Venmo had a breakout quarter and is at a 'tipping point' to finally make money for PayPal, CEO says

  • PayPal-owned payments app Venmo has struggled to make money for its parent company and Wall Street analysts were closely watching its performance in Thursday’s earnings report.
  • Venmo didn’t disappoint — its payment volume surged 78 percent in the third quarter to a total $17 billion.
  • “While it is still early, our monetization efforts appear to be reaching a tipping point,” CEO Dan Schulman said on a call with analysts Thursday.
The Ebay Inc. Venmo application (app).
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The Ebay Inc. Venmo application (app).

Investors finally got what they were waiting for in PayPal's quarterly earnings: Good news about Venmo.

The peer-to-peer payments app, which PayPal acquired along with Braintree in 2012, has struggled to make money for its parent company. Wall Street analysts highlighted the app's performance as a key metric to watch in Thursday's earnings report.

Venmo didn't disappoint. It had a breakout third quarter with payment volume surging 78 percent to a total $17 billion. That's still a fraction of PayPal's total $143 billion in volume for the quarter, which missed analysts' expectations — but it's encouraging, PayPal's CEO says.

"While it is still early, our monetization efforts appear to be reaching a tipping point," CEO Dan Schulman said on a call with analysts Thursday. "I'm especially pleased with the strong overall momentum surrounding Venmo."

Twenty four percent of Venmo users have now participated in what Schulman called a "monetizable action." That number is up from 17 percent in the second quarter, and 13 percent in May of this year. In September alone, PayPal said it processed more than $1 billion in instant transfer volume on the Venmo platform.

Shares of PayPal rose as much as 7.5 percent in after-hours trading Thursday after the company reported third-quarter earnings and revenue that beat Wall Street estimates.

A payment option on websites and apps, known as "Pay with Venmo," saw monthly active users increase by roughly 185 percent month over month from August to September, Schulman said on the call. For Uber and Uber Eats, Venmo had a 300 percent jump month over month from August to September.

Food delivery companies Grubhub, Eat24, and Seamless have also integrated with Venmo, and while PayPal did not give exact metrics, executives said the partnerships have been "growing quite remarkably."

The Venmo card, a physical debit card linked to a Venmo account that PayPal unveiled this summer, is also off to a strong start. It saw a roughly 320 percent month over month growth from August to September, with restaurants and supermarkets as the top two purchase categories.

"These daily use cases demonstrate how we are rapidly gaining omni-channel ubiquity and becoming a part of our Venmo customers' everyday spend," Schulman said. "I couldn't be more pleased with the customer adoption across our Venmo initiatives."

Programming Note: For more on PayPal, watch CFO John Rainey's interview on "Mad Money" tonight at 6 p.m. ET.