Sending cash gifts and e-cards online

- A Brooklyn-based company is re-launching this month to make it easier than ever to send cash gifts to your friends.

Tendr is a startup I wouldn't have covered until now, because they used to charge fees. I am a firm believer that you should not have to pay to access your own money, whether that's an ATM fee or a transaction fee. Those fees are easy enough to avoid, and if you're not careful they can really add up.

Tendr is a local startup that's been around for a few years, but they're only just eliminating their 5 percent service fee, so I took a ride over to Brooklyn to check them out.

Tendr CEO and Co-Founder Jeff Beil told me that he thought it odd that in the modern era, with payments technology so slick and great, that there wasn't an easy, convenient, but also beautiful way to send a cash gift.

So on Valentine's Day in 2014, he and two friends launched Tendr as a registry for weddings. Beil says it was a place where couples could come and create a page to share their financial goals and dreams with their guests, to say thank you, and also share information about their wedding.

Now Tendr is expanding to include every occasion from new babies to bar mitzvahs, and is eliminating its service charge.

In the past, Beil says, Tendr would charge a 5 percent fee to the recipient. He realized over time that Tendr was essentially taxing generosity, and they didn't want to do that. Now it's free to receive money on Tendr.

The sender pays a $3 per gift fee. Beil says Tendr shares a cut of that fee with the artists who make his site so beautiful.

Artists like Ben Wagner, who designs birthday and thank you cards for the site. Wagner says he thinks a lot about what will stand out, and what will make people pick a particular card. He also tries to inject a unique sense of personality.

Meg Gleason, the curator at Tendr, says she heard Wagner give an informal talk about his work, and thought it was so beautiful, smart, and funny that they had to get him on board.

Tendr is hoping its thoughtful, original artwork will help the site go from a few million dollars in transactions to a million dollars each month by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Beil says Tendr is about all of life's most meaningful occasions. Anytime cash is the best gift, he wants Tendr to be the best way to give it.

So how does Tendr work? All you need is an email address to log onto www.tendr.com and send a card and a cash gift.

You can do that for free using Venmo or your bank account. There is a 2.7-percent fee for sending cash from your credit card. (A cash advance fee is relatively standard with credit cards.)

If you're looking to get some cash, you can set up a page on Tendr for any occasion.

Group gifts for teachers, and even memorial funds, are becoming very popular.

Tender does charge $3 to send money with an e-card, but that is cheaper than most greeting cards you'd buy in the store, and I'm OK with that.

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