Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Why don't you already have Venmo?!

If you're under 30, have a smartphone and don't yet have Venmo, I question your intelligence. (If you're under 30 and don't have a smartphone, I already know it). Venmo is a must have app for those who use money. The most common use case, for those who still don't know, goes something like this:

You're at lunch, you don't have your wallet, but you and your friend both have Venmo. No wallet, no problem. He pays for your lunch and before he can even sign his receipt you've already paid him back through the app. Once you and some friends have Venmo installed and connected, it couldn't be simpler. But getting it all setup and connected can be a burden to first time users.

Venmo connects to your bank account, debit card, or a credit card (Credit card transactions add 3%). The second two are fairly easy to setup, but you won't ever be able to "cash out" unless you connect your bank. For some reason, most people don't know their bank account number and/or routing number. Venmo also has an option to setup your account using just your online banking credentials, but unfortunately that fails to work most of that time. Instead you must go through the process of tracking down your account number, putting in the app and then waiting 2-3 days until some micro deposits appear in your bank. Some banks even combine those into one deposit so you have to call the bank instead of just checking online. Yikes! No wonder it's taken so long for Venmo to finally gain traction. But it is!

Everyday i see and hear about more people getting signed on to Venmo. The more people that use it and are fully connected, the better the service is for everyone. In fact, i think the only reason that Venmo has continued to grow is because so many people want to be able to use the app with their friends. The process of getting set up is for some reason so difficult for people that without the encouragement and help of others who've gone through the process they would certainly give up.

Venmo has done a good job of adding features including going social with "stories" that you can follow, like, comment, etc, but in order for Venmo to really take off, they need to simplify the sign up process. The most simple experience would be for the user to just log in with their online banking credentials. While this is currently an option during setup, as i mentioned before I've never seen it work for those whom i've help get setup. Along those same lines is the fact that a large portion of their target market are young people who often have credit union accounts instead of actual bank accounts. Some credit unions combine the deposits making another obstacle for the unconvinced noob, and some just don't work at all. Adding more support for credit unions and making the online banking credentials option more robust will help the onboarding process and grow the company's user base.

If you're new to Venmo or want to try it out, have faith. As brutal as i've described the setup process to be, it's really not that hard. And once it's done, you'll find every excuse you can to use it.