Snapchat Unveils mCommerce Functionality

Mobile CommercePopular picture messaging app Snapchat has entered the world of mobile commerce with the unveiling of a new feature that will allow users to send each other money. Called Snapcash, the feature is a peer-to-peer money transfer service made available through a partnership with Square Cash, a stand alone app that performs the same function.

It makes sense that a social app like Snapchat, one with such a massive and active user base comprised of young people, would want to start incorporating simple financial operations into its functionality, while Square Cash is clearly benefiting from its partner’s established popularity.

Of course, with financial operations – even simple peer-to-peer ones- comes a need for security, and the messaging app doesn’t exactly have a pristine track record. Last January, Snapchat was the victim of hackers,who comprised approximately 4.6 million user accounts. In the wake of the attack, which saw personal user data including phone numbers posted online, people became skeptical of their favorite social app.

This is where Square Cash comes in. According to a blogpost on Snapchat’s website, Square will be handling the necessary security assurance.

“We set out to make payments faster and more fun, but we also know that security is essential when you’re dealing with money. Square has a ton of experience in this area and our teams have been hard at work to make Snapcash a great experience for everyone,” it reads before explaining the current deployment. “For now, Snapcash is available to Snapchatters in the United States who have a debit card and are 18 or older.”

In an entertaining musical announcement video, Snapcash is portrayed as very easy to use. Using the time tested educational techniques of song and dance, the video describes a feature that requires that a debit card be connected and then securely stored by the app for future use. The rest is as easy as selecting a contact, typing in the denomination and touching send.

Given the assurance that Square brings to the Snapcash equation, as well as the popularity of other peer-to-peer money transfer apps, Snapchat’s move beyond messaging looks like it could be a hit.