Verse, the p2p payments app, is seeking to be the ‘WhatsApp for sending money’, but is their role model set to jump in to the field and take their users?
In the modern era, the likes of WhatsApp and Instagram Stories have transformed society with real-time information available 24/7, and these expectations have been mirrored in the financial world, especially for Millennials. FinTech has been the vehicle driving innovation to this end, in which speed has become a key feature in bringing in new customers, in all facets of the customer experience.
For Verse, this means creating an account on their app quickly, and an easy-to-use platform that doesn’t cause distractions that could potentially push away a prospective user. The platform ticks this box taking no less than 30 seconds for an account, with the ability to send money to your friends instantly. In the money transfer sector, users are the most vital segment, thrusting the company towards the next stage.
Millennials are not interested in using hundreds of apps, and they focus on the most functional service for them (going against the traditional mindset of going to the company with the biggest name). Paypal is well in the clear in this regard, with 227 million users. Expansion seems an urgent priority, diversifying a firm’s offerings as quickly as possible to grab more customers. Paypal is exemplary in this, with business solutions and the simple “transfer to your friends” functionality, with the power of a heavyweight firm that allows it to acquire companies within related fields. This was the case most recently with a huge acquisition of iZettle ($2.2bn), a Swedish firm providing small businesses with a range of services. The sector seems difficult to fully expand for small start-ups, with the likes of Paypal, Square, Circle and Venmo who have a hold on the market (while some are exclusively in the US).
This impression of a complex ecosystem is emphasised in the broader environment that money transfers are embedded into. Heavy hitters Amazon and Apple are encroaching on the field with their “Pay” services. Furthermore, Facebook already has a payments option in Messenger, and WhatsApp seems set to roll out a payment system of its own, beginning in India soon (according to Bloomberg).
The ecosystem becomes even more diluted with challenger banks, which have also facilitated fast and easy payments to their friends via their apps. Revolut and Monzo stand out in Europe currently, while BNext and Correos are the current go-to firms in Spain. Rebellion will add to these names, after their launch in the summer, permitting instant payments to fellow cardholders and other services synonymous with the prepaid card industry.
While Verse has generated impressive funding so far and created a functional app, the monsters of the technology world seem to be closing in on this sector. Although Europe does not have the heavy competition of the firms previously mentioned (Venmo and Square), Paypal is global and the go-to route for most, while Revolut and co. are providing a strong European alternative. If WhatsApp were to create a payments section in the not too distant future, Verse will have a mountain that not many firms would be able to climb.