Venmo mobile app first time user experience

The good bits

  • A new user can view a stream of public transactions before signing up. This is a limited version of a free sample, and makes it clear to the new user the kinds of exchanges Venom supports before they sign up for an account.
  • With the exception of notifications, all asks to share data—like contacts—are prefaced with a clear, simple justification screen.
  • Once a new user signs up, they can either continue exploring a public stream of transactions (which, due to comments left by users, can be very entertaining), or complete a checklist of “getting started” to-dos like adding a bank or a payment card. Both are ways of getting the user engaged with key areas of the product, even if they have no transactions of their own in play.
  • The privacy controls, once discovered, are well explained.

To be improved

  • The signup flow heavily pushes the new user to connect their contacts and Facebook information to their Venmo account, which may be premature as the user doesn’t have a sense, yet, of how that information will be used—and may not even have a Facebook account.  Venmo could consider letting a new user add friends manually in the signup flow using individual names or phone numbers, so they could start with a few contacts but not give the app access to all of the ones on their phone.
  • Venmo appears to default all account transactions to public sharing (except for the amount of the transaction). This still may be  The only way for a user to realize this is to manually go to “Settings” on their own time. This can erode any trust the app is trying to form.
  • The new user’s default view of the app, if they didn’t add friends during signup, is the empty “friends” tab. Venmo should consider defaulting a new user to the “public” tab if they enter the home screen without any friends linked, or, bring in some of the to-do’s from the separate “Getting started” page. Either could make this empty state more actionable.