Payfriendz, the London-based person-to-person (p2p) payment start-up has seen daily user download numbers of its app grow tenfold so far this year, spiking at nearly 12,000 downloads a day in February and jumping to the top of the UK Apple App Store finance chart. The app – which is a free, easy way to split bills or pay friends or family directly without the need for cash or a traditional bank account – is proving most popular with UK students for making small payments (average payment value just over £4) or splitting bills with friends at bars and restaurants. The average user is between 18 and 24, the majority of them being women under the age of 24.
With the rise of the mobile internet, and the coming of age of Millennial-generation consumers, person-to-person payment apps have been rapidly gaining in popularity, first in the US with Venmo, bought by PayPal in 2013, and now in Europe with Payfriendz. The company is using a hybrid of social media marketing and promotion to encourage downloads of the app.
Volker Breuer, the company’s German-born founder and CEO attributes Payfriendz’ success to the app’s ease of use without compromising user security.
He explains: “Millennials have fully embraced messaging apps. And now we see messaging apps becoming platforms or eco-systems similar to app stores. With Payfriendz we were the first to build a mobile messaging platform in Europe that enables seamless p2p payments – and we’ll keep driving innovation in this space!
“A key challenge for us from the start has always been to make sure we look the part for today’s digital consumer, while making sure it’s as safe as traditional forms of payment – the business we’re in is still about someone’s money and this is as important to Millennials as it is with older customers.”
In a sign of the potential of the new p2p model of financial services delivery (a market estimated to be worth $1 trillion dollars globally by McKinsey), the company announced a tie-up with Paysafe earlier this year to allow app users to connect a MasterCard to their account to make payments outside the Payfriendz user-base.
For Mr Breuer, it’s all part of the ongoing shake-up of retail banking which could see traditional financial services providers bypassed altogether, “we certainly see the potential for apps like Payfriendz and others to emerge among the winners of the digital banking race. Venmo in the US is already seeking partnerships with major retailers to enable app users to pay for goods at their stores and this is certainly something we would like to explore for Payfriendz in the UK, in the near future.”
With just over 80,000 users the app’s relatively small volume of transactions compared to the overall number of consumer payments is beside the point. While other p2p services have been launched in the UK, with Barclays’ Pingit being the most prominent, Payfriendz’ success in identifying a low-cost way to engage sought-after Millennial consumers, famously sceptical of traditional banking, has the potential to displace the deposit account as the first point of entry to financial services for young customers. In the process, Payfriendz’ debut at the top of the app chart has fired the starting gun for the Millennial banking race.
Payfriendz launched in July 2014 and has seen £1.8 million in transactions since. There are currently more than 35,000 Payfriendz in the UK.
Payfriendz mobile app is leading the way money changes hands in social situations by integrating mobile payments with social engagement through its innovative and exciting new app, which gives users the ability to send and request money from friends and family.
Unlike other mobile payment apps, Payfriendz has an integrated social messaging service, which means that sending money is as easy as sending a text. Friends can send payment requests through the app with a personalised message and payments can be made in real time. Payfriendz found that 50% of successful requests sent through the app are confirmed within 5 minutes. Requests are also more likely to be accepted if personalised with a message.
It’s quick and easy to set up an account, with no fees, and the ability to instantly top up accounts using any debit card. It is available for download free of charge from Apple’s App Store or Google Play, or you can get a link sent to your phone from www.payfriendz.com.