By CARISSA ECONOMOS
You’re in the checkout line at the grocery store and realize you forgot your wallet. The waiter puts the total all on one check when you’re out to eat with seven of your closest friends. The five-mile cab ride only accepts cash and all you have is a piece of plastic in your wallet. In the words of Frank Sinatra, “That’s life.” The good part is your friends are with you and offered to help you out. The bad part is you now owe them all different amounts of money. The process of repaying friends can sometimes be difficult to sort out, but thanks to technology, there is an easier option.
Venmo is a mobile-payment platform that allows users to send and receive money with ease. Linked with your bank account, it directly takes the money sent and sends it to the recipient. You simply look up their username and type in the specific dollar amount you want to pay them. From there, the money is transferred into their Venmo account, which they can keep there to pay other people, or transfer into one of their bank accounts. A perk of Venmo is that it also has the option to request money. Instead of having to deal with confronting a friend, you can simply send them a request and even add a note as to what it’s for.
The makers of Venmo pride themselves in creating an app with a unique social aspect to it. Users have the option to sign up with Facebook and see their friends’ Venmo activity, similar to a news feed. From there, users are able to like and even comment on each other’s transactions. When signing up with Facebook, Venmo automatically syncs all of your Facebook friends to your Venmo, making it easier for you to connect with them. For those who don’t want others to see who they’re paying and why, they can easily change their privacy settings so that information is not shared with their friends. However, those who do not have a Venmo, but are friends with each other on Facebook, can’t see their friends’ Venmo activity from their Facebook timeline.
Venmo was founded in 2012 by Andrew Kortina and Iqram Magdon Ismail, two friends who met as freshman roommates at the University of Pennsylvania. Their idea for Venmo was formed when the two were on a trip together and one of them forgot their wallet. It was such a hassle figuring out how much money was owed that they decided to start working on a way to share money through a mobile device. Originally, their plan worked by sending through text messages, but then evolved into the app, Venmo.
Venmo is currently owned by PayPal, another online money-transferring service. Different from PayPal, Venmo strictly limits its use to sending or receiving money owed to friends, not to purchase merchandise. The app has also assured its users that its protection and security systems are at the same standards as banks. They use advanced data encryption to protect and guard against unauthorized transactions and access to personal financial information. Their website includes contact information and support for any issues with an account.
Venmo is available for free on iOS and Android. For those who don’t have a smartphone, the app is also available as a website. It has received an average of 4.6/5 stars based off of 29,570 votes. Downloaded over a million times, this app continues to provide an easy and effective method to send and receive money.
Carissa Economos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.