These days, we do everything online. We bank online. We order food online. We even get an online title loan when we need money. A tremendous amount of the money in the world moves electronically and it should come as no real surprise that people are looking for more ways to buy into that ecosystem. As people abandon cash in favor of electronic funds, the hottest trend has been finding ways to allow people to transfer money between one another.
Online payment apps like Apple Pay have started to penetrate the market, but none have made quite the splash as more social apps like Venmo and Tilt. It looks like these two apps are going to be in a showdown sooner rather than later, so one question must be asked – who wins in the inevitable fight between the more-established Venmo and the up-and-coming Tilt?
In some ways, Venmo has a nearly insurmountable advantage in this fight because it’s got better name recognition. That’s no judgment on whether the app is better, of course – just an admission that branding plays a huge role in the tech sector. Venmo is already the go-to app for splitting bills and sending money, and unseating the king from its thrown is going to take a fantastic amount of money and effort.
There are places where Venmo is dangerously vulnerable, though. The relatively low amount of money one can use through the app could be problematic for some, as could the social element of the application. Venmo’s greatest strengths lie in already being the strongest app on the market – and, in many cases, that’s the kind of position that leads to complacency.
Tilt is aggressively positioning itself to take on Venmo, and for good reason – there’s money to be made in this market. While Tilt might be best known for crowdfunding, it’s moving into the online payment space with a purpose. It’s leveraging what it already has – a great presence on college campuses and using it to attract a new customer base. As far as the initial push goes, it’s in an enviable position.
What Tilt doesn’t have, though, is the entrenched base that Venmo has. It’s going to face an uphill climb, especially as its core users get out of college and begin interacting with coworkers who already use other bill-splitting apps.
This is a fractured marketplace and introducing another competing app may not be the wisest idea. Tilt also doesn’t have quite the money to throw around that Venmo has if things come to a serious fight – Venmo is, after all, backed by Paypal. That means that when it comes to money transferring, Tilt is going against the biggest player of them all.
So, who wins in a standup fight? It’s hard to tell. Venmo is established, but Tilt is gaining traction. It’s going to end up coming down to who really uses these apps – and how often they are used.
If Tilt can leverage its stranglehold on the college market into the rest of the world, Venmo could lose its seat atop the mountain quickly. If Venmo responds with a full measure of its Paypal-backed force, though, Tilt could end up as nothing more than another flash in the pan.