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Inside WEX

Social Media and P2P Payments: A Brief Overview

September 22, 2015

Imagine this situation (or flash back to your early 20s): You’re out to dinner with a group of friends. The bill comes, and you decide that it’s in the best interest to split the bill. You could request, much to the chagrin of the waiter/waitress that he or she hand split the check. How easy would it be if your friends could just send money directly to your account at the table through an application they already use?

With an estimated $51 billion in unpaid small debts between friends and family, social media has been getting attention as a person-to-person payments platform.

Will users take hold? What platforms exist? Where will users turn to send and receive?

People are becoming more comfortable conducting transactions in social networks. According to a recent Javelin report on the topic of social payments, 26% of consumers overall have made a purchase on a social media site in the past 12 months, with 44% of millennials and 37% of Generation X most likely to do this.


Facebook is no stranger to payments, processing over 1 million ads and games payments per day. This experience led the company to build its own person-to-person payments platform in Messenger, rolling out the addition throughout 2015.

Many consider Facebook the most logical social network for payments, as according to Nick Holland, senior payments analyst for Javelin Strategy & Research, are natural for people. “Facebook is a great platform for a P2P network because you’ve already got your network of friends and family on there,” he says.

For more on how Facebook Messenger payment works, see the Facebook Payments FAQ.

  • Debit Fees: No Fee
  • Credit Fees: Not Available
  • Days to Clear: 3


At the convergence of ephemeral photos and payments, you find Snapcash. Announced by messaging application Snapchat, paying someone is as simple as attaching a debit card, typing a dollar sign and an amount of money and sending the message to whomever you intend to send. Powered by Square, this platform allows for an instant payment between friends, compared to the store and pay method in PayPal’s Venmo application.

  • Debit Fees: No Fee
  • Credit Fees: Not Available
  • Days to Clear: 2
  • Sending Limits: $250 weekly


Acquired by PayPal in late 2013, Venmo adds social to peer-to-peer payments. Venmo actually creates a news feed of sorts, allowing friends to see who transferred money to whom, and what it was for. An interesting concept, but many potential users may be put off by this idea.

  • Debit Fees: No Fee
  • Credit Fees: 3% of Transaction
  • Days to Clear: 2
  • Sending Limits: $2,999 weekly

Google Wallet

After announcing Android Pay earlier this year, many questions arose for the future of Google’s original payment platform, Google Wallet. When many thought that Google Wallet would be killed by Android Pay, the Google Wallet Google+ Page announced a clarification message focusing on the P2P aspect of the app, reported by Android Central.

  • Debit Fees: No Fee
  • Credit Fees: No Fee
  • Days to Clear: 3
  • Sending Limits: $10,000 Daily

Square Cash

Another platform gaining traction is that of Square Cash. Allowing users to add debit cards, transactions are free—up to $2,500 per week received (at which users would need a pro account).

  • Debit Fees: No Fee
  • Credit Fees: Not Available
  • Days to Clear: 2
  • Sending Limit: $2,500


The originator of the peer-to-peer payments marketplace in eBay, PayPal became its own entity in 2015. PayPal is the largest provider of P2P payments, and allows for international payments.

  • Debit Fees: $0.30 fixed, 2.9% of transaction
  • Credit Fees: $0.30 fixed, 2.9% of transaction
  • Days to Clear: 4
  • Sending Limit: $10,000 per transaction

What’s next in the future of payments? Follow the WEX Corporate LinkedIn page to stay up to date with the latest trends in payments.

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