Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
This story originally appeared in Racked’s daily newsletter. Want more news from Racked? Sign up for our newsletter here.
Venmo, the eight-year-old social payment app, can be controversial: People either love it or hate it. For cashless folk who like to easily send money to friends, co-workers, and roommates for restaurant bills, Seamless orders, Ubers, and SoulCycle classes, Venmo is a total life-changer. Just download the app, connect your bank account, and learn the language of emoji that’s become shorthand when charging or paying people. For those who hate it, though, there’s the concern that such easy access to digital payments is unsafe and could even lead to scams (and there have been plenty).
Regardless of how you feel about it, Venmo is about to become way more ubiquitous. PayPal, the digital payment system that bought Venmo in 2013, just announced that people will now be able to use their Venmo accounts for online shopping. Following a test beginning last year, users can now use Venmo on millions of mobile sites where PayPal is accepted — anywhere from Lululemon to Home Depot to Forever 21. (Picture here the money, dress, and leaf emoji — we all know what that last one means.)
The excitement around this news will probably be divided on generational lines; although not all that different from the older, less sexy PayPal, other than the fact it’s got emoji and options to split payments, Venmo is extremely popular among millennials (perhaps because of the social component, where you can spy on who’s paying who for what). Venmo is expected to make $40 billion in transactions this year. A report this week from global business advisor FTI Consulting found that online retail sales could hit $1 trillion in the US by 2027. At this rate, Venmo can definitely move that forecast right along.