Venmo (July 2018)

Published July 2018


Do you have a person in your life that leaves their wallet at home when you go out for dinner but always remembers their cell phone?


If your answer is YES, then it's time they get Venmo and they can stop with that excuse!

Venmo is one of the leaders in a peer to peer app market ($12billion in transactions in the first quarter of 2018) However, this article is not for advertising.

I am writing about this app because it is a leader in the market, which is going to replace cash and the need for banks, and you need to know about it.

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

I also chose Venmo because it’s SO easy to use!

App summary overview:

It is a cell phone payment service owned by PayPal, which was founded in 2009 and is a payment system through text message. Sort of like M-Pesa in Kenya. M-Pesa, by the way, is moving around Africa and is soon to arrive in Ethiopia. (Thanks to Safaricom).

It works on iOS, Android and the Internet.

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

The program was designed with a bit of a social twist to its peer to peer payment function. This twist includes several features such as chat, linking in with Facebook or phone contacts, and allowing friends to view, like, and comment on shared purchases.

Now this might not sound appealing to some, and for those of you who don’t like the concept it is a feature that can be managed or turned off.

(See privacy settings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrmY07XxKtE)

For those who find the features appealing, those who might be classified as nosy, you will love this app.

Besides person to person transfers, you can do person to seller and even share payments at a dinner table.

There are lots of companies already involved (some examples below) and the list is going to grow.

Venmo is currently already accepted at over 2 million locations in the USA.

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

So, you can pay into a friend’s Venmo account or if you prefer to receive payments you can request a payment. Yes, you can charge a friend!

Payments can be managed using the Venmo account, set up with a phone number or email but there is also going to be a Venmo debit card.

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

This card will eventually work wherever MasterCard is accepted. I wonder if PayPal checked on this company name before they came up with it?

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

How do you get money into the system or out?

I am so glad to report you don’t have to mine it like Bitcoin.

Venmo links your bank account or debit card quickly and without waffle. Credit cards can work, but increases your transaction fees by 3%. Many of the transactions otherwise are free! In fact the company has not reported any earnings yet. They also said that they don’t make money off the float or funds in your account through interest.

This does not sound like a good business plan does it?

But there is a strategy and plans for Venmo. Step one was to create brand awareness and build trust. You cannot charge people for trust!

Future plans for this App are to expand into commercial markets from business to customer. This is where I suspect Venmo is going to make its money back. It also addresses a complaint about the app’s shortcomings with regards to business to customer solutions. Retailers are likely to sign up fast, as they get free marketing when there is a purchase from their stores. This is done through the social feed and it saves them having to beg people to sign up to their social media in store so they can track spend trend.

Now, there is a lot of fuss about security on this app. Let me address this.

Venmo does not offer buyer or seller protection, but then again, who does?

I am happy to say your personal and financial data is encrypted and your activity is, in a way, monitored for problems, which means you can be alerted to issues by Venmo.

Remember, nothing in this world is 100% safe no matter what people say.

In South Africa, we are all worried about Sim Card cloning. Did you even know about this product?

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

If you suspect an issue you can remove a session on your phone from a PC remotely, using the Venmo website.

There are also multifactor authentication processes, and the mobile apps offers pin code functions.

It is also advertised that users will only be liable for a $50 loss in worse case and provable situations, and provided that Venmo is contacted within two business days. In practice, this might not be as easy as advertised.

So, that is Venmo in a nutshell. However, they are not the only options we need to learn about.

There is Circle Pay, Square Cash, Android Pay and Google Wallet, which will become Google Pay, and there is also Apple Pay Cash.

In South Africa, we have an app called Slide. Visit their website: https://getslideapp.com/

This company was started in 2017 by three young South Africans. Well done, guys. (I have sent you a Facebook request!)

The program looks like WhatsApp and does similar things to Venmo but payments will reflect faster, I assume, because local is meant to be better.

Below is a helpful comparison between some of the major app options taken from https://www.digitaltrends.com(Thank you guys!).

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Has anyone noticed the launch of the new ABSA look?

You know, their logo looks like an ABS light on your car dashboard.

I bank with ABSA so I am allowed to comment as a client.

The reason I bring up my bank is because one has to ask, “Do banks feel threatened by these new apps?”

I have to assume they do.

The fact is banks are still necessary in the background for the majority of these apps. Some banks have tried similar apps like Zelle. See site: https://www.zellepay.com/ - (Their website looks very similar to Venmo, don’t you think?).

Zelle does, however, fall short on Venmo’s social component, which makes it more fun! Also, if anyone from Zelle reads my articles; guys, your Facebook link is broken on your website:

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Venmo and various similar apps have their issues: Trust and Security are always the common ones. There is another complaint about Venmo that is common and one that I support. That being the limitation to how much you can transact until you confirm your identity and even afterwards there are still limits. There are a lot of other complaints, of course, and if you would like to read them, here is a very good link. It is my opinion that many issues are user errors.

Another unmentioned problem to these types of apps might be SARS. You cannot explain an emoji as a payment reference to them, can you? Remember, emojis are included on the payment history statement for transactions.

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

I encourage you all to try one of these apps sooner than later.

Here is a very short video on the Venmo App: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlJwgjN3lCY

Want to jump right into a test?

Here is a 7 minute video on how to set it up.


The link to the app store.

There website is:

Published July 2018

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