Peer-to-peer money transfers have become a hyper-competitive market, driving even the best-known providers to seek out an edge. One such idea is to introduce a feature that lets senders add virtual gift-wrapping to payments they’re sending for special occasions, and on Thursday Venmo started rolling out just such a feature.
The service lets users pick from eight designs to add to the note they send along with the payment. There is no fee for the gift-wrap service, according to PayPal Holdings Inc., Venmo’s parent.
Gifting has been a major occasion giving rise to P2P transfers, according to Venmo. Some 86% of Venmo users cited ease of sending money as a major reason for using the service, while 78% said they have sent money as a gift through either Venmo or a competing service. These figures are results of a survey of 2,001 users conducted in September and October and commissioned by Venmo.
To use the new service, according to Venmo, senders start by clicking the “Pay or Request” button on the home screen, then add the recipient, a note, and the payment sum. They then tap a gift-wrap icon situated next to the “pay” button. This allows them to choose the design they want and to preview any animation before sending. Recipients then get a message that they’ve received a gift in their Venmo app.
The new gift-wrap feature is the latest development in PayPal’s effort to add momentum to its P2P payments service, which accounted for $60 billion in payment volume in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, up 36% year-over-year. In November, PayPal announced Venmo users will be able to use the wallet on the Amazon.com marketplace and in the Amazon shopping app in the U.S. market starting this year. The move comes as PayPal seeks ways to bolster fee revenue for Venmo and move the service beyond its base in P2P payments.