Venmo UX Case Study

Exploring Split Payment Options in One Transaction

This project was done as part of Students Who Design. Students Who Design is a free, one-semester program to help students and professionals who are interested in breaking into the industry of Product Design. To learn more, visit https://studentswho.design/

I acknowledge that I am not associated with or representing Venmo in any way.

Overview

Venmo, an application widely used to send and request money from your friends, has risen as one of the must-have applications for millennials and Gen Z-ers. Venmo essentially makes social money transferring easy to do compared to traditional money wiring, where it requires routing and account numbers, or cash-handling.

When it comes to splitting the bill, each person may have gotten different items. As of now, Venmo users have to do separate transactions for different amounts. The challenge was to find a way to easily pay or request different amounts of money from different recipients of the transaction.

PROBLEM

When I decide to pay for the bill, I want to be able to request each person’s tab so everyone pays the amount they owe me.

USER GOAL

1) Each person may owe different amount
2) The person who took the bill has to calculate what each person owes

Why Do People Use Venmo?

I surveyed 11 people who use Venmo to send and receive money. The two major advantages that the users highlighted were Venmo’s convenience in sending and receiving money, and Venmo’s social component of being able to add friends.

From the user survey, the users highlighted two pain points:

1) The user is not able to easily verify that the right person for the transaction was selected.
2) The user is not able to address multiple recipients at once.

So Which Problem Should I Tackle?

I explored the Venmo app to see if there are features that could be the solutions to the pain points that the respondents highlighted.

I decided to improve the multi-recipient transaction problem on Venmo.

After analysis, I concluded that Venmo has addressed the problem of recipient verifications through various features such as the QR Code. It is also possible that Venmo made an intentional design decision to make sure that the interface has 100% of the user’s attention, making sure that the user has selected the right person for the transaction.

User Persona

Kyle

Social Butterfly

Occupation: Student
Social Activeness: Very frequent
Favorite Social Activity: Getting meals with friends

As a student living away from home, he often chooses to eat out. Being surrounded by his friends in a college campus, his favorite past time is to go out to eat with his friends.

Questions that Kyle will ask:
- How can I do all the transactions needed at once?
- How can I figure out what amount to charge each person easily?

Obstacles he faces:
- Multiple Venmo requests for charging different friends with different amounts
- Individual calculation for each person

Goals and Motivations:
- Spend less time figuring out who owes what
- Spend less time making Venmo requests
- Make sure that he got the amount that he paid

Multi-person, Multi-value Transaction

Venmo has somewhat addressed the multi-person transaction issue by allowing multiple recipients to be charged the same amount in one transaction. However, the recipients of the survey complained that if they want to charge different values to everyone, which is often the case when a party is splitting the bill, they have to go through the transaction page multiple times.

How Might We allow the user to request or send different amounts to different recipients in one transaction?

Ideation

I prototyped three possible flows that allows the user to pay or request multiple people in one transaction: Multi-line Single Recipient, Multi-line Multi Recipient, and Receipt Scan.

After analyzing the feasibility and impact of each option, I decided that Multi-Row Multi Recipient made the most sense.

Feature

Feasibility

Impact

Multi-row
Single Recipient

High.
Venmo would have to generate rows for each recipient specified. Engineering wise, this would be easy to achieve.

Low.
Venmo would change the default behavior of multiple recipients. This may cause confusion in the experience and require relearning the default experience.

Multi-row
Multi Recipient

Medium.
This would require the engineering team to build out a new UI component and a new behavior. Not as easily achievable as before, but not as intensive as the main component can be reused.

High.
The additional rows have the same behavior that Venmo has currently, thus only user training required is adding a new row. The behavior of each row is identical to the behavior that Venmo currently has.

Receipt Scanning

Low.
This requires an entirely new page for UI as well as Computer Vision technology, which will require heavy engineering uplifting

Medium.
This will simplify calculation, which is another pain point that many users have. However, there is no clear advantage in processing multi recipient, multi value transaction.

Improvements and Future Steps

This case study explored three different solutions to the problem that we face with current Venmo’s experience with multi-recipient transactions. If given the opportunity, I would like to conduct more user interviews (including in-person observation of user behavior) and an in-depth brainstorming session.

The future steps for this case study would be to take the prototype and test it with a focus group that fits our persona. It would also be interesting to sum up the data gathered from these focus studies and potentially present the idea to Venmo as a potential new feature.

After-thought

Venmo is an application that I often use as well. This exercise taught me a lot about the way people use Venmo, understanding their pain points, and flexing the designer in me to think of ways that we can solve the problem.

Thank you to all 11 individuals who participated in my survey! Without your responses, this exercise would not have been possible :)

Thank you to Sahil Khoja from Students Who Design for creating this exercise! Do check out Students Who Design as they will start posting bite-sized lesson for different aspects of Product Design.

And last not but least, thank you for taking the time to read through this case study!