New Product: Would You Use A Peer-to-Peer Payment App?

Jan 30, 2015
Activity, Question of the Day, Payment Types, New Products, Current Events

The peer-to-peer payment space has exploded of late.  One of the fastest growing companies in the space is a company called Venmo (Want to know how to find out about apps like this?; ask your college-aged relatives or children).

This Investopedia article provides a good description of these new financial apps that high school and college students will be using (if they don’t use them already).  Still wondering about the use case?

Want to split the restaurant bill among friends but don’t have spare change? Or want to pay your share of rent to the roommate, but don’t want the hassles of writing a check or doing an online transfer? Dare to think beyond the standard card, check, or cash payments? Welcome to app-based peer-to-peer payment technologies that make life easier for quick payments to trusted friends, businesses, and even strangers in close proximity. Venmo, with its tagline “Share Payments,” is currently leading the race with rapid growth, while other players are trying to catch up.

Wondering who the competitors are (hint:  it’s crowded)?:

  • Google Wallet is the closest competitor to Venmo, as it has plans to link Google Wallet to Gmail. However, it does not (and possibly will not) have an iOS app, meaning iPhone users cannot use Google Wallet, while Venmo is available on both iOS and Android.
  • Apple Inc. has recently announced Apple Pay, a payment system for making purchases in stores and for apps, with a fingertip reader on iPhones. As expected, this may remain an iOS-only app, not available for Android users.
  • Popmoney – While similar to Venmo, Popmoney charges to send money from a debit card or bank account. It also has the challenge of working only with limited number of banks, and it takes three days to transfer funds.
  • SnapCash – Offered as the payment service from SnapChat, SnapCash might emerge as one of the top competitors in the near future.
  • Square Cash– Built by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, Square Cash offers completely free debit card-based transactions through email or a mobile app. However, it does not support credit cards.
  • Rumors run high that Facebook may also be planning something similar on processing mobile payments.
  • PayPal, earlier a competitor, has now become the owner, after it acquired Venmo last year.

An interesting activity might be to have the students pick three of the companies in this space and compare and contrast the features of their apps.  Another question for students would be whether they would use these services, why or why not?

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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