You are at dinner with some friends. You are enjoying your meal and the time has come to pay. None of you have cash. Now, you all stare at each other, curious as to which of you is going to volunteer to pay the check and hopefully get paid back by the rest of your party.
This common awkward situation is no longer an issue with the slew of reliable mobile peer-to-peer payment options available. Recently, popular photo sharing app Snapchat announced that it has added “Snapcash,” a payment feature that allows you to pay your friends through the app. The company announcement came via “snap” to all of its users, in a video that looked straight out of the 1930s, with over the top costumes and no shortage of glamour. This was a great way for the company to announce its new features—by using its own product.
With that being said, there are a lot of people who are very cautious about typing their debit card information into an app that earlier this year had a security breach where user’s pictures were being stolen via third party apps. It will be interesting to see if the Snapchat brand can gain the trust of its many current and future users. The Snapcash feature is backed by Square Cash, an app released by Square, a reputable leader in the mobile payment market.
This is just the latest way to pay people you know by using your phone. It’s safe to say I am slightly obsessed with Snapchat, but there are many other apps people can use to pay their friends for anything from pizza to rent. Other companies have taken advantage of this mobile payment trend, including eBay with its Venmo app and Google’s payment option through Gmail. Convenience and mobility go hand-in-hand and offering mobile-friendly solutions will help companies become even more successful.
What’s most exciting about Snapchat’s latest announcement is how it seems to be the first time an existing social media app has allowed peer-to-peer payments. Other apps, such as Venmo, attempt to create a culture based around the payments, where Snapcash is just a feature part of an already insanely popular community.
A year ago, Facebook attempted to purchase Snapchat for $3 billion (yes billion with a B). Everyone was surprised that the company would turn down such a gigantic offer, especially since it seemed at the time Snapchat was a one trick pony. It’s exciting to see what a brand can do over the course of a year and I would not be surprised to see Facebook come out with a payment system of its own.
By Brian Simmons, Graphic Designer