Courtesy of Venmo
Imagine this: it’s the perfect date—delicious dinner, beautiful roses, and a great conversation. Then, the bill arrives. The couple fumble for their wallets, wondering who will pay first. After minutes of arguing over the bill, they decide to split it. The issue? One person has cash, the other has credit. In the world without Venmo, this couple would have to flag down the waiter, inquiring whether the restaurant accepted a combination of different payments or had one person handle the bill, promising to pay the other back. Venmo circumvents all of these issues. With a mere few clicks on an app, all the awkwardness associated with paying the bill melts away. “I’ll just Venmo you,” has become a commonplace expression, especially among the younger generation. But what is Venmo, the service whose name has become a verb, and why is it so popular?
Venmo is a mobile payment service that primarily deals with peer-to-peer payments. This app allows users to directly transfer and request payments with other users. Venmo essentially embodies the theme of 21st-century innovation: convenience.
Maggie Murphy (‘21) corroborates the value of Venmo. “It’s made going out with my friends so much easier. We don’t have to take the time to pay separately anymore or even carry cash around”. Users can access Venmo through the app, iMessage, and even Siri. Venmo also embodies another key American value; we love a good deal. Venmo is free to use when using your Venmo balance, bank account, or debit card. Venmo makes the bulk of its profit through merchant clients and the three percent fee for users that utilize credit cards.
Venmo leads the pack of peer-to-peer payment apps, with 277 million users in 2019. In a world full of CashApp, Zelle, and many more payment transaction services, what sets Venmo apart and makes it particularly appealing to younger generations? The answer is clear: its social media aspect. Simply by searching up someone’s username, users can see all their payments received and sent, marked by an emoji or a brief phrase. Few users choose to make their accounts private. This feature allows a feed full of inside jokes and fun emojis, making the mundane task of sending money much more enjoyable. In this generation of social media, where millennials and Generation Z-ers want to know everything about everybody, the app provides another interesting feature. Similarly to viewing a person’s likes on Twitter and friends’ locations on Snapchat, Venmo has become another way for younger people to indulge themselves in each other’s worlds. Although this may appear like an invasion of privacy to some, in this modern age, privacy appears to be the least of the younger generations’ concerns.
Venmo is rapidly changing the way Americans handle money, gaining popularity by the year. Whether you are going out with friends or in a relationship, Venmo is here to eliminate one stressful aspect and make life just a little bit easier.