Money transfer apps gain traction among BYU students

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(Left to right) BYU students Shae Taylor, Jason Ashby and Melanie Jackson hop on the popular money transfer app trend. (Natalie Bothwell)

Money transferring apps are gaining traction among college students and other young adults in Provo.

Gone are the days when “I’ll write you a check” or “I’ll pay you back” is heard between friends. This is a digital age, and there’s an app for that.

Paypal, Google Wallet, Square Cash and Snapcash via Snapchat are some apps that allow users to send money back and forth between associates. Other apps, such as Chase QuickPay, allow users with a valid email or a valid bank account to use the service.

Money transferring apps manage small transactions between friends, like paybacks or birthday presents. But they can also manage money for larger transactions such as rent or bills. Venmo, which is popular with college students, sets a money transfer limit of $300 per week and $3,000 per week with identity verification.

Provo resident Eric Butterfield uses Venmo when he goes out to lunch with a group of friends, but also for larger transactions he can’t pay himself.

“One person pays the tab, and everyone else Venmos them the money,” he said. “I paid my cell phone bill through Venmo. It’s a really easy way to send money between family.

Keeping a user’s data secure while managing money is a top concern when using a mobile app. According to their websites, many of these apps attempt to protect against attacks and theft from outside sources by hiding user data behind encryption and secure servers.

Venmo focuses on a social-network-like approach to its service. (Screenshot)

BYU elementary education major Melanie Jackson uses Venmo to transfer money to friends and family.

“I think it’s really guarded,” Jackson said. “It’s safe and secure. Your money is not going to get lost or go to somebody else.”

Each app approaches the money transaction process from a different angle. Chase QuickPay and Google Wallet aim to provide excellent service and security to bring in downloads. Venmo and Snapcash seek appeal with users by incorporating a social experience to go along with their service.

Venmo is a particularly popular app among Provo residents. It operates as a service of Paypal, and is designed to allow users to transfer money in a social network-like setting.

Adrianne Wright, the communications lead at Venmo, said in an email that Venmo has evolved into a new kind of social network.

“Over time, users have been able to develop a social network in Venmo that is far different than other social networks out there,” Wright said. “These are real people who you know and hang out with, and you’re genuinely interested to see what they’re up to.”

As a peer-to-peer platform, Venmo makes sending money to friends easy for people like Provo resident Aaron King.

“A whole bunch of my friends were using it,” King said. “I wanted to use the same platform they were using, and it was easier than cash.”

King said Venmo was one of the first well-done apps to provide the service.

“It had the advantage of being first,” he said. “It’s not a unique recipe. It was one of the first well-done money processing apps to send payments.”

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