How often do you send money to your peers? Imagine you are out at a bar with your friends, and when the bill comes, someone says: ‘I can pay for it, and you guys just Venmo me’, or one of your coworkers is having a birthday and all the office chips in on a birthday present using Zelle.
Sounds familiar, right? In confidence, even landlords sometimes get rent through online payment services. Nowadays technologies are so deeply integrated in our everyday life, so they nearly rendered old school things like cash obsolete. According to statistics, more than 70 million people in the U.S. prefer to stay cashless and use peer-to-peer (P2P) payment apps to transfer money, and by the end of 2020 mobile transaction volume is expected to hit $396.48 billion. This app sector is booming and blooming, and if you want to develop peer-to-peer payment app, this article is for you.
We have gathered our previous experience and created the ultimate guide on how to make a custom P2P payment app like a rockstar. Here we reveal secrets about competitors, their monetization strategy, as well as key features, costs and timeframes for your P2P payment app. Let’s go!
What is a peer-to-peer payment app
A peer-to-peer, or P2P payment app, is a mobile platform to send and receive money between individual accounts. They provide a quick and easy way to, for example, split a bill with friends, pay to a handyman or to a dog sitter.
Some of the most well-known examples of P2P apps include Zelle, Venmo, Cash App, and PayPal
How many types of peer-to-peer payment systems are there?
There are 4 types of P2P payment apps on the market. Let’s look at each of them and briefly review some of the most popular examples.
Classical payment apps
Such apps provide standard P2P money transfers from one user to another. The flow is simple: a customer signs up and creates a unique username. By using it, they can be found to receive money from friends and family or send money to other registered users.
Examples: PayPal, Venmo, Cash App.
Bank-centered payment apps
These P2P apps are not fully independent: they get connected to bank accounts. Usually, users don’t have to sign up for the platform — they get access automatically through the bank.
Examples: Zelle, Revolut.
Social media-based payment apps
Some social media platforms let you transfer money right in their app. For example, if you scroll through a Facebook Marketplace looking for a sofa and find the one you like, you can send the payment to a seller through Meta Pay to ensure security and be backed up by live chat support, in case you need it.
Examples: Meta (Facebook) Pay, WeChat Pay.
Mobile OS payment apps
Other types of P2P apps are services that are built into a mobile operating system. Most OS already have this functionality — Apple, Android, and Microsoft.
Examples: Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay.
Why are peer-to-peer apps so popular?
P2P payment solutions provide a fast and convenient way to send money to friends and family. Imagine, even 10 years ago, to send money to a peer you would have to go to a bank branch, wait in line, talk to a cashier, and fill in tons of forms. Now it takes around 10 seconds. Because a P2P payment app saves users tons of time and energy, such platforms instantly became popular and took over the world.
Brief market overview: main competitors and how they make money
In order to better understand a P2P payment app, find your niche and research the competitors. According to statistics, over 70 million people in the U.S. prefer to stay cashless and use peer-to-peer (P2P) payment apps to transfer money, and by the end of 2020 mobile transaction volume is expected to hit $396.48 billion.
The market is broad and dynamic, so to start we recommend defining your niche first. Are you going to work internationally or in a certain region? Will your app be used for personal online payments only or will it be used for business purposes as well? Just brainstorm it with your team and come up with your advantages before you develop peer-to-peer payment app.
The next step is to face your competitors and research their business models. There are a lot of P2P payment apps out there that offer mobile transaction services, such as PayPal, Zelle, Venmo, CashApp, Azimp, or SquareCash.
For the basics, check out our list of major P2P payment apps and their monetization strategies.
PayPal was founded in 1998 and is one of the oldest companies on the market. The mobile platform allows receiving and sending money to friends and family across the world using both the app and the website. To set up a personal account a user only needs to provide your legal name, phone number, billing address, and add card info. In some cases, PayPal asks for ID authentication if you have reached a specific limit of transactions. The major source of income for the service is waiving transaction fees that depend on the type of your account (personal or business), to whom you transfer money (a friend or a store), and to what country (within the U.S. or internationally). Also, for business accounts, PayPal offers a subscription for $30 a month to unlock extra features for the page and charges interest rates from deposits.
Venmo was launched as a startup by two roommates – Andrew Kortina and Iqram Magdon-Ismail, and turned into a huge company currently owned by PayPal. The app has been called one of the four most popular peer-to-peer payment platforms and stats say Venmo is used by 14% of American adults to transfer money with $60 average transaction amount. They offer both Android and iOS apps, and to register, a user should have an American phone number, so it’s mostly available within the U.S. The app has added fun to money exchanges. Users can use emojis, add comments, and see the payments their Facebook friends have done (if they set them as visible for friends). It is not just an entertaining and engaging feature, but also brings customers back to the app and increases CRR (customer retention rate).
