The other day, I was Snapchatting a friend of mine, telling them that on Black Friday, I got a copy of a great DVD for only $4.
As soon as I typed the dollar sign and the number four, the amount lit up and I realized that if I wanted to, I could transfer four dollars to my friend.
I immediately erased the amount, and typed the rest of the sentence sans dollar sign.
This wasn’t my Wells Fargo app. This wasn’t the Amazon app, urging me to make my purchase. And this wasn’t PayPal or a shopping app, or anything relating to the buying and selling of products and services.
So why does a chat app offer money transfer services?
On November 17th, 2014, Snapchat launched their new service, Snapcash. Partnering with Square, the highly successful mobile swiper company, Snapchat boasts a product that is “fast, fun, and incredibly simple.” Just swipe into the app, type an amount, and send with the tap of a button.
That’s it? Not quite.
What Snapchat did not include in their introductory post is the fact that these transactions come with a 2% transfer fee.
Snapcash is not the first, nor the last, peer payment system. However, there are some issues that may arise.
On their support site, Snapchat answers an FAQ about cancelled payments and refunds, stating, “To issue a refund for a completed payment, send the amount you wish you refund back to the original sender.”
There are no cancellations. And refunds are the responsibility of the cash recipient. What if a user accidentally sends $1,000 to John Doe, but meant to send only $100? Now it is John Doe’s responsibility to refund $900 to the user, and why would he do that? He has $1,000 in his bank account!
On the issue of unauthorized Snapcash payment, the user must contact their issuing bank to dispute any questionable charges. For added security, users have the option to change their Snapcash settings to require their CVV before payment. It is not required authentication. Thus, it seems incredible easy for unauthorized individuals to transfer funds.
Not to mention, just last year a third party service hacked into Snapchat’s infrastructure and stole more than 4.6 million usernames and numbers and published them. What would happen if more sensitive information was leaked? Square is handling all financial information for Snapchat’s users, but many concerns have been voiced since the launch of Snapcash.