There're all sorts of ways to exchange money, but sadly, none of them offer you the chance to do it using the same device you employ to casually text-stalk Fran Drescher. Well, now one does: Venmo.
The brainchild of a couple Penn guys who've developed infrastructures for other people's projects (bit.ly & TicketLeap), Venmo's a free service that allows payments of any kind, from friendly wagers to dinner bills, to be fully processed via text message -- just like the end of your relationship with Fran Drescher, which wasn't even that rewarding, since you couldn't hear that velvety voice. Once registered, users can make payments simply by texting the transaction amount and recipient's cell number (or user name if they're already signed up) to Venmo's local number, which initiates a crazy-secure process to pull funds from the buyer/giver's linked-up, encrypted bank account/credit card and shifts them to the seller/receiver's; if you send funds to a Venmo newbie, they'll get a passcode & instructions to set up an account and claim the funds, although unfortunately, without the added benefit of aiding a misunderstood, exiled Nigerian prince. They've already struck deals with a number of University City food trucks (Coup de Taco, HubBub, Don Memo...) to accept Venmo payments, and're currently wrapping up similar arrangements w/ Starr Restaurant Group and Marathon -- who you'd pay through the nose via any method just to never have to run in one.
Still in private beta, Venmo's offering Thrillist readers the chance to be among the first to enjoy the just-born technology -- which, unlike you, doesn't desperately need its Nanny.
Published: November 23, 2009 at 4:00am EST
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