Venmo may have some cause for concern. Their parent company PayPal is moving in on their territory, sort of. Paypal recently launched their own dedicated payment requesting service PayPal.me. It’s slightly different than Venmo in that you send out your custom link to request funds. It’s also worth noting that Paypal already had the ability to send a receive funds in their app for a while now. Where does this leave Venmo? Hopefully looking to expand their features. As an experiment I decided to do just that.
A good place to start is to break down the steps which take place during check out. Typically, when dining with a group, you go through the preceding steps to settle your portion of the check. Some people will follow this precisely while others may approximate and hope for the best. When the bill comes up short, nobody knows who to confront, and everybody else inevitably covers it. In this age of powerful handheld computers, why can’t we end a group dinner without an impromptu game of Who Done It? On iOS there are multiple apps available to help you split the check, Billr, Divvy, Tab, and Plates by Splitwise. I’m not going to go into too much detail about these apps, but I want to give you a quick rundown of the pros and cons.
“The quickest way to split a bill and calculate the tip at restaurants & bars.”
- Intuitive, doesn’t require instructions.
- Doesn’t require data connection.
- Share results via Text or Email.
- Manually input each menu item.
- Sometimes forget which person each column represents.
- Can not process payment.
“Splitting the check has never been so easy.”
- Intuitive UI, Doesn’t require much instructions.
- Send results via text or email.
- Manually input each menu item and tax.
- Sometimes forget which person each plate represents.
- Does not process payment.
“Divvy makes splitting the check as easy as snap, drag, and pay. Just snap a photo of the bill, drag each item to the person who ordered it, and see how much everyone owes.”
- Takes a picture of the receipt to convert into usable data.
- Use your contacts, an in-App Avatar, or Take pictures of friends to help identify which “cart” represents who.
- Drag & Drop menu items into recipients cart.
- Does not require internet connection.
- UI needs overhaul, looks like it was designed by a developer. (That’s right, I said it.)
- Not Free ($1.00).
- Receipt data is often inaccurate and correcting them sometimes causes other items to read incorrectly after re-calibrating data.
- Can not share with other guests.
- Can not process payment.
“The simple way to split a bill among friends.”
- Initial Onboarding is helpful.
- Takes picture of the receipt to convert into usable data.
- Recognises when there are two orders of a single item and splits them into two separate items.
- Clean interface.
- Share the bill with other guests via invite code.
- Manually add tax.
- Requires internet connection.
- Processing receipt takes approximately 30 seconds.
- Does Not Process payment.
USER ANALYSIS / PERSONA
Out of all of the mobile payment platforms, Venmo has the youngest user base, but it is gaining popularity with the older crowd. It’s suggested that Millennials are more comfortable trusting technology due to the influence of Facebook over the more cynical 30 somethings. I suspect social proof will win over more people, moving us closer towards a cashless system. As for right now, I needed a generic subject. I crafted the following Persona based on the traits of the top 5 Venmo users in my circle of friends.
- Name: Brandon L.
- Age: 26
- Education: BFA in Graphic Design and Interactive Media
- Hobbies: Instagram, Snowboarding, Mountain Biking, Foodie
- Quote: “Go that way, Really fast. If something gets in your way, Turn.”
- Occupation: Front-end Web Developer at a mid size Startup & Freelance Web Designer on the side.
- Maintains a busy lifestyle between work/freelance, hobbies, and relationships. Any opportunity to free up time is appreciated.
- Rarely has cash on hand, pays for everything with debit or credit card.
- Frequently uses apps like Grubhub and Eat24 for its convenience.