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PayPal's Venmo adds third-party app payment support

It supports just Gametime and Munchery to start with, though.

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After being dogged by scary security concerns last year, PayPal-owned Venmo is focusing on new features for its payment system. The company revealed that it will let you pay for sporting events via Gametime and gourmet meal deliveries from Munchery. The service is only available on iOS for select users to start, but Venmo plans to use the limited rollout to get feedback and will add more folks over time. The service works much as PayPal does -- you just tap the Venmo icon to pay, and will be linked directly to the app for authentication. Payments are automatically added to your purchase history.

So far, Venmo has been limited to payments between users -- the classic use case is splitting a restaurant bill while you're still at the table. It's been very popular for that purpose, though, as PayPal said Venmo processed $7.5 billion in payments last year. By adding third-party apps, the company becomes a rival to Android Pay, Apple Pay and other similar services, but with the clout and online payment savvy of PayPal behind it.

Security experts still have concerns about the system, though. It allows you to directly link your bank account and credit card, yet until recently, didn't notify you if your password was changed or a new device used. In addition, the company was slow to respond to reports of fraud -- as Slate reported, one user couldn't contact the company after noticing an unauthorized $2,500 transaction.

Venmo added two-factor verification last year, so the app will notify you if it's accessed by an unknown device. However, the company hasn't said if it beefed up its customer service team, as it reportedly had just 70 employees in November of 2014 (parent company PayPal has 17,000 workers). And while the two-level authentication is a good start, there's no word as to whether it's added additional warnings for unusual activity, something PayPal itself has done for years.

Update: PayPal told us that it actually has 17,000 employees, while the post originally said it had 10,000. We've also clarified that the Venmo employee count was 70 as of November, 2014, not last year. The article has been updated with those changes.

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