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Venmo: An emoji-filled experience

   It’s a common scenario: You’re out to dinner with your friends, everyone orders an entree, maybe a drink (or two or three), and probably an appetizer or two to pass around the table. Conversation flows, time passes, and eventually the check arrives. There is that split moment of quiet where you all look at each other and then back at the nervous server. The server is staring back and hoping that the words out of your mouth are not about to be, “Could you split this x ways?”

   Splitting checks is a tedious process and often establishments will only split checks up to four or five ways. Some will not split the check at all. Usually, what ends up happening is that one or two people split the check and expect reimbursement. While that is then less headache-induing for the server, the responsibility then falls back on the diners to figure out how to get their share to the person who settled the bill. Some banks put multi-day holds on transferred funds (both when money is coming out  and when money is coming in) and some banks are require intense gymnastics to transfer money outside of their system.

  In 2009, PayPal released a solution to check-splitting woes: Venmo. Venmo is a free app that simplifies digital payments with a few quick clicks and swipes.

   When you create an account on Venmo, you can link theaccount to either your email or Facebook. You then create a username, select a picture of yourself (optional), and link a bank account or credit card. As with most money-managing apps, you can set a PIN code as an extra layer of security. Once all is in place, you are ready to start sending and receiving money.

  Let’s go back to that check-splitting scenario.  Let’s say you owe $250 to the person who paid the bill. To send them money over Venmo (they are also. required to have a Venmo account), you would find them on Venmo either by searching or scanning their associated QR code, type in the amount ($250.00), and then describe what the money is for. This is where users have gotten the most fun out of Venmo. The description box for the money, “What’s it for?”, allows for emoijis. Thus, if you search through Venmo transactions, you can see that often the transactions are a seemingly random assortment of emojis, hashtags, or meme references; all favorites of the millennials, the prime age-group of Venmo. When you receive money on Venmo it goes toward your Venmo balance, which can be seen under your picture. Some allow the balance to ebb and flow as they use Venmo, others, transfer the newly received funds immediately into their bank accounts (with a 24-hour hold, of course). It should be noted that, unless specified otherwise, all Venmo transactions are public. The amounts are not shown, but the participants and the “What’s it for?” is published.

   In a world that is becoming increasingly more digital, banks are scrambling to catch up to the online payment system of Venmo. CapitalOne, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo all are trying to answer Venmo’s secure, digital payment call with their own systems. Apple, even, is developing a digital payment system within iMessage. For now, though, Venmo remains on top for secure digital payments.

  So go, enjoy your dinners and parties and stop worrying about how to pay people back. Simply grab the check and ask the phrase uttered more and more each day, “You got a Venmo?”

Author: Abbey Brinkey


More information about online payments:

Additional Secure payment options:  https://www.sitepoint.com/8-paypal-alternatives/

4 trending digital payment options:  https://www.business.com/articles/4-trending-digital-payment-methods-is-your-business-ready-for-them/

Digital payments continue to grow: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/09/digital-payments-expected-to-hit-726-billion-by-2020-study-finds.html

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