CR: Apple Pay Cash is the best peer-to-peer mobile payment service

Apple Pay
Apple Pay (Image credit: iMore)

My views on Consumer Reports should be well known by now: Ever since Antennagate, it seems to emphasize sensationalism in tech coverage and rushed attention-seeking over the high-quality research work it used to be known and loved for. And that doesn't change just because CR thinks Apple Pay is the best mobile peer-to-peer (P2P) payment service.

In our first-ever test-based ratings of P2P mobile services, CR rated Apple Pay the highest overall, with excellent or very good marks in the key consumer-protection measures of payment authentication and data privacy. Apple's overall rating was significantly higher than for the other services we tested: Venmo, Square's Cash App, Facebook P2P Payments in Messenger, and Zelle.

CR liked the privacy aspects of Apple Pay:

Apple Pay was the only service that got top marks from CR for data privacy, because its policies state that it limits the information it collects and shares on users and their transactions. It doesn't store credit card or debit card numbers, and it states in the terms and conditions that it doesn't sell users' personal information to third parties, CR found.

But Apple Pay has a major drawback: It requires specific later-generation Apple hardware and software.

Google Pay Send / Google Wallet wasn't included... but kinda was?

While Consumer Reports was researching this story, Google announced that its own peer-to-peer payment app, Google Pay Send, would be merged into its comprehensive wallet service, Google Pay. The service's P2P function seems similar to others we tested: Users can opt to use a PIN or fingerprint for each payment.Though Google Pay leverages your contact list to protect you from misdirecting a payment, you can still mess up easily by sending money to arbitrary—or wrong—phone numbers. Google Pay's error-resolution policy is easily accessible. Google reserves broad rights to collect and use your data for its own purposes, though its policies state that it typically doesn't share your information with third parties, CR found.

To be clear, I love Apple Pay. I use it everywhere I can and want it everywhere else. I can't wait for Apple Pay Cash to go international. From a security and privacy standpoint, it's the gold standard.

If you're still on the fence about P2P, I don't know if CR will change your mind, but I'd recommend trying it out for yourself and seeing how you like it.

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.