I hate owing people money. Even worse, I hate having to ask people for money back that they’ve borrowed from me. It’s always such an awkward interaction to ask your friends to “cash in” and keep tabs on how much money each of you owe one another.
Thankfully, Venmo was invented. My friends always make fun of me because I am genuinely a walking spokesperson for this app (seriously, I should get paid for this), but I have never come across a gap that filled a need in the market so well.
For those of you who don’t know what Venmo is, it’s a way to instantaneously pay your debts with friends and a social network all mixed into one application. Users link their banking information and debit card onto their account (this information is obviously confidential) and can “friend” other users and send money from your bank account to theirs immediately. For debit and bank transactions, use of the app is free. To use credit, the app charges a 3% fee on each transaction.
The best part of the application is that the home page is similar to a Twitter feed, where you can see transactions that occur between friends. The actual money exchanged isn’t shown, but what you do see is what people write as the description for their charge. While some friends use it in a more serious way, and label their charges for what they really are (i.e. cable, taxi ride, pizza) others find a way to creatively pay their friends back. See what I mean here.
All jokes and funny payments aside, the app is actually extremely useful. When you owe any type of payment to a friend, you can actually pay the person back in exact change without having to dig through your couch cushions for spare coins. It gets rid of the awkward “hey do you have the cash you owe me” interaction as users can charge friends right on the app and it shows up as a notification on their friend’s phone. Payments take less than seconds to complete, as users quite literally only have to press one button to exchange money between them.
I use Venmo for all types of payments nowadays. I pay for my apartment’s cable bill and charge the rest of my roommates through Venmo, no longer annoy waiters and waitresses at restaurants by splitting my bills and feel more comfortable about lending money to my friends because I know I’ll get paid back.
I’ve come across friends in Greek organizations that pay their dues strictly through Venmo, and they have all told me how easy it is to get their members to stay on top of their payments. They send out a general reminder at their weekly chapter meetings, and in a matter of seconds they receive all the money members owe as everyone completes the charge on their cellphones.
I could go on about more instances in which Venmo has completely revolutionized the way people pay for each other. If there’s an app I recommend to my friends, it’s this. Stop asking awkwardly friends for money, start hilariously charging them through social media. After all, isn’t being social what our generation is all about?