Ten years ago—maybe even five years ago—asking your roommate to “Venmo you” for the pizza you just split might have earned you some confused looks. The mobile payment service has since become part of our cultural vernacular. In the first month of 2016 alone, over $1 billion in transactions were made through the app. Venmo payments are fee-free for users connected through their debit card or bank account and they’re simple to send and request. It’s easy then to see why the app is a popular choice for Millennials, a group that’s less likely to pay with cash or checks than older generations.
As for what the app is actually being used for, LendEDU discovered that the answer is just about everything. The student loan marketplace recently looked at more than 500,000 transactions to determine which types of payments are the most popular. When a user transfers money, they’re required to indicate what the payment is for. They don’t necessarily have to go into detail: In fact, emojis are often the descriptor of choice. You can see the top choices below.
According to LendEDU, the house and flying money emojis are commonly used for rent and utilities while the pizza and beer emojis are pretty self-explanatory. The text descriptions they looked at reflect these trends. Food was the top category with popular terms including dinner, groceries, and pizza. Rent/utilities came in second followed by fun, transportation, and alcohol. The five most-used individual terms were as follows: food, Uber, rent, fantasy (football), and bills. It’s important to note that in addition to being brief, payment descriptions are also allowed to be inaccurate. So it’s probably safe to assume that the majority of users who helped “strippers” break the top 100 were joking (hopefully the same can be said for “kale,” which somehow places in the 21st spot, above “drinks,” “cable,” and “brunch”).
While a lot of people use the app for minor expenses, a significant portion of users also seem to trust Venmo with larger payments like rent. If you’re among the app’s big spenders, it may be worth looking into the app’s security policies if you haven’t already done so. Google Wallet is one payment app alternative that offers extra protection like fraud monitoring and MasterCard’s liability coverage.
All images courtesy of LendEDU.
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