There are a lot of cash-sharing services out there that are specifically designed to be used between friends and family, as a way to split the bill without ever exchanging paper money.
The most popular payment apps include Venmo, Google Wallet, Snapcash, and a handful of bank P2P services. These are a little different from ecommerce apps like PayPal, which are typically used for more goods-and-services types of transactions that take place between a seller and a buyer, rather than among friends. In reality, many of these payment apps can do both, but for our purposes, we’ll focus on the former.
Venmo, a subsidiary of PayPal, has emerged as the most popular payment app — by a long shot — with reportedly $20 billion transferred between users in 2016. It’s been called the “social media” of money exchange.
That said, as a person who has tried Venmo as well as other payment apps, I’m here to make the case for Facebook Payments. Hear me out:
First, a knock against Venmo.
When you use Venmo, you’re not actually sending money from your bank or credit card to your friend. In a normal Venmo transaction, the money is removed from your bank but remains in their Venmo account until they manually move it over into their bank or onto a credit card.
This means for those who forget to move the money over, it’s as if that person never received the money at all. You have to manually remember to transfer your Venmo funds to your bank.
This is especially problematic for people like me, who only use the app occasionally, and might not check their Venmo balance for weeks at a time. For example, when I opened my Venmo app in preparation for writing this story, I found that I had $68.18 sitting in my account, built up from various outings with friends.
I’ll admit the experience of finding unexpected money was nice, but not having any kind of direction or reminder from Venmo to transfer my money, and having it just sit there for weeks, is far from ideal.
Meanwhile, Facebook Payments allows for instant and direct money transfers with no middle man.
Facebook Payments were introduced in 2015 as part of the “Messenger” app, and rely on the convenience factor — assuming most people already have the Messenger app downloaded — to quickly split a bill or pay back a friend.
Using the payments feature in Facebook Messenger does not use an online wallet or vault like Venmo does; all of the money you transfer goes directly to the recipient’s bank account or card that they’ve attached to their Facebook account.
There are no extra steps or fees to have the money placed directly in the recipient’s possession, just as if you had physically handed them cash.