Venmo has changed how college students spend

From paying bills to splitting meals, Venmo offers convenience

Venmo – a concept to get that $1.69 back for that Oreo McFlurry you bought for your friend that one time. The mobile payment service owned by PayPal allows ASU students to quickly send money with the click of a button, paper free. 

In a report released in April by LendEDU, an online loan refinancing marketplace, about 65 percent of millennials use payment apps on their phones, and more than two-thirds of the people surveyed use Venmo most often. The others state that they use their bank’s mobile app the most. The percentage of millennials using Venmo is expectedly higher now due to the app's increase in popularity.

Emily Eavenson, a global health sophomore, has been using the app ever since she graduated high school. She had her concerns about the safety of the app at first, but she decided to give it a try.

“I was so hesitant at first because I had just set up my first bank account," Eavenson said. "I wasn’t sure if I should get one because I was not aware of the safety of the app, but so many people use Venmo and my friends never had any problems with it, so I got one."

Eavenson is not the only person who doubted the app at first.

Architecture junior Camille Medeiros frequently uses Venmo to split utility bills with her roommates. She said she likes how Venmo makes it easy to ensure that people are paying her back the right amount and how the payment is so easy and quick, but she does have her uncertainties about the app.

“My least favorite part about Venmo is how you can’t cancel a payment," Medeiros said. "Once you send it, there’s no taking it back even if you sent it to the wrong user."

According to a statement put out by PayPal in October, Venmo customers are able to use their Venmo accounts to make purchases at more than two million U.S. retailers. 

A similar exchange is shown on ASU’s campus through sorority and fraternity philanthropies and ASU club merchandise. Comedy group Tempe Late Night uses Venmo to sell their merchandise.

“Last semester, before I was in my sorority (Sigma Kappa), they did a Sig Kapp-n-cheese, a philanthropic event," Eavenson said. "When you went and bought the mac-n-cheese, you had the option to Venmo $5 if you did not have cash with you."

Venmo isn’t necessarily just an app for paying back friends or buying philanthropic snacks – it can also be used in other creative ways. 

Some people put their Venmo accounts in Tinder and Twitter bios in the hopes of scoring a few dollars. 

But freshman political science major Elika Ruintan is an aspiring comedian, and along with using Venmo in conventional ways like splitting bills at restaurants with friends or splitting grocery bills with her roommate, she sometimes uses the app as a way to tell jokes. 

“Venmo transactions are public, so you can put whatever you want in the information, so this can be used to make some funny jokes,” Ruintan said. “For example, my friend sent me $100 through Venmo with the caption ‘this is a payment of love.’ Obviously I paid him back eventually, but it stirred up some conversation between our friend groups. I also paid him recently to put money into his Gucci fund, which is not a legitimate thing, however, it was a funny joke.”

Jokes aside, Venmo has helped Ruintan with an issue many college students have among their friends: actually getting paid back.

“I paid for a lot of my friend's things and he never paid me back, to the point where he owed me $691,” Ruintan said. “He was $691 in debt to me and he paid me back through Venmo. It was a large transaction, but Venmo was able to handle it, and I’m happy that it was able to do that."


Reach the reporter at jlmyer10@asu.edu or follow @jessiemy94 on Twitter. 

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