Digital & Social Media

Is it Time to Make Payments a Snap?


What Happened: Disappearing payments do not sound particularly intuitive. Nevertheless, the popular mobile messaging app, Snapchat, recently filed two trademarks that will allow it to have some sort of presence in the electronic payments space. The trademarks, which are very different from the patents Snapchat would need if it were building its own payment system, would simply associate the brand with payment technology, but a source suggested to Business Insider that Snapchat is considering the peer-to-peer (P2P) payment space and may simply partner with an existing payment provider, instead of creating its own payment system. Like all social media, Snapchat, the top social choice for Millennials, has been trying to figure out ways to monetize its platform. While its fleeting messages don’t make it an obvious candidate for payments, Snapchat — with its tight-knit bands of friends — may be able to imitate Venmo, a rapid method to send money to people. As Snapchat morphs from app to full-fledged social platform, expect to see more experimentation to take advantage of the mass following the app commands.

What This Means for Brands: If Snapchat isn’t on your radar or more important if you are not trying to figure out ways that your brand can take advantage of it, then this trademark move can be considered a warning bell that your time for procrastination better be coming to an end. A payment option on Snapchat could potentially be a gigantic boon for brands interested in the Millennial demographic in particular. Snapchat may look to Facebook’s recent precedent and add a “buy” button to 10-second disappearing ads, but with the emphasis on peer-to-peer rather than consumer-to-business it may involve exchanging product between friends. Either way, a move of some sort into payments and commerce is coming, and for brands, only a handful of which have really figured out how to use the current Snapchat effectively, this will no doubt raise the bar on the kind of content that has to be produced in order to motivate users enough to take an action like buying something.

Contributing to current TRENDING items are Bram Berkowitz, Natalie Hensley, Caroline Michelman, Tom Pompei and Daniel J. Sheehan.