PayPal this morning announced its mobile payments service Venmo is now available at over 2 million online U.S retailers, allowing Venmo users to shop on the mobile web at almost everywhere PayPal is accepted today. This includes popular retailers like Lululemon, Forever21 and Foot Locker via the mobile web, the company says.
As with PayPal, eligible purchases bought using Venmo online will qualify for purchase protection, too. For example, consumers can request a full refund if they don’t receive an item or if it’s significantly different than described.
The move to make Venmo an online checkout option will give merchants a better way to attract millennial shoppers, PayPal explains, as the customer base for the social payments app skews millennial and its users are heavily engaged.
“Offering a way to pay at millions of retailers is a major step in the evolution of Venmo,” said Bill Ready, Chief Operating Officer of PayPal, in a statement. “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,” he added.
As a plus, retailers will appreciate the exposure that the Venmo feed provides. The app’s users are less shy about sharing what they’re spending money on – like splitting the bill while eating out with friends, grabbing drinks at a bar, buying concert tickets, etc. Now, retailers are hoping their transactions will be shared on this social platform, too, giving them more exposure than a PayPal purchase would.
The addition of Venmo to the merchant’s website doesn’t require extra integration work on the retailers’ websites, PayPal says. Instead, the company is leveraging its platform architecture to enable Venmo as a payment method, much like it did with the launch of One Touch – PayPal’s login-free checkout method.
Of course, it may be a bit confusing to have two payment options on a site from the same company: PayPal and Venmo. PayPal says it’s working on this now by testing a new, “dynamically-painted” payment button that will show Venmo customers a dual-branded button that allows them to select between PayPal and Venmo.
The option to checkout with Venmo only works in apps and on the mobile web, not the desktop web. Users will be invited to activate the option through a notification sent by their Venmo app, says PayPal. After they select Venmo to pay, they’ll also receive notification of their purchase in the Venmo app. This will make it easier for Venmo users to split their online purchases with friends, as the store, transaction date, and amount will all be available in the Venmo app.
In addition to allowing users to pay for online purchases using Venmo, PayPal’s Braintree merchants can choose to offer Venmo as a payment option both in-app and on mobile web, and the option to use Venmo is being offered to online charities as a way to accept donations. Save the Children is the first non-profit organization to accept donations via a Venmo button.
In the future, Venmo will introduce instant bank transfers – a feature that was previously announced and has been rolling out on PayPal. Venmo users will gain this option in the “coming months,” notes PayPal.