With regard to monetization strategy, Venmo is free to use on both ends. It only charges a 3% fee when a transaction is made with a credit card and an additional fee for withdrawing cash. Recently the company has introduced a second revenue maker – Venmo debit cards in collaboration with Mastercard.
Another competitor you need to know before you enter the P2P payment app development world is the Zelle App owned by a group of major American banks. What makes this solution stand out from other services is that it operates person-to-person payments (no business profiles) within U.S. bank accounts only.
Zelle charges no fee for customers, and its initial goal is not to make a profit, but rather to prevent bank clients from using a third party when transferring money. Experts say with the wider adoption of the P2P payment app, banks will start charging fees, but not in the near future. The architecture of the service is very simple: users provide the phone number or email address of the recipient and money goes directly to their account. No fees, no holds, no headache.
If you think about how to create a money transfer app, you should definitely learn from the CashApp example. Only in 2021, the platform generated $12.3 billion in revenue, twice as much as the previous year, and 81% of it came from Bitcoin. Wait, what does crypto have to do with P2P payment apps? Let’s take one step at a time and break it down.
CashApp was founded in 2013 in San Francisco, California. Formerly known as Square Cash, the P2P payment app facilitated a money-transferring process — only the e-mail address of a recipient was necessary. Now users can also request and send payments with a phone number, or $cashtag — a unique ID number. The app made money out of a 1.5% transaction fee and grew steadily, yet slowly until it entered crypto trading.
In 2018, CashApp added an opportunity to buy and sell Bitcoins, which opened a whole new door for further development. The idea was to make instant crypto transfers, without the confirmation on the blockchain like other exchanges. It was revolutionary, to say the least. Imagine, you can go out for dinner with friends and when the time to split the bill comes, you quickly send them 0.0016 BTC from your digital wallet. Statistics confirm it was a major success: from 2018 to 2021 CashApp’s revenue increased by 30 times, with most of it flowing from Bitcoin payments.
To popularize Bitcoin payments and attract new users, every Friday CashApp hosts a raffle on their social media. They weekly give away $10,000 in BTC to randomly selected users who dropped their $cashtag in the comments. Each week 90,000 people win $10 worth of Bitcoin and 1,000 get the equivalent of $100. A giveaway like this one is a great marketing strategy to acquire new users and promote certain features of the platform.
Apple Cash is the way for iPhone, Apple Watch and iPad users to send and receive money without uploading extra mobile applications. Everything can be done in Messages via Apple Pay. The service provides users with a debit card that they can add to their digital wallets, deposit money, and use as a regular form of payment at a store or a coffee shop.
Apple Cash has strict rules: a user can add at least $10 and not more than $3,000 at a time to their card, with a total being $10,000 over a 7-day period. The minimum amount for spending is $5.
Apple Cash was released in 2021 and already faced some controversies regarding its security. The feature relies on Face ID and Touch ID as the way to confirm payments, and some experts believe it makes the service vulnerable to spoofing attacks. Now Apple Cash works only in the United States, and the company doesn’t disclose any plans for expansion and further development.
6 key features for your peer-to-peer payment app
‘What to include?’ is also a big part of the question ‘How to make P2P payment app?’. Apart from obvious transaction functionality and a payment gateway to secure the data, you also need a couple of other elements to make the execution perfect. We created a list of 6 crucial functions that peer-to-peer payment apps need to be robust and solid. Keep it close during the development stage!
This is the first thing a customer deals with when downloading an app. Our general advice for a P2P payment app is not to make it too long and thorough – just ask about basic information, like name, phone number, and email, while a bank account can be added later before the first transaction is made.
When it comes to finances, users need to know that their personal information and payment data are secured. First of all, the app needs security functionality to sign on. Usually, services use 4 or 6-digit PINs or TouchID/FaceID technologies. Secondly, when money is transferred some services ask for an extra code to confirm the payment. Finally, when you build a P2P payment app, we recommend implementing two-factor authentication when registered users log in, using a code sent to a phone number, email, or automatically generated from an app.
This feature significantly facilitates the process – customers just look for a recipient in contacts and send money using a phone number only. That’s it, no extra information, no pain. Must-have for a P2P payment app.
Notifications keep users updated about their current balance after a peer money transfer or completed payments. Let a user decide how he or she wants to receive the information, it could be a push, in-app notifications, texts, or an email.
In order to develop peer-to-peer payment app that is user-friendly and easy to use, chat with customer support is crucial. Your app will be dealing with users’ finances and they will probably have many questions about how it works. No one wants to send an email and wait for a reply for hours. That’s why customer support should be in the app, quickly reachable, and trained to respond to all frequently asked questions. When you think about how to create a mobile payment app, don’t forget to consider how people will use it and what kind of help they will need.
