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.