes for deposits
posted by bourdon at 7:30 PM on July 7, 2007

I don't get it. You live with these people, you're on a lease, and they don't just give you post-dated checks? And now you're looking for a system that will cost you more and and be less convenient than walking to the bank and depositing checks once a month?

This is one of the few instances where it's still worthwhile to have checks. Get the roomates to write a few months of post dated checks. If people are uncomfortable with this, a trusted third party can hold them in escrow.
posted by thenormshow at 10:07 PM on July 7, 2007

How about email money transfers? They're very hassle free for both parties.
posted by BeaverTerror at 10:20 PM on July 7, 2007

In Europe, you would do an recurrent wire transfer. Every month, money automatically disappears from your roommates' account and shows up on your account. Could your bank do that?

Most europeans would find it amazing that you use small pieces of hand-written paper to transfer large sums of money :)
posted by stereo at 11:05 PM on July 7, 2007

My employer allows me to set up multiple direct deposits of different amounts from my paycheck. Part goes to directly into my roommate's account for him to pay rent on my behalf, part goes into my investments/savings account, the remainder goes into my current account.
posted by randomstriker at 1:45 AM on July 8, 2007

Don't use Paypal for anything important.
posted by grouse at 4:12 AM on July 8, 2007

You could have your roommates pay you cash.
posted by yohko at 7:36 AM on July 8, 2007

One option is to just allow incoming transfers to your account. My folks have their BOA account linked to mine so they can do an instant transfer if I am short on cash. They cannot take funds out of my account and I can't do anything to theirs (I can't even see that it is linked). This of course would get real complicated if you and the roommates use different banks. I have a similar set up on my E*trade account. I had to set up incoming and outgoing transfers seperately.

Here's a low tech solution. Can't your roommates just write the check to the landlord? Just collect all checks and hand it in. Or is your landlord anal retentive about getting only one check?
posted by special-k at 10:34 AM on July 8, 2007

bleh. what Afroblanco said.
posted by special-k at 10:35 AM on July 8, 2007

The multiple-checks solution is a good one, but it's worth noting that it's landlord-dependent; both of the landlords I've had - large companies that own lots of property - require exactly one check per unit, regardless of how many people live there.

The Orange Checking solution seems like it'd work to me, though frankly I think the easiest thing would in fact be to simply make sure your roommates get you their checks a couple of days before rent is due, deposit them (at an ATM, if banker's hours are inconvenient; I haven't deposited a check at a teller in years), and write the 'main' check yourself.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:04 AM on July 8, 2007

Yeah, just have them write you checks, or get money orders.

(I prefer checks, my other housemate insists on doing Money Orders. The landlord's happy to take either.)
posted by SansPoint at 1:10 PM on July 8, 2007

Am I missing something about banking in the US? Here in the UK perhaps 75% of people would log into their online banking, type in someone else's sort code and account number along with an amount, and bam.. it's transferred almost instantly.
posted by wackybrit at 1:16 PM on July 8, 2007

Am I missing something about banking in the US?

posted by grouse at 2:00 PM on July 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

If they have banks that don't suck, and they're reasonably familiar with their web sites, they should be able to set up electronic payments that will go directly to you. Perhaps by using the automatic 'online bill-pay' or some similar service, maybe just as a transfer. (But you don't want a 'wire transfer' that will cost money.)

However, personally I think this is a PITA; if I were one of your roommates I'd probably balk at having to do anything electronic unless there was some incentive in it for me. But then again, I'm more attached to my paper checks than most. And maybe they're nicer than I am.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:53 PM on July 8, 2007

My roommates transfer money online from their accounts to mine. The next day, I transfer the money online from my account to the landlord's.

They are all set up as scheduled transfers, as close to pay day as possible, so you can be sure the money's there when the transfer takes place.
posted by robcorr at 7:14 PM on July 8, 2007


I must be.. I was totally blown away when I was in the US and noticed most banks don't have bullet proof glass walls between customers and tellers. We even have that in the UK where gun crime in banks is almost non-existent :)
posted by wackybrit at 3:27 PM on July 10, 2007

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