(Pocket-lint) - Ever wish you could instantly send money to your daughter or friend without having to pay ridiculous fees?
Well, now you can, thanks to Circle. It not only allows you to make payments to anyone in the world, but it also acts as a wallet of sorts, allowing you to store money pulled from your debit card. You can even request money from friends and store it in Circle or transfer it back to your account. No strings attached. Here's everything you need to know about Circle, including how it works.
What is Circle?
Founded in 2013, Circle is an app that lets you store and transfer money. Circle is described as an app that enables "greater ease-of-use for online and in-person payments, enhanced security and privacy for customers, and the convenience of free, instant, global digital money transfers". It's handy because it allows you to not only store money but also do things like easily splint rent or a bar tab or pizza with friends.
How does Circle work?
Download the Circle app for iOS or Android. You can sign up for Circle online and then use the Circle for Android or iOS apps to make your actual money transfers. When the Circle app opens, you'll see the main screen with three tabs at the top: Send, Messages, and Request.
Use the Send screen to enter an amount you'd like to send to someone, and then allow Circle to access your contacts. You will be able to send money to any email or phone number. Once you select a person, you can specify what the money is for, include a comment, GIF, or image, and then send. You'll be asked to add your debit card if it's your first time using Circle (you don't have to add to get started; you can just send to someone straight from your card). After that, you can send money instantly for free.
Use the Messages screen to see your list of payments as well as to access other Circle features like Add Money, Cash Out, Transactions, Friends, and Settings. The Add Money option lets you add money from your debit card (instant and free) or bank account (two to five days to confirm) to Circle, which acts sort of like a storage service in this instance. You can also use the Cash Out screen to transfer money from your Circle wallet back to your debit card (instant and free) or bank account (two to five days to confirm). The Transaction screen simply lists your recent transaction history, while Friends lists all your Circle contacts, and Settings lets you adjust your Circle preferences, including enabling Touch ID, two-factor authentication, push notifications, and the ability to show nearby users, among other things.
And finally, the Request screen allows you to pick a contact from your device (or enter an email), then specify an amount you'd like from that person - complete with comments, images, GIFs, etc - and submit your request. When the person gets the request, they will be able to use Circle to transfer money back to you via a debit card (instant and free) or bank account (two to five days to confirm). The money will go to your Circle wallet, and from there, you can transfer it to your debit card (instant and free) or bank account (two to five days to confirm).
Is Circle free to use?
Yes. Circle lets you send and receive money - as well as make payments to anyone in the world - with zero fees. You can also add money and cash out with no fees when you use a linked debit card or linked bank account, according to Circle.
Is Circle safe to use?
You can use TouchID, PIN lock, and two-factor authentication (an extra layer of security that requires you to know both your email and password, as well as provide a verification code from a second device, like a mobile phone) with Circle to keep your money safe. The app also has third-party security firms perform regular cyber security audits.
Where is Circle available?
You can use Circle to send and receive money anywhere in the world.
Want to know more?
Check out Circle's Help hub for more tips and tricks.