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Venmo, Square, and the Era of Peer-to-Peer Transfers

The Age of Delays and Fees

For years, the world of tech startups, seemingly in a rush to provide a futuristic reimagining of nearly every one of our daily habits, had yet to come up with a safe solution to one of the most basic interactions we undertake daily: the transfer of money. While ACH and debit transactions have existed for decades now, most transfers from individual to individual would take days without using cash or going through a complicated and inconvenient money wiring process often laden with fees. With the popularity of eBay in the late 90s and early 2000s, the demand for safer payment options increased and PayPal rose to fill that niche. PayPal only proved to be a half-step, though, and individuals hoping to send money to friends or family were still forced to endure delays or steep fees.

Peer-to-Peer Rising

Enter Venmo and Square. Relative newcomers to the tech-financial scene, both Square and Venmo offer peer-to-peer financial transactions backed by robust security and options for low-cost instant transfers. Interestingly, much of Venmo’s development has been thanks in part to a very familiar name: PayPal. Paypal acquired Venmo in 2013 and helped it grow into an almost viral success among millennials especially. Interestingly, PayPal is assisting Venmo in expanding its scope to incorporate payments to businesses, allowing Venmo users to use their Venmo balance to buy directly from merchants both online and offline.

Square, starting out offering convenient debit and credit processing options via mobile for small businesses, increased the democratization of the small business landscape by allowing businesses to more realistically accept cards. In the last few years though, Square expanded their reach with Square Cash (also known as Cash.Me,) a mobile-centric service that allows peer-to-peer transfers housed in a simple, straightforward user interface.

Additionally, Apple’s growing interest in secure financial apps seems to be hinting that they, too, may enter the peer-to-peer arena soon. If that’s the case, it may signal a conclusive end to the age of money orders and needless ATM fees.

What Does Peer-to-Peer’s Rising Popularity Mean for Businesses and Customers?

Customers and individuals are, at first glance, the greatest beneficiaries of the shift towards peer-to-peer. Instantaneous transfers with marginal fees nearly erase the need to risk carrying cash, makes splitting bills incredibly easy, and makes personal sales (like garage sales or moving sales) clean and convenient.

However, the savings peer-to-peer apps are bringing to businesses should not be overlooked. For small businesses, being able to simply take cards means not having to lose business from interested buyers who just don’t have the cash on them. Even more, the overhead of processing fees is incredibly reduced using apps like Square for business.

Additionally, for eCommerce stores especially, offering to accept Venmo as a payment option can mean tapping into an entirely new demographic that is passionate about the latest and greatest in time-saving apps on their mobile devices. The success of Bitcoin, which was significantly more niche than Venmo and Square Cash, indicates that tapping into tech-passionate demographics can be incredibly profitable, especially when it is easy to integrate into your website.

How Convenient Payment Options Can Secure Sales

Integrating Venmo, Square Cash, and even Apple Pay can impact your sales in a very real way; one of the most significant sources of lost revenue is via cart abandonment on mobile. Cart abandonment is a particularly difficult issue on mobile because it is on mobile that users have the highest expectations of convenience. If you’ve ever tried to fill out a lengthy form on mobile, you can understand why this might be a major obstacle for a customer that is on the run, shopping while commuting, or trying to make a purchase during a work break.

Apple Pay, Venmo, Square Cash, and PayPal all offer solutions to this problem by building independent profiles for customers and acting as a trustworthy intermediary between eCommerce companies. However, as mentioned above, Venmo and Square Cash have some advantages, at least for the time being. It’s difficult to overstate the impact that the current buzz around these two apps can have on sales conversions. Venmo’s integration with Facebook, for example, means that Venmo is quickly becoming a household name, even outside of the usual groups that adopt new and trending apps. Cash, too, due to incredibly successful marketing and invitation promotions, is building a strong presence across multiple demographics.

Modern mobile payment apps are opening new frontiers for customers and for businesses, and getting them integrated into your website can pay off visibly in more ways than one. The experts at can help you prep your site for the future of payment apps, increasing your power in the mobile market, and helping you secure sales you might have otherwise missed. Contact us today and see how we can help your business become future-proof.


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