PayPal's Venmo Faces Google, Banks

Fast and safe digital payment networks are growing quickly, demonstrating the high demand for this booming market.

Investors of PayPal (PYPL) , the payments company, better watch out for two major disruptions coming their way.

PayPal's peer-to-peer (P2P) market share is shaped by its mobile app and social network Venmo. The company is expected to face competition from Alphabet's (GOOG)  Google and a clutch of banks. This is perhaps the first time PayPal is facing such a challenge to its business. The stakes are, undoubtedly, high.

Venmo is critical to PayPal. As much as $5.6 billion worth of payments was handled by Venmo in the fourth quarter, representing 126% year-over-year growth. For full year 2016, Venmo processed $17.6 billion, up 135% year-over-year.

Venmo was part of PayPal's 2014 Braintree purchase. Since then, Venmo has become the preferred P2P method for millennials, mainly due to its social features.

The new update to Google's Gmail is a big step on PayPal's turf. First, you can use the 'attach' button - just like you would to send along a photo, video, or document - to send money.

Second, recipients don't require a Gmail email address for the transfer to be successful. Third, they can have money transferred directly to their bank accounts once the amount has been received.

Last, sending money through Google Wallet is free for both the sender and the recipient.

When you send money using your Venmo balance, prepaid card, debit card, or bank account, PayPal waives any fee - so, it's free. A 3% fee applies only to credit cards.

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