Venmo, the popular peer-to-peer (P2P) payments platform owned by PayPal, is now opening to millions of online retailers across the U.S.
PayPal revealed back in 2015 how it planned to cash in on its Venmo business by leveraging its popularity with millennials and expanding beyond P2P payments, which offered limited scope for monetization. The company then began allowing Venmo payments through some websites and apps. “What this does is it opens up the Venmo user base to our PayPal merchants, and it will be exactly the same take rates,” said PayPal CEO Dan Schulman at the time.
PayPal has paved the way for this by itself becoming a more frequent payment option for stores, including through partnerships with retail giants such as Macy’s, and the underlying infrastructure makes it easy for merchants who’ve already embraced PayPal to also offer Venmo.
Starting from this week, Venmo can be used to pay for goods on the mobile web at more than two million retailers in the U.S., or “almost everywhere PayPal is accepted,” according to a statement issued by the company.
“Venmo has a loyal following of highly engaged customers, and they have been asking us for more ways to use Venmo in their daily lives,” explained PayPal COO Bill Ready. “Since early last year, we’ve been slowly introducing the ability to pay select businesses with Venmo. We started with in-app purchases with a curated list of merchants through the Braintree platform. Now, we’re dramatically expanding the number of places you can use Venmo to pay by leveraging the unrivaled scale of the PayPal merchant network.”
Some third-party merchants have integrated Venmo payments into their own native mobile apps, including delivery.com, Munchery, Poshmark, Wish, Parking Panda, Boxed, among others. But this requires additional work from the retailer’s part, which involves time, money, and effort. By focusing on companies already offering PayPal through their websites, this allows Venmo to scale much more quickly as a payment platform.
Venmo’s route to becoming an ecommerce payments service is somewhat convoluted. Payments processor Braintree snapped up Venmo back in 2012, before PayPal announced plans to buy out Braintree a year later — while PayPal was still owned by eBay. In 2015, eBay spun out PayPal as its own standalone business, with PayPal retaining the Braintree and Venmo units. This freedom as an independent company has perhaps given PayPal more flexibility to try new things and leverage its existing strengths.
“Our vision for Venmo is to not only be the go-to app for payments between friends, but also a ubiquitous digital wallet that helps consumers spend wherever and however they want to pay, regardless of device,” added Ready.
Furthermore, Ready noted that PayPal is expanding Venmo on the Braintree platform with support for mobile web payments, in addition to those made in-app.