Venmo redesigns app with new user-friendly layout and privacy focus

The news: Venmo, PayPal’s peer-to-peer (P2P) payments app, got rid of the global feed that showed users’ public transactions in real time and instead will only show users’ “friends feed,” per a company blog post.

Venmo also added a static menu at the bottom of the screen that lets users toggle between their feed, their personal profile, a space where they can manage their Venmo Card, and Venmo’s cryptocurrency trading platform. The changes became available to select users on June 20 and will roll out to all customers in the coming weeks.

How we got here: Venmo has struggled with privacy in the past. In 2018, Venmo settled a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission alleging that it had failed to adequately disclose privacy settings to users. And discussions of Venmo’s privacy standards resurfaced in May when reporters discovered President Biden’s Venmo and the accounts of a wider network of White House officials.

Privacy issues might also have contributed to the recent surge in digital wallet complaints: In April, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau received 970 complaints, nearly double that of July 2020, and many were related to PayPal and Square, which operates Cash App.

Meanwhile, Venmo’s interface has become cramped since the app introduced new features and products. A 2019 case study that examined Venmo’s user interface and experience found that some users had trouble finding app features like monthly statements. Before the redesign, newer features like the Venmo Card were not as easily accessible and were grouped together with options like settings and search.

The opportunities: Venmo’s latest updates can make the app more attractive to users, which could lead to more payments volume and engagement with different features.

  • Emphasizing privacy can help users trust Venmo more. Considering Venmo’s past struggles with privacy, gearing feeds toward users’ friends rather than the general public is a step in the right direction and complements other recent security changes. Users may be inclined to use Venmo more often if they have greater control over their privacy, leading to higher volume, which is expected to hit $208.76 billion in the US this year, per Insider Intelligence forecasts.
  • And updating its interface can drive traffic to other Venmo products. The new dashboard makes Venmo more user-friendly and highlights core features like the Venmo Card and its crypto trading business—something that PayPal has heavily emphasized in recent months: In February, it announced plans to create a business unit dedicated to cryptocurrencies.