With Zelle Volume Growing, is PayPal Still King of P2P? (Yes.)


EXCLUSIVE— It’s hard to argue with results, and with $75 billion sent with Zelle, the banks’ “Venmo killer” is certainly getting some. But is it enough to topple Venmo?

If one is going purely by the numbers, possibly: while PayPal grew its total P2P payment volume by 50% this year, according to its earnings report yesterday, Venmo was responsible for $10.4 billion in payments for the quarter, nearly $35 billion for the full year, PayPal said.

While a good chunk of the $48 billion in overall mobile total payment volume for Q417, $10.4 billion doesn’t come close to the money Zelle has been moving. But payment volume is only one metric of success, and with others — like user growth, retention, and active use — PayPal and Venmo are likely still far ahead of Zelle.

However, that’s not to say Venmo isn’t making some changes due to Zelle: the app recently added fees for instant transfer, a faster method of transaction that could be seen as an attempt to keep it in the lead ahead of Zelle.

According to its recent growth figures, Zelle has 95 million customers, including those who have access to the service via its partnerships with 60 individual banks and credit unions. PayPal, meanwhile, has 227 million active customer accounts, according to its earnings presentation, up 15% YoY.

Of these 227 million accounts, 8.7 million were added this quarter—a 61% increase from last quarter, PayPal said—driven primarily by “core PayPal,” and of course, Venmo. Additionally, transactions per active account increased 8% YoY, to 33.6, the company noted in its earnings.

Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal, said of Venmo in the company’s earnings:

Venmo continues to define digital payments for a generation of passionate users here in the U.S.

While we’re still in the early stages of monetization, we’re very encouraged by our initial leads on engagement. In fact, the adoption of services that we’re able to monetize on Venmo is tracking above the P2P adoption Venmo experienced at a similar point in its history. Given our experience this past year, we believe our future opportunities are extensive and compelling. We’re writing powerful and accelerating tailwinds created by two global trends, the digitization of cash and the mass adoption of mobile devices.

To learn more about the latest developments in mobile payments and P2P, join us on March 5-6, 2018 at the Parc 55 in San Francisco for Bank Innovation 2018. Click here to request an invitation.