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Apple Pay vs Cash App: What’s The Difference, And Which Is Best?

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Apple Pay vs Cash App: What’s The Difference, And Which Is Best?

At the checkout of your local department store, you’ll probably notice half a dozen stickers on and around the payment terminal. In the past, these merely described the accepted payment methods (credit and debit cards). Many retailers accept contactless mobile payment methods such as Apple Pay and Cash App. Both have their unique features, pros and cons, and critical differences. So, Apple Pay vs Cash App, which is the best? Let’s explore both in detail below.

Apple Pay vs Cash App: Side-by-Side Comparison

Apple PayCash App
Parent companyApple, Inc.Square, Inc.
Launch dateOctober 20th, 2014October 15th, 2013
Operating systemiOS, watchOS, macOSAndroid, iOS
Users48.7 million (est. 2023)51 million (est. 2023)
Max. stored cards8-16 cards1 card
Per transfer limit$10,000$250; $7,500 with verification
Weekly transfer limit$20,000$250; $7,500 with verification
FeesNone0.5% to 2.75%

Apple Pay vs Cash App: What’s the Difference?

Apparently, Apple Pay and Cash App differ in various ways. Both use different operating systems, and their user base is not identical. Their maximum number of stored cards is drastically different. The list goes on. Let’s dive into Apple Pay vs Cash App differences below.

Primary Uses

Let’s get this out of the way first. Apple Pay is a contactless mobile payment service, while Cash App is a peer-to-peer mobile payment service. These might sound the same, but there’s a subtle difference. Apple Pay is primarily used for in-person or online purchases. On the other hand, Cash App lets you send money to another person. While they operate within the same mobile payment industry, their primary uses differ. Apple Cash is much closer in spirit to Cash App than Apple Pay.

Transaction Limits

Both services have different transaction limits. Apple Pay’s transaction limits are higher than Cash App’s. Apple Pay users can send up to $10,000 per transaction and $20,00 in weekly transactions. On the other hand, Cash App only allows $250 per transaction (for unverified users) and $7,500 for verified ones. This number is the same for both the daily transaction limit and the weekly transaction limit.

Supported Devices

Apple iPhone, iPad, AirPods Pro, Apple Watch, and MacBook arranged on a table.
Apple Pay is limited exclusively to Apple products, unlike Cash App.

©Shahid Jamil/Shutterstock.com

Lastly, the Apple Pay vs Cash App debate reveals a significant difference in supported devices. Apple Pay and Apple Cash are limited exclusively to Apple devices. These include iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and MacBooks. But the list stops there. Those with Android, Microsoft, Samsung, or Google-branded devices can’t use Apple Pay. Alternatively, Cash App allows both Android and iOS users to transact. This gives Cash App an edge.

The History of Apple Pay

Apple Pay launched in the fall of 2014 alongside the iPhone 6 — making this eighth-generation iPhone the first to support the near-field communication (NFC) required for touchless transactions. Apple Pay facilitates a quicker, safer payment method through low-speed communications between two supported devices. In time, Apple Pay support was added to the full range of Apple products. Soon, Apple users could use Apple Pay for online and in-person transactions.

Apple first began experimenting with this revolutionary fintech in the early months of 2013. The company didn’t do it alone, either. In conjunction with today’s top credit card and banking institutions, Apple assembled a team of experts to spearhead the mobile payment service. The team purchased startups, brought on additional executives, and filed numerous patents on contactless payments. After nearly two years of work, Apple Pay was prepped and ready for an October 2014 launch.

In the following years, Apple Pay quickly became one of the famous names in the mobile payment services industry. The introduction of Apple Cash further underlined this. Like Venmo, Apple Cash allows two iMessage users to send and receive money right in the Messages app. While its user base is strictly limited to Apple product owners alone, it continues to grow. Nearly 50 million Apple users in 80 countries and territories use Apple Pay for online and in-store payments.

How Cash App Competes

Cash App logo and company branding.
Cash App is a mobile payment service operated by Square, Inc.

©viewimage/Shutterstock.com

Apple Pay and Cash App aren’t quite identical. Whereas Apple Pay is a full-fledged mobile payment service, Cash App is a peer-to-peer app. Launched by Square in 2013, Cash App helps people send and receive money using only their smartphones. It was initially called Square Cash but was rebranded in 2018. The name came from its parent company, founded by Jack Dorsey (the guy originally behind Twitter) in 2009.

