Snapchat, in collaboration with Square, is adding peer-to-peer payments to its photo messenger based app. Snapchat photo messages are designed to disappear after a few seconds, let's hope that's not the case with user payments. On the company's blog it said: "We wanted to create something with them [square] that felt Snapchat-y."
Snapcash has definitely achieved that - just check out the promotional release video:
Congratulations on your tolerance for cheesy cringe-worthy videos if you made it through that. Putting the dance number aside, Sanpchat are the latest social media company interested in throwing its hat into the payments ring. Just yesterday, we looked at Facebook's plans in the space and Twitter has also outlined its intentions.
Snapchat in its blog post announcing the new feature said:
"We set out to make payments faster and more fun, but we also know that security is essential when you’re dealing with money."
The partnership with Square is a wise move on Snapchat's part. The 'Snapcash' service will totally be run by Square on its servers. Snapchats has a poor track record in terms of security - from run ins with the Federal Trade Commision, to some 4.6 million user details compromised in early 2014, and widespread photo leaks in October.
Snapchat's approach is quite interesting. Like many popular social media and messaging platforms are naturally looking for ways to convert their large userbases into larger streams of revenue. Snapchat has just started exploring its first adverts too - and it's clear it's not sure what the best way is to achieve greater revenue just yet either. A collaboration with Square is a wise way to test the popularity of a peer-to-peer payment service.
We'll have to wait and see if users' take up the new feature - Snapcash is currently only available in the US , with the Android version released Monday and iOS version coming soon. Just like with Twitter though - I have my reservations of the success of such a service.
I've used Snapchat myself on the odd occasion during the last year. Once a week or so, my day is interrupted and I get to see a peculiar snippet of a friend's day: I normally roll my eyes, put my phone back in my pocket and then try refocus myself to whatever I was doing before. Okay, so admittedly maybe I'm not Snapchat's target user and perhaps younger generations will latch on and feel comfortable using the app for payments. But, much as I said about Twitter, payments are just not a feature I'm crying out for on an app that, at best, I use for light 'entertainment' with friends.
By Matthew Taylor 18th November 2014
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