Venmo Relaunches To Make Mobile Payments More Social

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Venmo, the mobile phone payment app, just had a relaunch party at the Hotel Chantelle in New York City to show off its new social features.

The original app let people pay friends on mobile devices. (You know, like PayPal, but … exactly like PayPal.)

By adding a Twitter-like stream of updates on the home screen, the app is hoping users will find it more fun to pay back someone for drinks, sporting events, dinner, and concerts.

The idea is to connect the payments to the memories created by allowing friends to see what was done, who paid, and how others reacted.  All people need to do is hit the big Pay button—but now your friends can see who’s a cheapskate and who’s a high roller.

Venmo had a similar feature in its previous design, but it was hard to find. Even so, 42 per cent of users used the feed—a clear sign the company ought to promote it.

Tech early adopters are already on board. Facebook, Google, Digg, and Apple employees use it. It’s especially popular at Foursquare, where about 95 per cent of workers use the app, according to Venmo PR manager Cora Weiss.

But the startup is hoping the added social aspect will help the not-so-tech-savvy masses get on board.

Venmo now makes finding friends easier by integrating Facebook’s friends lists.

Aside from the new social features, Venmo’s main distinction from PayPal is its fee structure: Most payments are free, with a 3% fee if you charge over $500 to a credit card.