Cash App was initially intended to simplify person-to-person transactions. However, the app has grown and does more than that. Today, Cash App users can deposit paychecks, invest in cryptocurrency, buy and sell stock, and even purchase ETFs. Since 2015, Cash App users can also opt for a Cash Card. This special debit card works like a debit card and draws from a user’s Cash App funds. You don’t need a bank account to make in-store or online purchases.

As of 2023, Cash App has slightly more users than Apple Pay. While it still falls around 30 million short of Venmo’s total number of users, Cash App remains a hugely popular way to send and receive funds. Being available on Android and iOS is a huge advantage in this department. Not so with Apple Pay, which is limited solely to Apple devices. Cash App’s continued growth will likely keep it ahead of Apple Pay for the foreseeable future.

Apple Pay vs Cash App: 5 Must-Know Facts

  • Apple Pay is quite different from Cash App and has a competitor in Apple Cash. Apple Cash is limited to the Messages app and lacks a designated app outside its iMessage implementation.
  • Cash App has a Cash Boost that gives users cash back rewards when purchasing at participating merchants.
  • Apple Pay is accepted by more than two million retailers countrywide and worldwide. Cash App operates only in the United States and the United Kingdom.
  • Cash App is available to users as young as 13. However, minors cannot purchase or sell cryptocurrency and stock until they turn 18.
  • Apple Pay does not charge merchants and users transaction fees, unlike Cash App, which often charges additional fees ranging from 0.5% to 2.75%.

Apple Pay vs Cash App: Pros and Cons

Pros of Apple PayCons of Apple Pay
Easy-to-use mobile payment serviceOnly a select number of retailers accept it
Near-field technology is super safeRequires mobile data or an Internet connection
All info is tokenized to protect anonymityNot available on Android devices
Available on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac
Pros of Cash AppCons of Cash App
Available on Android and iOS devices$250 weekly limit
No bank account requiredLots of scammers
More users than Apple PayLink only one card at a time
Offers cryptocurrency, stock, and ETF trading

Apple Pay vs Cash App: Which One Is Better?

Apple Pay and Cash App are two reputable mobile payment services. Each has its market and features. Cash App supports more devices and has more users than Apple Pay. However, Apple Pay ultimately deserves the crown. Even though it’s restricted to Apple devices alone, it has higher transfer limits, supports more cards, and has zero additional fees for using the service. Of the two, Apple Pay is the better offering.

Apple Pay vs Cash App: What’s The Difference, And Which Is Best? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Is Cash App safe to use?

Despite being a target of scammers, Cash App is generally considered safe to use. Cash App relies on top-of-the-line encryption and other advanced security measures to protect users’ financial information. Additionally, the service is regulated by the U.S. government to protect against fraud. Enable two-factor authentication can enhance your account’s security when using the app.

How secure is Apple Pay?

Apple Pay is one of the most secure mobile payment services around. The service utilizes tokenization to protect the payment information of its users (not to mention maintain a level of anonymity). Thanks to tokenization, a user’s financial information is never stored or shared with merchants. It’s all kept as private and as secure as possible. This is especially true for users who rely on Touch ID or Face ID to authorize their transactions and protect their financial information.

Are there fees associated with Apple Pay?

Apple Pay does not charge any fees. This goes for both users and merchants alike. Unlike Venmo and Cash App, which charge small fees for instant transfers or credit card transactions, Apple Pay makes a point of not charging fees. This doesn’t mean that your financial institution of choice might not charge you fees, though. Check with them first to make sure.

What kind of investment opportunities are on Cash App?

Cash App has introduced a few investment opportunities over the years. Users can invest in cryptocurrency (such as Bitcoin), purchase or sell stocks on the New York Stock Exchange, and even invest in ETFs. These investment opportunities are available to anyone using Cash App who is over 18 years old.

What's the difference between Apple Pay and Cash App?

A few differences exist between Apple Pay and Cash App. The biggest of the bunch howway each mobile payment service is used. Apple Pay resembles PayPal, allowing you to make online and in-person purchases using touchless transaction technology. On the other hand, Cash App is a peer-to-peer service that more closely resembles Venmo or Apple Cash.

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