PayPal-owned payment app Venmo will no longer offer a global public feed of user transactions, as part of a major overhaul focused on extending the app’s privacy controls and better highlighting some of the new features in Venmo. The company said it would only show users their “friend feed,” which is the app’s social feed where you can see only your friends’ transactions.
Venmo has struggled over the years to balance its desire to add a social element to its network based on peer-to-peer payments, with the need to offer users their privacy.
A few years ago, the company was forced to settle a complaint with the FTC regarding its handling of in-app privacy disclosures as well as 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 properly explained to customers. As part of the settlement, Venmo had to educate new and existing users on how to limit the visibility of their transactions, among other changes.
However, privacy concerns have continued to follow Venmo over the years. More recently, BuzzFeed News was able to track down President Biden’s secret Venmo account due to the lack of confidentiality around Venmo friend lists, for example. Then the company deployment of friend list privacy controls to solve the problem.
In the recently updated app, Venmo will always highlight this Friends List privacy setting so that users can choose whether or not they want their profile to appear on other people’s friend lists. . Users will also still be able to remove or add contacts from their friends list at any time, block people, and set the privacy of their transactions as they post or retroactively in public, private, or friends-only. However, the benefit of public posting is unclear, as the global public flow has disappeared. Instead, public transactions would only be visible to a user’s non-friends when someone directly visited their profile.
In addition to the privacy changes, Venmo’s redesign aims to make it easier for people to discover the app’s new features, according to the company.
Now, a new navigation option at the bottom will allow users to switch between their social feed, Venmo products such as the Venmo Card and crypto, and their personal profile. The new “Cards” section will allow Venmo credit and debit cardholders to manage their cards and access their rewards and offers, as before. Meanwhile, the “Crypto” tab will allow users to learn and explore the world of crypto, view trends in real time, and buy, sell or hold different types of cryptocurrencies. .
Venmo first added crypto support earlier this year, following parent company PayPal’s decision to do the same, 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 feeling of clutter.
The updated app will also include support for new payment types and extended purchase protections, which Venmo ad last month, and that would 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 will make transactions eligible for Venmo’s Purchase Protection Plan – even if the seller does not have a. appropriate “business” account.
Since this now charges sellers a fee of 1.9% plus 10 cents, there had been a few backlash from users who misunderstood the changes or simply didn’t like them. But the move could help boost Venmo’s revenue.
Pay Pal said in february that Venmo increased the number of users by 32% from 2020 to 70 million active accounts, and expects the app to generate nearly $ 900 million in revenue this year – likely thanks in part to to this and other new initiatives, like its crypto transaction fees.
Beyond more functional changes and privacy updates, Venmo’s redesign also modernizes the look of the app itself, which had become a bit dated and overloaded. As Venmo expanded its range of services, the hamburger menu (three lines) at the top right of the older version of the app had morphed into a long list of options and settings. Now it’s gone. The app uses new iconography, updated font, and lots of white space to make it look fresh and clean.
The changes to the app also reduce the importance of the social feed itself somewhat. While it can still be set to default on this tab, other options now have a par with their own tabs, instead of being hidden in a menu or smaller button.
Venmo says the redesigned Venmo app will begin rolling out today for select customers and will be available to all users across the United States over the coming weeks.