The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued Thursday a notice to the consumer warning that many popular non-bank payment apps lack deposit insurance and therefore the protection of keeping money in a bank account. The agency noted in an accompanying statement that potentially billions of dollars are stored in paid apps, but those customers could lose that money if the app company fails. By contrast, the FDIC and NCUA protect deposits of up to $250,000 under the same owner or owners, he said.

“When users of these digital apps receive payments, the funds are typically not automatically transferred to the recipient’s linked bank or credit union account. Instead, companies retain and invest the funds,” the CFPB said. “These activities are generally not subject to the same oversight that an insured bank or credit union faces.” The agency suggested that until payment apps are designed to automatically transfer balances to users’ secured accounts, “consumers may need to take steps to move their balances stored in payment apps.”

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