PayPal -owned payments app Venmo today announced support for instant transfers to U.S. bank accounts. The feature is an optional alternative to Venmo’s standard bank transfer service, which typically takes one to three business days to process transactions. With Instant Transfer, however, funds from your Venmo account can hit your bank account within minutes.
As of January 2018, Venmo has offered Instant Transfers to eligible Visa and Mastercard debit cards for a small fee. At launch, the fee was a flat $0.25, but Venmo bumped it up to 1% of the transferred amount last October. Now, the minimum fee is $0.25 and the maximum fee is $10. Of course, users can still choose the standard transfer option if they don’t want to pay for the convenience of instant payments.
While transferring to a debit card is useful for gaining quick access to cash stored in Vemno, not everyone carries a debit card nor do they always want their funds to go to that card. Bank transfers can also aid small business customers or gig economy workers by moving their Venmo cash to their main account for paying bills, rent and other automatically debited transactions.
The news of an expanded Instant Transfer service comes at a time when Venmo is seeing increased competition from rivals, including Square’s Cash App and the bank-operated Venmo challenger, Zelle. Thanks to its built-in customer base and integrations with U.S. banking apps, Zelle reported $44 billion sent on 171 million transactions in Q2 2019, making it the largest peer-to-peer payment app in the U.S. by a wide margin. Venmo’s payment volume in Q2, meanwhile, was $24 billion.
However, with more than 40 million active accounts, Venmo has more users than some of the U.S.’s bigger banks. And it’s still growing.
Offering an expanded fee-based Instant Transfer service to its customers could increase Venmo’s revenue and help push the service to profitability, along with its other plans — like launching its own credit card, for instance.