CHICAGO — More PayPal merchants could soon accept Venmo payments from customers. A PayPal executive told Retail Dive last week at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition IRCE that PayPal is close to launching the capability, and likely to discuss details with its next quarterly earnings report late next month.
“We will be rolling that out in the near future, and expect to expand it significantly during 2017,” said Brad Brodigan, VP and GM for mid-market and retail, North America. “We have been testing it on merchant websites, and want to make sure that we have the user experience just right, but [the expansion] is something we’ll talk about with our next earnings report." (PayPal’s second earnings report has not been scheduled yet, but is likely to occur around or after July 20.)
Brodigan's statement came just a few days after Apple announced it would launch a Venmo-like peer-to-peer payments capability through Apple Pay on iMessage later this year.
PayPal has been testing Venmo payment acceptance with some merchants since last year, and just a few weeks ago launched a beta program allowing “select users” to use a Pay with Venmo feature for in-app payments with merchants.
News of some broader Venmo expansion has been much-anticipated in light of Venmo’s rapidly increasing popularity. In an interview with Retail Dive last year, Richard Crone, principal of Crone Consulting, called Venmo the “sleeping giant” in the retail payments space. Also, while Brodigan last week didn't divulge the number of Venmo users or have other stats at hand, Venmo's $4.9 billion payments processed during the third quarter of 2016 hints at just how popular it is.
However, the platform's popularity is just part of the attraction. “Venmo has been an incredibly popular intersection of peer-to-peer payments and social media," he said. "It has been strong with millennials and younger users, and those users have proven to be very loyal, which is part of the reason why merchants love it, and have been wanting to support it.”
The fortunes of PayPal and Venmo were fused together when eBay acquired Venmo owner Braintree in 2013. Braintree and Venmo were placed under PayPal's direction, and were set free together when PayPal split from eBay in 2015. Brodigan said PayPal is close to finishing a branding strategy that will "more clearly reflect how our various brands work together."