Bringing Venmo to Merchants is full circle … and still faces real challenges

According to Quartz, Venmo will be enabling in-store NFC payments next year which will certainly be good for the loyal base of millenial and younger users they’ve acquired.  For PayPal, which is also enabling their core app, this will close the loop (no pun intended) and finally bring them from digital to physical.  

Those of us who have been around long enough can recall some ill-fated prior versions of this journey.  You may (not) recall the initial version of Venmo which had an interesting feature called Trust which would allow you to operate with a merchant as though you had a tab.  Put it on Jonathan … and leave without the payment moment.  This was a super cool feature that sadly was way ahead of its time.  Square copied this later on (years later) though I have not seen it in action in quite a while.  Lastly here PayPal (like Google Wallet which followed) attempted to bring a card into market linked to your PayPal account.  I have one somewhere, but never found it valuable enough to actually use … PayPal also has a horrific pay with PayPal option on the terminal at Home Depot but it makes our current chip reader payment debacle look speedy by comparison. 

In the end this is all going to come down to general NFC acceptance and a realistic awareness of how and where things work.  I’ve had NFC payments for years now but find it a challenge to use all to often.  Only this week did Chase allow my debit card into Android Pay while it’s worked since the beginning of Apple Pay.  The payment industry is going to have to stop trying to get their innovation gold star and really just focus on making it easy to use our money.  If cash is the thing all the players want to do they should work on the general acceptance of the tech.  

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