Venmo Opens Its Payment Service To Third-Party Apps

By Jon Russel for TechCrunch,

Venmo, the peer-to-peer payment service operated by PayPal, has now become a payment platform after it opened up to third-party apps and services.

The feature is as simple as it sounds. Venmo users can pay inside other apps using the service, much like they might shop and pay using a PayPal button on a website. The functionality is starting out slowly though. It will initially roll out to a handful of iOS users and is limited to working with ticket ordering platform Gametime and food delivery service Munchery, but Venmo hopes to add new users, partners and features soon.

The feature represents the first major attempt to monetize Venmo, which came into eBay’s business via its $800 million acquisition of Braintree, which owns Venmo, back in 2013.

 Quartz, which broke news of the story before Venmo announced it, said that it is planned that the Venmo feature will be rolled out to PayPal’s existing base of merchants, which — if true — would supercharge its reach and potentially turn it into a mobile-era PayPal. There’s plenty of competition of course. PayPal itself has mobile-centered products — like peer-to-peer app— while Facebook Messenger and Snapchat are among a bevy of messaging apps used by similarly young demographics to Venmo which also offer a payment solution. Then there’s Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay, too.

Venmo and Braintree are two services that have helped PayPal, a true disruptor when it burst on the scene, keep up with the pace of change as mobile becomes the primary Internet access channel for hundreds of millions on the planet. Indeed, PayPal’s stock price rose six percent in after-hours trading on Wednesday on the news that the firm’s revenue grew 17 percent year-on-year in Q4 2015. Braintree (and Venmo) are important branches of its business and, with the addition of noted fintech and bitcoin entrepreneur Wences Casares to its board this month, the payments giant is certainly keeping an eye on the future of money.

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