Like Google, ‘Venmo’ now a Verb

How does this rapidly growing fintech offering work and does it leave room for financial institution-backed Zelle?

In a world where financial innovations like credit cards and ATMs catch on gradually, Venmo is a phenomenon, embraced enthusiastically by the millennial social media crowd. It has quickly entered mainstream vocabulary. People who say, “I’ll Google it,” now also say, “I’ll Venmo you the money,” notes Peter Olynick, senior practice lead for retail banking at NTT DATA Consulting Inc., Plano, Texas.

Monthly transaction value now exceeds $2 billion, according to Venmo spokesman Josh Criscoe. Venmo won’t reveal the number of transactions or average transaction size, but since most payments are small (minimum is 1 cent; typical size is a share of a meal, pizza or beer order), that’s a lot of transactions.

“The money moves very quickly from one Venmo account to another,” Olynick explains, where it often sits for hours or days. “And it’s a very clean user experience. You can move funds … on Venmo with five clicks. If you want to get the money out of Venmo, you have to transfer it to a traditional financial institution, which takes time.”

Indeed, Venmo users’ screens show funds moving from a payer’s Venmo account to a payee’s Venmo account in real time. Funds  typically settle overnight, faster for Wells Fargo customers due to a special deal.


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