Sending money to a family member to celebrate their birthday is almost as American as apple pie.
But Clark advises you to never mail a check. There’s a real threat to your identity if scammers get their hands on your check.
Is there a safer way to send birthday money? That’s what a listener of the Clark Howard Podcast recently asked.
What’s the Safest Way To Mail Birthday Money To a Family Member?
A grandmother is planning to spoil her grandchildren with some birthday money. She’s sent gift cards that got lost in the mail. And she’s aware that mailing a check opens you up to potential fraud.
Is there a safer option? That’s what a listener wanted to know on the March 31 podcast episode.
Asked Susan in Hawaii: “What is the safest way to send grandkids birthday money? I’ve had gift cards get lost in the mail and the store would not reimburse me. I’m concerned about sending checks with all the check-washing. What else is there?”
If you’ve listened to the podcast frequently, you’ve heard Clark talk about how much he despises Zelle. He’s also talked about scams that fraudsters perpetuate on payment apps.
You may be surprised to learn, then, that he says sending money electronically is the safest option.
“Your grandkids are going to want to get money by Venmo or CashApp. [Using] Venmo and CashApp to pay family or friends is extremely safe and extremely easy to set up,” Clark says.
“Send the grandkids money that way. That would be the safest way. And it’s virtually instantaneous for you to supply that money to your grandkids.”
Clark’s Advice on Using Payment Apps
Clark does have a few words of caution about using payment apps such as Venmo or CashApp.
First, while it’s safe to send money through these apps to a family member or a friend, you should not send money to someone you don’t know. These apps don’t include the same protections for consumers that credit cards or even bank accounts offer.
Second, once you download one of these apps on your phone, you need to connect it to a checking account or savings account in order to send money.
Clark says you should consider attaching your payment app to an account that’s separate from your main money account as an extra safety precaution.
It’s safer to send birthday money via a payment app than by mailing a check or gift card.
If you’ve never used a payment app, you may find that it’s easier than you expect as well.