Person to person (sometimes peer to peer, or P2P) payments service Zelle, which is often compared to PayPal‘s popular Venmo system, is reportedly eyeing up the business market. It is apparently about to launch new services and capabilities that will make it possible to pay not just your friends and family but also businesses and services.
There is no set date for the launch but the product is expected to focus on making ‘in person’ payments to the likes of hairdressers or babysitters. Venmo has been bolder, with its backing from PayPal, and increasingly sees itself as an online payment method too. We’ll see what Zelle has to offer when it reveals the new product officially. Of particular interest will be whether it could become an online payments service and appeal to retail merchants.
Zelle is backed by the Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and other financial institutions who collectively should have the expertise to make business payments functionality a success. Zelle payments can be made using MasterCard and Visa debit and credit cards. Zelle’s smartphone app allows users to send and request money using only their phone number or email. Zelle only launched last autumn and, as it was starting out, 50k new members were signing up every week. It processed 100 million transactions in Q218 totalling $28 billion
Venmo launched business payments late in 2017 and also began to offer a ‘Pay with Venmo’ button option that meant they could charge retailers and service providers a fee to take payments. Venmo is also ahead of the curve by offering a debit card.
P2P app payments are big news right now and growing fast and business payments are an increasing proportion of the payments. In 2018 the total volume of P2P payments to US businesses is estimated to increase fourfold year on year to almost $17 billion.