Do you need to get cash in a snap? Here’s a look at some of your options.

A month into  a new semester, you learn about an exciting opportunity.  A friend has access to special seats for a hot play opening nearby and has offered to bring you. The catch: You need cash to pay back your friend for the transportation and ticket, which turns out to be a nontrivial amount, plus, a dinner afterward at a famous restaurant where all the actors often hang out.

You know your parents would be willing to chip in for this kind of experience. The question is how can they get you the money?

There are of course traditional options, like bank and wire transfers or checks, but a big drawback is that these options can take time.

If you need to get cash fast, person-to-person applications may be your best choice. Often at no charge, they let you transfer money almost instantly. A number of service providers now offer various details and nuances that you need to be aware of. 

Here are three scenarios to consider and how such person-to-person payments can help you and your family members send and receive cash on short notice:

1. You need help footing the bill for a night out.

In this case a social payment app might come in handy. These apps allow you to transfer funds to members you are linked to. Unlike some linked payment apps, social payment apps include a social feed that may allow others to see that you transferred cash, making them less private. If you are uncomfortable sharing with the world that you’re getting money from your parents, look for a setting to hide or turn off the social feed.

2. You need money to cover an emergency medical expense.

1.   You might consider using a linked payment app. These apps allow you to send or receive money from a linked bank account, or debit and credit card. You can use these apps to transfer cash, or pay a vendor or business directly. A drawback is that you may incur fees for using credit cards or for expedited payments with these apps.

3. You need help to quickly cover the security deposit of a first off-campus apartment.

An app linked to a financial institution may be a good option. One option is Send Money with Zelle®, which is integrated into hundreds of mobile apps, including Morgan Stanley’s. Zelle lets you send or receive money at no cost from almost anyone you trust who has an account in the U.S., using their preferred email address or U.S. mobile phone number. This also means that you can send or receive money without having to share your account credentials with the other party, a big benefit. Even if the other party’s financial institution doesn’t participate in the service, they can still receive funds using the Zelle service.

Don’t Neglect Cybersecurity

All online transactions carry the risk for fraud and theft. Review ways you can bolster your online security to strengthen your online profiles and accounts.  When choosing an app, look for features like two-factor authentication to boost the safety of your transaction. 

Final Thought

Starting college may be a perfect opportunity to learn more about money, creating a budget, and starting your own financial journey.