The mobile payments company has taken its first steps into the plastic card business with mobile features.
Payment app Venmo, owned by PayPal Holdings Inc., has launched its first physical payment option with a credit card QR code prominently displayed on the front.
The option to apply for this payment method is being rolled out in a gradual way.
The cards themselves, featuring the credit card QR code, are issued by Synchrony Financial. The first wave of availability is to US consumers, according to the company. Cardholders can opt for one of five different color schemes, which range from the darkest “Nightlife black” to the brightest “Cotton Candy pink”.
Cardholders must use the official Venmo app to scan the credit card QR code and activate it. Each of the barcodes is unique and provides the user with the opportunity to turn the plastic cards into a digital experience.
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Scanning the credit card QR code opens up a spectrum of digital tools and mobile payment features.
For instance, by using the card’s code, users can launch experiences otherwise limited to mobile wallets, such as splitting check and making Venmo based purchases. These features have been a central component to the marketing strategy for the card to new users. The goal is to bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds, explained Venmo senior vice president and general manager Darrell Esch.
“When you’re out for dinner and everyone throws their card into the folio, the waiter has to split the check between four or five cards,” said Esch. “Whereas here, I can throw my card into the center, and everybody else can quickly scan my code, link to my Venmo and push the funds to settle.”
These types of feature can be particularly appealing right now, as the pandemic crisis rages on. The reason is that even though it is a plastic card, the credit card QR code allows for considerably reduced contact necessary, particularly when dining and splitting a bill. That said, this payment product was in the works well before COVID-19 changed everyone’s lives, said Esch. It just happened to arrive at a time in which it could be particularly useful.