Print: Electronic payment advances in popularity among University students Online: Venmo, other electronic payment methods advance in popularity among University students

By Bianca Reyes

By Bianca Reyes

Contributing writer

For Kate Love, sophomore in Engineering, electronic payment apps are more than just a commodity — they are a convenience. She has been using Venmo, a third-party service, on a weekly basis since last year. 

Her case is not unique, as many students are catching up on the electronic payment trend at the University.

Nichole Guthridge, retail sales and service support manager for PNC Bank in Central Illinois, said she has undoubtedly seen an increase in the number of clients, especially college students, who use the bank’s mobile services.

“It really opens their eyes to, ‘Hey, what am I spending this money on? How am I spending it?’” she said. 

With an increase in mobile banking options, such as Chase QuickPay, and additional releases of apps, such as Apple Pay, Cover’d and Square Cash, students across college campuses are now choosing mobile payment applications over cold, hard cash.

“I think it’s a good thing — it’s handy and fair,” Love said. “It also helps in unique situations, like if you have a friend that always covers for you, you can hit them back easily and not have to feel guilty.”

Venmo, the app Love uses, allows students to pay users simply by linking their credit or debit cards to their accounts. Users can also move their accumulated money from Venmo to their personal bank accounts in a matter of days, according to the third-party service’s website. 

Aside from third-party applications, individual banks like PNC Bank are also taking part in the trend by releasing their own mobile applications.

“Our online banking, especially the Virtual Wallet (Student) app, has features built into it that allow the student to actually budget and see what they’re spending their money on,” Guthridge said.

On PNC’s app, students can look at a spending overview, request reimbursement by sending a “digital receipt” to a friend who owes them rent and be alerted on “danger days” when their accounts are at risk of overdrawing.

Love said this seamless electronic payment process causes her to be more conscious of her daily spending.

“It shows me a balance that’s left on my Venmo account, unlike when I swipe my card,” she said.

Students, however, are still cautious of just how convenient the process can be regardless of the electronic payment apps’ rise in popularity.

“Honestly, I think that I’m spending money less consciously because it’s so easy to spend it electronically,” said Jack Liss, sophomore in AHS. “It’s just a couple buttons that you have to hit and you lose money.”

Love, nonetheless, said “young people are careless with money, I think — just in general. This probably doesn’t change that.”

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