"Venmo" A Merchant?


A few months ago, my friend, a fellow Boomer, bought tickets to an event she and I were going to attend. “Shall I pay you back with Venmo?” I texted. Her reply, “Uh, that doesn’t sound very good! You can just mail me a check”, triggered a look back at the text I sent to her, which had auto corrected “Venmo” to “Venom”. I had a good laugh, and can’t say that I blamed her for being put off by the mistaken name, but, I ended up having to go through the hassle of writing a check and mailing it to her the “old fashioned” way.

As Millennial kids often do, mine got me using Venmo a few years ago. Nothing new as they were also originally responsible for getting me started with social media. A recent study conducted by Influence Central, showed that Millennials feel obligated to keep their parents up with technology trends, including the latest apps. I’ve adopted the new phrase where Venmo has become an accepted verb, “Venmo me”, and I regularly use the app to transfer money to my kids, spouse, siblings, and friends. So, though I was a bit surprised that my friend didn’t ask me what “Venmo” was, I realized it wasn’t likely she would since she doesn’t have kids and just hadn’t heard of it in her social circles.

I like Venmo. It’s a convenient, easy, and seemingly secure way to transfer money between people. Many mobile payment methods are available nowadays including, but not limited to, Venmo, Square Cash, Google Wallet, and even through Facebook Messenger.  They all have pros and cons involving fees, sometimes extra time getting money into one’s bank account, and social content that some don’t care for.

While Venmo is currently my person to person payment method of choice, I have really wanted to start using it to pay merchants for goods and services. I was very glad to see an early 2016 Fortune Magazine article describing PayPal’s plans to test Venmo for accepting payments with some targeted food delivery and event tickets merchants.

How do you feel about using Venmo to pay a merchant?