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But Venmo is aware of this: In the year or so since it started trying its service out with a few businesses, the default setting has been for payments not to be shared in the social feed.

Still, Bill Ready, Pay Pal’s chief operating officer, recently told has reported that a job-application prompt for prospective Venmo employees last year mentioned research finding that “Venmo users are more open to purchasing at new businesses …

The idea, Crone explains, is that Venmo would take a cut—its standard rate is 2.9 percent plus a small flat fee, which is at the higher end of what merchants pay for a typical credit-card transaction—of not just in-app purchases like these, but of in-person transactions at physical checkout counters, where customers spend trillions of dollars a year. “You walk into any retailer, any restaurant, any service provider—what do they want you to do?

Like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter,” Crone says.

Among other things, they let users enter their bank-account information and then transfer money to others who have done the same.

Last summer, Venmo introduced partnerships with about a dozen apps (including the food-delivery service Munchery and the fast-food chain White Castle) that now let users pay straight from their Venmo accounts.Every year, billions of dollars change hands in needlessly clumsy ways.Parents realize they’re short on cash and go out of their way to stop at an ATM so they can pay their babysitter; grandparents mail checks as birthday gifts, which take days to arrive and days to clear.Working with retailers would give Venmo a business model similar to credit-card issuers and processors—“but with much more upside,” he says, “because the retailers spend far more trying to get you to like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and all these other things that they could just get as a byproduct of the payment.” That is, if someone paid for a taco using Venmo, their friends might see where they ate lunch.One limit on this strategy’s effectiveness is that consumers might not be eager to publicize every one of their purchases.

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