Square, Paypal, Venmo, Google Wallet, Apple Pay, and the like are chipping away at the need for paper money (and credit/debit cards) with their emerging electronic payment options. But this Monday, a surprising contender entered the electronic mobile payment arena to many raised eyebrows.
The photo and video messaging app Snapchat announced Monday, November 17th, the functionality to send monetary payments through the app. Snapcash, inspired by Square Cash and built in conjunction with Square, promises to make sending money “fast, fun, and simple” according to the company’s blog post announcing the feature.
Here’s the show tune-esque video announcement that demonstrates how Snapcash works.
The announcement was met with mixed reviews and questions of its purpose from a variety of sources. Comments on the blog post are flowered with colorful language and thought-provoking comments, but “Why is this necessary?” seems to be the common sentiment. Although it’s backed by Square and debit card information is stored on Square Cash, Snapchat’s history of data breaches lessens trust in the company’s ability to handle financial information
Apps haven’t had much luck in extending into their own money sending features. Remember GroupMe’s foray into in-app payments in 2013? Although positioned slightly differently than Snapcash, GroupMe Split allowed app users to transfer money to an individual or contribute to a group goal via “Splits.” Although it was free to set up a split, the feature charged a 4% service fee and a $.99 convenience fee to contribute money. Some undefined time after, the feature was quietly removed from the app. I could not find any information about the removal, save for a tweet from the company’s official Twitter account in September of 2014:
While most emerging mobile payment options are taking a more formal, business-minded approach to handling people’s money, Snapchat is a lot more whimsical in its approach by associating sending payments with fun. Since when is it fun to pay a debt? In my opinion, both payment approaches create a fundamental shift away from the tangibility of money. What will happen to the physical dollar bill once everyone is Squaring, Paypaling, Texting, Emailing, Venmoing, and Snapcashing their electronic “money” all over the place? It will be interesting to see what comes of Snapcash.
GroupMe. (2013 March 7). GroupMe 4.1 [blog post]. Retrieved from: http://blog.groupme.com/post/44796541529/groupme-4-1-just-in-time-for-our-third-straight
GroupMe. (2014 September 4). No title. [electronic tweet message]. Twitter.com. Retrieved from: https://twitter.com/GroupMe/status/507589839965790208
McGarry, C. (2014 November 17). Snapchat wants you to send cash through its app, but Snapcash is no Venmo. PC World. Retrieved from: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2848727/snapchat-wants-you-to-send-cash-through-its-app-but-snapcash-is-no-venmo.html
Snapchat. (2014 November 17). Introducing Snapcash [blog post]. Retrieved from: http://blog.snapchat.com/post/102895720555/introducing-snapcash
Snapchat. (2014 November 17). Introducing Snapcash!. YouTube. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBwjxBmMszQ
Swanner, N. (2014 August 26). Snapchat valued at $10 billion, has 100 million users [image]. Slash Gear. Retrieved from: http://www.slashgear.com/snapchat-valued-at-10-billion-has-100-million-monthly-users-26342912/