Posts Tagged ‘payments’

Generation Gap: Venmo

Last week I was having dinner in NYC. We were a table of four, and the table next to us, in cramped eating conditions in Koreatown, were two girls whom were in their twenties.

When it was time to get the cheque, we split the bill using cash and card. When it was time for the table next to us to pay the bill? One paid it, and the other said “OK, how much do I have to Venmo you now?”

Generation gap! I don’t even have Venmo. It was also timely to read this New Yorker piece, The Venmo Request: A New Wrinkle In Modern Dating, which apparently suggests that this is also becoming prevalent when it comes to dating! Choice quote: “A guy who seeks recourse through Venmo the morning after is a guy who doesn’t think he got his money’s worth the night before.”

I’m all for going cashless and splitting bills using something like Venmo. That was in effect the promise of the PayPal mobile app. My friends and I still end up using cash, and if its a bigger road trip, bank transfers. It seems that Venmo is currently USA only, but considering Braintree acquired Venmo in 2012, and PayPal got Braintree in 2013, its kind of a shame that its 2016 and they’ve not branched out of the USA.

Taxi prefers Square over regular credit card terminal

As I was getting from the airport to my hotel in Columbus, Ohio, I took a taxi. Upon disembarking, it was time to pay and I noticed a credit card device hanging at the back of the passenger seat (this seems to be more common in the USA these days thankfully). 

However, the driver told me not to swipe it there. He’d prefer to use Square as he would save on fees. So he plugged the Square dongle into his phone, swiped my card, I gave him his tip via the app, signed virtually, and the receipt automatically arrived via email.

A much better workflow for me (since I don’t have to deal with a paper receipt). But it got me thinking. Square charges a 2.75% fee up-front. This is by no means cheap. However it does guarantee the money in your bank account within a day or two.

I’m willing to bet that the device tethered to his cab might charge less (or close to equivalent?), but pay-out over a longer period of time. For whomever installed that device, they’re going to presume that no one uses the credit card terminal. This is the bonus of competition — the consumer isn’t affected (arguably, the consumer experience improved — it wasn’t too long ago that all taxis were cash-only affairs) and the driver wins.


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