PayPal has opened up its peer-to-peer payment app Venmo to online merchants, enabling users to pay for in-app, digital and physical purchases using the smartphone app, with the hope of expanding its transaction volume and combating rising competition from other mobile payment services.
Initially, PayPal is limiting the capability to select iOS users, and only with certain partner apps including event ticketing firm Gametime and gourmet meal delivery service Munchery, but has plans to bring in additional merchants and even more features in the near future.
The firm is hoping to monitor public feedback as the feature is rolled out, and repsond to consumer demands in order to create new features. The app already offers the ability to split purchase payments among several users, monitor payment history and share purchases on social media.
"This is a huge development for both consumers and businesses," said a spokesperson for PayPal. "For consumers, there's now even more flexibility in how they can use their money. For merchants, accepting Venmo means added value through potentially increased visibility and exposure, especially if the Venmo user splits the purchase or shares the purchase on their social feed.
"This is the future of our increasingly digital economy, and we're exctied that the PayPal family is making it a reality."
Purely as a peer-to-peer money transfer service, Venmo processed $7.5bn (£5.2bn) in payments in 2015, up 213 per cent on the previous year. $2.5bn of that volume was processed in the fourth quarter alone, suggesting the app is growing in popularity.