Venmo's new tool flips mobile payments around

March 19, 2013

Venmo is flipping mobile payments around with its newest product. The peer-to-peer payment provider, which was bought by online payment processor Braintree last year, is introducing Venmo Payouts today.

For a while now, the mobile payments market has been trying to figure out how to get consumers to make payments to merchants with their mobile devices. Venmo Payouts looks at mobile payments from another angle, helping merchants make their own payments through mobile devices.

Business-to-business payments are a huge part of the payment space but they're still carried out largely through old-fashioned purchase orders and checks. Venmo Payout, on the other hand, uses Venmo's platform to pay and settle transactions, a simple new API that developers can use to automate payments, making them easier to manage and pay. It's perfect for sending money to independent contractors — think cleaning, car and delivery services — or for online marketplaces paying small merchants.

"The services sector has been booming in recent years, with companies and apps set up to provide rides, walk dogs, babysit, run errands, and a whole host of other services where businesses are paying out third party service providers to complete these tasks," a Venmo spokesperson said in an email.

With Venmo Payouts, merchants can route their payments to vendors using only an email or mobile number. The payee receives a payment message telling them they've been paid and requesting bank information. If the payee is a Venmo account holder, the money can be deposited to and used from their Venmo account, or they can request a cash-out that will be paid into their bank account within one day. Non-Venmo account holders are walked through the process of signing up for a new account and providing their bank account information.

Obviously, Venmo's hope here is that more people will become Venmo members in order to claim their payments. More members using the service to retrieve payments means more people over time discovering the Venmo P2P tool that lets them send and receive funds using email addresses and mobile phone numbers.

Whether a payee is a Venmo account holder or not, a big upside to using Venmo Payouts is that businesses no longer have to deal with requesting and storing the bank account information of their vendors. That eliminates both a hassle and a security risk.

As for vendors, Venmo means they have access to their money more quickly (even if they have to sign up for a Venmo account) since they don't have to wait for a paper check to arrive and clear.

The cost is even reasonable at only $.25 per payout for merchants. There are no fees or contracts, either.

According to the company spokesperson, Venmo Payouts is available in a limited beta release and only Braintree's 4,000 merchants are eligible to use the service. Braintree is offering the first 1,000 transactions for free during the beta test period to entice merchants to try the service.

A promotional video from Venmo showing how the new service works is below:

Read more about money transfer and P2P services

Topics: Mobile Apps , Money Transfer / P2P , SMS / MMS , Technology Providers , Transaction Processing

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