The biggest roadblock of using an app? Signing up–that rote and extremely frustrating task of filling out your email, password, and other personal information in exchange for gaining access to a particular service. And nowhere is the experience worse than with digital banking services, where users are required to share an onslaught of hard-to-remember financial info.
But today, money-transfer app Venmo is adding a handful of new features to make that initial sign-up process far less of a headache. Now, iOS and Android users who download Venmo will be able to link it directly with their bank accounts, using the same username and password they use for online banking, whether that’s with Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Chase, or Citibank. What’s more, they’ll also be able to sign in using Touch ID, Apple’s iPhone fingerprint sensor. The result is a more seamless onboarding process that offers a glimpse of what app sign-ups will hopefully be more like in the future.
Before today’s launch, users of peer-to-peer apps like Venmo and Square Cash had to manually link the apps with their bank account’s routing information. Jarringly, this required users to have their checkbooks nearby (unless they had memorized their routing information), and punch in the long routing numbers on the corners of their checks. While Venmo and Square Cash created beautiful interfaces to simplify this experience, it was still an extremely antiquated process. But by allowing linked bank accounts with Venmo, users can now skip this process altogether, and simply have Citibank or Wells Fargo handle this data exchange in the background.
Along with this more frictionless sign-up process, Venmo also announced a new tagging feature, so friends can more easily connect with each other in the app. Social has always been core to Venmo’s success, and such features are baked right into its core, allowing users to exchange messages with each other at the same time as they’re exchanging money. Taking these features one step further, Venmo today introduced the ability to @ a friend, allowing users to engage in the same way as they might on Twitter. For example: “Thanks @ChrisGayomali for the .“
The social experience makes Venmo feel lightweight, conversational, and fun—which, yes, is refreshing for a mobile payment app.
The New York-based company is doing pretty well, too. According to a Venmo representative, the company processed an eye-popping $700 million last quarter, a 50% increase from Q2. The company was purchased by Chicago-based Braintree in 2012 for $26 million, and, in matryoshka doll-style, Braintree was then bought by PayPal in 2013 for $800 million.