Venmo, the PayPal-owned app that lets you send money with your smartphone, is expanding from peer-to-peer payments to in-app purchases in a direct challenge to Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. The company today announced partnerships with sports ticket app Gametime and food delivery app Munchery, which will both now use payment info stored in Venmo to let users buy tickets or order meals. The feature, called Pay With Venmo, is limited to select iOS users for now, but it will make its way to Android in the future, says Venmo general manager Michael Vaughan.
The move positions Venmo as a competitor to Apple Pay and other payment services trying to dominate how we make purchases on mobile. Venmo has a leg up in that PayPal also owns Braintree, a mobile payments processor used by a large number of popular apps. That gives Venmo an easy avenue to integrate with more third-party apps down the line. PayPal first suggested Venmo would soon work with any app that accepts PayPal in an earnings call last October.
PayPal owns Braintree, which should help Venmo work with more apps
Of course, Venmo's new feature won't be truly useful until it's supported by apps a majority of smartphone users actually use. Yet the prospect of using Venmo to shop online and order food on top of sending money to friends makes the service far more appealing. It also gives PayPal a way to monetize Venmo, which thus far has been free to use unless you're making payments with a credit card. PayPal CEO Dan Shulman has noted in the past the company intends to charge merchants the same rate to use Venmo as it does with PayPal.