When we talk about mCommerce, usually the assumption that the two parties transacting are either a user and a bank or a customer and a retailer. It makes sense: money is for managing, saving or spending. Now, with innovations in strong mobile authentication, performing those kinds of financial transactions from a smartphone is becoming a viable and convenient alternative.
But what about those everyday transactions between friends? Cash flows between companies, customers and banks, but it also connects friends and family. Want to chip in for pizza or drinks or concert tickets, but can’t find anything of value in your pockets but your smartphone? Guess what? PayPal has the answer: P2P money sharing through its Venmo app.
Venmo is a smartphone app available on iOS and Android, owned by PayPal, that enables interpersonal payments the mCommerce way. Boasting bank-grade security, Venmo connects to a financial account and allows for money to be transferred from it free of charge (with a 3 percent transaction fee for credit card accounts).
According to the app’s official website, the user financial info is encrypted, stored and protected on secure servers. Data transfer across the platform is sent over a VeriSign certified 256-bit SSL. Venmo also assures that its systems are regularly audited by industry experts and it is constantly observing the best practices and standards.
The app itself is incredibly simple to use, taking a social media approach to payments. Once the account is synced, all a user needs to do to make a payment is select a friend through email, Facebook or her phone contacts, type the amount with an accompanying message and pick a sharing option. In comparison to the alternatives, like online money transfers, cheques or finding an ATM and having to make change, Venmo’s three step process just seems more appealing.
Indeed, the numbers are speaking for themselves. Business Insider recently reported that Venmo is already channeling as much cash as the ultra successful Starbucks mobile payment app, and it isn’t even two years old. This analysis prompted BI’s John Heggestuen to proclaim: “We believe Venmo and peer-to-peer payment apps like it will become the most popular and widely adopted form of mobile-based payments.”
PayPal is no slouch when it comes to this arena. When Samsung announced its current flagship smartphone’s fingerprint sensor, the company was the first payment provider to support the new authentication method. With the kind of traction that Venmo is experiencing and PayPal’s commitment to mobile payment solutions, it is easy to agree with Heggestuen when he calls it the killer app of mobile payments.