PayPal-owned payments app Venmo will no longer offer a public, global feed of users’ transactions, as part of a significant redesign focused on expanding the app’s privacy controls and better highlighting some of Venmo’s new features. in the form of. The company says that instead it will only show users their “friends feed” — meaning, the app’s social feed where you can see only your friends’ transactions.
Venmo has struggled for years to balance its desire to add a social element to its peer-to-peer payments-based network with the need to provide users with the privacy they need.
A few years ago, the company was forced to settle a complaint with the FTC over its handling of privacy disclosures in the app, along with other issues related to the security and privacy of user transactions. One of the concerns at the time was a setting that made all transactions public by default – a feature the FTC said was not being properly explained to customers. As part of the settlement, Venmo was to inform both new and existing users how to limit the visibility of their transactions, among other changes.
However, privacy issues have continued to follow Venmo over the years. Recently, BuzzFeed News, for example, was able to track down President Biden’s secret Venmo account due to the lack of privacy surrounding Venmo friend lists. Later, the company introduced friend list privacy controls to address this issue.
In the newly updated app, Venmo will still highlight this friend list privacy setting so users can choose whether or not they want their profile to appear in other people’s friend lists. Users will still be able to remove or add contacts from their friends list at any time, block people, and set their transaction privacy to be either public, private, or posted to friends only or retroactively. Huh. It’s not clear what the benefit of posting publicly, though the global, public feed is, is gone. Instead, public transactions will be visible to non-friends of the user only if someone visits their profile directly.
In addition to the privacy changes, Venmo’s redesign aims to make it easier for people to discover the app’s new features, the company says.
Now, a new bottom navigation option will allow users to toggle between their social feeds, Venmo’s products like Venmo cards and crypto, and their personal profiles. The new enhanced “Cards” section will allow Venmo credit and debit cardholders to manage their cards and access their rewards and offers like never before. Meanwhile, the “Crypto” tab will let users learn and explore the world of crypto, view real-time trends, and buy, sell or hold a variety of cryptocurrencies.
Venmo first added support for crypto earlier this year, following parent company PayPal’s move to do so, and now offers access to Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash. Previously, the option appeared as a small button next to the “Pay or Request” button at the bottom of the screen, which contributed to Venmo’s cluttered experience.
The updated app will also include support for new payment types and expanded purchase protection, which Venmo announced last month, and said will arrive on July 20. Customers will now be able to indicate whether their purchase is for “goods and services” when they transact with a seller, which would make the transaction eligible for Venmo’s Purchase Protection Plan — even if the seller has the appropriate Don’t have a “business” account.
Since it now charges vendors a 1.9% plus 10-cent fee, there was some backlash from users who either misunderstood the changes or didn’t like them. But the move could help boost Venmo revenue.
PayPal said in February that Venmo had grown users by 32% to reach 70 million active accounts in 2020 and expects the app to generate about $900 million in revenue this year — likely thanks to this and other new initiatives. , such as its crypto transaction fees.
Beyond more functional changes and privacy updates, Venmo’s redesign also modernizes the look-and-feel of the app, which had become a bit dated and overly busy. As Venmo expanded its array of services, the hamburger (three-line) menu at the top right of the older version of the app had turned into a long list of options and settings. Now he’s gone. The app uses new iconography, an updated font, and lots of white space to make it feel fresh and clean.
The app’s changes also emphasize the importance of social feeds to some degree. While it may still default to that tab, other options now have the same level with their own tabs, rather than being hidden in menus or in small buttons.
Venmo says the redesigned Venmo app will roll out to select customers starting today and will be available to all users across the US over the next few weeks.