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Snapcash: rolling in “don’t’s”

| Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Snapcash_WEBEMILY DANAHER | The Observer
In the early Monday evening, Team Snapchat acquainted its 100 million active users about its latest innovation — Snapcash, a mobile money-sharing feature that has come conveniently equipped with its own song and dance number.

Despite Snapchat’s discernible attempts to keep the news of the money exchange classy (i.e., song and dance number), Yik Yak and Twitter have yet to recover from the influx of “now I’ll have to pay for nudes” jokes.

Pornographic transactions aside, the team behind the supposed $10 billion company is excited about the opportunity, particularly partnering with Square, a young company that pioneered on-the-spot credit card payments and quick online payments via e-mail.

According to Snapchat’s blog post, Square is responsible for holding the debit or credit card information and handling the mobile transactions for Snap users that are 18 years and older. By entering your bank information into the photo sharing app, you are automatically creating a Square account for yourself. So, to summarize, Square is in charge of the messy financial details while Snapchat came up with a cute name and song and dance number.

The reaction to the feature was mixed to say the least. Many called into question the security of the transactions given Snapchat’s history with hackers and pictures that were supposedly “gone forever” resurfacing. Last year, 4.6 million usernames and phone numbers of the app’s downloaders were posted online, followed by 100,000 hacked Snapchat images, many depicting child pornography, were made public this October. The company settled with the Federal Trade Commission in May for the false advertisement of permanently deleting pictures and for collecting users’ contacts without their consent.

Other corners of social media deemed the app’s newest improvement superfluous, given that companies like Venmo have already become popular amongst the collegiate demographic Snapchat is trying to appease. When choosing between a well-established money transferring site and an iPhone app used primarily for ugly selfies and self-destructing nudes, it’s safe to say most coeds would prefer the former.

On the same note, college-aged Snapchatters, a group that makes up a staggering 77 percent of the app’s daily users, expressed concerns about the simplicity of the feature. Snapchat remains many students’ go-to app on the weekends when those of us who are 21 and up decide to opt out of sobriety, because, honestly, no selfie looks bad after you’ve had a few Natty Lights. If you can’t stop yourself from drunkenly sending an embarrassingly desperate front camera pic to that cute girl in your Gender Studies seminar, then what will bar you from sending her your entire life savings in exchange for her love?

Also, I have a feeling those same kids will have a little too much fun with the “making it rain” option and most likely forget that it’s actual dollars being virtually delivered, not pretend stripper singles.

For the most part, Snapcash seems more prone to criticism than praise. However, given the newness of the project, only time will tell if the money-selfie collaboration will pay off, pun intended. In the meantime, the song and dance will get us through.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Alexandra Lowery

I am sophomore in the Mendoza College of Business and the department of Film, Television and Theatre. I enjoy long, drawn out feminist rants, playing guitar and worshipping Beyoncé.

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