Title: Introducing Nearby Payments for Venmo (hidden)

We’re really excited to be launching nearby payments for Venmo today. Nearby payments let you do exactly what it sounds like — pay other Venmo users near you.


Context matters

With iOS 7, Apple brought a whole host of new capabilities focussed on local device discovery & communication. iBeacon, which is based on the same underlying technology has received a lot of attention for enabling ‘next-level’ retail experiences. We wanted to create a ‘next-level’ payment experience.

This all started when we removed the ‘Recents Bar’ in our iOS 7 redesign.. and received significant user feedback. (We wrote about this here) As we were exploring options to bring back some concept of recent / frequently payed users, we tried to get to the bottom of ‘what we broke’. In practice ‘we removed a bar with faces on it’, but what we’d actually done was increased the time it took to pay your most frequently paid users. This led to a hypothesis about one quality that users want in Venmo:


It should be faster and easier to pay the people you pay the most, than it may be to find and pay a new user.


This seems sensible and users loved the Recents Drawer which we shipped in December. We then tried to extend this to think about what other situations users particularly value speed & convenience. Enter a new hypothesis:

Users care more about being able to quickly pay a user that they are with, than they are not with


This is phrased a little oddly, but for a reason. It covers two distinct hypotheses:

  • You’re likely to transact with somebody you’re with (e.g. splitting a check)
  • You’re more sensitive to time spent making the payment when you’re physically with somebody. (it’s rude to have your head in your phone!)