Venmo Users Won’t Like This News

The end of Venmo may be near. Since the instant payments app officially launched to the public in 2012, it's become our go-to for splitting checks, paying our S.O.s back for drinks, and making sure friends pay us back for cab rides home. Amazingly, few competitors have been able to overtake Venmo's first-place status. Sure, there's PayPal, Square Cash, and other mobile payment tools, but nothing quite beats the ease and simplicity of Venmo when it comes to peer-to-peer payments. Soon, however, everything is going to change. The biggest U.S. banks, including Bank of America, Capital One Financial Corp, JPMorgan Chase & Co, U.S. Bancorp, and Wells Fargo have banded together to launch an instant payment app of their own, called Zelle. According to Reuters, the app will be released in early 2017 (but The Wall Street Journal suggests it could land as early as October). While some banks already have their own person-to-person payment services — there's Chase Quick Pay, for example — this group effort presents one of the strongest challenges to Venmo yet. While you might not have adopted Chase Quick Pay as all your friends were using Venmo, you might be more likely to use Zelle since multiple major banks are a part of it, and thus more people can use it. You might also be enticed to ditch Venmo because, well, in some scenarios, it's just not the best way to pay. If you're using it to conduct business with a stranger, they could scam you on the app, for example. And if you're in a bind (let's say you and your roommate both blanked on rent this month, and rent is due now), the fact that Venmo typically needs at least one day to complete a bank transfer could also prove problematic. Zelle would likely fix these issues, since it's tied more directly to your bank account. But whether or not Zelle will give you the joy of describing your payment in emoji as Venmo does (very, very important) remains to be seen. Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly suggest that Venmo is insecure. The story has been updated with more detail as to how its bank transfer process works.

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