The peer-to-peer (P2P) technological revolution has ushered in a new savvy exchange culture ready to transact everything from small business payments to large stock market sales instantaneously, and with the expectation of continuous feedback.
As social media becomes ubiquitous across business and information is shared in new and ever-expanding ways, the role of commerce is being upended by technology companies who are making it easier for buyers and sellers to transfer funds digitally.
Just as Twitter and Facebook have made it easier for people to connect socially, there are new software products using similar methods to make it easier for people to connect their money. With finance, there is a heightened sense of security and risk, and the burgeoning industry is not without its share of information breaches and wiped out bank account horror stories.
But as the technological arch inches towards improvement and better safety measures, these three software companies have positioned themselves as fore-runners in the coming digital peer to peer economy, where people can pay each other, (and also keep tabs on stocks), through hashtags and information pages similar to Twitter and Facebook.
1. Square Cash $cashtags
Square, who first gained notoriety with their Square Reader, allowing small retailers to make credit card swipes into a mobile device, is now introducing a new concept called the $catshtag, which makes it simple for people to make payments to each other using original $cashtags as markers.
The idea is that people can make a moniker like cash.me/$Bobsmusic, or /$Sallyshairdesign, and clients can make easy payments without using a check or cash. The company currently offers free transactions for debit card to debit card payments, with a weekly limit of $2,500. A pro membership is also available for small businesses that has no transaction limit but employs a 1.5% transaction fee.
StockTwits is a financial communications platform that functions similar to Twitter, where specific stocks can be discussed in quick bursts. It’s a place where traders can share information about how stocks are performing and give projections on possible long-term investment outcomes, and it’s gotten a large amount of attention from younger, Millenial-aged professionals in the finance community.
As co-founder Howard Lindzon explains StockTwits in early development, “We were creating a filter to separate the chitchat and zero in on finance and trading through a simple platform that was global, lightweight, stable, and in real time.”
Venmo is an online payment method, owned by Paypal, that can connect with Facebook and aims to simplify online payments by utilizing a social media-like interface. It has become popular with Millenials who enjoy its built-in payment sharing options for group gatherings like dinners out or larger social events.
Venmo can be downloaded on all major operating systems, and has a function for websites to use it as their payment method. The company reportedly processed $2.4 billion payments in 2014, and it has made its way through a couple of early security concerns where the incidents were reportedly a result of user error.
Estimates suggest the mobile P2P market is set to expand up to $17 billion in 2019, up from the $5.2 billion reported in 2014. So as more commerce is done online, look for these three companies to make a big impact on the near-future of finance.
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