We all love Venmo as it has made our lives easier with free and instant P2P transactions. The meteoric rise of the PayPal-owned Venmo was a major breakthrough in mobile payments as its success set an example of every FinTech incumbent. Every now and then comes an app that clicks with millennial consumers and has that viral effect. FinTech incumbents are creating an enhanced mobile experience for the connected consumer of today. The mobile money market is growing at an exponential rate. Solutions are appearing in this field from not only the FinTech industry but also retail, connected devices and technology industry with Apple, Samsung and Amazon joining the fray. It is no wonder that everyone—from big players to startups—are rushing to grab a share of this market.
We looked at some of the apps in the market and picked five applications that have gained rapid consumer adoption since their launch.
In April 2014, Mobeam launched its top-ranking mobile shopping app, Beep’nGo. In November 2015, the company announced that it has surpassed 10 million installations of its app for Android. Mobeam is changing the way retailers and shoppers interact through its mobile processing of more than 7 million unique retail loyalty cards from over 400 retailers. Shoppers are utilizing Mobeam's Beep’nGo app to process transactions with hundreds of retailer loyalty programs, including those for: CVS ExtraCare, Walgreens Balance Rewards, Kroger Plus Card, Nectar, Rite Aid Loyalty, Toys“R”Us Rewards, Best Buy, PetSmart PetPerks, Staples, Safeway, Giant Eagle Advantage Card, Plenti, and others.
Mobeam’s patented light-based beaming technology overcomes historical technical barriers and enables (POS) laser scanners to read barcodes on Android mobile devices. Popular and emerging “mobile payment” apps rely on NFC or other technologies that communicate with credit card payment terminals, but not with scanners. Because Mobeam enables a mobile wallet to interact with the scanner, payment apps can now carry loyalty cards, membership cards, gift cards, tickets, vouchers and coupons, providing them with universal POS access at retailers. Mobeam’s technology easily integrates with all existing mobile payment apps, thus completing their role as a comprehensive mobile wallet.
2. Pay Finders
Pay Finders is a new app that was launched this November which helps users easily find local merchants who accept Apple Pay. People can also give their feedback on the Apple Pay experience at a location. This crowdsourced feedback can help others to make a decision and also help stores to improve service. The app that currently covers US and Canada (yes, in preparation) will see updated features and more countries soon. The app was created by Brian Roemmele, renowned mobile payments/Apple Pay expert, an advisor and an avid blogger. The Pay Finders app is doing really well on the app store and has been downloaded umpteen numbers of times. It is in the top 1000 US-overall apps based on App Annie stats.
According to Brian Roemmele, “Pay Finders can become a platform for notification and communication of not just new payment systems but perhaps other systems and technologies that are available in the retrial space. For example, Bluetooth-based systems.”
A new player in P2P lending market was launched on September 24, 2015, with $900K in seed funding. Mobile application Ledge, powered by Venmo, can be fairly called the Kickstarter of the P2P lending market. The new app, which is freely available on the App Store and Google Play, offers an easy and seamless way to borrow money from peers and family, solving the problem of the awkwardness of asking.
As stated on the website of the company, Ledge is a social finance platform that empowers borrowers to crowdsource personal loans from their network. Ledge brings the “crowdfunding” model into P2P lending allowing more than one person to lend you money. Certainly, there are other tools in the market to make P2P lending easier (Lending Club, Prosper, etc.), but Ledge has significant advantages that are worth mentioning. It allows lenders to deal with each other directly without intermediaries taking a part of the interest. Flexibility is another benefit of using the app. The campaign originator can choose the interest rate and time frame keeping in mind what would be affordable. In addition, Ledge allows you to tap into your personal network for temporary debt without having to deal with institutions. Moreover, there is no need to borrow from a single person anymore. Several people from your network can contribute to the campaign. It decreases the risk for each lender and makes it easier to lend only a part of the whole sum required.
4. Hello Digit
Hello Digit connects to a user’s primary checking account to analyze income, expenses and recurring bills to determine funds that can be set aside as savings based on a savings algorithm. The savings are deposited to a Digit bank account held either at Wells Fargo or Opus Bank for the customer’s benefit and can be withdrawn or transferred to a checking account at any time by texting to Digit.
Digit Plus is a rewards program that pays you for saving. The user will get five cents for every $100 they keep in Digit for three months. Bonuses are paid every week for as long as you keep saving. The company connects to over 2,500 US financial institutions and credit unions. The company has received a total funding of $13.8 million from investors such as Baseline Ventures, FreeStyle, General Catalyst Partners, Upside Partnership, Operative Capital, Initialized Capital, NYCA and Google Ventures.
MoMo, a mobile money service operated by M_Service JSC, announced in October 2015 that it has hit one million users. According to Manh Tuong Nguyen, Vice President at M Service, the app is growing beyond expectations compared to the previous year, with a growth rate of 30-50% per month. The company also claims that the app now stands as the most downloaded app in the Apple store in Vietnam.
Launched in June 2014, MoMo is a mobile wallet service offered in partnership with Vinaphone. It allows users to pay online and make person-to-person money transfers within a few seconds. The MoMo app allows customers to make transactions such as buy game credits, top-ups and bill payments. With new mobile payments apps such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay entering the market, competition is also increasing for the players to sustain, but the company behind the MoMo app is confident about its competitiveness. It says it understands the requirement of the Vietnamese. Through the study habits of domestic users, the company noticed that QR code technology is easy and user-friendly for the Vietnamese.