Margaret Peneeer, an elementary school teacher in Manhattan, just returned from her friends from a party in the Napa Valley and has already received an email sent to all guests. The two organizers calculated the costs of the party for each lady they took over, and asked to return them through Venmo, an application that transfers money between users who have tied their bank accounts to phone numbers. The peneeer was supposed to be $ 31.98 to one lady and $ 20.62 to another.
In the old days, the organizers would probably ask everyone to bring enough cash to return the money in person, or they would then ask to mail a check, courtesy Rounding spending to $ 30 and $ 20. But the sums in Venmo, calculated to a penny, were struck by the 29-year-old Peneeer – in her opinion, they symbolize how the most popular among her colleagues from the generation of the two thousandth application, used for everything – from entertainment expenses to the division of rental costs, Changes friendships and makes them more petty, "she says. "It literally makes you take a penny."
Theoretically, Venmo service should make friendships less petty, as it provides almost invisible payments between friends – cash is not transferred from hand to hand, checks are not issued. Nevertheless, the application not only encourages pettiness, calculating from the turmoil of days of the sum down to a penny, but also, possibly, promotes the libertarian ideals of Silicon Valley, where everyone is just for themselves, allowing so easily to return someone money for such small purchases as Coffee.
"This makes people less generous and generous," says Peneeur. – Before, you came to the restaurant and paid your credit cards on the account in half, even if one person ordered a steak, and another chicken. But now people pay only for themselves – exactly up to a penny. If you have three cookies, "she adds," then let another person eat two – you do not need to split it in half. "
Some users have noticed a decline in the desire to take costs, especially in the case of small purchases.
"I have a friend who is against Venmo – he believes that this service undermines the norms of social interaction," says 30-year-old Zack Fuchs who Works in the area of direct investment in San Francisco, where the application is on the go. For example, Fuchs notes that a colleague can usually consider himself obligated to pay for drinks the next time, but with Venmo he can immediately return money for a drink to the person who paid for it and forget about it.
Peneeer agrees With him and recalls children's trips by taxi, when two adults vied with each other to offer to pay for the trip. Now, thanks to applications for money transfers and bill sharing, such as Divvy, which takes a photo of a check from a restaurant and divides the bill between all guests, and also thanks to the function of dividing the fare built into Uber and Lyft (for a fee of 25 cents) "My generation does not do it any more," she says. "This is the difference between the words" I'm crying next time "and" I'll translate it to you through Venmo. "
As soon as two people decide to pay with Venmo, there is an additional embarrassment in requesting a transfer. The simplest way is to turn the application into a verb, casually dropping – "Just translate to me via Venmo". But if you are in a bar and include someone's drinks in your account, then this request can be forgotten with the onset of the morning hangover. The application also allows users to request payment – in other words, send a formal account to a friend.
To help manage accounts, the application also asks users to leave short notes that indicate why money is needed. The notices are sometimes purely functional – "drinks", "rent" – but often the comments are rather bizarre – perhaps to soften the sense of a business relationship.
"I pay you money, but it's not just a cash transaction, Says 26-year-old James Auchinkloss, a student at Fordham University School of Law, about the perception of less serious notes. "It's a reminder of what we did together. I lost count of how many people just send emoji with the image of a beer mug or a game sport. "
Nevertheless, such notes with emoji or exclamation marks also have a visual aspect – especially since by default all transactions (albeit without specifying a specific amount in dollars) and contact lists are public. In addition, the application can use contacts of the phone book or Facebook network and by default add new contacts when they start using the service. Thus, it is similar to any other social network in which you can get lost for several hours, viewing financial transactions of other users (or simply looking through the list of "friends" of someone from Venmo). Literally a minute later I was able to see how my friend, with whom I was not even connected in the application, was paying for the Internet and electricity, since her neighbor indicated these costs in a note.
You can make your payment register and contacts confidential, but many Users do not know about these parameters, they do not care, or they even want everyone to see them – both for the purpose of documenting their experience both in the photo album and for demonstrating their way of life. However, Venmo can turn into a fear to remain behind.
"Some part of me wants people to see what I'm doing," says Auchinkloss. "I even like it when people say," Oh, James went to baseball or sat at a bar with friends. "
Scrolling through the registers of payments of her friends, Peneeur saw that her two cousins had recently met and did not invite her.
"From Venmo you can also find out what's left behind the carrot, as well as from Instagram," she says. .
Although attracting attention to scarce tickets or expensive food can cause jealousy in someone's friends, and philanthropic payments may hint at virtue, you can see less glamorous or decent transactions in the system. Peneeur noticed how her friend's mother sent her a translation through Venmo with the note "Benefit."
"It's just embarrassing," she says.
The Vicemo website displays a list of marked transactions in which keywords or emoji describe payments related to drugs, alcohol and sex. Some of them are obvious jokes (unless we have lived to the times when crowds of decent young people buy up "crack"), but nevertheless the boss can easily find his subordinate in Venmo by his full name and discover a translation revealing the true reasons for the requested
Public transactions also mean that personal relationships often become more transparent and can be tracked.
"It's easy to say who sleeps with whom if you notice transfers between two people whom you thought were simply Friends, but the cat rye, seem to have become more than friends – because they leave traces in the form of his translations of Uber or joint for breakfast, "- says Auchinkloss
One man used Venmo to write a love note to his ex-girlfriend;
The screenshot quickly shattered among their common acquaintances and strangers.
There is also a good side – 24-year-old Noam Waxman, who works in the field of digital marketing in New York, said that "friends staged him with a disgrace for forcing his Girl to pay half of their restaurant bills ", which they noticed on Venmo.
In turn, Waxman peeked over the financial relationships of other couples and saw how people sent" surprise-transfers "through Venmo to their beloved" with notes like "A pleasant trip to the cinema with friends, lyubl you "- he says
But the most powerful manifestation of intimacy may be the refusal of the service in general.. Fuchs and his fiancee used to use Venmo, but in preparation for their recent wedding, they opened a joint settlement account and now attribute all their expenses to it.
"We stopped paying each other," he says.