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Views on Venmo

| Friday, April 27, 2018

One of the most convenient apps developed in recent years is Venmo, a digital wallet that lets you send and request money to and from friends. It’s convenient for so many things where normally splitting costs is a headache and could mean a much larger financial strain on one person over the rest of group. However, the convenience of Venmo is also destroying small acts of charity among friends.

Recently, Venmo has created a mindset in people where every little cost should be split evenly and perfectly. Whether you’re getting a round of drinks at the bar or order an Uber for yourself and others, it’s now expected that everyone Venmos you the exact amount down to the cent. No longer is it enough to offer to get the next drink or the next ride or thank your friend for their act of kindness; everything is a transaction-based event that requires equity.

I understand that Venmo has made so many things easier, especially for larger purchases that need to be split up between people. It’s alleviated the stress of fronting an initial large cost because getting everyone to pay is no problem now.  For this reason, I’m particularly happy that Venmo is around and I wouldn’t want it to go anywhere.

That being said, I just think that we need to be careful about how we let Venmo control micro-purchases between friends. It’s easy to let ourselves get bogged down with who owes what and making sure no one is stuck paying more than others. But this creates a mindset where giving is no longer an option. Being stingy and counting every cent turns a friendship into a business transaction.

I would never want to do away with Venmo because most of the time it’s an amazing tool that makes large purchases between people so easy. I just think it’s important to step away from the convenience of requesting those couple of dollars every once in a while and just let it go knowing that your friend will get you back.

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

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