The peer-to-peer payments app Venmo, owned by PayPal, is updating today with two new features: the ability to donate to charities and a new way to send money. The latter is designed to facilitate simultaneous payment and receipt, as well as better tracking of sent funds and recipient identification.
All Venmo users on iOS and Android can now access the new features, and the company promises that the donations feature will continue to grow and improve in the future.
At launch, Venmo users will be able to search for and donate to verified local charities as well as charities in a variety of categories, such as those serving animals, people in need, or the education sector. A user’s Venmo balance, a debit or credit card, or an associated bank account can all be used to make a donation to a charity of their choosing. The company also announces that in the coming weeks, Venmo users will be able to broadcast their donations to their social networks in an effort to inspire others to make contributions.
The parent company of Venmo, PayPal, has included a similar feature in its own app for charitable giving since 2016, linking users to the thousands of verified nonprofits that participate in the PayPal Giving Fund. Users can donate to the fund, which will then collect the money, issue tax receipts, and send the money to the charities’ PayPal accounts. Venmo, on the other hand, has traditionally catered to transactions between individuals, though it has expanded in recent years to also accept payments from customers to merchants and other small sellers.
However, in October, PayPal announced that nonprofits would be able to create a profile on Venmo in order to extend their fundraising efforts to the app’s 90 million users. The more social Venmo app makes sense, as the company noted at the time that 61% of donors learn about causes through word of mouth with friends and family.
The new “Make a donation” option is accessible by tapping the app’s search bar located at the top. The “Find a Charity” page is where they can choose a charity that has been verified by PayPal and find out more information about it. Donations are made by tapping the “Donate” button and then providing the desired amount and a note. They’ll be able to tell their friends about the generous contribution later.
Charity profiles on Venmo currently incur transaction fees of 1.9% + 0.10, which does not include any additional charges for account setup or maintenance.
The other update to Venmo is not a new feature per se, but rather a revamped user interface. The “send money” screen in Venmo has been updated to include recipient photos and a more legible dollar amount. Users could view a friend’s profile picture if they were on that person’s page, but the “Pay or Request” screen only showed the friend’s name and a tiny box to enter the amount.
Further, Venmo claims its users can add more recipients to a transaction by tapping the “+” button next to the first recipient’s profile picture and selecting from the resulting list. Here, Venmo displays both the total amount being sent and the individual amounts being sent. This facilitates a quick and easy method of sending money to a group of people, which could come in handy for sending holiday cash gifts to friends and family.