Venmo is a mobile payment service owned by PayPal. It allows users to transfer money between one another, primarily using a mobile phone app, but a web interface is available. In 2016, Venmo handled a total of $17.6 billion in transactions. Venmo’s unique positioning in the crowded mobile payments space is social payments. It was initially designed to allow friends to split bills and communicate about purchases. At launch, new accounts were all created through Facebook connect, but today consumers can create an account directly with Venmo.
Yesterday Venmo announced that starting this week, Venmo customers can make mobile web purchases at any of the millions of retailers who already accept Paypal. This list of outlets includes Lululemon, Forever 21, and Foot Locker. Users can complete payments directly from their Venmo account funds or with any major credit card attached to their Venmo account.
Also, eligible purchases will qualify for Paypal purchase protection. This additional value includes the potential for full refunds in situations where the customer receives something that is significantly different than what they purchased.
“Offering a way to pay at millions of retailers is a major step in the evolution of Venmo,” said Bill Ready, Chief Operating Officer of PayPal. “Our vision for Venmo is not only to be the go-to app for payments between friends, but also a ubiquitous digital wallet that helps consumers spend wherever and however they want to pay, regardless of device. Through 2017 and beyond, we will continue to evolve the payments experience that has helped make Venmo a cultural staple, while also applying that same magic to split, share and pay in new ways.”
Overall, this is a good thing for retailers because it will give them excellent access to Venmo’s younger, urban user base. Otherwise, from their perspective, this is just another way for people to pay -something retailers have externalized since forever. Frankly, anything that will improve the customer experience should be considered a positive move for the struggling, retail sector. Especially right before the busy holiday shopping season.
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