To track spendings and current balances, users need to have access to the payment history, which includes details of previously completed transactions. The feature is essential for money transfer app development in 2023 to ensure safety and transparency for everyone who uses a platform. Most of the apps make it in individual sections and add filters for easy navigation. For example, history can be sorted by date or a recipient.
Do competitors have all 6 key features?
The mobile payment app development advances fast, and to avoid being behind, we recommend looking at the competitors and their functionality. After we talked about 6 crucial features, we decided to step back and analyze if all major P2P payment apps hit the spot or are missing out. Let’s see the results!
|Easy and quick sign-up||Security lock or 2FA authentication||Contact access||Notifications||Live chat with customer support||Transaction history with filters|
|Apple Cash||+||+||+||+||–||+, as a part of Apple Wallet|
Key feature analysis for top 6 peer-to-peer payment apps
Overall, all competitors’ apps are very convenient and user-friendly. They have a trendy minimalistic design with the necessary functionality. Here is the only interesting thing we noticed: the majority of P2P payment apps have a customer support hotline, instead of the in-app live chat. While this old-school way of communication might be convenient to older audiences, overall, it’s not the best option. Imagine, a user noticed a suspicious payment while traveling abroad. Do you want them to wait until they return home or call internationally and spend a fortune on a phone bill?
Thinking about situations like these, we vouch for the diversity of support options, with an emphasis on a 24/7 live chat embedded in the app. Maybe easy-to-reach customer service will be something that will stand your solution out and send it to the top of the Apple Store or Google Play charts. Don’t forget to discuss it with your development agency.
Must-have steps to build a P2P payment app
To build a P2P app that would have success on the market, follow these 3 key steps.
💰Define your business model
It’s crucial to define the type of your app and settle down on a monetization strategy right off the bat. Do you want your platform to be independent or connected to a bank? Are you going to charge a transfer fee? What about in-build ads? Depending on your business decisions, the developers will be choosing must-have features and marketing specialists will be building the promo strategy.
📲 Create an MVP
MVP, or a minimum viable product, is the first fully-functioning version of a mobile P2P payment app. It helps startup owners validate their idea, test the business model and gather feedback from real-world customers. Also, it’s one of the fastest ways to launch your solution: the average time-to-market for MVPs is only 3 months.
🛠 Test and improve
After you launch an MVP and get the feedback, it’s time to sit down and analyze what users have to say. At this step, you can improve some features and elements, pivot, or leave everything as it is, depending on the reaction of your customers.
How to choose a developer
When it comes to execution, the question about contractors pops up right away. How to find a trustworthy development studio for your P2P payment app, to whom the idea could be entrusted?
- Google the company name and scroll the first two pages;
- Read the reviews – here Google Maps can be useful if a company has an office. Some companies (like us) also highlight their previous works on their website – just look for a section ‘Projects’.
- Check out design platforms like the Dribble or Behance to see their portfolio.
Also, trust your gut – if something concerns you about the developer’s background, it’s better to keep searching, until it clicks. Remember that in order to build a P2P payment app that would be in-demand, you have to have an experienced developer with a good eye for details and current trends.
How much does it cost to develop an app like CashApp or Venmo?
The most intriguing part of this article is the costs and timeframes. At Purrweb, we know that time of money transfer app development is crucial for trending and dynamic markets like P2P payment services. You definitely will not have time to redo the project, that’s why we recommend working with professionals from the start and checking the portfolio of the contractor you are going to work with beforehand. With such a difficult topic like finances, the general rule is everything in the app should be clear and straightforward – the simpler an interface is, the more people entrust in you and the more often they come back to the app to send and receive money.
Good news is that we have a blog where we openly share our experience and a portfolio with previous works, where you can check our style. The framework uses a shared code base for both Android and iOS systems and allows us to execute both apps with one code. It simplifies the development process, and there is no longer a need to hire and control two different teams. But don’t be worried about the interface performance – React Native has a huge library of native UI-elements that make interfaces scroll, swipe, and act like native ones.
Before we start execution of your P2P payment app, we always discuss deadlines and prices with clients. Two cases are never the same, each project needs different resources and has different timeframes. Well, how much does it cost to create P2P payment app?
Key in your e-mail address to get a full breakdown of the estimation with all details
Thank you! You will be contacted soon!
We will answer all your questions on how to develop a peer-to-peer payment app and share with you tips and secrets about robust and successful execution. Just drop us a line!
For busy readers, we gathered together all the frequently asked questions about P2P app development.