Venmo, a PayPal-owned payments app, will no longer show a public global feed of transactions. This is part of a major redesign that focuses on improving privacy controls and highlighting some of Venmo’s more recent features. Instead, it will only show users their “friends” feed — which is the app’s social media feed that shows you transactions from your friends.
Venmo has had to struggle over the years to find the right balance between its desire to include a social element in its peer-to-peer payment-based network and the need to protect its users’ privacy.
A complaint was filed by the FTC about the company’s handling of privacy disclosures within the app and other issues related to security and privacy of user transaction transactions. The FTC stated that a setting that made all transactions publicly available by default was one of the issues. Venmo was required to inform both existing and new users about how to limit visibility of transactions as part of the settlement.
Over the years, privacy concerns have been a constant issue with Venmo. BuzzFeed News was recently able to locate President Biden’s secret Venmo bank account due to the lack of privacy regarding Venmo friend lists. To address the problem, the company implemented friend-list privacy controls.
Venmo’s new app will highlight the friend-list privacy setting. Users can then choose to have their profile show up on other people’s friend’s lists. Users can still remove, add, or block friends from their friend lists at any time. They can also set transaction privacy as they post, or retroactively to private, public, or friends-only. The global, public feed has been removed so it’s not clear what benefit posting publicly offers. Public transactions would instead be visible to non-friends of users only if someone visited their profile.
Venmo claims that the redesign of Venmo will not only make privacy easier, but it also makes it easier to find new features in the app.
A new navigation option at the bottom of the page will let users toggle between their social media feeds, Venmo’s products such as crypto and Venmo Cards, as well their personal profile. As before, Venmo Credit or Debit cardholders will be able to access their rewards and receive offers through the newly elevated “Cards”. The “Crypto tab” will allow users to explore and learn about crypto, see real-time trends, and buy, trade, or hold various types of cryptocurrency.
Venmo added crypto support earlier this year after parent company PayPal did the same. Now Venmo offers access to Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash. The option was previously located next to the “Pay Or Request” button at bottom of screen. This contributed to Venmo’s messy feel.
Venmo announced that the updated app would support new payment types as well as expanded purchase protections. The update was expected to arrive on July 20, according to Venmo. Customers can now indicate whether their purchase is for “goods or services” when transacting with sellers. This will allow transactions to be eligible for Venmo’s purchase protection plan, even if the seller does not have a business account.
This new fee now charges sellers 1.9% plus a 10-cent fee. There was some resistance from users who misunderstood or didn’t like the changes. However, Venmo revenues could be boosted by the change.
In February, PayPal stated that Venmo users grew by 32% in 2020 to reach 70,000,000 active accounts. It also expects the app will generate close to $900 million in revenue in 2019, likely due to this and other initiatives like its crypto transaction fee.
Venmo’s redesign not only makes the app more functional and provides privacy updates. It also modernizes its look and feel, which was becoming a bit dated and too busy. Venmo’s services expanded, and the hamburger menu (three-line) in the top left of the old version of Venmo’s app became a lengthy list of settings and options. That’s gone. To make the app feel fresh and clean, it uses new iconography and a modern font.
The changes to the app somewhat diminish the importance of the social media feed. It may still default to this tab, but other tabs now have equal footing, rather than being hidden in a menu or smaller button.
Venmo has announced that the Venmo app’s redesign will start rolling out to selected customers today and will be made available to all U.S. users over the coming weeks.
Published on Tue, 20 July 2021 at 18:01:24 +0000