my role and contribution:

sole UI/UX designer & researcher

project constraints:

8-week timeline

limited budget and timeframe

Part 1: Research

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Venmo is a social payments service used by millions of people to make and share payments with friends, family, and select approved businesses. Users can make payments by linking their bank account, debit/credit card or by using their Venmo balance if they have money pending in Venmo itself.

Problem Statement 

How might we help users enhance their experience with Venmo by creating intentional efficiency?

 

Personas & User Types

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  • 18-22 years old / college student 

  • Immature with spending and budgeting 

  • Uses Venmo for splitting food and rent amongst friends

  • Tends to make smaller payments (e.g., $100 or less during social occasions)

  • Uses Venmo almost daily 

  • Heavily dependent on Venmo for daily activities

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  • 23-27 years old / working professional

  • More thoughtful with spending and budgeting

  • Uses Venmo for splitting food and rent 

  • Uses Venmo for services

  • Makes larger payments for trips, flights, etc.

  • Often needs to send larger sums of money  

  • Uses Venmo a few times a week

  • Uses multiple payment methods (not dependent on Venmo) 

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User Interview Findings & Insights: College Students

Findings

  • Primary Findings

    • Most college students don’t use any resources for planning their finances

    • They prefer to use Venmo because the charges don’t show up on their cards

    • They use Venmo almost daily and it has become an important part of how they operate with finances

  • Secondary Findings

    • College students have accidentally paid the wrong person or wrong amount multiple times

    • It’s difficult to split charges amongst large groups when people have different items for dinner and one person pays

    • The “Pay” and “Request” buttons feel too similar

Insights

  • Primary Insights

    • College students struggle to budget because they don’t know HOW. It feels too stressful and therefore becomes something to avoid

    • For them, using Venmo feels like “fake money” with limited consequences

    • Students are heavily reliant on Venmo especially when they don’t have their cards on them, someone else spots a bill for them, etc.; it is also helpful that most people in their network use Venmo as well

  •  Secondary Insights

    • Students are often stressed, hurried, or distracted and can often make mistakes that can end up being costly

    • One of the most common reasons to use Venmo is to split payments for social events such as dinner, this process is tedious and creates a large pain point while using Venmo

User Interview Findings & Insights: Young Professionals

Findings

  • Primary Findings

    • Young professionals use a variety of different apps and channels for payments

    • Generally, make larger payments and have bigger expenses to split with friends e.g., flights, trips, etc.

    • Venmo’s cap on payment amounts creates issues for larger transactions

    • Don’t feel safe having a lot of money associated with Venmo

    • Don’t like having a transaction fee for transferring money to bank account or waiting 3 days to transfer money

  •  Secondary Findings

    • Finds the social media aspect of Venmo to be unnecessary

    • Hard to keep track of Venmo transactions since they are not linked to credit card transactions

Insights

  • Primary Insights

    • Young professionals are not dependent on Venmo as they have a multitude of avenues for payments they can utilize

    • A big pain point for this user type is that they struggle to split large payments due to Venmo’s cap on maximum weekly limits which can become difficult when planning trips with friends

    • This user type tends to be more risk-averse and security is really important for them;  they would benefit from increased safety on the app

    • They care about efficiency and don’t like to have additional fees that they deem unnecessary 

  • Secondary Insights

    • This user type values being to the point, and feels the social media aspect of Venmo is annoying

    • Young professionals tend to be better about budgeting and having separate Venmo transactions can be a struggle to account for

User Interview Key Takeaways

  1. Both College Students and Young Professionals use Venmo for social occasions and group payments, but Young Professionals also use Venmo for larger payments, small businesses, etc.

  2. College Students are heavily dependent on Venmo to the point where they would rather make more sacrifices to continue to just use the app than switch to a different service.

  3. As people get older, they tend to diversify how they conduct their finances and online payments. They also value convenience and are more likely to prefer what someone else in their network uses as opposed to being reliant on Venmo.

  4. The two most prominent areas of focus appear to be budgeting and group transactions

Competitive Analysis Key Takeaways

Market Overview 

  • The online financial services market is a “Red Ocean”, it is saturated

  • Biggest competitors for Venmo: Zelle, Cash App, and Apple Pay

  • They all have similar services and large customer bases

Market Threats

  • Security breaches and fraudulent transactions

  • Over competition as part of saturation in the market

Opportunities

  • Indirect competitors, Stripe and Splitwise, have unique offerings that can be leveraged and when combined with Venmo’s capabilities have the power to become market leaders

  • Other opportunities exist for:

    • Expansion into other currencies

    • More user-centric personalization

Part 2: Solutioning

Based on my research I came up with two main solutions

  1. Group Transactions Functionality 

    • Create a system to make splitting transactions across large groups of people easier e.g., ability to split a dinner bill and calculate tax per person through the app

    • Create common groups (roommates, family, etc.) for reoccurring charges​​

  2. Budgeting Feature

    • Add an option for users to be able to categorize their Venmo transactions and set limits on categories e.g., $200 monthly limit on dining out. This will also help organize transaction histories

    • Include budgeting best practices and knowledgeable resources to help College Students

 

Sketches

To begin to come up with solutions, I first employed lightning demos and product research to sketch out some options. 

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Lightning Demos

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Budgeting Categories Ideation

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Spending Tracker Ideation

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Group Transactions Ideation

Wireframing

From these basic sketches, I then used Figma to create wireframes to further display my solution:
Group Transaction Functionality

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Group Creation/Management Tab

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Group Transactions/Categorization

Budgeting Feature

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Budget Tab