New Venmo Credit Card Brings Mobile Wallet into the Physical World
The popular peer-to-peer payment app Venmo is going to take another step into the physical world with the upcoming release of a new credit card.
PayPal Holdings, Venmo's parent company, is working with its long-time partner Synchrony on the Venmo card. "For 15 years, Synchrony has been a strategic partner in offering credit cards that enable greater purchasing power and rewards for PayPal consumers," said Dan Schulman, CEO, PayPal, in a statement. "We are pleased to deepen our relationship with Synchrony to bring groundbreaking new credit experiences to the Venmo community through a desirable credit card and a seamless in-app experience."
The Venmo credit card has been talked about for several months. The Wall Street Journal reported last April about the endeavor and noted that the payment app had been losing money for years because most of its payment methods are free. The credit card will be a way for Venmo to make money through interchange fees. The WSJ noted that although the credit card was just one effort in developing a revenue stream, it would still take several fiscal quarters in order for the product to break even.
PayPal purchased the company back in 2013, when it was just one year old. The popular platform is similar to PayPal's peer-to-peer payment platform, as users link a credit card, a debit card, prepaid card or bank account to the app. Then they pay friends or merchants that accept Venmo through the app. Money from friends sits in an account on Venmo until a user uses it for a different transaction or transfers it to their linked account. What sets Venmo apart is its social element, where all transactions show up in a feed, so you can see who's paid whom for what. Privacy settings do allow users to keep their transactions private or within their own social circle so that their friends only know what emoji-filled things they've gotten.
The new credit card will allow Venmo users to add another payment element to their Venmo accounts. However, details were hazy in the card announcement. PayPal promises a credit card program targeted toward Millennials, saying that they're "looking for leading-edge digital capabilities like around-the-clock access, personalization, simple but powerful mobile apps with granular controls and alerts, and rewards." Synchrony said the card would also offer real-time alerts. Frankly, all of these features sound like any number of credit cards already on the market today.
The launch statement did note that Synchrony plans to use the social element of Venmo in the new card and will offer options to split and share purchases, a big selling point of the app. Other details about the program noted that cardholders will be able to manage their card within the Venmo app.
Venmo already has a Mastercard-branded debit card that lets users use their Venmo account balance or linked account to make purchases anywhere Mastercard is accepted. While the card does have an EMV chip, it also has a contactless feature that speeds up the payment process. Transactions within the debit card can also be split or shared between other Venmo members. Users can also use the card at ATMs to get cash. In keeping with its users' love of personalization, the card is available in six different colors.
If you're looking for the credit card now and want more specifics on it, you'll be in for a bit of a wait. The card, which will only be available in the U.S., won't be out until the second half of 2020.