Peer-to-peer payment app Cookies launches in Germany

If you’re reading this article and live in the U.S., you might not realize that Venmo, Square Cash, Facebook Messenger payments and other similar services only work in the U.S. In many countries, such as Germany, most people still have to rely on wire transfers and IBANs to send money to their friends. German startup Cookies wants to make peer-to-peer payments as easy as 1-2-3. It is launching today in Germany.

Founded by former N26 employees, Cookies ticks all the right boxes when it comes to payment apps. It’s free, fast and convenient. And yet, one thing differs from most competitors.

On Cookies, you don’t have a balance. Any incoming transfer goes straight to your bank account, and outgoing transfers tap directly into your bank account as well.

When you sign up, you enter your online bank account information to plug Cookies with your bank account directly. The startup is compatible with around 4,500 banks in Germany. It partnered with Deutsche Kreditbank AG (DKB) as the banking back end.

After that, you can send money to your friends using a phone number or email address. Every time you send money, it initiates a conversation with your friend so that you can send a few messages.

And you can add an emoji with your payment. Cookies call them paymojis, and some of them have special powers. For instance, the lightning paymoji lets you send a lightning-fast super payment. While it takes 1 to 3 business days for a normal payment, a super payment only takes 5 to 120 minutes.

“It’s the fastest transaction app in Germany,” co-founder and head of product Lamine Cheloufi told me.

There are two other nifty features that hint at the future of Cookies. First, on the main screen, there’s a giant cookie in the middle. If you tap on it, you can see notifications. Later, the company plans to add an intelligence layer and turn this cookie into a sort of smart assistant. While this sounds a bit like Clippy, the app is well-designed so I’m confident that the startup will use the cookie in a tasteful way.

Second, given that you linked your bank account with Cookies, you can tap on your bank account in the profile page, and the app will tell you your current balance. I feel like peer-to-peer payments are just the first step. Cookies may have bigger goals and could end up being the finance app to rule them all, letting you check all your bank accounts from this app, making payments and more.

Cookies is only available in Germany with an invitation system for now. But if you use this link, you should be able to jump the queue a bit. The startup plans to roll out in Austria and Switzerland pretty soon, and maybe other European countries later.

Right now, you can only send 100 euros per month using Cookies because the app doesn’t ask for all your personal information. In the future, Cookies could raise this limit by complying with “know your customer” rules and ask for your passport scan and more.

Overall, Cookies sounds like a promising app. It could be a breath of fresh air for German customers. Other European countries already have convenient peer-to-peer payment apps, but Cookies is a well-executed product that should work quite well in Germany.

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